Tonight in Brooklyn the NBA will hold it's annual draft. And tonight Texas point guard Myck Kabongo will patiently wait to hear his name.
While the 2013 NBA draft class has been widely panned as one of the worst in recent history, this doesn't necessarily affect Kabongo. The weak tag has been applied to this draft largely for the lack of "can't miss" talent. There are no certain superstars in this draft(*). But this does little to help Kabongo, as he isn't competing for the same slots as the first-tier prospects. And there is actually a fair amount of depth at point guard, which doesn't help Kabongo's cause.
(*It should be noted that the lack of certain superstars is not an unusual occurrence. 2011 was the last weak draft, with the number one pick being a player, Duke guard Kyrie Irving, that there were significant questions about. Irving turned out alright. There were other good players taken in that draft, including Klay Thompson, Chandler Parsons, Kenneth Faried, and Kawhi Leonard. There will be some good players to come out of this draft as well. The trick is figuring out who they will be. Many drafts look better in retrospect than they did at the time.)
Most draft prognosticators seem to have Kabongo as a second round pick. This makes it likely that some time in the NBA Developmental League is in his future. The second round and time in the D-League seem reasonable, as Kabongo's game is still raw.
Kabongo is as quick as just about anyone going from end to end with the ball. He sees the floor well, and is a willing passer. And Kabongo has shown a real ability to get to the rim and the free throw line. These are important NBA skills.
The difficulty for Kabongo is that he hasn't demonstrated much shooting ability in his two short seasons in Austin. This will make things difficult for him as a pro. With the exception of extraordinary talents like Jason Kidd, guards who can't hit open shots seldom thrive in the NBA.
On the bright side for Kabongo, Jason Kidd eventually learned to shoot, and so have many other less talented players.
Kabongo's size and wingspan (Kabongo has a standing reach of 8-2 and a 6-6 wingspan) give him something that a more polished player like Shane Larkin will never have. That said, I also have a standing reach of 8-2 and a 6-6 wingspan (bloggers need length, too), and no one has ever as given me a nickel to play basketball -- there is something to be said about actually being able to play. Larkin will almost certainly hear his name called first because he can make open shots.
In many ways, Kabongo would have been better served coming out of college a season ago. Kabongo might have fared better last year because while the draft was stronger overall, the point guard class was not. Marquis Teague landed near the end of the first round last year after a freshman season that wasn't all that different from Kabongo's. And while Kabongo did improve between his freshman and sophomore years, the competition this year at his position is stiff.
But that is all in the past. Tonight, it is all about the future for Myck Kabongo. We're hoping that the future is bright.