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"Considering all the rave reviews of Chris Jones, I don't think Russ will be the guy with the ball in his hands," one NBA scout told CBSSports.com. "So I don't know if Russ will be able to show what NBA people want to see before we exercise a high pick on him."
Added another NBA scout: "Russ could still improve his stock by being more consistent and a better decision-maker whenever he does have the ball in his hands. But I just have a real trust issue with him, as he is going to have to play point guard in the NBA."
So the consensus, best I can tell, is this: Russ Smith is a fine college basketball player. But he's small. And he's not a point guard. And there's no guarantee he'll prove -- or even have the opportunity to prove -- next season at Louisville that he's capable of being a competent ball-handler at the NBA level, which means there's a decent chance Smith will, a year from now, be exactly what he is today, i.e., a second-round pick.
But that doesn't mean this decision is a mistake.
In fact, it's probably smart -- mostly because, well, what was the alternative?
There was no guarantee Russ Smith would be in the NBA next season. So why rush out of Louisville?
InsideTheVille.com. Publisher. @ITVHughes.
Granted I haven't seen Jones play but on paper he seems to be pretty much the same player as Russ Smith but even smaller. He has a slightly better assist to turnover ratio than Russ but Russ doesn't play PG so his chances for assists aren't as frequent. The both shot 32% from three this year. They are both right around 40% from the field. Jones gets more rebounds but Russ is the better free throw shooter. Why does everyone assume Jones will just step into the starting role at PG?
The User Formally Known As UofL3223 GO CARDS!!!!!
Russ will be on/in every publication and will be interviewed by everybody under the sun.
His Senior season will, literally, be a PR campaign for him. It will be awesome and there isn't a player who doesn't deserve all the good pub more.
In the games I watched Jones play this year (most of them were available online), he played off the ball about 50% of the time.
I think we will see a lot of this next year. Russ and Jones will both play as CG's rather than having a true 1 and 2 on the court, IMO. I also think more of the offense will run through Hancock next year in the absence of a true PG (which Siva was). Hancock averaged over 4 assists per game at GMU, even though he was asked to be mostly a set shooter for us this past season. With Peyton gone and a (hopefully) healthy off season to improve athletically, I think we will see more Hancock at point forward type situations.
Basically, this year we were a pretty traditional basketball team. We had a PG that was a floor general, and ALWAYS looked to distribute, a scoring 2 guard, a set shooting 3, and a 4 and 5 that focused on rebounding and defense.
Next year I expect us to be a little more creative in creating mismatches. Russ/Jones/Rozier are all elite scoring combo guards. Hancock will be relied upon more to pass and get to the rim in addition to his shooting. I expect Montrezl to play a lot of 5 and be an athletic mismatch for a lot of centers. Ware and Blackshear are X factors, IMO. Ware was really looking good late in the season. Blackshear is, quite possibly, the key to the whole thing next year. If Blackshear can be the guy that we hoped we were getting, the guy that was the best player in Chicago while Anthony Davis was in that town, then we really have a chance to contend again next year. I could even see us playing some "small ball" line ups with Wayne at the 4.
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