Welcome back to LWOS NBA Draft Coverage, the column that brings you player profiles for the next crop of professional basketball players that are likely to be selected in the upcoming draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow us on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical profiles and scouting reports. Check out our complete coverage of the 2016 NBA Draft. Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for all things 2016 NBA Draft!
Patrick McCaw – 6’7” Shooting Guard, UNLV, 20 years old
Patrick McCaw was not supposed to be this good. McCaw was the least heralded of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels top five ranked 2014 recruiting class. He was ranked as the 231st best player in the class of 2014, and in two years, has grown into a possible first round pick selection, and could be the best player out of the Rebels class. Not many knew his name when he joined UNLV, but that has changed a lot in a couple of years. More will learn his name as the draft comes and goes. With the 2016 NBA Draft set to begin on the 23rd, some more exposure on Patrick McCaw and what he brings to the table on the NBA level is necessary.
To many scouts and NBA teams, McCaw looks like one of the best 3-and-D prospects in this years draft. His defense is a big part of it. McCaw has a case to be considered the best perimeter defender in this draft, which is a huge reason he’s being considered a first round talent. Last year, he ranked sixth in the nation with 2.5 steals per game, and opponents only shot 36.2% when guarded by him. His long arms and hands are constantly in motion while he is playing defense, keeping the passing lanes from being open, and making it very difficult to dribble past him without the ball getting poked out. He’s an absolute pain to get past and proved that from the time he started playing significant minutes as a freshman.
His versatility is key on defense as well. Measuring at 6’7”, 180 lbs, with a 6’10” wingspan, he’s tall and long enough to guard small forwards, while also possessing the necessary quickness and reaction time to lock down on point guards and shooting guards.
On offense, McCaw is less of a finished product. He has very good range. McCaw was one of the most efficient players in the country in both of his years at UNLV. He takes few mid range jumpers, relying more on scoring at the rim and from three point range. More than half of his shots came from three point range. His three point field goal percentage was very good at 36.6%. He scores extremely well on fast breaks, posting a 1.45 points per possession in transition. McCaw’s athleticism, quickness, and speed are valuable on the fast break. His work ethic on the defensive side will also make him very valuable. Adjusting to the NBA three point line will take time, but McCaw has all the tools to be the best 3-and-D prospect in this draft.
The biggest issue that will hold McCaw back in the NBA game is his strength. Weighing at only 180 lbs, he lacks the mass to compete with the shooting guards and small forwards in the NBA. The good thing is that weight is something that can be fixed, by hitting the weight room hard leading up to the next season. Gaining the strength to play in the NBA is key for McCaw if he is going to be able to continue his dominance on the defensive end. At UNLV, McCaw played both the point guard and shooting guard positions. He can play both in the NBA, with more training.
Something mentioned before is that McCaw is great in transition, but when it comes to half court offense, McCaw struggles. His ball handling skills need to be improved so that he can create his own shot. That would make him truly deadly, and more than just a spot up shooter that relies on others to get him open for a shot.
The last thing that McCaw must work on is consistency. McCaw started out strong, scoring in double figures in the first eight games of the season. He also eclipsed the 20 point mark four times. After that, for about two months, McCaw went missing on offense. In a 12 game span, he averaged only 8.2 points on 7.7 shots a game. Although he had set the tone at the beginning of the year as UNLV’s top offensive threat, he vanished and was reluctant to shoot and attack. After that dismal stretch, McCaw bounced back and finished the year strong. He averaged 18.5 points in the final 13 games. It is good that he was able to conquer that slump, but proving that he can be counted on at all times during the long NBA season is key.
As of now, McCaw looks like a traditional 3-and-D prospect, maybe the best in the draft. His perimeter defensive skills will be very valuable to any team. This is especially true if he bulks up to compete against small forwards as well as guards. He has the work ethic to improve and become a more all-around basketball player. McCaw will need to be more than just a spot up shooter, and has the physical gifts to do so.
NBA Player Comparison
Nicolas Batum is longer, bulkier (for now), and also plays more small forward than anything, but Batum seems to be the best NBA comparison for McCaw. Everything that Batum does, McCaw can do as well, and might eventually be able to do better. Both are solid ball handlers that have better vision and playmaking abilities than other traditional 3-and-D players such as Trevor Ariza and Danny Green. McCaw and Batum have similar shooting range and both play great defense. McCaw is more physically gifted. That could help him to become an even better player than Batum down the line.
McCaw has been doubted and overlooked throughout his basketball career. Now that he has started to get more recognition, will it go to his head? Will he continue to work hard and prove that he is even better? Will a team believe in him and take him in the first? Will he slide to the second round and maybe even go undrafted? Those questions will be answered in a couple of days. For now, check out all of the rest of the NBA Draft prospect profiles.