Last week I was ecstatic when I read Chad Ford's Mock Draft that projected the Bulls would take Toney Douglas with the 26th pick in the 2009 draft. Now I know mocks this early in the process are rarely accurate, but since I've watched Douglas play almost every game of his Florida State career, I wanted to provide a little write up about why I think this would be a brilliant pick by the Bulls, if (BIG if) they keep the 26th pick.
Florida State's Toney Douglas just came off of leading the Noles to the NCAA tourney for the first time in 11 yrs. Born in Tampa and raised in Jonesboro, GA he's a natural leader from a close-nit family of athletes (his brother plays WR for the Falcons). A senior, he graduated with a degree in business and has nearly completed his Masters in sports management.
Toney's a decent sized PG who's official predraft camp measurements came in at 6'2" with a 6'6" wingspan and a 8' 1.5" standing reach. He's very strong and quick. People who aren't familiar with the Noles think he's a shooting guard bc he's a very good shooter, rare for college PGs, and because the Florida State offense completely revolved around him. They had such a young team (started 2 fresh & 1 soph) which meant Toney always ended up with the ball at the end of the shot clock (which unfortunately caused his shooting % to take a little hit- though it was still very good). And they ran an offense similar to motion most of the time which eliminated a lot of assists in Toney's stat column. As they became a better and better defensive team throughout the year, they started scoring more of their points off turnovers- TO's coming from either blocks inside or swipes/pokes from Toney on the perimeter. On the break, Toney was a fantastic decision maker and even though he rarely threw it down over anyone, he consistently racked up the And-1's.
All photos via cache.daylife.com
Douglas was as good as any ACC guard this season. He racked up the awards, including 3rd-team All-American by Sporting News and 1st-team All-ACC. He was a close runner-up to Lawson for the ACC player of the year. On average, Douglas outscored every one of those terrific ACC guards (23 ppg in conference) and he was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Douglas was the conference's leading scorer and the best defender in the ACC and yet he still lost to another PG in Lawson. (Obviously they decided to give it to the best player on the best team, not the best overall player.) After a battle with Duke this season, Coach Mike Krzyzewski had this to say about Toney: "He's as good as there is in college." He then labeled Toney as his favorite non-Duke player and said he would love to have him on his team.
A knock on Douglas is that he's not a great assist man. Truthfully, he's actually a very solid passer, but when you don't have anyone to pass it to on the perimeter, or when you pass it and it goes right around the perimeter and back to you with 4 seconds left, you shoot it. I never thought he was selfish, I actually would often wish him to shoot the ball more, but I have to point out that his 3 APG is low. Their best post player (Alabi- future lottery pick who's relatively new to basketball) was a freshmen this year, and it took a while for him to learn how to post up properly and really seal off his defender. Once he started to excel towards the end of the year, he and Douglas really started connecting on the inside/outside game and off penetration dishes & alley-oops. And in the rare games that another Seminole (Doulkys or Singleton) was hot from beyond the arc, Toney made sure they got the ball in a position to score. (Unfortunately for the Noles, this didn't happen often!) Looking back to his high school & AAU stats, Toney's assists were way up, and he often turned in triple-doubles.
What I love about TD and what makes him my dream pick at #26 for the Bulls is his defense. I watched almost every FSU game this year (thank you atdhe.net) and I've never seen a better, more instinctive college defender. FSU plays man-to-man D about 99% of the time and these guys pride themselves on being in superior shape. Toney rarely came out of the game, yet he never gave up on the defensive end, and never took a possession off. Toney's lateral quickness is unbelievable. His hands are lightening quick. He would consistently steal passes by reaching behind him to break up a pass he couldn't even see while running around picks following his own player (hard to explain, but it's like he has eyes in the back of his head).
And then the leadership qualities are just off the charts. He embraces his natural leadership skills and his teammates LOVED him; They even started to chant "TD TIME!" at the end of Timeouts, coming out of the huddle. (I actually thought that was kind of strange at first, and he said he was embarrassed the first time that happened, but he learned to excel off of the confidence they had in him).
It's difficult to compare him to any current NBA point guard, mostly because his defensive skills are superior to most, his shooting is at the top, but his passing skills haven't really been on display as much so it's hard to provide stats to back up any statements about him being a good distributor. I've seen him compared to Billups and guards from the 80's, but I really think of him as a Ben Gordon (same physical build) with superior ball-handling and defensive skills and a slightly less deadly shot. Now I'm not saying he's going to be another BG; He'd be a role-player who would be able to provide you with bursts of these similar characteristics.
Anyways, with the 26th pick I can't imagine a better pick to back Derrick up at point. What are Derrick's deficiencies?
Defense: Toney was the defensive player of the year in the ACC. He loves to play D, and his defensive abilities & smarts are off the charts. He could even teach VDN a thing or 2.
Consistent Outside Shooting: Toney scored 23 ppg in the ACC, mostly by using screens or creating his own jump shots; He's an excellent 3-pt shooter.
Vocalizing Leadership Skills: With 4 yrs of college behind him, he's got the experience; Plus he's a natural born leader and a talker on both ends, always pointing and putting people in their proper positions.
Big Shots in Big Games: Toney is clutch. This man always took the last shot, and more times than not converted. He turns the ball over just 2.4 times per game, despite getting 26.1% of his team’s possessions and playing nearly every second. (Now I'm not saying he would be in at the end of games... he should be used as needed to back up Rose, and as an emergency backup at SG. But it's nice to know just in case...)
So Toney really excels in the areas that Rose needs to improve. I see it as a perfect fit, a great compliment. Plus he's jacked (see below), shoots FTs at 81%, is a really good guy, a gym rat, and is a natural athlete. He'd fit in well.
No, he's not perfect. He's not 6'5" and doesn't have amazing hops. Some might say bc he's a college graduate he's older and that's a disadvantage, but I think that's a good thing for a late pick and for our young team. He hasn't been known to drive to the hoop in offensive sets (but he is a good finisher & decision maker when running the break so I don't know if this is simply due to their offense or his lack of ability.) But if he was perfect, we wouldn't have a chance of him falling to us, and other than these deficiencies, I can't find many flaws in his game that would dissuade me from taking him at 26.
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