Day two of NBA draft coverage focuses on Mike Conley Jr. The diaper dandy point guard from Ohio State averaged 11ppg and 6 apg in the 06-07 season. He was rather quiet for the first half of the year, but showed quite a bit of improvement. Culminating in his stellar tournament performance that helped guide OSU to the title game. If not for the late game heroics of teammate Ron Lewis in the second round, or the lack of intentional foul called on buddy Greg Oden (same game) we might not have seen all that Conley Jr. has to offer. In the next few tournament games he showed his ability to penetrate into the lane, and finish with floaters from either hand. He also showed the ability to be a reliable playmaker, and make perimeter jump shots.
Conley Jr. is average size for a point guard at 6’1. He has great speed and quickness, but does seem to lack some explosiveness going to the rim. Not that that is needed, just look at what Nash does. He reminds me of a Marcus Williams. Drafted last year by the Nets, and is now playing behind Jason Kidd. Williams and Conley have the same type of game. Although I would say that Conley is probably faster off the dribble, and better defensively. Williams was a better playmaker, and passer. At only 19 years old Conley who also went to high school with teammate at Ohio State Greg Oden has plenty of time to develop into a better point guard. I’m not sure if it is the right move for him to come out right now, but it is a good time if he is looking to get drafted high. Many have him rated as the best point guard in the draft, which I don’t agree with. Sure he had a nice tournament and all, but really he doesn’t do anything great. He won’t be able to get by the good defenders in the NBA and get into the lane like he did in college. Also his perimeter shooting is very suspect just like Marcus Williams. I don’t see Conley with the ability to be a really great playmaker either. He isn’t a real solid pick and roll player, because of the lack of jump shot. Also he only averaged 6 assists per game in a wide open Ohio State offense that he ran all year long. I just don’t see him as a true lottery guy right now even know that is where he will go. Teams shouldn’t draft Conley Jr. and expect him to be a franchise type player. They will get a solid point guard who knows the game, and is an all around good player. Expect his first two seasons to be much like this season was for Marcus Williams though. What is promising is the amount that Conley Jr. improved throughout the season. You like to see a kid work and work at his game, and really improve. That is a sign that he is dedicated.
Although he will probably never be an All-Star or an All NBA player Conley will still be a very serviceable point guard in the future. I would like to see him go to a contending team where he can contribute, and learn from a veteran or two. Conley would fit well with many teams, and likewise many teams would love to have the young talent. I think he could be a solid contributor next year on a team like Cleveland or Houston, but don’t expect that. He will be a higher pick and likely end up in a rebuilding scenario. Back tomorrow with the take on Georgetown’s Jeff Green.