At SDSU, Franklin had to carry the load. In the NBA, he will likely slide into a niche to begin his career and have the opportunity to grow into an even more reliable player. Franklin’s defense, intensity and energy will be welcomed at the next level.
Franklin admittedly took some bad shots this season, which lowered his percentages. But they were shots the coaching staff was willing to live with.
“The reason my percentage was so low is because I took difficult shots, badly selected shots,” said Franklin. “It wasn’t that I couldn’t shoot. It’s that I took poor shots. I was relied on to score 20-25 points a game. A lot of guys here didn’t have to score 25 points for their team to win the game. They could score five points a game and their team could win. If I scored five points at San Diego State we would lose by 20.”
In college, Franklin had the ball in his hands a lot, but at the NBA level Franklin will have to figure out how to score without the ball. It would serve him well to become a better perimeter shooter, especially in catch-and-shoot situations.
Franklin could go as high as the high teens, where Atlanta has consecutive picks and will be doing some serious roster makeover this offseason. Cleveland (19) and Utah (21) both need wing help as well. Chicago (20), Brooklyn (22) and Indiana (23) could translate to a season shuttling back and forth to the D-League.
“I envision just having a long-term career just like my father did,” said Hardaway. “Not being the focal point but being a piece of a team, a great team that wins a lot. Just a guy that can fill in and do whatever his team needs to win.”
Hardaway Jr. has the size and shooting stroke of an NBA shooting guard and should be able to make an impact as a scorer from the moment he steps on the floor.
“I feel like I can definitely make an impact shooting-wise, knocking down a lot of wide open shots,” Hardaway said.
“Just growing up as a kid I was always a shooter,” he continued. “I never really used to put the ball on the floor. I used to come off down screens. Guys would help me get open so I could knock shots down. I’ve just been shooting the ball since I was a little kid and this past summer I worked out with a guy named Rob Folder who really helped me out with my balance and the rotation on my shot.”
“I think I can get rebounds and push it out in transition and be a decision-maker just like a point guard can,” said Hardaway. “I think that’s a nice asset because a lot of pressure is always on the point guard to push it, so I feel like if I grab the rebound and the point guard runs out it can give him an opportunity to score as well.”
There are questions about Hardaway’s defensive abilities, but the potential is there to work with and he has proven to be a willing and coachable player.
Hardaway currently projects as an early second-round pick. However, there are teams at the end of the first round who are looking for backcourt size and depth such as Minnesota (26), Oklahoma City (28) and San Antonio (29). It is very possible that the Thunder could use the 28th pick on a Eurostash player and grab Hardaway at No. 32, in between a pair of picks belonging to Cleveland.
Jeremy Bauman is an aspiring shooting coach and scout who writes columns and blogs for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.