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2014 Draft: Prospects Give NBA Comparison

Basketball Insiders asked a number of 2014 NBA Draft prospects who they compare themselves to. See their answers.

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One of the most common questions that draft prospects get asked is, “Who is your NBA comparison?” Executives, media and fans all ask this question, in an effort to find out more about a player’s game as well as what kind of role the individual envisions for himself at the pro level.

Some prospects compare themselves to superstars, while others compare themselves to energy players. Some rattle off the players who they have studied and modeled their game after. A player’s NBA comparison can tell you a lot about them, and here is what some of this year’s prospects had to say when posed the question.

Dante Exum: “I can’t look at one player and say that’s who I play like, but I can see different traits that players have that I see. I look at Russell Westbook as that explosive point guard that can get to the rim, and also Manu Ginoboli when he gets into the paint and the way he can finish. It’s just looking at different players and what they can do, and how that can help my game.”

Julius Randle: “It’s an honor [to be compared to Zach Randolph]. Zach is a great, great player so to be compared to somebody like that, somebody with so much skill and somebody who has had such a great career in the NBA, it’s definitely an honor.”

Doug McDermott: “There are not a whole lot of comparisons for me, I’m kind of different. I like to watch a lot of [Kyle] Korver. Wally Szczerbiak has been a good one; he was a little stronger so I need to get a little bigger. I like to watch those guys. It might sound crazy but I watch a lot of Paul Pierce, I like his footwork. He is not the quickest guy in the world, but he really knows how to use his body and knows how to use angles to score.”

Tyler Ennis: “I’d say Tony Parker [since I’m] able to the score the ball, he would score a little more than I would, but being able to score, being able to control the team and being able to find open guys when the time is right. Growing up, I would always watch Jason Kidd and that’s somebody I kind of model my game after. Being able to score the ball, but also make plays for others and just be a leader on the floor.”

James Young: “I would say Tracy McGrady when he was in the league, that’s who I compare my game too and that’s why I wear No. 1 right now. I definitely compare my game to Tracy McGrady.”

Rodney Hood: “A lot of people compare me to Jalen Rose, but that’s probably because there aren’t a lot of left-handed players out there. I try to take from a lot of guys’ game, like a Kevin Durant or James Harden or Manu Ginobili, guys like that. But we’ll see, I’m trying to be my own player.”

Shabazz Napier: “I take a lot of notes on a lot of guys. I see what Chris Paul does and how he distributes the ball and how he gets everyone involved. Tony Parker and how he takes control of the game. Steve Nash in his prime when he had two MVPs back to back, his footwork. There are a lot of things that I try to implement in my game. I don’t want to just look at one person and grab a hold of that.”

Zach LaVine: “The people I model my game after are a little bit of Russell Westbrook with his athleticism, Stephen Curry with his dribbling ability and shot off the dribble, and one of my good friends Jamal Crawford, who is 6’5 and lanky, but can get his shot off against anyone and is quick. If I have those three players in my game, I feel like I’ll have a really good career in the NBA. If I just work hard, that’s a good mix to me!”

C.J. Wilcox: “I’ve been compared to Richard ‘Rip’ Hamilton and Ray Allen, just a lot shooters who come off of screens, have a quick release and are able to knock down shots.”

Jarnell Stokes: “I love watching David West, Carlos Boozer and old tapes of Karl Malone. I choose to impose my will inside because that’s my advantage. I don’t want to become a jump shooter unless I have to. I think my biggest strengths are my first step, my ability to shoot floaters and my high basketball IQ.”

Melvin Ejim: “There are a few players who I would say I, realistically, compare myself to because of some of the things that they bring to the table: players like Jimmy Butler, DeMarre Carroll and Shane Battier. These are guys that bring leadership. Battier played the four in college and played the three [in the NBA]. He’s been able to be effective and a contributor on every team – great defender and knock-down shooter. Carroll with Atlanta, he helps them a lot. He’s a little bit smaller of a guy, but he’s able to be effective on the perimeter. Butler brings that edge, that characteristic, those intangibles to Chicago. These guys do things that help these teams win. I think I bring a lot of these intangibles and versatility, and ultimately I think those are spots that I could get myself into when I’m playing in the NBA. I think those are valuable pieces – great team guys, great leaders and great vocal guys that help you win. At this level, everyone wants to win and everyone wants those guys who will buy into their situation. That’s what I’m here for and that’s what I’m trying to do. I know a lot of coaches are looking for that as well.”

Joe Harris: “If I were to draw any comparisons or relate to someone specifically I would probably say that the closest comparison would be someone like Klay Thompson from Golden State, a guy that has good size for his position, can knock down shots at a high clip and he’s a great defender. That’s someone who I try to model my game after.”

DeAndre Kane: “I just go out there and try to be myself. I’m DeAndre Kane and that’s who I’ve been trying to be my whole life. There are players who I look at and watch and study tape on to take different pieces from each persons’ game to add to my game, but when I step on the court I just try to be myself. [With that] said, I’ve been watching Chauncey Billups since he’s a bigger point guard who can get into the teeth of the defense and make plays for others. I’ve been watching Andre Miller, the way he’s able to post up smaller guards. I’ve been watching Chris Paul, the way he leads. I watch different kinds of point guards and try to put some of those things into my game, but I just want to be myself.”

LaQuinton Ross: “I like Carmelo [Anthony]’s game. I also like Wilson Chandler. And back in the day Mike Miller, when he first got in the league, he was an athletic guy who was really able to shoot it from outside.”

Jordan McRae: “I don’t think I’ve modeled my game after anybody, but I’ve heard a lot of [people compare me to] Alec Burks, who plays for Utah. Yeah, I’ve heard that one a lot.”

Alex Kirk: “There are a couple of people who I’ve modeled my game after. This year, I obviously didn’t get to watch him, but I love watching Brook Lopez. I think he’s honestly comparable. Yeah, he may be a little bit taller and a little bit heavier, but I think I set good screens, I get open, I play good defense and I think we both shoot the ball from midrange very well.”

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Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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