The 2010 offseason is finally here and the first step to winning the 2011 title is the NBA Draft. With a week left, Orlando Magic Daily will profile some players the Magic might be looking at.
The Basics: No player has been linked to the Magic more in the fun rumor-swirling game that is the pre-NBA Draft than New Mexico's Darrington Hobson. You never know what you might find this late in the draft, but there are obviously still some solid players late in the draft (think Tony Parker or Courtney Lee).
The six-foot-seven inch junior was a third team AP All-American and the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year last year as he led the Lobos to a three seed in the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 15.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game last year while shooting 43 percent from the floor and 38.3 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. Those numbers were good enough to lead the team in points, rebounds and assists.
The Good: The guy has a great frame at 6-foot-7 and can get to the basket. He is a lefty (and I am partial to lefties) and has a good ability to get to the rim. His versatility makes him truly valuable. You don't lead a three seed in points, rebounds and assists without some skill.
He had plenty of big games his senior year including a 23-point, 12-rebound game against then-ranked Texas Tech. Obviously he will not be the one teams rely on as a primary scorer. But what could make him a solid player here is that he has the ability to play multiple positions and defend multiple positions while being able to get others involved.
He has the ability to score and attack, and then distribute off of drives. And, like Matt Barnes, you have to love a guard who can crash the glass and secure rebounds.
The Bad: The 3-point shooting is concerning if he wants a spot on the Magic. Sure, he was probably being blanketed by defenders constantly and not getting many open looks. But he has to add that to his game.
He also tends to follow good games with bad games and can disappear. He had his good games and his bad games -- like a five-point, 14-rebound, 1-for-11 shooting performance at home against Brigham Young. He averaged 11.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game and shot 9 for 19 in the Lobos' 2010 NCAA Tournament (which ended in a second-round loss to Washington).
Clearly when the chips were on the table, he struggled to score but still found other ways to contribute. He will not be asked to do as much as he did in college for the Magic, but does his style of play translate to the NBA? Can he be someone who can play off the ball and still produce? There are signs that point to yes as he can do other things than score, but he will have to extend his range.
Draft Sites Say:
NBADraft.net "Strengths: A versatile lefty, he has the ability to play a number of positions thanks to his size, length and skill set (but is most effective on the wing) … He plays with a lot of energy and emotion and leaves everything on the floor … His aggressive approach and attacking mentality allow him to contribute in various areas of the game. ...
"Weaknesses: A very inconsistent scorer, he goes through droughts regularly and has a hard time finding his shooting rhythm … Does a lot of things well offensively, but nothing great … Shot selection is an issue, he takes a lot of bad and offbalance shots that come early in the offense … Shoots an off balance jumper with poor body control, causing very inconsistent results."
Final Thoughts: You can easily see Hobson becoming a Trevor Ariza or Matt Barnes type of player. He has the size and ability to do little things a team needs to win. If he improves his jumper and keeps working at his game, he certainly could be a late draft steal and find a place in the NBA.
But, as you may note, Ariza is a player Orlando did not see as part of its puzzle and discarded and Barnes played well but his lack of 3-point shooting hurt the team in the postseason. Hobson falls in this category. Mock drafts have him going anywhere from late in the first round to the middle of the second round. He certainly could develop into a solid role player, but is he ready to contribute now like the Magic need him to? Not likely.