This year’s draft class is one of the best in recent memory not only due to the superior talent at the top, but also the amount of quality depth. There is no doubt that there will be multiple players drafted outside the top 14 selections in this year’s NBA Draft who will have an impact in the league next season.
Semaj Christon, the young point guard out of Xavier University, is one of this year’s “like him or hate him” draft prospects. Christon is an athletic and lightning-fast guard who has the ability to get to the rim quickly. He is an adequate finisher at the rim, and is able to draw fouls and convert when driving into the lane. He is the definition of a slashing point guard who is looking to get buckets in transition and in the paint. His defensive ceiling is one thing that scouts have been raving about, as his length (6-foot-6 wingspan) and athleticism could make him a great perimeter defender at the next level.
Although he led the Musketeers in scoring over the past two seasons, Christon has an unreliable jump shot and struggles to be able to knock down three-pointers on a consistent basis. The more telling weakness in Christon’s game is lack of “true” point guard skills. He doesn’t have great court vision, and often tries to make the spectacular play rather than the easy one. His assist-to-turnover ratio this season at Xavior was 1.6, a dismal number for any player, let alone a point guard. He also struggles at the free throw line (66.8 percent), an important skill for someone who gets to the foul line multiple times a game.
Christon has been up and down draft boards all season, and is still projected in various mock drafts anywhere from the bottom of the first round to undrafted.
When the Chicago Bulls pick at No. 49 in the second round, Christon will most likely be on the board. His physical tools and willingness to play defense could work well within Tom Thibodeau’s style of play. Although his inability to score outside of the paint would add to the overall scoring issue the Bulls have had over the past two seasons, his athleticism, length and ability to push the ball and get to the basket are traits that the Bulls certainly are looking for with their later-round selection.
Christon reminds me of a less talented John Wall (that’s a compliment people). He’s super athletic and can explode to the rim, but lacks the ability to score the ball outside of 10 feet on a consistent basis. Like opponents did to Wall, teams will let him take jump shots all day in the NBA until he proves he can knock them down. If Christon can develop into two-thirds the player Wall is today, I would call that a success for sure.
Christon averaged 17 points per game during his sophomore season at Xavier University. In 33 games last season for the Musketeers, he failed to reach a double-digit point-total in just three contests.