The 5 Most Clutch Prospects In This Year’s NBA Draft

  • 5. Tyler Ennis

    When hearing the words “Canadian” and “point guard” most people instantly think of Steve Nash. Little do they know, Tyler Ennis will be the most talked about Canadian point guard on June 26. The 6-2, 180-pound freshman started for Syracuse from the first day he was on campus and if those watching knew any better, they would have thought he was a senior. Ennis plays with incredible poise, which is an extremely rare quality for a player his age.

    This is why Ennis will be clutch in the NBA. His poise will allow him to perform under pressure when the clock is running down. He already hit arguably the best buzzer-beater of the college basketball season against Pittsburgh. How many freshmen are willing to shoot a beyond-NBA-range three-pointer at the end of regulation with their team on the line? That takes guts, especially when you have a stern coach like Jim Boeheim. While he does not project to be much of a scorer in the NBA, he could still create for others in the waning minutes of the game. Or who knows, maybe he will channel some inner Steve Nash every once in a while.

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  • 4. James Young

    James Young was not hitting all of the buzzer-beaters for Kentucky in this year’s NCAA tournament. That was Andrew Harrison. Young, however, has all of the tools to be a late-game assassin. He has the size and the stroke. But most importantly, he is not afraid to use both of those to his advantage. Young is not afraid to shoot, as shown by his team-leading 450 field goal attempts for a stacked Kentucky team. His game screams NBA player. Considering how weak the shooting guard position has become in the NBA, it’d be hard to see Young fail. Kobe and Wade only have so many years left. At age 20, Bradley Beal has already established himself as one of the top shooting guards in the league. Young is only 18 years old and already looks ready to contribute at the NBA level. Just imagine what he will be doing in two years.

    There is a reason why people are writing songs about this guy. There is a reason why he was seen courtside with Rihanna. James Young is a man who knows what he wants. And when he wants to take the game-winner, he should have no problem making it.

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  • 3. Andrew Wiggins

    Andrew Wiggins has received an unfair share of LeBron James comparisons. He was that 6-8 high school stud who threw down mind-blowing dunks and got by on his athleticism. Many questioned, like LeBron, whether he could shoot or whether he had that “takeover” mentality. These are legitimate questions about Wiggins too and that is the only reason why he is third on this list. There were many times at Kansas this year that Wiggins did not seem able to takeover the game like many thought he was capable of.

    One thing is for sure: he will be in at the end of the game for his defense alone. Wiggins can lock-up and has the potential to be an All-NBA defender. But let’s not forget that Wiggins can be a two-way player too. Perhaps when he gets to the NBA and where there is more space and different rules, his game will take flight. Just as Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have proven, scoring may come easier in the NBA for guys with this style of game.

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  • 2. Jabari Parker

    The most popular thing to do around NBA Draft time is to give player comparisons. Analysts have been throwing out some hefty comparisons this year. Hakeem Olajuwon has been dropped casually a few too many times. The comparisons that come to mind with Jabari Parker have been flattering to say the least. He has heard everything from Paul Pierce to Carmelo Anthony to even Grant Hill. Pierce and Anthony are some of the clutchest players in recent NBA history. There is a reason for this.

    If this draft had superlatives, Parker would be given most likely to lead the class in scoring. He can score from anywhere on the floor. His freshman year for Duke was reminiscent of Longhorn Kevin Durant. If it were not for the multitude of scoring threats with him at Duke, he very well could have put up identical stats. The craziest part about him is that on offense at the NBA level, he may have the capability of playing both forward spots. This is an NBA coach’s dream. Parker projects to be the ultimate mismatch and there is no doubt that asset will be utilized in crunch time.

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  • 1. Shabazz Napier

    Coming into the league with two rings screams winner. There is nothing about Shabazz Napier that NBA teams have to worry about. This guy has proven himself as much as possible. Not only has he been a role player on a championship team, but he also got experience of putting one on his back. He is the consummate late game player. He does not back down from taking the last shot.

    Kemba Walker carved out the path for Napier and has continued to run with it. He is still hitting buzzer-beaters in the NBA and there is no reason Napier will not either. As a matter of fact, CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander did a side-by-side comparison between Kemba and Shabazz and even argued that they may be equals in the clutch department. Give him the right team and Shabazz has a chance to be the fourth quarter conqueror of the NBA.

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  • Tyler Ennis
  • James Young
  • Jabari Parker
  • Shabazz Napier

At the NBA combine, there are a lot of measurements taken. You can find out everything from how wide a player’s hands are to how high they can jump without taking a step. But this is only part of the puzzle. There are a lot of categories on NBA evaluations that cannot be measured numerically. You cannot simply put a number on a player’s off-the-court decision-making or chemistry with teammates.

One category you certainly cannot project with measurements is the ability to perform in crunch time. There are a handful of guys in this year’s draft who have the potential to be knocking down buzzer-beaters a few years down the line.

Check the top five players who project to have the “clutch factor” in this year’s NBA Draft.

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