They Smell Like the Future: Greivis Vasquez

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 19, 2010 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

Photo by Rob Carr/AP Photo.

Maryland Senior
6′6.5”, 211 lbs (Combine measurements)
23 years old
Point guard/shooting guard
Projection: Varies; late first rounder to late second rounder

Greivis Vasquez could either be way out of the Mavs’ draft range (Draft Express’ most recent mock draft has him going in the late first round) or right up their alley (he’s not far removed from being slated as the 50th pick in a previous DE mock), but either way Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban should do their homework. Vasquez looks like a legit NBA prospect, even if he doesn’t have the makings of a star.

Vasquez is a bit similar to Jon Scheyer in that he’s got off-guard size and point guard skills, a combination which should boost his effectiveness in the pros even more than it did at Maryland. Even if he’s never asked to run an offense, Vasquez’s ability to create from the 2 could be an excellent crutch for teams with scoring point guards (think San Antonio, OKC, and yes, perhaps even a future Dallas team with Rodrigue Beaubois running the show), or simply a nice luxury for squads with more conventional PGs.

That said, Vasquez and Scheyer are very different players. Greivis shares Jon’s designation as one of the less athletic two-guard prospects around, and they both will have to become better defenders before being given a significant role at the next level. That’s not an easy task; neither Scheyer nor Vasquz is maximizing their athletic abilities defensively, but there’s still only so much they can do. They can only recover off of a pick so quickly or jump so high to contest the pull-up, and those are things that make or break players in the NBA. Obviously not everyone in the pros is an elite defender, but with Vasquez as an interesting but not undeniable offensive talent, his defensive lapses seriously hurt his chances of becoming an NBA mainstay.

Plus, while Vasquez seems to be a better playmaker than Scheyer, he’s a much less efficient offensive player overall. Scheyer’s 2009-2010 field goal percentage was sandbagged by the number of three-pointers he took (7.2 three-point attempts per game out of 13.3 total attempts), but Vasquez’s lower shooting mark seems to be more of a product of poor shot selection. He’s a good shooter but not an elite one in this draft class, even when given open space.

Still, I can’t shake the feeling that Vasquez is going to hit some big shots during his NBA career. Mostly because he isn’t afraid to take them, and that confidence is an important trait for an NBA role player. Greivis’ faith in his own abilities may be the very thing that inspires him to shoot a long two-pointer with a hand in his face, but with a player of Vasquez’s talent, you take the bad with the good.

The total package is an enticing one. Vasquez is the type of player that will endear himself quickly to his team’s fan base; his skills are impressive, his energy contagious, and his passion evident. There’s no denying that the guy loves to play the game and loves to win, and those are the types things that will make him a fan favorite early in his career. Yet if a team gives Vasquez too much responsibility, he’ll likely show what scouts clearly know: although a top-notch college performer, Greivis just isn’t going to be an NBA star. That said, he deserves to make a roster, and he will. Vasquez seems set for a lengthy NBA career, and that projection would make him a steal for Dallas at 50. It’s going to take quite a bit of slipping to get there, but if the Mavs luck out, Vasquez won’t disappoint.

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40 Minute Stats:

PTSREBASTTOSTLFG%3FG%
Per Game19.64.66.34.61.7.429.359
Per 4023.15.57.44.02.0----

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
54.849.63.818.435.231.330.5

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
2.81.010.2

Other People:

Matt Kamalsky, Draft Express: “Greivis Vasquez is one of the more unique players in this sample because of his skill set and role at Maryland last season. The Venezuela native got a lot of his possessions working off the ball, with 14.2% of his touches coming from off screen action. His aggressive scoring mentality is clear in the fact that more than half of his catch and shoot jumpers came with a hand in his face; a shot that Vasquez makes as efficiently as any player on this list. At 21.4 possessions per-game, he is also the third highest usage player in these rankings.”

Eamonn Brennan, ESPN.com: “Vasquez was a lot of things in his college career — a Duke antagonist, a poised leader, a fiery trash-talker — but most of all he was just really good. Few players are as capable on the secondary break as Vasquez. He did a little of everything in his senior season; it wasn’t uncommon to see Greivis grab a rebound on the defensive end, push the ball up the floor, find an open shooter, get an offensive rebound and calmly direct Maryland’s offense from the top of the key. He’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but admit it: If he was on your team, you’d love him forever.”

Fran Fraschilla, ESPN.com: “After Wall, the point guard position is shallow with talent in this draft. Vasquez is on my list because I believe that past performance is indicative of future success and he played well in all four seasons in a top conference. The ACC Player of the Year has some deficiencies athletically and could shoot the ball better, but he is a winner who, even as a second-round pick, should make a roster.”

Supplementary Materials:

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.