Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen a serious talent infusion at point guard in the NBA. In 2009 alone, eight of the first 21 picks turned out to be starting point guards for today’s teams. So this year we should expect more of the same right? Wrong. There are a couple of top tier prospects in Damian Lillard and Kendall Marshall, but aside from them, finding a legitimate floor general might be a crapshoot.
However it isn’t impossible to come across an above average passer after the lottery. In 1996, the Phoenix Suns selected Steve Nash with the No. 15 overall pick. Rajon Rondo went ten years later, also to the Suns with the No. 21 pick and of course, the media has drilled into us what Jeremy Lin has been able to accomplish after being undrafted in 2010. Intelligent players can be found at any point in the draft. It’s just a matter of development that determines if they can ever hold the reigns to an NBA offense.
Court vision is something that can’t be taught. Coaches and GMs would much rather develop a passer into a shooter than vice versa. So while some of the guys on this list may not have the talent to start right away, they do possess enough ability to crack our top 10 passers of the 2012 NBA Draft.
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10. ANDREW ALBICY
Andrew Albicy has moved down on a lot of draft boards after a disappointing performance at the 2012 adidas EUROCAMP, but the 5-10 guard who draws Muggsy Bogues comparisons still has hope to be drafted. He’s lightning quick and has the court vision to contantly hit his cutters, especially outside of the arc. One thing you can’t teach though is size. His height constantly creates mismatches on the defensive side of the court. In the NBA he would be posted up on every possession. Albicy needs to work on his jumper a bit too, but he has the passion to make an NBA roster, even if he has to wait in France for a few more years.
9. JESSE SANDERS
Although Jesse Sanders is unlikely to be drafted, I have to give him a shout-out. The senior from Liberty flew just as much under the radar as his team did last year, averaging 12.5 points, 7.8 boards and 8.0 assists. He has the court vision to compete on the next level and has already improved his jumper, but there is just too much work to do. He lacks some much needed athleticism but should have a prosperous career overseas.
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8. JOSEP FRANCH
After making his way from DKV Joventut to FC Barcelona, and finally to the NBA last year, Ricky Rubio experienced a lot of success in his rookie season. Also from DKV Joventut, Josep Franch is hoping to do the same, but has a much longer road ahead of him. He is a pure, pass-first point guard who can see the floor with the best of them, but lacks enough athleticism to possibly even warrant a pick. If selected, it would most likely be a draft and stash, as Franch needs a few more years to develop overseas before seeing an NBA court.
7. MARQUIS TEAGUE
First it was the Gasol brothers. Then the Lopez brothers. Now, the Teague brothers look to leave their footprint in today’s NBA. Marquis, brother of Atlanta’s starting point guard, Jeff, is a very talented prospect. He seems to get wherever he wants on the court, which leaves him with a lot of options. Surrounded by athletes last year in Kentucky, Teague averaged just 4.8 assists, but his tenacity at both ends of the court always keeps him on the floor. Most of the time, he likes to push the pace, not allowing for the defense to get set. But sometimes, that gets him in trouble as he can get a little wild when trying to do too much. However, if drafted somewhere where he has time to mature and learn the half-court game a little more, Marquis Teague has the ability to thrive. Right now he is projected as a mid first rounder.
6. TOMAS SATORANSKY
Tomas Satoransky is a 6-6 combo guard from the Czech Republic best known for winning the Liga ACB Slam Dunk Contest in incredible fashion. He has a wonderful blend of size, strength and athleticism that allows him to help out a team in all facets of the game. Satoransky is surprisingly athletic for a European player and his court vision is what drives his game. Being so tall allows him to see over most defenders and although shooting is not his strength, it isn’t a weakness either. After Evan Fournier, Satoransky will be the next foreign player off the board. Look for him to be drafted sometime in the mid-late second round.