Next up in our series on InsideTheACC is North Carolina point guard Marcus Paige. Paige figures to be one of the most intriguing second round prospects in the entire draft, due to the sharpshooting that he put on display at times throughout his career in Chapel Hill. Where do we foresee him being picked on draft night? Let’s find out.
- Class: Senior
- Age: 22
- Height: 6’2″
- Weight: 165 lbs.
- Wingspan: 6’4″
- 31.6 minutes per game
- 12.6 points per game
- 3.8 assists per game
- 2.5 rebounds per game
- 39.8% shooting overall (35.6% from three)
- 77.4% free throw shooting
When Marcus Paige was hot shooting the basketball at North Carolina, there were very few players in the country who could fill up the points column of the stat sheet like he could. However, when his shot wasn’t falling, he would struggle to find his niche offensively on the Tar Heels.
That paragraph alone is the main reason why he is such an intriguing prospect to profile. Paige overcame a broken right hand (non-shooting) in the off-season to post modest numbers in his senior season with the Tar Heels. In a year in which his team finished as the National Runner-up, Paige scored 12.6 points per game on 39.8% shooting overall, while knocking down 35.6% of his attempts from behind the three-point line.
While the numbers that Paige posted as a shooter throughout his senior year were adequate, his overall shooting percentage and his three-point shooting percentage were his worst numbers since his freshman year in 2012-2013, when he shot 35.6% from the field overall and 34.4% from beyond the arc. While some of his regression in his shooting statistics can likely be attributed to his supporting hand not being fully healthy, there are many detractors in the scouting field who believe that his health may not have been as much of a factor as his general inconsistency as a shooter. The hope is that with a full off-season to rest and rehab his right hand, which was likely at less that 100% during the entirety of his senior campaign, Paige will be able to return to the form of his junior season, when he shot 40% from three-point land.
Paige is a player who doesn’t make many mistakes at the point guard position. While this premise is obviously a major factor into the play of a true 1-guard at the NBA level, it may not end up mattering, as many believe that his game may fit the mold as more of an off-ball guard offensively. The main issue with that idea, however, is that Paige is only 6’2″ and 165 lbs., which clearly pegs him as an undersized shooting guard at the next level. Paige must put on muscle weight in order to be competitive enough to create his own shot offensively, while continuing to have the ability to finish around the rim like he did so often at North Carolina. His quickness has benefited him offensively to get into the paint and produce, but the caliber of player defensively in the paint at the NBA level will not allow him to get by on athleticism and quickness alone; he must get bigger.
On defense, Paige has proven to be a very good on-ball defender. Despite his success collegiately, he is going to struggle at least initially with the size disadvantage between himself and the player that he is guarding. His fundamentals, quickness, and athleticism will be enough for him not to embarrass himself on the perimeter, but vast improvements as a professional will be heavily dependent on increasing his frame.
Paige will be a prospect to keep an eye on in the second round. I believe that he is an NBA-caliber talent due to his offensive upside and what he has done as a scorer in the past, but the size issue and the fact that his play is a hybrid between point guard and shooting guard may lead to him struggling to find his fit. If he is not drafted on Thursday night, it is likely he will be a high priority for many teams as they sign undrafted free agents.
NBA Draft Projection: Late Second Round