NBA Draft prospect Terrance Ferguson has ways to go to be a viable starter, but his upside is undeniable.
When evaluating Ferguson, you’re not reading into the production. The 19-year-old two guard took the Brandon Jennings type of unconventional route. He didn’t fuss around with the college thing but instead played professionally for the Adelaide 36ers in Australia. The results were not exactly eye-popping, but quality organizations might not read too much into that.
Ferguson averaged 4.6 points and 1.2 rebounds this year, per DraftExpress. With that said, he only played 15.1 minutes per game overseas. It’s clear that he’s not 100 percent pro-ready, but teams with the arrow pointing up shouldn’t read much into those numbers. This guy could be brought along as a quality bench contributor as early as next season, or develop more in the D-league.
What stands out is the measurables. Ferguson is a 6-7 shooting guard and had a 6-8.75 wingspan at the NBA Draft Combine (per DraftExpress). That length projects very well on the perimeter in the Association. Nowadays, it is in fact, a wing’s league.
Ferguson’s freakish athleticism is hard to overlook, and he is a high-flying dunker and natural finisher in the open court. As Mike Schmitz displays in this video, he has plenty of potential creating off the bounce with his explosion and has skills at the rim you can’t teach. A max vertical of 38 inches will allow him to elevate for lobs at the next level and he finds a way to get rebounds on both ends with his athleticism.
His jumper is especially appealing for the NBA. He has excellent shooting mechanics on the catch-and-shoot, as Schmitz showed in his scouting clips. The hop he uses allows him to get into a rhythm right off the catch, creating a consistent trajectory. With his height at the guard position, he should be able to shoot over many potential defenders with that sort of release.
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With more time to develop and with NBA coaching, his jumper will only improve. His shot selection and passing must be better, but all the tools are there for Ferguson to be a very productive two guard in the Association.
Now to the defensive end. Here is where Ferguson is close to NBA-ready — he can get after both guard positions with his length and lanky build. As Schmitz demonstrated, he has fluid movement both on and off-ball that enables him to stay in excellent position. He can pick up ball handlers the full 94 feet with his speed and long strides, and he works hard to get through screens from bigs.
Additionally, Ferguson’s length on closeouts makes it difficult for shooters to get a clean release, which often negates the pull-up and spot-up game off screens. Adding to that, his speed allows him to recover well to get out to shooters coming off of pin-downs.
He’s going to get a number of rebounds and loose balls simply with hustle, and although he’s slender, he is tougher than he looks inside the paint. Overall, he could become a solid two-way starter at the next level in about three years. But, because Ferguson elected to overseas, his landing spot for the draft is up in the air.
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Many mocks have him between the 17-25 range, given the relative uncertainty of his offensive game. Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report believes the Milwaukee Bucks would be a good landing spot, considering their need for three-point shooting and a more long-term shooting guard option. Ferguson could eventually be a quality replacement for Tony Snell in the years to come with his athleticism and spot-up ability from three.
Ferguson still needs to gain muscle mass to play consistently in the NBA, but Daniels brings up a good point. Adding the high-flying skill set of this guy to a roster with Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thon Maker, the Bucks would have a heck of a highlight reel. Milwaukee would be close to an ideal spot for Ferguson’s development, considering their young nucleus. He could be a capable three-and-D player early on, but his two-way potential is close to All-Star level. According to Pete Toal of 16 Wins A Ring, Ferguson could be quite a diamond in the rough:
Freaky Athletic w/ good outside stroke but needs experience & consistency & improve shot selection Highest upside of SG
— Pete Toal (@PeteToalNBA) May 4, 2017
Have fun watching this guy’s transition dunks on SportsCenter next season, at the very least.
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