Chris Douglas-Roberts and Chase Budinger were at the tops of the shooting guard list this past college basketball season. These athletic wings were leaders on their team, but who goes first- the All-American Douglas-Roberts from Memphis or the pure scoring Budinger from Arizona? NBA-Draft.com takes a deeper look at this draft position battle…
In the beginning, there were three. Brandon Rush of Kansas was once considered one of the second-tier swingmen behind the elite Eric Gordon and O.J. Mayo. He has since improved his stock and looks like he will be the third shooting guard off the board as a late lottery/mid-round selection. Budinger and Douglas-Roberts have not done as much, and look to be mid/late first-round picks.
Budinger is a silky 6'7" shooting guard/small forward who can seemingly do it all. His efforts were rewarded this past season as a sophomore, as he was named Third Team All-Pac 10 and Honorable Mention All-America. Last year, he was named 2007 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and two years ago as a high school senior, Budinger was named the National Volleyball Player of The Year. This 205-pound swingman with his distinct curly red hair doesn't look like much, but he lets his play speak for itself.
Of all guards and small forwards likely to go in the first round, only G-F Bill Walker averaged more rebounds per game than Budinger. Budinger excels at rebounding the ball in traffic due to his size, leaping ability (40+") and timing. In fact, he was one of three Pac-10 players to rank in the top 20 in points, rebounds, and steals per game. Budinger was also at the top of the Arizona team with 37.8% shooting from 3-point distance.
Budinger is more well-known for his offensive game. He possesses exceptional form on his jumpshot which will allow him to shoot the NBA 3-pointer with a defender in his face. He uses his vertical leap, great body control and a soft touch to finish around the rim in a variety of cuts, drives and dribble moves. His drive is reasonably difficult to defend because of his athleticism, quickness and length. He also can finish with the best of the bigs in terms of putting down some punishing dunks.
Chris Douglas-Roberts is also a smooth 6'7" junior shooting guard/small forward who did it all for the national champion runner-up Memphis Tigers. He took home Consensus First Team All-American honors and was a finalist for both the Naismith and Wooden Awards this past season. Douglas-Roberts was named the C-USA Player of The Year, and was again voted to the C-USA First Team (2006-2007, 2007-2008) this year.
His 18.1 points per game were a team best (6th in the conference) as he did it on an impressive 54.1% from the field. Douglas-Roberts also greatly improved his 3-point shooting this past season, raising his 06-07 32.8% to a notable 41.3%. Douglas-Roberts rates much better than Budinger in terms of creating, penetrating and getting into the paint. Douglas-Roberts attempted 229 free-throws to Budinger's 135, even though they both shot a mediocre 71% from the free-throw line.
Despite the consistent questioning of the level of competition Douglas-Roberts was playing against at Memphis, he performed very well against the top-tier teams in Memphis' #1 rated strength of schedule. With 25 points against Michigan State, 25 against Texas and 28 against UCLA all in the NCAA Tournament, Douglas-Roberts proves he can score against even the best of teams. This crafty scorer simply finds ways to put the ball in the basket. He excels in the mid-range game and uses his long wingspan to create deflections and steals on the defensive end.
When the dueled each other, Budinger out-scored and out-rebounded Douglas-Roberts in an Arizona loss. Both shot extremely well- Douglas Roberts was 6-11 from the field including 2-3 from 3-point, while Budinger was 8-15 including a 3-4 from 3-point range. However, Douglas-Roberts committed 6 turnovers against a mediocre Arizona D.
Against a common opponent, Budinger scored 27 against Kansas (6-12 from 3-point range) to go along with 6 rebounds. Douglas-Roberts was able to go off for 22. Both teams came up short against the JayHawks, but Budinger's efforts against Kansas and the rest of the nation are perfect reasons for his name being called out before Douglas-Roberts' on draft night.
[Note: Former Memphis Guard/Forward Chris Douglas-Roberts wins this battle by default due to Chase Budinger dropping out of the NBA Draft and returning to the University of Arizona for his Junior season.]