The Case For….takes a look at players whose draft status is a little uncertain, 2nd rounder and potential rookie free agents, and tries to give a brief outline of what skills they have, what they are missing, and what steps would eventually lead them to the NBA. This edition looks at UTEP guard Randy Culpepper. Culpepper was 6 feet tall, but spent most of his time in college playing off the ball. We know he can score, but will teams realize he can distribute as well? Let’s see the case for Randy Culpepper:
(Click here for the NBA Draft Blog interview with Culepper)
Randy Culpepper, UTEP, Senior 6’0, 165
19.3 ppg, 3.1 apg, 2.9 rpg, 2.0 spg, 43.6 FG%, 32.4 3FG%, 75.9 FT%
The Good – Culpepper just finds ways to score. With a fantastic first step and great ballhandling skills, Culpepper can find his way into the lane easily. Once he gets past his man, he has an improving mid-range jumper, or if he chooses to go to the basket, explosive leaping ability to finish. While he didn’t play the point at UTEP, it is his natural position and he shouldn’t have a problem making the adjustment back to the position. He sees the floor well, knows how to run an offense and makes smart passes. Defensively, he has the ability to be pressure full-court, moves his feet well and has active hands. Off-the-ball he does a good job jumping passing lanes and causing turnovers. He has the ability to push the ball in transition and has the ability to finish strong and draw contact.
The Bad – Size could be an issue, especially on the defensive end where the NBA has a lot of big guards at the point. However, in short stretches of time, he can be a pest against any size guard. His perimeter shooting is not fantastic, but he does have good range and has improved as a shooter every year. As a point guard, he still needs to become better at running the pick and roll, especially looking for the man going to the rim. On the defensive end, he will need to work on getting through screens better, as well as learning how to position himself against bigger guards.
The Verdict – Culpepper has a lot of skills that would lend to him being a decent back-up point guard option at the NBA level. His scoring ability will help him, but he needs to convince teams that he can play point guard at that level, and show that he can figure out how to minimize size disadvantages on the defensive end. While he may not be drafted, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team take a chance on him near the end of the 2nd round, especially a team that can let him develop his point guard skills in the D-League.
Check back tomorrow for The Cases for Cory Joseph and the Villanova Coreys - Fisher and Stokes. Leave your comments below, email me any comments or suggestions up top, and remember to follow me on Twitter - @NBADraftBlog.