Elijah, Why?

With the recent news that Elijah Milsap (UAB – 6’6, 210 SG) is intending to stay in the NBA Draft, I figured this would be a good time to examine his decision and see if there is any way this is a good decision on his part.

 If this is to be reviewed statistically then no, there is nothing that is outstanding about Millsap other than his rebounding (9.5 rpg in 2010, 7.4 rpg Career), especially for a “shooting guard.”  The biggest issue with this is for being a shooting guard – he is not much of a shooter.  He is an inconsistent perimeter shooter and there is not much lift to his jump shot.  He gets into the lane well and is very good at finishing at the rim and following missed shots.  He has shown to have trouble creating his own shot one-on-one against similar sized defenders (he easily manhandles smaller defenders.)  His ball handling skills are good for his size, but not spectacular; and his court vision is not that great – even when he was attracting extra attention from the defense, he looked for his shot more than an open man.

 Defensively, Milsap does a very good job as an on-ball defender.  He is capable of guarding 3 positions and as the numbers show, he can rebound.  While the rebound numbers are slightly skewed because of the team defense of UAB (60.4 ppg, 40.7 FGA%), he is very good at establishing rebounding position and he has a nose for where the ball will end up. 

 While I appreciate that he is going the “underappreciated” route like his brother did, Elijah is surely not Paul.  Paul had a NBA body to go along with his skills.  Even if Elijah was to slide to the 3, he is not athletic enough to guard on the perimeter at the NBA level.  If he was to have come back for his senior year, establish himself as a true shooting guard, I think he would have late first round potential, but in this year’s draft, which is turning out to be quite deep everywhere but true point guards, he will most likely have to go the free agent/summer league route to show what he can do.

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