Overview: A scoring combo guard who has yet to live up to the expectations that came with being drafted 7th overall and traded for Brandon Roy. Spends a lot of minutes at the point and acts as a shoot-first facilitator of Minnesotas offense. Has good size and strength for the point guard position, and is probably more aptly described as smooth than overly athletic. Excellent shooter from standstill positions or off the dribble. Relies very heavily on his jump-shot and thus has never been known as a particularly efficient offensive option. Has a big heart and likes to take responsibilities in the clutch. Came from a tough upbringing and has a swagger to his game similar to many NYC-area guards. Still trying to find his niche in the league. Must improve his defense, playmaking skills and ability to get the basket. Clearly not a great fit in the backcourt next to Rashad McCants, as both are much more comfortable as jump-shooters than they are as slashers. Can be very effective in the right system, but needs to find the right coach and teammates.
Offense: Primarily a jump-shooter, especially after coming back from a knee problem that sidelined him for over half of his sophomore campaign. Relies heavily on the pick and roll as a huge source of offensive production. Shifty player with strong hesitation moves. Capable of punishing players that go underneath the screen, and does a solid job finding the open man passing off the dribble. Doesnt get to the basket at a good enough clip, does a poor job finishing once there and draws fouls at a fairly poor rate. More likely to pull up from mid-range than he is to go all the way to the basket. Ball-handling skills are good with his right hand, but defenders like to force him to his left, where he is noticeably slower and less effective. Not super explosive off the dribble, struggles to turn the corner at times and is not an incredible leaper finishing around the rim. Doesnt take the ball strong enough. Like many young players still adapting to the length and athleticism of NBA big men, needs to do a better job seeking out contact and not getting cute with his finishes. Can play off the ball, but is more effective with it. Teams half-court offense tends to lack some fluidity with him at the helm at times. Not a selfish player and is capable of finding the open man, but has a tendency to over-dribble at times.
Defense: An average defender at best, despite his superior size and strength at the point guard position. Not particularly intense or fundamentally sound. Has a laid back demeanor that serves him well offensively, but makes him look lackadaisical on the other end. Lateral quickness appears to be average when attempting to stay in front of very athletic slashing guards, uses his hands too much and often gets caught flat-footed on the perimeter. Struggles in particular on the pick and roll, showing just awareness and not being physical enough trying to fight through screens. Gets posted up when attempting to defend shooting guards in a small backcourt, and often lets players have his way with him down there. Like everyone on his team, needs to make significant improvements on this end of the floor, but definitely has the tools to do so if he puts his mind to it.