Monday, June 14, 2010

Scottie Reynolds... The Next Mike Bibby?

As the Celtics and Lakers continue to battle in the Finals, the NBA Draft is quickly approaching. Dozens of young collegiate and international basketball stars are travelling around the country, working out for coaches, scouts, and GMs, hoping to be the next Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, Pau Gasol, or Kevin Garnett... heck even the next Adam Morrison. (Who wouldn't love to get paid $5,257,229 to cheer from the bench?) One such hopeful player is Villanova's own, Scottie Reynolds.

Most NBA draft experts project Scottie Reynolds to go in the second round or not at all. Scottie's draft stock was hurt by his uncharacteristically poor performance in this past year's NCAA Tournament: 4/26 FG (15%). He no doubt struggled in those last two games, but should that overshadow a first team All-American season? The hate seems to have gone too far for Scottie Reynolds' NBA prospects, and GMs should take notice because they won't want to be remembered as "the guy who passed on the next Mike Bibby".

Now you might be saying to yourself, "You're crazy! Mike Bibby wasthe second overall draft pick in 1998." Well, first of all, the Grizzlies (then in Vancouver) made a mistake drafting Bibby before Antwan Jamison, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, AND Paul Pierce. But at least it wasn't as bad the first overall pick that year by the Clippers (Michael Olowokandi). Now bear with me and take a closer look at these two players and you'll see just how similar Reynolds and Bibby actually are.

The Looks
They're about the same size (both listed as 6'2), and they're within five pounds of the same listed weight (Reynolds: 190 pounds and Bibby: 195 pounds). Neither is super quick or athletic, but they instead rely on craftiness, outside shooting, and high basketball IQ.

The Stats
Bibby (2 years): 15.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 45.6 FG%, 39 3P%, 73 FT%
Reynolds (4 years): 16 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 41.4 FG%, 37.2 3P%, 81.4 FT%

In his senior year, Scottie shot an almost identical 45.7% from the field and 38.5% from three. He also bumped his scoring up to 18.2 points per game. Albeit, at that age, Bibby was averaging 14.5 points and 8.1 assists per game in his second year in the NBA, but still, the stats are strikingly similar. Bibby's career NBA stats are: 15.8 points, 5.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 43.8 FG%, 37.5 3P%, 80.6 FT%... Not inconceivable for Reynolds. Also keep in mind, that despite all his success, Bibby has never made an All-star team.

The Wins
Both were McDonald's All-Americans in high school. Both were First Team AP All-Americans in college. Both of their college teams were sucessful. Bibby led Arizona to a National Championship with 20 points as a freshman in 1997. Sure, Reynolds' most recent NCAA Tournament was disappointing, but how can anyone forget his magical buzzer-beater in 2009 that sent Villanova to the Final Four.

The Rest
So far there's no indication that Scottie Reynolds can't mimic Mike Bibby's career, in which he has earned $100,176,673 and counting. The biggest lingering question about Reynolds' game is whether he can run an NBA team at the point guard position. Reynolds was never a huge assist guy in college, but that has more to do with Villanova's system and personnel. I don't see Reynolds ever routinely putting up double digit assists like Rajon Rondo, but I can absolutely see him being like Rondo's opposing point guard in the Finals, Derek Fisher. Like Bibby, Fisher has a very similar body and game to Reynolds (6'1, 200 lbs.). Fisher has never averaged more than five assists per game over his career, yet he has been the point guard on four championship teams. If you think I'm aiming too high with Bibby, then why can't Scottie Reynolds be the next Derek Fisher?

As Scottie Reynolds is watching the rest of the Finals, instead of dreaming of being the next Kobe Bryant, Rajon Rondo, or even Derek Fisher, maybe he should aim to be the next Glen Davis. I'm not suggesting he gain 100 pounds, but Scottie can learn a thing or two from Big Baby. Like Reynolds, Davis was a college star who led his team to a Final Four, yet saw his draft stock drop after a disappointing following year. He got drafted in the second round, but he didn't let that keep him down. Davis continued to work hard and improve his game, and now he is a game away from winning his second ring. So wake up NBA GMs, you don't want to miss this year's big sleeper... Scottie Reynolds.

The 2010 NBA Draft is June 24 at 7 p.m.