As the season starts to wind down and we head towards the 2011 NBA Draft, it is time to give some looks at players who are borderline draftees, but may have the skills which could translate to a NBA career. The Case For….takes a look at these players and tries to give a brief outline of what skills they have, what they are missing, and what steps would eventually lead them to the Promised Land of the NBA. This edition looks at a prolific Big East scorer, and the man responsible for some huge baskets over the last few years – Seton Hall’s Jeremy Hazell. Hazell gave thought to the draft after last season, but wisely reconsidered – has he improved in the areas necessary to be in the NBA next season? Let’s lay out the case for Jeremy Hazell:
Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall, Senior 6’5, 188
19.8 ppg, 1.6 apg, 3.5 rpg, 2.4 spg, 42.2 FG%, 33.6 3FG%, 75 FT%
The Good – There are not many players in the NCAA with the shooting range of Hazell. He has a very quick release, gets good lift on his shot, and doesn’t mind shooting with a hand or two in his face. He is very good in the catch-and-shoot and has gotten much better at using his dribble to create space to get his shot off. The Seton Hall team wasn’t very good at setting screens for Hazell to pop open, but when they did, he used them very well. If he gets into the lane, he is able to finish in a variety of ways, and he has improved his ability to draw the defense and find an open teammate. In transition, he has the ability to push the ball, but he is much better filling a lane and getting himself set for the open jumper. Defensively, he has the ability to be disruptive, moving his feet well and being active with his hands. While he can guard point guards if necessary, he is much better guarding the wings. And while he doesn’t like to play a very physical game, he is very tough, and when the game is on the line, he wants it in his hands.
The Bad – Shot selection has always been an issue with Hazell and that hasn’t changed much. With his length and decent speed, he really should make some effort to try and get into the lane, but I don’t recall many players who are content to just take the first jumper available like he does. I wouldn’t mind if he shot as much as he did, as long as he tried to get the best look available. He really needs to add that slashing ability to his game if he has long-term NBA aspirations. Also, while he sees the court well and can wow you with some of the passes he makes, he is just too inconsistent with this part of his game. On the defensive end, the ability is there, the effort isn’t. When he wants to be a good on-ball defender, he can be very good. Off-the-ball, he seems more concerned with saving energy for the offensive end.
The Verdict – I think what bothers me most about Hazell as a player is the lack of improvement from year to year. Going into this season, he must have had an idea of what he needed to work on to have a legitimate shot of going to the NBA, and I just haven’t seen it this year. Yes, there was the unfortunate shooting incident around Christmas, and a wrist injury, which caused him to miss time, but on both sides of that, he looked like the same player we saw the last few years. He can hit the big shot, and not many can put up points at rate he can when he is hot, but he just doesn’t have the complete game he needs to get a real shot at the NBA right now. He has the skills, he just needs to put it all together. Now, would it be outrageous for a team to spend a late 2nd rounder on him. Not at all, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he goes in one of the last 10 picks, especially if he impresses in pre-draft workouts. As of right now though, I think we will see him go undrafted come June, but he should be very entertaining during Summer League.
Check back all weekend for more Scouting Reports, including Markieff Morris, and a new The Case For… on Washington’s Matthew Bryan-Amaning. Leave your comments below, email me any comments or suggestions up top, and remember to follow me on Twitter – @NBADraftBlog.