With the NBA Draft only two days away, there still is a huge uncertainty with what direction the Celtics will go when it’s their turn to pick. The major concerns for the C’s moving forward are the big man position, while also addressing the back-up point guard position. The lack of rebounding has always been a present problem for the Celtics, but they have played very well without being a great rebounding team. This past season proved that the Celtics desperately need to snatch a point guard to backup Rajon Rondo. Bringing the ball up the court became a serious problem for the team when Rondo went down, which resulted in letting Paul Pierce taking control of that department. With that being said I want to compare and contrast the top-two realistic options for the Celtics at the point guard position in the draft.
Position: Point Guard
Height/Weight: 5-10, 171 pounds
College: Miami University
Stats: 14 points, 4.6 assists
Larkin is a very skilled athletic point guard, who sees the court very well. His willingness to get his teammates involved his something that can be seen when he is on the court. He is a great pick –and-roll player, and his agility/speed is remarkable. While at the draft combine, Larkin recorded the second-highest vertical leap, jumping 44-inches. He is NBA ready at this point of his career because he can be a leader of a team, which he demonstrated while playing for Miami (he is also a very capable scorer, as he can score points in bunches).
Larkin comes into the draft with so much upside, but his size is a huge question mark for most teams. With NBA teams becoming guard heavy, the small point guard has become more prominent than in years past (example of this would be Nate Robinson, Raymond Felton). Larkin only stands 5’10, which is rather small even for the point guard position, and will be interesting to see if teams are willing to use their pick on him. His defense has been somewhat of a question mark as well, but not for lack of effort. In Miami, he always played just as hard on the defensive end of the floor, but could be found out of position quite a lot. Contrary to popular belief, NBA teams still have to play terrific defense if they want to be considered title contenders, Larkin will be forced to adapt to that if he wants to succeed in the league.
Position: Point Guard
Height/Weight: 6-2, 165 pounds
Previous Team: NY Phantoms Braunschweig (Germany)
Stats: 11.8 points, 3.3 assists
This young man has terrific speed, and his ball handling skills are quite impressive. He has a prolific ability to create for his teammates coming off the pick-and-roll, which is something that is a must at the NBA level. His other great ability would be his jump shot, as he shot an amazing 52.6 percent from the field. Schroeder has a great first step, which keeps defenders off balance as he can play at all different types of game speeds. Most would consider Schroeder to be a three-point arsonist, as he shot a crazy 40.2 percent behind the arc last season, which is quite impressive.
The biggest concern coming into the draft for Schroeder is his decision making ability, as he averaged 4.0 turnovers in 40 minutes last season (which is almost equal with his 5.3 assists per game). One of the other concerns is his size (weight), as he is smaller and his ability to handle bigger opponents can become a problem. The biggest non-basketball concern is his mental toughness or lack thereof because he has been labeled a hot head at times. There have been some comparisons to Rondo attitude in the past, which is something that can set alarms for some teams.
Side by Side
On paper both seem to very similar in what they can bring to a NBA team. The biggest difference that separates the two candidates is mental toughness. Larkin seems to be a better teammate, and can keep his cool when the pressure heats up. The Celtics already have Rondo on the team, who is known to lose his cool with his teammates and other teams/officiating. Acquiring Schroeder would mean the team would be getting a potential head-case, and sometimes those players can be hard to coach. There is no question that with the right coach, Schroeder could get help with correcting these problems, but it would take extra work. At this time it just seems that Larkin is ready to contribute right away, and would be the better candidate to backup Rondo. His decision making is better than Schroeder, and it woud just be less of a gamble for the organization to draft Larkin versus Schroeder.