With news that the Pelicans are looking to trade into the NBA Draft coming this weekend to grab a small forward or center plenty of questions have been raised about the plan of the front office. Out of all of them though the most important seems to be which player, or players, have caught the eye of the front office enough to cause them to try to work themselves back into a pick. Instead of trying to guess exactly the player, Pelican Debrief has decided to just break down 18 small forwards and centers leading up to draft day (two reports will be posted daily) so that Pelicans fans will be ready no matter where or when the team trades into the draft and selects a player.
Rodney Hood comes into the draft as one of the better small forwards in this year’s much-anticipated hype. During his one year at Duke, Hood was instrumental in spacing the floor, and providing a scoring punch next to super freshman Jabari Parker for a Duke team that was upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by 14 seed Mercer. Hood will turn 22 shortly before the season begins, making him a bit older of a prospect, though a transfer from Mississippi State lost him a year of playing time leaving room to grow.
Weight: 208 lbs.
Standing Reach: 8’7″
Max Vertical: 36″
Stats: 35 games, 32.9 mpg, 16.1 ppg, 46.4 FG%, 42 3PT%, 80.7 FT% 3.9 rpg, 2.1 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.3 bpg
Draft Projections: Late lottery to mid-first round.
Rodney Hood will bring a team nice spacing whenever he steps on that floor thanks to his ability to knock down jumpers both off the dribble, and in catch-and-shoot situations with range that extends to the three-point line. It is easy to see Hood’s range translating to the NBA three-point line thanks to his fluid shooting motion, that caught the eye of many scouts early in the college season. One of the most important parts of Hood’s shooting motion is his high release point, which will allow him to get his shot off at the next level, something other prospects can struggle with.
Hood compliments his shooting with an ability to earn and knock down free throws at a consistent rate. At Duke, he averaged nearly four free throw attempts per game and knocked down just shy of 81% of them. The ability to generate and knock down free-throws will be big for hood in late game situations as well as in keeping defenses honest as he can attack over aggressive closeouts after knocking down a few threes.
One of Hood’s glaring weaknesses was on the defensive end of the floor where he struggled mightily with opponents who were quicker, longer, or bigger than he was, a problem since players like that will be guys he is certainly bound to see in the NBA. Boasting a wingspan of only 6’8.5″ it was clear that Hood lacked the length needed to be an elite defender even at the college level. However, his lateral quickness gave glimpses of promise at times and if he can improve his strength it isn’t far-fetched to see him becoming a passable defender at the next level.
The one other glaring weakness in Hood’s game, and one that could more scare away a few potential suiters, is his inability to create for himself on the offensive end of the floor, especially when going to his right. Hood is left-handed, and it showed as he still favors his dominant left hand much more than his off-hand. When Hood did go right, he showed time and time again that he was not comfortable with it, and was almost unwilling to attack the basket in those situations.
Projected Role: More than likely, Rodney Hood will end up as a pure shooter next season with his lack of defensive ability. Whether or not he will be coming off of the bench, or in a starting lineup, will be determined by the team which drafts him.
Measurements for Rodney Hood were found at DraftExpress.com. To read more about Hood and watch is DX scouting report video you can go here.