After an inconsequential freshman season playing just 11 minutes per game, Peyton Siva
took a large step forward as a sophomore, leading his Louisville team to a 25-10 record and a surprising run to the Big East championship final.
A former McDonald's All-American, Siva is very small for a NBA point guard at 5-11, but is an exceptional athlete to compensate. He's one of the fastest end to end players in college basketball, and shows a tremendous ability to change gears and just explode past defenders. A real crowd pleaser, he regularly finishes plays above the rim, sometimes in traffic even with a thunderous dunk.
As Louisville's best (possibly only) ball-handler and most prolific shot-creator, Siva was given a good amount of freedom in Rick Pitino's offense. He garnered almost 70% of his possessions in transition, isolation and pick and roll situations, showing the ability to drive left or right with strong ball-handling skills and terrific quickness. He gets to free throw line at a decent rate and finishes well inside the arc, converting 54% of his 2-point attempts, tops among point guards in our top-100 rankings.
Small and elusive, Siva penetrates the seams of the defense and gets into the paint at a terrific rate, but has problems finishing over bigger, longer players in trafficsomething that will become more of an issue in the NBA. He needs to compensate for his lack of size by getting stronger, improving his floater, doing a better job of drawing fouls, and not double clutching around the rim unnecessarily like he tends to do at times. In addition, he doesn't possess much of an in-between game at the moment, as he almost never pulls up in the mid-range area for an off the dribble jumper, with virtually all his attempts either coming directly at the rim or from beyond the arc.
Siva also has significant work to do on his long-range shooting, converting on just 27% of his 3-pointers last season. That didn't stop him from showing a very quick trigger from beyond the arc, taking almost three attempts per game. Siva shows nice form but really struggles to make shots with his feet set, hitting just 12 of the 50 open catch and shoot jumpers he took last year, or 24%. Considering his size, this is something he must improve on.
On a Louisville team that was loaded with shooters, Siva was the one responsible for breaking down the defense and getting his teammates open jumpers with their feet set. He's an unselfish player who does a very good job of keeping his head up and finding the open man, ranking him 2nd in assists per-minute amongst all players in our top-100 behind only Kendall Marshall
Still a work in progress in terms of his decision making, Siva is very turnover prone at this stage, coughing the ball up on 27% of possessions, one of the worst rates
amongst our top 100 prospects. He tends to get out of control from time to time, looking very loose with the ball, trying to force his way through double teams, making risky passes and driving into brick walls. It will be interesting to see how he looks with another year of experience, as he was not very consistent at all with his playmaking last season, at times looking terrific and in others really struggling.
Defensively, Siva is similarly inconsistent. On one hand, he ranks as one of the best ball-thieves in all of college basketball, averaging 2.7 assists per-40 minutes pace adjusted, top amongst our top-100 prospects by a wide margin.
On the other hand, his lack of size, length and strength make it very difficult for him to offer a consistent presence in half-court man to man settings, as his fundamentals are just average and he gets pushed around quite a bit by bigger and stronger players.
Siva's lateral quickness and intensity level are both very good, but the fact that he's under six feet could really be a sticking point for NBA decision makers. He'll have to show better toughness and awareness in man to man settings this season to convince them otherwise, as too often last year it appeared that Siva was caught swiping at the ball while his opponent simply blew by him.
Louisville's penchant for playing a matchup zone might have something to do with this, but Siva faces an uphill battle to not emerge as a potential liability in the NBA, and anything he can do to improve his projection will go a long way.
Looking forward, Siva's jet quickness and distributing skills will surely garner him plenty of looks from NBA scouts as early as next season, especially if he can find a way to build off last year's campaign with a deep NCAA tournament run.