“I’ll definitely bring a competitive nature, because I’m a competitive guy,” said the confident Myck Kabongo during one of many NBA Draft pick interviews.
With the 2013 NBA Draft just one day away, the 6-foot-2 former Texas Longhorns point guard believes he would make a great prospect to fill in the vacant position behind Knicks starting guard Raymond Felton. He would be replacing Jason Kidd, one of the NBA’s best point guards and top defenders of all time.
Now that Kidd has exchanged his jersey for a suit as the Brooklyn Nets new coach, could picking Kabongo as a replacement give the Knicks a winning edge? I’m going to have to pass and say no.
Don’t get me wrong, Kabongo is talented, no doubt. In fact the Texas Longhorns’ men’s basketball team is known to bring forth great talented players in to the NBA such as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.
So what is it about this former Longhorn star that caught the eyes of scouters in the first place? A few things: Kabongo is a pure pass-first point guard with very good natural instincts and a consistently high basketball IQ. What makes him more desirable as a prospect is his strong leadership skills, unselfish brand of playmaking on the court and his proven ability to be an extremely competitive player who puts out a good effort defensively.
His talent as a guard could not go unnoticed; he was officially named the 2nd rated point guard in the United States in the class of 2011, according to the RSCI Board.
In addition, he received a grade of 97 on the ESPN Recruiting Database for the 2011 ESPN Top Point Guards.
Awards and honors included: the 2011 McDonald’s All- American team selection, 2011 Jordan Brand High School All-American team selection, and the 2012 Big 12 All-Rookie team selection.
But while his accolades are all good and gravy, it’s Kabongos reputation during his collegian days that has recruiters and myself with raised eyebrows, questioning if he’s truly ready to go pro.
First off as a freshman, he was a well below- average shooter and remains as such.
According to Synergy, he made 41.2% of his shots around the basket, one of the worst rates in his draft class, leaving scouts questioning his ability to score effectively at the next level.
As a sophomore, circumstances didn’t get any better, when he missed a total of 23 games while facing an NCAA sanctioned suspension for receiving impermissible benefits from an agent and lying to NCAA investigators.
Currently Kabongo shows average performance at the NBA Combine, which indicates he has a lot of ground to make up for prior to draft night.
With only a few days till draft night, he needs to focus working on his two greatest weaknesses: Shooting and mechanics, the two essential tools for a point guard to crack an NBA rotation.
Other areas of improvement include: limiting his turnovers, working on his offensive polish, and strengthening his balance when pulling up off the dribble.
While I strongly believe Kabongo has a long way to addressing his shortcomings prior to ever being as good as his NBA icon, he exudes great potential as a pass-first point guard who would make a great asset to an NBA team once he has clearly proven he is polished and ready.