I hate to break it to you folks, but we most certainly did not save the best for last. Our final entry into the 2012 NBA Draft profiles is a guy who only played two years at the Division One level, and did so at a pretty small program (in two different conferences, at that).
Westbrook is certainly going to be an interesting study in just how much level of competition plays a part in talent evaluation (not unlike previously profiled guard Jet Chang, I suppose). Was he good because he played against bad teams, or because he's a good player?
School: University of South Dakota (Vermillion, SD | Summit)
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Team Record: 28-33
Charlie Westbrook is hard to figure - some night's he shoots 4-for-13 from the field and nearly fouls out against a team like Nebraska - Omaha, and other nights he drops 35. He doesn't consistently take or make three point shots, his free throw shooting has fluctuated all over (anywhere between 65 and 75 percent in his collegiate career)
Scouting services compliment him on his improvement in his three point and free-throw shooting (38 and 77 percent, up from 29 and 69 percent, respectively). However, if you go back to his juco stats, his stats with the Coyotes look more like annual fluctuation than genuine improvement. Here's Westbrook's full four year stats:
He gets compliments on his athleticism and defense, but despite his improved senior year I'm not confident that he can consistently replicate any one part of his offensive game enough to latch on at the professional level. Every NBA player is an elite athlete, so when elite athleticism is your greatest compliment, you're starting behind the eight ball.
Final Season Averages:
18.7 points...4.0 rebounds...1.7 steals...2.5 turnovers.. 32.4 mins... 46.7% FG...38.9% 3 PT... 76.6% FT
Charlie Westbrook is a scorer. That's really the only thing he does extremely well, and he's gotten better about it over the course of his career. In his first two seasons (at Iowa Western Community College) he averaged roughly 12 points and four rebounds per game, and then upped that average to 18 points per game his last two seasons - though one of those was with South Dakota playing in the Great West Conference (which is barely a conference) and the other came in the Summit League.
Sure took him plenty of shots to do it...he's almost a poor man's Damian Lillard. But with worse court vision - his 62:71 assist to turnover ratio his senior season was a career best.
As his highlight video will show below (and is replicated by his PIT highlights) he is really good at dunking in transition. He can also score in other ways in transition, but he doesn't seem to have much footage of him excelling at running a set offense, creating his own shot, or making shots in traffic. Athletes who can score in transition are not exactly unique to the NBA.
His HOOPWAR of 4.91 is rather unsurprising given his lack of supporting cast (South Dakota doesn't exactly recruit blue-chips) and his penchant for giving the ball away and only making some, not most, of his shots. A pedestrian number like that does him no favors given the low level of competition he faced (Alex Young and Reggie Hamilton be damned).
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Strengths: He can dunk and score in transition. He can defend the perimeter at least reasonably well.
Weaknesses/Concerns: I hate to come down on a guy, but the rankings you see below from Chad Ford and DraftExpress are the only things that, to me, indicate that Westbrook should be getting run from a D-League team instead of the AND1 squad. He isn't even an average ball-handler, he doesn't consistently hit his perimeter shots, he doesn't consistently create his own shots in the paint (or capitalize with made free throws), and he didn't play against very good competition during his career.
Current Prospect Rankings
Chad Ford (ESPN): No. 89
DraftExpress: No. 88
Possible destinations: The developmental league if he is lucky. DraftExpress lists his best possible comp as Eric Bledsoe, and I would have to agree with that - if everything breaks just right, that is about how good Westbrook could be. Unfortunately, we all know how often everything breaks right in the world of professional basketball.