The NBA Draft is less than a month away, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!
60 of the best young basketball players in the world will hear their name called, as they finally realize their dreams of being drafted to the NBA. At the same time, however, players will see their dreams come to an end as they fail to walk across the stage to shake the commissioner’s hand.
With a rich talent pool this season, there are bound to be players who had great collegiate careers that don’t get drafted. It doesn’t mean they won’t ever play in the NBA, they will just have to take a detour.
This is the time of year when people try to find out as much information about players as they possibly can, so they can be familiar with whomever their favourite NBA team selects on draft day.
Yes, there will be situations like Toronto last season, when they selected Bruno Caboclo, where even the commentators were stunned at the selection. For the most part, the players selected have been household names in college, or on the international stage.
Over the course of the next few weeks leading up to the draft, we will post a new draft preview each day that highlights a player who has a great chance to be drafted. One thing that we are doing different than other sites is not focusing on players in the first round. These players are constantly covered, and you can find information on them all over the place.
We will look at players who don’t get as much attention as they deserve, as we try to shine the light on some underrated talents in the NBA Draft. Today’s feature: Michael Qualls, Arkansas.
Michael Qualls – Arkansas Razorbacks
Weight: 201 pounds
Birthplace: Shreveport, LA
2014-15 Stats: 15.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.7 apg
Michael Qualls is one of those “cant miss” prospects, but doesn’t quite get the attention he deserves in some basketball circles around the country. He has the talent and athleticism to be a first-round selection, and maybe even a lottery pick. However, he has a few flaws in his game that are holding him back from fully reaching his potential.
Qualls is the type of guy coaches love to have on their squad because he plays with such a high level of intensity and with a high level of energy. He can get the crowd and his team energized simultaneously, and he always plays the game hard.
Playing with the likes of Bobby Portis, Qualls helped to lead the Razorbacks to the NCAA Tournament after the 2014-15 season, where the Razorbacks advanced to the Round of 32 before being upended by North Carolina. Both Portis and Qualls entered the NBA Draft shortly thereafter, and have bright futures ahead of them, without question.
What exactly are teams getting if they select Michael Qualls in this year’s draft? We take a look at his strengths and weaknesses below.
The one thing that Michael Qualls is known for is his superior athletic ability. He’s an athletic wing player who isn’t afraid to drive the lane, battle with the bigs in the paint, and get to the rim. With that comes a high degree of toughness, which will only help Qualls as his future progresses.
With superior athletic ability comes the ability to jump and finish at the rim. Qualls has major bounce, without question. He’s a high flyer who can finish above the rim, and has been known to throw down a few powerful dunks to rev up the crowd. His athleticism adds excitement to his game, and is a real head-turner for coaches and executives at the NBA level.
Qualls has the ability to score in the paint, but he can also score from virtually anywhere on the floor. He has shown that he has the ability to step outside and shoot the long ball (33.3% in 2014-15), and he is comfortable with mid-range jumpers. As a 43.6% shooter from the field last season, Qualls has shown that his game is more diverse than just driving the lane and finishing at the rim.
Over the course of his NCAA career, Qualls’ shooting ability has been a blessing at times, but it has also been a curse at other times. He has shown flashes of inconsistencies over his three years at Arkansas, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for him in terms of his position on team’s draft boards. His inconsistent shooting is what has held him back in terms of reaching his full potential. He has the athleticism and potential of a lottery selection, but hasn’t been able to put all the pieces together so far.
Another facet of Qualls’ game that is holding him back is his ball handling ability. At first glance, his 1.7 turnovers per game in 2014-15 don’t indicate that he has issues ball handling. However, he’s not the most reliable ball handler in the draft. If he can work on his issues, both shooting and ball handling, his draft stock will improve.
Michael Qualls is one of the better prospects in the NBA Draft, but needs to improve on some aspects of his game in order to be successful at the next level. Regardless, he’s a high energy guy who will be a nice change-of-pace guard coming off the bench for any team that selects the former Razorback in the second round.
I see Qualls getting selected in the 45 – 55 range in the 2015 NBA Draft. If he can impress some teams during pre-draft workouts, he could very well move himself up into the 35 – 45 range.