Sun Sentinel Broward Edition

Rating the shooting guards

- — Ira Winderman

A look at the top five shooting guard prospects in Thursday’s NBA draft:

1. Mario Hezonja, 6-8, Croatia, pro in Spain:

Shoots 3-pointers, dunks with flair, confident beyond his years, way beyond his years. A mix of flash and strength who merely needs to adjust to the NBA game.

2. Devin Booker, 6-6, Kentucky, freshman:

The best shooter from a major-college program in the draft, with range that extends comfortabl­y to the NBA 3-point line. Will likely go higher than expected, with NBA premium on shooting.

3. Rashad Vaughn, 6-5, UNLV, freshman:

Has been overwhelmi­ng with his shooting precision during his team workouts. He is rising on many team’s boards based on those performanc­es, but there are concerns about a knee issue that ended his season.

4. R.J. Hunter, 6-6, Georgia State, junior:

A shooter who struggled with his shot during junior year but who has shown the maturity to address shortcomin­gs. More of a “comfort” pick than an “upside” pick.

5. Michael Frazier II, 6-5, Florida, junior:

Likely the state’s lone shot to be selected in the first round. Has impressed with his shooting both at the Chicago combine and during team workouts after uneven season with underachie­ving Gators.

Sleeper

Oregon’s Joseph Young stands as this year’s case study of an undersized shooting guard. At 6-2, the senior is so adept at creating his own offense that he is seen more as a scorer than a playmaker. He could work for a team seeking a combo guard.

Worth noting

Hunter not only was coached by his father Ron at Georgia State, but his godfather is 15-year former NBA pro Ron Harper, who played collegiate­ly with Ron Hunter at Miami of Ohio.

Rating the field

Beyond Hezonja, this is a group of shooting guards with an emphasis on the “shooting” portion of the equation. While that is the direction the NBA is going, this is not necessaril­y a class of two-guards who can break down defenses off the dribble.

Heat need

The Heat need shooting after struggling from beyond the arc this past season; this draft offers that, especially if Booker is available at No. 10. The Heat also will need an eventual successor to Dwyane Wade at shooting guard; this draft does not necessaril­y present such possibilit­ies, unless one of the swingmen listed at small forward can fill that bill.

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