NBA Position: PG
General Information: 19 year old born in the Congo. Originally committed to play at Southern Methodist University, but played for the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association.
Measurables: 6'5", 200 lbs, 6'8.5″ wingspan, 8'4″ standing reach (was not measured at the combine. Last measured at the April 2014 Hoops Summit.)
2013-14 Season Statistics: 12 games played, 18 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.5 SPG, .1 BPG, 3.2 TOPG (31.5 minutes per contest) - 47.8% FG, 57.4% FT, 34.2% 3P, 52.8% TS%. Game log available here.
Summary: A rare athlete with size, explosiveness and power, Mudiay combines great scoring instincts with a pass-first attitude. His shooting is inconsistent, and while he is an above-average passer, his decision making is still a work in progress. He didn't take the most tread path to the NBA (playing overseas in China), and his season was limited by an ankle injury. Has the potential to become an ideal new-age point guard in the basic mold of John Wall/Derrick Rose.
Offensive Breakdown: While Mudiay does look to score when he gets a driving lane to the basket, he's a more willing passer than some slashing guards; he's just as confident in his ability to find an open teammate as he is in his ability to score at the rim. He finished with a 31.8% assist rate, which isn't stellar but puts him in the realm of Elfrid Payton (32.9% his final collegiate year), Phoenix's Tyler Ennis (32.3%) and fellow draftee Delon Wright (33%).
Too often Mudiay gets himself into the paint and trusts he can pass out, which leads to trouble. He's such a confident passer he too often goes for the star plays rather than the simple correct passes. Teams learned he isn't great when pressured, and he's on the edge of the "turnover prone" label. The 16% turnover rate and 1.82 assist-to-turnover ratio is comparable to draftmate D'Angelo Russell (14.8%, 1.71), and below Delon Wright (14.2%, 2.6), Jerian Grant (13.4%, 3.04) and Cameron Payne (12.4%, 2.4). At this point, Mudiay's best skill is his ability to be a total threat as both as a passer and as a scorer in the open court, but his decision making will need big improvement.
Mudiay is excellent in the pick-and-roll despite his inconsistent shooting. He was able to beat guards that tried to stick to him, could breeze by any bigs on the switch, and has all the passing tools to take advantage of his rolling teammates. A Mudiay/DeMarcus Cousins pick-and-roll could be a dynamic weapon in the half-court.
The biggest worry about Mudiay's offense is his shooting—his mechanics are inconsistent, his mid-range game is average, and he only hit 34% from three in his 12 games. Mudiay has plenty of time to develop this inconsistency into a strength, and we're not talking about mechanics on the level of Elfrid Payton/Tyreke Evans. If he does develop consistent range, Mudiay could end up the classes best player—he'd become even more of a monster in the pick-and-roll, and his slashing ability would be deadly if opponents had to respect his outside shot. Still, the shooting is a risk to consider (especially the 57.4% free throw success) when balancing who Mudiay is against his ‘potential' self.
Defensive Breakdown: Mudiay lacked consistent defensive focus, but he also showcased the tools and basic skills to be an excellent defender. His instincts are solid, and when he does misstep he was able to use his quickness to get back in front of his man. His size and strength will allow him to defend both guard spots. The lack of intensity is worrying, but is an omnipresent complaint with this draft class.
He is also a determined rebounder, and consistently utilized his size, length and strength to outmuscle bigger players for rebounds. His rebounding rate of 12.9% (17% defensive rebounding rate) is tops among the guards likely drafted in the first round, and for the whole class he's behind only Notre Dame's Pat Connaughton (13%) and VCU's Treveon Graham (13.8%).
Intangibles: Mudiay doesn't have the speed of John Wall/Mike Conley, nor the explosiveness of Russell Westbrook, but he has more of both physical tools than most NBA guards. Add in his height, a near 6'9 wingspan, and upper body strength, and it's hard not to get excited about his potential.
His original commit to Larry Brown and SMU ended in July 2014 when he decided to play professionally in China, saying he wanted to help his mother financially. In March he said that he felt the China was a greater challenge for him thanks to the NBA veterans he played against, including Stephon Marbury, Al Harrington, and teammate Will Bynum. While Mudiay served as a great litmus test for the CBA, it was a shame he didn't play in college, or at least in the NBA DLeague—he would have gotten much more attention from the casual fan.
While Mudiay might be harder for armchair scouts to decode, he's not a mystery to NBA teams. GMs and scouts might not have the same tape of Mudiay as they do for the collegiate players, but they won't be drafting him blind. Chad Ford mentioned teams weren't happy about him skipping the NBA Draft Combine, but he'll likely meet with many of the top teams soon. It'll be key to see how many teams he agrees to meet with, and if Sacramento at No. 6 is outside his range.
Fit with Sacramento: Mudiay is the possibility the Kings fanbase isn't talking about enough. Willie Cauley-Stein and Krisptas Porzingis have been debated, D'Angelo Russell is a well-discussed distant possibility, and Jahlil Oakfor... well, that's a massive can-o-worms we can cover later. But Mudiay? He comes with familiar weaknesses (inconsistent shooter, needs to improve his decision making), the team has a bigger positional need at PF, and incumbent Darren Collison is the arguably the team's third best player. If Mudiay is left at No. 6, should the Kings consider it?
If you need a reason to get excited about Mudiay, consider the possibilities he'd present in Sacramento's new fast paced system. In a February 27th Podcast from Cowbell Kingdom, James Ham talked to new Kings assistant Coach Vance Walberg about his dribble drive motion offense. Ham asked Walberg about Kentucky's John Calipari, who runs a similar style and always manages to recruit PGs who thrive in the system, such as Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall. Ham asked Walberg if a team needed an "elite point guard" like these to run the system—
"No, you don't. Does it help? Heck yeah. When a player starts figuring it (the style) our, it takes an average player and makes him a pretty good player, a pretty good player into a real good player, and a real good player into a great player. When you get someone like a John Wall or Derrick Rose? Then it's unbelievable what it can do."
"The dribble drive system is based on three things - one, the attack mentality; two, opening up gaps so you can attack, and three; once you start the attack, you have to have the proper spacing so if someone moves to help defend, you have an easy shot. For players who don't have the attack mentality, it takes a year or more."
This potential fit in the offensive system is a massive positive for Mudiay, and he has the attack mentality Walberg says the system is dependent on. Mudiay also has the speed and explosiveness to take advantage of gaps in the defense that other points can't, and he has the passing instincts and court awareness needed to find the open man. If the Kings can develop the spacing necessary (no sure thing, given this teams' inabilities with spacing over the past few years), George Karl could turn Mudiay into a—quoting Walberg here—‘unbelievable' weapon. He's not the easiest player to fit on the roster, but given his talent level, physical gifts and potential, Mudiay could make a dynamic long-term fit for the dribble drive.
Here are two full-games and two must-see DraftExpress video—
- November 14th, in which he had 22 points (10-15 shooting), five rebounds and five assists
- March 3rd, where he had 15 points and eight assists in 44 minutes of a 107-105 OT loss.