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2012 WNBA Draft Prospects: Combo Guards That Could Make An Impact

Every year there are some NCAA players whose statistics warrant a look in the WNBA Draft but whose position - or role on the team - is somewhat unclear.

The oft-vilified combo guard can be the hardest role to figure out and this year's draft is no different.

The criteria I'm using for "combo guards" - or "scoring point guards" - is as follows, in juxtaposition to the criteria for point guards:

  • Scoring point guards (usage percentages over 24%) with college assist ratios of under 20%, which is beneath the threshold for becoming a successful WNBA point guard.
  • Shooting guards under 5'8", who might be looked to as point guards in the pros.

In other words, these aren't just bad point guards but moreso players who were more heavily relied on for their scoring than distributing in college and might have to make a switch in the WNBA. Recent examples of that are Cal's Alexis Gray-Lawson and Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley, volume shooters in college who have had to adjust to being distributors in the pros.

This list of players could have been put with a list of point guards, but because their function on the floor was so much different it's hard to compare them to those whose primary responsibility was to distribute - they'll have to change their tendencies to adjust to the pro game, but we can still take a look at their college numbers to see how efficient they were there.

Name Height School 2p% FTA TS% Usg% Ast Rat PPR Pts/empty
Khadijah Rushdan 5'9" Rutgers 50.7 55.51 54.45 25.37 18.58 -2.03 1.90
Riquna Williams 5'7" Miami 41.7 20.54 50.87 28.61 12.35 -0.80 1.99
Shea Peddy
5'7" Temple 55.09 32.45 60.56 24.34 15.76 0.18 2.55
Jasmine Crew 5'7" Seton Hall 38.35 37.5 46.90 31.24 12.57 -1.67 1.76
Tavelyn James 5'7" Eastern Michigan 46.4 28.59 52.23 33.09 5.68 -4.40 2.13
Jessica Jenkins 5'8" St. Bonaventure 36.9 16.91 56.14 22.81 6.23 -1.18 2.38

Senior season statistics for NCAA scoring point guard draft prospects. Click here for explanations of the numbers.

1. Khadijah Rushdan

Rushdan is a point guard whose scoring ability stands out more than her distributing ability, but that 50.7% 2-point percentage give her a chance to make it in the pros. Even more impressive is that 55.51% free throw rate, demonstrating that she just has a knack of getting to the basket and making something happen.

She's only a 30% 3-point shooter, but you can assume she's familiar with playing defense coming out of Rutgers and if she plays next to a guard or forward who can also distribute the ball, she might be able to have a successful rookie campaign.

2. Riquna Williams

Williams is rated much higher than this in most people's minds, but two things really stand out statistically - a low 2-point percentage for a guard whose primary function on the floor was to score and a low free throw rate, which suggests a player who doesn't drive as often as some others.

Williams is an outstanding athlete, as shown by her 4.5 steal rate but her numbers suggest she's neither an efficient ball handler nor scorer, whereas there are other players in the draft who are. Statistically, her tendencies - on the SPI styles framework - are similar to Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley. The major difference is that Riley had a significantly better assist ratio while Williams has a better steal rate. There's no question she could make it in the league, but like Riley, she's going to have to figure out how to become a better playmaker or more efficient scorer to become a consistent contributor to a rotation.

Then again, her athleticism alone could very easily defy all the numbers.

For more on Williams, visit our analysis of preseason prospects.

3. Shea Peddy

Peddy's 55.09% 2-point percentage also stands out as impressive for a scoring guard and that she also hits 38.8% from the 3-point line is impressive. But one other statistic that stands out for Peddy comes courtesy of Synergy: she goes right 80% of the time and left only 20% of the time. As a scorer with a low assist ratio, that will probably make it hard on her to put up the same type of numbers in the WNBA although her 3-point shooting and athleticism (shown by her 5.4% steal rate and 5.3% offensive rebounding rate) make her a very impressive prospect.

4. Jasmine Crew

Crew actually compares more favorably to Riley than Williams does statistically yet faces the same problem: she'll either have to become more efficient as a scorer or distributor to make her way into a rotation. The big plus for her statistically over Williams is that she has a strong build and attacks the basket well, as demonstrated by her solid 37.5 free throw rate. She's also just a less efficient scorer than Williams overall.

5. Tavelyn James

James can clearly score with anyone in the nation, but her assist ratio is so low that it's hard to imagine her fitting into a role as distributor. If there's a team that has a bigger distributing guard next to her who can defend bigger players and distribute the ball, James could be an asset - her numbers are otherwise solid for a scorer.

For more on the 2012 WNBA Draft visit our "WNBA Draft 2012" section.