|"Hands up who likes me?"|Shabazz Napier
, Connecticut, Senior, 6'1 175lbs2013/14 stats:
35.1 mpg, 18.0 ppg, 4.9 apg, 5.9 rpg, 1.8 spg, 0.3 bpg, 2.9 TOpg, 2.1 fpg, 42.9% FG, 40.5% 3PT, 87.0% FT
As an underclassman, Napier took many a bad shot. He came in as a scorer and still wanted to be one, but that aggressiveness became damaging as he took too many bad ones and too many early ones. But once he learnt to temper this, Napier became a leader and a go-to offensive option, fearless and unflappable. That is not to say he is not still liable to weak moments - Napier is occasionally still fearless to the point of recklessness and always liable to take a heat check jumpshot on his good shooting days but mostly justified now in his decision making. He cannot resist a few bad ones, and often threatens to ruin his hot scoring steaks by playing with tunnel vision. But it is less so now. And a bit of aggression never hurt.
Napier does not really make his team mates better, at least not in a conventional way. Despite decent assist numbers, some pick and roll passing and some drive-and-kicks, this is still a score-first player, perhaps even a score-second player. But he does make the team better. Napier is a very talented shot maker, mostly with the jumpshot, who regularly hits contested ones and who can shoot off the catch or off the pull-up, needing only a small amount of space to get the shot away. Over time he has put away the excess of long two-pointers and turned them into threes, which has brought up his efficiency, and although he is too small to do much around the basket, he can at least get there, so he cannot be overplayed for the jumper. Napier's blistering speed and good ball handling skills gets him to the basket with ease even when amongst the trees, and defensively, that same speed combines with good hands, good anticipation, timely passing lane gambles and an improved effort level to be a pest on that end, sufficiently so to often overcome his size disadvantage. He is clutch, a very good foul shooter, and a competitor.
It's easy to see why LeBron likes him. Given how small Napier is, he will always be slightly hampered at this level. But put talent around him, and he'll be a fine fourth or fifth offensive option.