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Greivis Vasquez: How Will the Shimmy Translate?

NBA Comparision - Marko Jaric

- Size: Okay, I know size is the most basic comparison possible, but there are just so few passing guards as big as Greivis is. There’s no way around it: when you’re half a foot taller than everybody else at your position, it’s a big part of your game.

Like Jaric, pretty much the only way that Vasquez is going to effectively drive to the rack or get his shot off is if he’s going over people, because his speed ain’t gonna cut it. It’s a huge advantage that Marko never really abused, since he stayed out on the perimeter. If Vasquez is going to be logging lots of minutes at the point, he'd be wise to develop a turnaround jumper that will allow him to shoot over the top of smaller defenders, almost like a power forward or another big guard, Baron Davis.

- Athleticism: The Venezuelan pretty much has none. He's slow, especially laterally, both with the dribble and on defense. When running the point in the summer league, he often saw a spot, but just couldn't beat his defender to it, leading to him being trapped against the sideline. This is only worse on defense, when he can't stay in front of his man, and faces harsher competition. I'm definitely worried about how Vasquez will be able to contend against guys that are just naturally faster and stronger. 

(Ed. Note: Part of the reason Vasquez looked so slow in Vegas might also be an ankle injury, which might even be serious enough to need surgery, according to the CA.)

- Court vision: Memphis will remember the Marko Jaric era from a different perspective of the rest of the league since we are paying the ludicrous contract, but at one point this guy showed promise. 6.1 apg and a 3/1 assist/turnover ratio for a Clippers team that only won 37 games? And he’s only 26? Yes please.

Vasquez has that type of potential to me. His court vision is above average, and he’ll be playing with a ton of quality scorers, assuming he sees the floor with the starters from time to time. However, Jaric’s career plummeted after that 2005 season, and he was ineffective for the remainder of his career. It wouldn’t surprise me if Vasquez shows flashes early, but ultimately falls off the table as his already limited physical tools get even worse.

- Shooting: Just like Jaric again, Vasquez is capable of hitting the outside jumper. He showed an improved three point shot during his career at Maryland, and also demonstrated he could catch and shoot off screens. Vasquez is a decent three-point threat, and overall shooter. Very similar to Jaric.

However, also like Jaric, Vasquez is inconsistent. Vasquez shot a healthy percentage for most of his collegiate life, but against much more athletic players that might take a hit. Greivis has already demonstrated poor shot selection as his team's best option at Maryland, and it remains to be seen if that changes with better teammates. 

Jaric was really good when he played with scorers like Corey Maggette and Elton Brand. As mentioned, I’m anxious to see how Vasquez uses his distribution skills with players that can actually score (huge contrast from his summer league experience).

- Best Case: I see him as kind of an upgraded Anthony Parker with much better court vision. Good shooter, better distributor than Parker, guy with a size advantage, but nowhere near elite athleticism. 

- Worst Case: Only time will tell if he has the passing skills and intelligence to make himself valuable. If he doesn’t pan out, let’s compare him to Marcus Williams. No, not the Grizzly great from last year, I’m talking the 2007 Arizona draftee who is no longer in the league. A big guy whose shooting stroke isn’t elite enough to make him valuable, and whose size can’t compensate for decision making and athleticism issues.  

I’m just not sold on Vasquez as a shooter. I think he moves too slowly to fight through screens and become a spot shooter. Plus, his release isn’t too quick. I'm convinced that if he’s going to make a living in the NBA, it’s going to be through his passing ability as a tall point seeing the floor and finding open teammates. 

Unlike Xavier Henry, Vasquez has pretty high bust potential. He's slow for a point guard, his shots, especially those finger rolls and floaters, might not translate to the next level, and he's a liability on defense.

However, I'd say Vasquez also has a decent ceiling. He's got a decent jumper that could grow into a dangerous NBA long distance weapon. He's got passing skills could make him a great distributer. And he's got size that you definitely can't teach.