By the time that Florida State made its way to the ACC Tournament Championships for a marquee matchup against Duke, senior point guard Toney Douglas
had become a household name. Before falling to the Blue Devils, Douglas proved that he could score against some of the most versatile defenders in the country, and in the process elevated his name into the NBA Draft conversation. He is currently enjoying his most efficient season ever, posting career highs in a number of statistical categories. There is certainly a lot to like about a player like Douglas, but an in-depth analysis reveals quite a few flaws that complicate his chances to succeed at the next level.
At 6-2 and 205 pounds, with a good frame and a long wingspan, Douglas certainly looks the part of an NBA point guard. He has nice quickness as well, to the point where he can both beat most collegiate defenders off of the dribble and stay in front of some of the conference's deadliest scoring guards. Though he doesn't have elite leaping ability or explosiveness, Douglas is a good athlete with the physical tools to be competitive at the next level.
On the offensive end, Douglas's best weapon is his perimeter jump-shot, which he hits at a 38.4% clip on 6.4 attempts per game. His form is very solid, with a lightning quick release and a consistent release point. As he moves inside of the arc, he has improved gradually throughout his career, developing a mid-range game that includes an array of pull-up jump shots and floaters. His outstanding ball handling skills help him in this area, but so too does his quickness. This also allows him to be an effective slasher at the collegiate level, showing the quickness to get to the rim and, consequently, to the foul line, where he shoots a very good 81% on 6.6 attempts per game. His lack of explosiveness might stunt his ability to finish at the next level, and already hurts his percentages inside the arc in the NCAA.
The real question on scouts' minds, however, is whether or not Douglas is a point guard. After watching tape, however, it is immediately clear that Douglas is most comfortable looking for his own offense. He is the prototypical collegiate combo-guard, oftentimes playing off of the ball at shooting guard next to fellow guards Derwin Kitchen and Luke Loucks. That said, Douglas is by far Florida State's best handler and distributor. He turns the ball over just 2.4 times per game, despite getting 26.1% of his team's possessions. When he is not looking for his own offense, he shows decent court vision and is capable of finding his teammates. He doesn't run the pick and roll particularly often, which probably has something to do with the fact that Florida State's big men are extremely raw. When he does run the pick and roll, however, he looks for his offense first and foremost, only passing the ball off to one of his big men if he cannot find the daylight to get his shot off. Considering his career at Florida State and Auburn, it is not likely that Douglas will ever show a pure point guard's mentality, though anybody interested in him at the next level will surely know this already.
On the defensive end of the floor, Douglas has a stellar reputation around the NCAAbeing named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last week. He displays very good lateral quickness, which combined with his strength and wingspan, should make his transition to the next level easier. He has an aggressive mentality on the defensive end, constantly pressuring the ball, and proving to be one of the most relentless defenders in college basketball. This aggressive style of play also results in him getting beaten off of the dribble, though in fairness, it is very effective in Florida State's team defensive scheme considering the shot-blockers he has playing behind him.
Too small to be a shooting guard, and lacking the mentality to thrive at the next level as a point guard, Douglas's future at the next level may be limited. Though he is a good scorer and defender, there are quite a few players in a similar mold currently plying their trade on the other side of the ocean. Powering Florida State to a run in the NCAA tournament would certainly help his stock, as would proving to scouts that he has the ability to run the point guard position as a distributor. Thus, the odds may be stacked against Douglas, although he does have the NCAA tournament, Portsmouth, and private workouts left to prove his case to NBA personnel that there is a niche for him in the NBA. With the newly established NBA combine in Chicago rumored to only be inviting 50 draft prospects to participate in the proceedings, a tournament like Portsmouth becomes all the more important for a player like Douglas, as well as his fellow seniors. If he is unable to carve out a niche in the NBA, a long and successful career overseas surely awaits him.