D-League Watch: Xavier Munford

Feb 6, 2014; Richmond, VA, USA; Rhode Island Rams guard Xavier Munford (5) dribbles the ball as Virginia Commonwealth Rams forward Jarred Guest (23) and Rams guard Briante Weber (2) defend in the first half at Stuart C. Siegel Center. The Rams won 68-52. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 6, 2014; Richmond, VA, USA; Rhode Island Rams guard Xavier Munford (5) dribbles the ball as Virginia Commonwealth Rams forward Jarred Guest (23) and Rams guard Briante Weber (2) defend in the first half at Stuart C. Siegel Center. The Rams won 68-52. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

Xavier Munford, Bakersfield Jam, Guard, 6’2, 180

(2015-16, 33.3 mpg, 23 games) 20.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.0 spg, 3.2 tpg

48.7 FG%, 83.0 FT%, 40.6 3FG%, 59.5 TS%, 54.5 eFG%

26.3 USG%, 31.7 AST%, 16.1 TO%, 1.9:1 A/TO, 1.5 STL%  

DOB: 6/1/1992 (23)                             College: Rhode Island


Before the D-League

Munford played two seasons at Rhode Island after transferring from Iowa Western, and then went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft. As a senior at Rhode Island, Munford averaged 16.9 points, 4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. He was drafted with the 15th pick of the 3rd round of the 2014 D-League Draft by Maine, and then traded to Bakersfield that day. As a rookie last year, Munford averaged 10.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game, while shooting 45 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from three-point range. He returned to the Jam this season.

What has he shown so far?

Munford has made great strides in his second pro year, finding himself among the D-League leaders in scoring and assists, while also showing improvements in his shooting. Though he doesn’t have great size at 6’2, Munford has good quickness combined with control and athleticism, allowing him to vary his offensive game. He is an average to above-average ballhandler, able to use his left and right well, though he can have a tendency to over-dribble and get a bit sloppy with the ball. He is at his most effective in the pick-and-roll, showing his ability to make reads fairly quick, while also being able to knock down mid- and long-range jumpers off the dribble, or use a nice change-of-pace dribble to get to the basket. Munford can attack the basket left or right, showing decent body control, but also having a tendency to try and force his way through help defenders. Mumford can be a creative finisher around the basket, though it’s almost necessary due to his trouble scoring against long defenders protecting the rim.  Munford is has become a much better perimeter shooter, though he seems to be much more comfortable shooting off the dribble than having time to get set off the catch. He gets into his shooting motion quickly, with good lift and a quick release, allowing him to take advantage of any space he gets, though some of his shot choices aren’t exactly very good. Munford has also improved his ability to use a floater in the lane, showing nice touch as he’s on the move in the lane. Munford is an above-average passer, seeing the floor well, and hitting teammates in a good spot where they can get a shot of quickly. As mentioned, he makes his reads well in the pick-and-roll, and he also does a very good job looking to draw defenders when attacking the rim, and then either dropping the ball off around the basket, or kicking it out to the perimeter for an open three.

Defensively, Munford is average in many ways, though consistency can be an issue. He has quick hands and feet, though his positioning can be a bit off, as he often gives his man space, making him susceptible to good shooters. He has average lateral movement, but his speed does allow him to make up ground and use angles to cut off players. Mumford has some trouble with screens, either getting consistently stuck, or choosing to go under, allowing an open jumper.  Off the ball, Munford has good instincts when playing passing lanes, and his speed and quick hands allow him to cause some havoc as a help defender. Munford is a good defensive rebounder for his size, tracking the ball well and chasing down long rebounds effectively. Munford is very good in transition, using his speed with the ball to beat defenders down the floor, seeing his options well, and making good decisions. He is also good on the wing, having the ability to spot-up from long-range, or attack the basket off the dribble.

More from Hoops Habit

What does he need to show next?

Munford has made a lot of necessary improvements in his year-plus in the D-League, and a lot of his remaining issues or weaknesses could be addressed. His perimeter shooting needs to become more consistent; while he’s shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc, he is much better off the dribble than off the catch. Along with this, his shot selection from the perimeter can use some better judgment. A lot of Munford’s time is spent pounding the ball in the ground, looking for the space to create something, either for himself or a teammate, but he can’t let the ball stick in his hands like that. He needs to learn to keep the ball moving and force the defense to adjust. There’s not much he can do about his size, but he can be a stronger finisher at the basket, looking to go right at rim protectors instead of trying to dance around them. It has worked on occasion, but he would often be better off looking to draw some contact.  Defensively, Munford needs to make some adjustments to his on-ball positioning, as well as working a bit on his lateral movement. Also, getting over screens should be a priority, as forcing switches or going under the screen just doesn’t work.

Where does he go from here?

Munford has done a great job getting his game ready in the D-League, and with his ability to shoot and pass, NBA teams will be keeping a close eye on him. He will need to work on some issues on the defensive end, but he has the quickness to hold his own, to some degree. Some may point to his size, 6’2, as a potential issue, but he is skilled and smart enough to easily give an NBA team a solid 10 to 15 minutes off the bench. If he doesn’t get a call-up this year, Munford may want to explore the European market, where his game should make a very good transition at a high level.

Follow me on Twitter – @NBADraftBlog

Email me: ed (at) nbadraftblog.com