One NBA scout believes Mario Chalmers is one of the top five point
guards in the draft and will be selected anywhere from No. 20 to 27 in
the first round.
Chalmers’ stock has improved since his three-pointer versus
Memphis pushed KU into overtime and to its third NCAA championship.
“That definitely helped,” the scout said.
“He’s a guy who’s not afraid to take the
big shot. I think he’s done pretty well in workouts, which
has helped his stock. Then you get a guy like Ty Lawson (of North
Carolina) who drops out of the draft and Darren Collison (of UCLA) who
goes back to school. There’s not a whole lot of great point
guards, other than the top couple of guys in the draft. You look on the
list, and Mario is kind of next.”
The big question surrounding the 6-1 Chalmers is whether he can play
point guard in the NBA Chalmers started his college career at point
guard, but struggled and was moved to the two guard, where he blossomed
into a standout performer.
“He played it (point guard) his entire high school career so
it’s not like he’s going to move over to a position
that’s completely new to him,” the scout said.
“The biggest thing is you can tell a guy’s
basketball IQ will determine if (he) can make a switch from college to
the NBA. He’s a smart kid and he knows the game.
“(With) Mario, they ran some pick and roll at Kansas, which
is primarily what a point guard position — that’s
the bread and butter— if you can make a play on a pick and
roll, you’re going to have some success at our level, and he
did that at Kansas. He wasn’t your traditional bring the ball
up the floor kind of guard, but I think he’ll be fine making
that transition. It’s going to take him a little time, but I
don’t have concerns down the road for him.”
Of course, there will be a learning period for Chalmers and the other
rookie point guards entering the League.
“Even a true point guard like D.J. Augustin (of Texas),
there’s an adjustment to playing in the NBA because you got a
shorter shot clock (than college) so there’s more pressure on
you to make something happen,” the scout said.
The scout said Chalmers doesn’t yet have the ability to
create his own shot in the NBA.
“He needs a screen to help him get stuff, but other than the
really elite players in our league, most guys need a screen,”
he said. “Guys are so athletic anymore that it’s
hard to completely get by a guy and get a high percentage shot. The
elite players can do that, but a guy like Mario, who’s going
to be kind of a role player, he’s going to need some help.
“It’s going to be hard for him at our level to do
it at his size. It’s not like he has great quickness either
and he’s not ultra crafty with the ball. It will be hard to
give him the ball and say, ‘Go create a good shot.’
I don’t know if he’s that type of player.”
Still, the scout predicts a very productive NBA career for the
“He’s definitely a rotation player,” the
scout said. “If you put him with really good players around
him and all he has to do is kind of make open shots and defend his
position, then I think he can have a long, successful career.
He’s got to have some pretty good players around him because
if he’s your number one or number two man, I don’t
think that’s him.”
Can he be a starting point guard?
“Not immediately,” said the scout, “but I
think in time he could be. Yes.”
Draftexpress.com said that Chalmers’ best case comparison
would be to Jarrett Jack of the Portland Trail Blazers. Jack is the
Blazers’ starting point guard who has averaged 9.5 points and
4.0 assists in his three-year career. However, the scout
doesn’t think that’s a good comparison.
“(Mario is) much smaller than Jarrett (6-3, 197
pounds),” he said. “He’s a better shooter
than Jarrett coming out (of college). Jarrett is probably a little
better at attacking the paint. Jarrett uses his size well. Mario is a
better off the ball defender, but I think they’re comparable
on the ball. Jarrett’s advantage is he has size and strength
at his position. Jarrett will kind of bowl his way to the paint, which
Mario doesn’t have the body or size to do that.”
The scout, instead, likens Chalmers to another solid point guard in the
“I think he can do some of the same things that Daniel Gibson
does for Cleveland. That’s who I would probably compare him
to,” the scout said of the former Texas star who averaged
10.4 points per game and shot 44 percent from three-point range last
season, his second year in the NBA.
Overall, the scout likes what he sees from Chalmers. He’s
been scouting him since observing Chalmers in practices the week before
the McDonald’s All-Star game during Super Mario’s
senior year of high school.
“He knows how to play and he can shoot the ball and make
shots,” the scout said. “He’s pretty
athletic for his size and a good defender. He’s rock