Jun 2, 2011, 4:17 PM EDT
Tyler Honeycutt has been making the rounds of pre-draft workouts and has been turning a few heads.
It’s because the 6’8” swingman out of UCLA has shot well. Everyone knew he had good size and athleticism, but his shot was not that special. Honeycutt, like the entire UCLA team, was pretty inconsistent last season, but at the end of the day he still shot a respectable 36.2 percent from three. If he is shooting well in workouts, if he can be consistent, it is a sign of improvement.
Honeycutt has always been about potential. Scouts have some reason to believe in that potential, however — look at the college program he comes from. Forget the stars (Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook) and think about the other recent Bruins in the NBA: Darren Collison, Jrue Holiday, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Arron Afflalo, Jordan Farmar, Trevor Ariza. Teams would love to get a guy like any one of them late in the first round, which is where Honeycutt will go.
Another thing about those UCLA guys, they defend pretty well. Honeycutt, with his long arms, was the leading shot blocker in the Pac-10 as a forward. He uses his length in sort of the way Tayshaun Prince does as a defender (although he is no Prince). On-ball defense is what will get him drafted (but he can get caught ball watching off the ball and lose his man).
Any consistent offense from him would be a big bonus, which is why his shooting at workouts matters. It’s a start. His ball handling in college was iffy at best and that led to too many turnovers for a guy with a good basketball IQ. The ball handling has to improve, otherwise he is a three who cannot create his own shot (and is not a classic marksman).
But he can pass and he can defend on the ball, and to watch him play is to see a guy who could be much more down the line. A regular rotation guy you can count on.
And drafting late in the first round, you will take that. NBC’s own Steve Alexander at Rotoworld has him going 23 to the Rockets, as does DraftExpress (which has a great video breakdown of Honeycutt’s game). ESPN’s Chad Ford has him falling to 28.
However, a few more good workouts and that will change, he will move up some.
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