Oakland University, Jr, 21
5'10", 177 pounds
6'2.5" wingspan, 44'' max vert
2015-16 Statistics: 36.7 MPG, 24.4 PPG, 9.3 APG, 4.3 RPG, 2.0 SPG, 3.0 TOPG, 44.0% FG, 84.8% FT, 35.5% 3PT
Short in stature but tall in talent, Kay Felder was one of the most dominant guards in college basketball this season. Felder utilized a diverse offensive arsenal consisting of threes off the bounce, finishes at the rim, and living at the free throw line to be one of the best scorers in the country. On top of that, Felder also led the nation in assists. With a penchant for raising his game against the biggest opponents, Felder averaged 35 points and seven assists per game against Washington, Michigan State, and Virginia. Despite his offensive prowess, his size will be a major question in regards to his success at the NBA level.
The best way to describe Felder is as a scorer first and foremost. He has the ability to score from any spot on the floor, and can punish opposing guards who make mistakes while trying to keep him in check. Despite being under six feet tall, Felder shows a knack for being able to finish at the rim. He possesses a strong frame, lightning-quick first step, and a vertical leap that allows him to take on bigger defenders at the basket. These traits were a big reason why Felder finished sixth in the country in free throw attempts.
Felder's biggest weapon is his jump shot. His jumper opens up the other aspects of his game, and he isn't afraid to let it fly in transition or off the dribble. He uses a tight handle to build a rhythm when breaking down defenders, and is able to square up to the rim to get off clean looks on a moment's notice. If a defender backs off and plays him to drive, Felder will punish them with an array of midrange pull-ups, step-back jumpers, and threes off the dribble. He shot can be streaky at times, but that can come with the territory of being a microwave scorer.
When teams decide to take away Felder's jump shot, he excels at getting into the paint. He's a nightmare in transition, and defenses need to find him immediately whether it be when he grabs a rebound or receives an outlet pass. He has a quick first step, and is able to catch defenders off guard with his ability to change speeds. His athleticism helps him finish off herky-jerky drives through paint with explosion and strength. He's capable of getting into the teeth of the defense via pick-and-roll or isolation, which will be a big factor in how his game translates to the next level.
As a facilitator, Felder was able to set up his teammates for easy looks because he was such a threat to score at all times. Being able to read defenses when they collapse on him and make a quick decision was one of biggest reasons he led the country in assists. Also, for as much as Felder had the ball in his hands last year, he only turned it over on 13.9 percent of the possessions he was used.
Other than his size, Felder's defense will be the biggest question mark at the next level. He regularly looked like he was taking possessions off on that side since he carried such a heavy load for the offense. That's understandable, but he will have to show consistent effort at the pro level if he is to have any staying power. Luckily, Felder has the tools to be a capable NBA defender.
Many of the things that help Felder on offense can help him on the defensive end. He has a strong frame and low center of gravity, which should help him withstand the beating he might take against some of the league's bigger point guards. His wingspan will allow him to make passes tougher for opposing guards, and can help keep guards in front of him. He showed a knack for getting into passing lanes in college, but he will have to be more disciplined in the pros. Teams are going to put him in pick-and-roll situations in hopes of getting a mismatch with a bigger player, and Felder will have to prove that he is up to the task of getting through the screen or handling the mismatch.
The two names that come to mind most often when thinking of comparisons for Kay Felder are Nate Robinson and Isaiah Thomas. Robinson was able to carve out a niche in the NBA as a scorer off the bench thanks to his freakish athleticism and shot making ability. He and Felder have similar body types, but Felder is a better facilitator and playmaker than Robinson was.
Thomas is the one that Felder's game looks the most similar too. Both guards are under six feet tall, and are jitterbug lefties who have a knack for scoring. Thomas was the final pick in the second round of the 2011 draft, and was a solid bench scoring guard for the Kings before he became an All-Star for the Celtics. Small guards aren't common in the NBA, but if Felder can replicate some of the things that Robinson and Thomas found success with, there's no reason that he can't have a long NBA career.
It's rare for a point guard of Felder's size to be taken in the first round, so he will likely have to wait until the second round to hear his name called. Some potential landing spots that would be a good fit are the Dallas Mavericks at pick 46, the Indiana Pacers at 50, the Atlanta Hawks at 55, and the Brooklyn Nets at 56. The perfect fit, however, would be getting taken by his hometown team, the Detroit Pistons with the 49th pick and being their primary point guard on their second unit.