Another day, another mock draft in the books. In this case, we tend to pay more attention because ESPN's Chad Ford is one of the more connected names in the draft business and his meticulously maintained top 100 lists are a pretty indispensable resource for guys who need to pour over lists of prospects (read: me). Of course, Ford is guessing as much as the next guy is, but we tend to pay more attention when the major outlets put forth their predictions. In any case, without further ado:
Ray McCallum | Los Angeles Lakers
COLLEGE: Detroit | AGE: 18 | HT: 6-2 | WT: 191 | POS: PG
Analysis: The Lakers could use help anywhere, but McCallum brings a lot to the table as a heady point guard who can run a team and get to the rim.
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McCallum is another name we haven't covered -- aren't these mocks awesome, we get more articles! -- and as with Andre Roberson, it has very little to do with McCallum as a prospect. Well, it sort of does in the context that the Lakers probably aren't looking that hard at a point guard in this draft because they currently have five on the roster, even if one is almost certainly a cap casualty (Chris Duhon), another seems more suited for the wing in the long-term (Darius Morris), and whether the fifth will even be on the roster next season is an open question (Andrew Goudelock). Even so, McCallum does have the potential to be a better point guard than all of the aforementioned names and Steve Blake played enough two guard last year that the Lakers can plug in talent basically anywhere should they happen upon it.
The big problem in evaluating McCallum is that he basically was Detroit's offense courtesy of being at a small school and his statistics in several areas suffered as a result. By all accounts, McCallum is a pretty athletic point guard and his combine statistics, whether the 40'' vertical or the solid lane agility score, all echo this. The simple reality is that McCallum had enormous defensive pressure put on him due to him being the guy who was carrying his team and Detroit's abysmal spacing shrunk the floor as a result. So when you get poor numbers for him as a creator in the pick-and-roll or the conclusion that he isn't able to turn the corner off a pick, for instance, they're pretty incongruous with his athleticism and explainable as a result of the situation that he was in.
We do see McCallum's athleticism shine through in his ability to finish around the basket, as he nailed 60.6% of his shots around the rim despite again having all that defensive pressure and he also managed a stellar 1.317 PPP in transition, an area the Lakers were awful in. Although not often displayed at Detroit, McCallum's workouts up to the draft have been punctuated with stories of his athleticism, including big dunks and skying for offensive rebounds. In the halfcourt, McCallum gets dragged down by his subpar accuracy on his jumper, although he did shoot decently off the dribble and also had to put up a lot of heaves as the main creator for his squad. This provides a context for his low assist numbers, as bad teammates don't give you a lot of targets, especially if they're not giving you passing lanes through maintaining proper spacing.
McCallum, moreover, is a pretty heady player with good ballhandling ability and a coach's son, hence why he ended up at Detroit instead of a more distinguished institution due to the presence of his father there. Practically all draft sites gush on his basketball IQ and his feel for the game. One can see this in the fact that he only turned the ball over on 11.3% of his possessions despite the offensive load he carried, a solid mark for a guy who also sported a 24.4 usage rate. On the other end, McCallum's defense is difficult to parse given that most guys who carry such large offensive burdens understandably take a few plays off and his size may hurt him on this end. Regardless, he does have the tools to be serviceable and moves well laterally.
Altogether, McCallum is a solid overall prospect. He will have to move his 31.7 3P% mark a bit closer to respectability and grow more comfortable as a distributor instead of a guy expected to score all the time, but he does possess a lot of good tools for a guy expected to go in the mid second round or so. Although the positional fit is tough, when it really comes down to it, the Lakers need more guys who can create from the perimeter and McCallum does fit that bill. Whether he will be the best option for the Lakers in that regard on draft day will be something to look forward to.
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