Emmanuel Mudiay – Superstar or bust?

Emmanuel Mudiay spent one season in China and might become the talk of the NBA draft. (Photo credit to Maxpreps.com)
Emmanuel Mudiay spent one season in China and might become the talk of the NBA draft. (Photo credit to Maxpreps.com)

Emmanuel Mudiay was supposed to be headed to Southern Methodist University to play for Larry Brown last fall. He decided to head to China, where he played for Guangdong, and became a star. He is one of the biggest names in the draft. Here is my opinion. He averaged 17.7 points per game, six rebounds and 5.9 assists in his time in China. It’s hard to gauge what kind of success he will have in the NBA, though. While China is not a bad place to play, I wonder how it compares to NCAA Division I-level basketball. Some of the things I saw on Mudiay’s highlight tape impressed me. He is 6-foot-5 and close to 200 pounds. He is quick in the open floor and, for being 19-years old, does a very good job of controlling his body. He is very good in transition. At times, he makes it look very easy to score in transition. He is also an explosive athlete. It looks like he is a quick jumper and can finish high above the rim. The NBA is a pick-and-roll league and, on film, Mudiay is very good at it. He has a good feel of where all of his teammates are on the floor when the pick-and-roll takes place, and is able to put the pass on the money to either the roller or shooters. The most important thing is that he can also score out of the pick-and-roll. On tape, he showed that getting to the rim was fairly easy for him in China, but he still made some spectacular finishes. In the NBA, it won’t be as easy to score but I think he should still be able to get to the hoop. He seems very comfortable in one-on-one situations. He is a very good dribbler and likes to use hesitations. He is also very quick and his first step is even quicker. Here are some things that are very concerning to me. In his 15-minute highlight tape, I saw him make two jumpers. He shot just 30 percent from three-point range this past season in China and he is responsible for a 58 percent free throw percentage. Just by looking as his jumper, he will struggle in the NBA if he can’t quickly improve on his mechanics. His form is almost a replica of Damian Lillard’s. However, Mudiay shoots on the way down and pushes the ball out, instead of up. As DraftExpress highlighted, Mudiay misses too many shots to the left or right, and is short on a fair amount. He turns over the ball too much for a point guard. He tries to hit a home run every time instead of making the simple play. While he has a lot of nice physical tools, he does lack some basic necessities of a NBA point guard, like shooting the ball. If he works extremely hard on his shot to become consistent, then I believe he will have a good chance to become a star in the future. The fact that his free throw shooting is so poor, though, leads me to believe that he might never become a good shooter. While Ricky Rubio is a good shooter from the charity stripe, it’s pretty obvious that he doesn’t work on his jumper much in the offseason because he hasn’t improved. I see Mudiay as a 50-50 player. What I mean by that is he will either be a big hit or a huge miss. Superstar or bust. I see his ceiling as Lance Stephenson, but without the off-court issues and drama. Mudiay does a lot of things well, like Stephenson, except Stephenson is a better all-around shooter. They are extremely similar players, in my opinion. I don’t believe Mudiay should be worth a top-five pick in this year’s draft. While I believe he has a chance to be a very good player, I don’t think there is any middle ground with him. It’s “Go big or go home” with him. I say this because he played in China and, as I stated earlier in my post, it’s hard to translate his production in China to what he might do in the NBA. It will be interesting to see how many general managers fall in love with him the closer we get to the draft.


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