If Basketball didn’t include defense, Rodney Hood would be a top 10 prospect in this year’s NBA draft. Whereas Gary Harris is a prospect with the potential to be a great three and d guy, Hood has the potential to be as much of a game changer on the offensive end as he does at becoming a liability on the other.
That’s not to say he’s a risky pick. He’s not. He will have a successful career in the NBA. This is not one of those rookies who will be out of the league in four years. If you can shoot as well as he can, there will be a spot for you. Though that spot, considering his dismal defensive deficiencies (#alliteration), may not be in the starting five. Instead, it might be off the bench, coming in as a spark plug shooter who can drain a couple of quick threes, drive the lane and hit some floaters, and set teammates up for easy buckets.
A silky athlete with a lefty jumper that’s smooth like buttah, the kid shot 42% from three last year for Duke while taking nearly five a game. Hood, standing at 6-8, has the height to be a solid wing in the NBA. His height allows him to shoot over smaller defenders. This was put to great use, as evident by the fact that according to Draft Express, of the 85 pull up jump shots he attempted, 43% of them went in. That pull up jump shot percentage ranked #1 among all college prospects in Draft Express’ Top 100 Rankings.
Hood doesn’t play out of control, often taking what the defense gives him. He also displays a great feel for the game as evident by the fact he is an efficient offensive player – both in scoring the ball and moving it around. From Draft Express:
“Hood has a solid feel for the game, as he rarely turns the ball over (10% turnover rate), and posted the third best PPR (Pure Point Rating = a sabermetric that measures one’s Point Guard passing abilities) among small forwards in our Top-100. He's unselfish, sees the floor well, and executes offensively in the half-court, which his next coach will certainly appreciate."
The good news is that, as you can tell, the kid has a lot of strengths on the offensive end. The bad news – the offensive end is the only place where his strengths reside.
Defense, Defense and more defense. I’d like to think his lack of prowess on the other end of the floor was due to his frame. His identical height to wingspan ratio doesn’t provide him with any favors, and his skinny frame allows stronger players to bully him inside. But given the fact he does display adequate lateral quickness, I really chalk this up to him not having a motor on the defensive end of the floor. Countless times in the video the kid fails to get into proper defensive position. That can’t happen! No matter how bad you are on D, you can at the very least start out on a possession in good position.
Outside of defense, there still are a few weaknesses in his offensive game. He is an above average ball handler at best, and he doesn’t drive enough to the basket (as evident by the fact he didn’t get to the free throw line a lot). Also, some worry about his ability to score inside the three point arc. From Draft Express:
“His very low 2-point percentage (49%) doesn't inspire a great deal of confidence in his ability to develop into a high volume shot-creator inside the arc at the NBA level, as he's not a terribly advanced ball-handler and avoids finishing around the basket with his right hand like the plague.”
Listen, I hate the mid range apparently as much as Hood hates finishing at the rim with his right hand. But you do need to be decent at it, just to keep the defense honest. So yes, this is something Hood should work on. But only after he gets his defense figured out.
I’m not high on Rodney Hood. As great of an offensive tandem he and Rubio might make, he’s soon turning 22 years old, and with defense being this much of an issue for him, I wonder what upside there is. Honestly T-Wolves, stay away from Hood. Of all the guys I have profiled to date, he ranks at the very bottom. I know there are fans of him out there, but I frankly am just not one of them. If the T-Wolves do draft Hood, I hope I can look back at this piece in a couple years and laugh at how wrong I was.
Up next we take a look at Zach LaVine. Why? Because it gives me an excuse to watch really cool dunks at work for about an hour and say I’m doing research.