With under a month remaining until the NBA Draft, DeAndre Liggins remains a player of numerous perceptions as mock drafts project him anywhere from the late first round to undrafted and everywhere in between. If the former Kentucky player is able to creep into the late first round though, he’ll likely need to have convinced an NBA team that he has potential as an offensive player and that his trademark defense is not the only thing he has to offer. According to a tiny blurb in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Liggins might have made at least a small amount of traction in that area at the Chicago Combine.
In his column that covers just about every sports happening in the city, Terry Pluto says that the Cavs would be wise to draft Liggins with one of their two second round picks because they’re in need of a defensive specialist. You can debate that point if you’d like, but Pluto goes on to make a little note in the following paragraph that I think raises an eyebrow:
2. Yes, they also need scoring from the shooting guard/small forward spots. But those players are rare in this draft. You can debate if Derrick Williams is best at small forward or power forward. But after Williams, there is not a single elite prospect at those wing spots. Liggins averaged only 8.6 points, shooting 42 percent (39 percent on 3-pointers) for a Kentucky team loaded with scorers. His job was to defend the opponent’s top scorer, and he did it well. At the recent NBA Scouting Combine in Chicago, there was a 3-point shooting drill of 25 shots. Making the most were OSU’s Jon Diebler and BYU’s Jimmer Fredette with 19. Liggins made 18.
Yes, the only players who shot better than DeAndre Liggins at the three-point shooting drill in Chicago were Jon Diebler and The freaking Jimmer. One drill does not obviously guarantee a player a spot in the first round and it’s not the only indicator of offensive ability, but if you’re an NBA GM looking at Liggins as a possible role player, the ability to knock down a three-point shot and create space certainly makes him more attractive.