Illinois guard Luther Head is still operating in the afterglow of a great performance at the predraft camp. A number of teams, including the Pacers (No. 17), Celtics (18), Grizzlies (19), Rockets (24), Pistons (26) and Heat (29) have him in the mix for the first round.
Draft Projection: Mid-to-late first round
Similarities: A poor man's Gilbert Arenas.
Notes: Head always was been considered the third wheel at Illinois behind guards Williams and Dee Brown, but he was super for the Illini this season.
Positives: He's a great athlete with excellent floor vision and legit NBA 3-point range. A quick first step allows him to get to the basket, but he's just as happy launching 3s.
Negatives: He has played out of position, on the wing, throughout most of his career because of the presence of Williams and Brown. Can he make the transition to the point in the NBA? Scouts traditionally have been a little down on Head because of his inability to shoot off the dribble, but he seems to have worked on that over last summer. If he's going to be a full-time point guard in the pros, he has to work on his ball handling.
Summary: One of the best players at the Chicago predraft camp. Proved to scouts that he could run the point position, at least some of the time. He tested off the charts athletically and can really stroke it. Probably still underrated at this point.
NBA Comparison: Eddie House
Strengths: High speed, high energy player… Very hard to guard as he’s constantly moving… Good elevation and form on jumper… Can create his own shot… Gets to the rim and finishes well… good leaping ability… Attacks the hoop and doesn’t back down when he’s met by bigger players… Moves well without the ball and knows how to come off screens and use other players… Clutch. Not afraid to take big shots in crucial points of the game… Very confident… Not easily rattled or taken out of his game… Decent dribbling skills and can take his man off the dribble with ease… Terrific work ethic… Has shown a dramatic improvement in each of his four years at Illinois…
Weaknesses: Head is between positions as he lacks the size to play the NBA 2-guard and hasn’t shown the overall skills to play the point full time… Hasn’t had the opportunity to play point at Illinois because of Deron Williams and Dee Brown, but has good passing and ball handling abilities… Needs to show that he can lead a team and control the offense… Poor shot selection at times… He has all the physical tools to be a great defensive player but has yet to show that he can lock someone down… Maturity issues as he had off-court problems during his junior year…
Notes: Gets lost in the shuffle with Dee Brown and Deron williams on the team, but some feel he is the best player of the bunch.
Strengths: Arguably the best player on a stacked Illinois squad this year. While Deron Williams and Dee Brown clearly have more upside as point guards in the NBA, Head was statistically the best player during their amazing season.
Head is smooth with the basketball and glides through traffic, and can finish consistently with excellent leaping ability. Luther is such a dynamic scorer, with a great shot (standstill and off the dribble) and terrific ability to get past his defender. Head has nice quickness and tremendous defense. Often overlooked, Head has the capability of shutting down good offensive players on the other team. He is a hard working player who always brings energy to the court.
Weaknesses: At only 6’3”, Head is undersized for a shooting guard in the NBA. While he has good passing skills, he does not have the experience of playing the point guard position. Does not have a pure playmaking mentality, rather he is a score first guard. It is questionable that he could adapt his skills to the point guard position full-time, it is more likely he would be used as a combo guard. At the moment, he plays the role of a shooting guard and would be undersized in nearly all of his match-ups in the pros. At times his shot selection can get questionable, as he will force up a few low percentage three point attempts.
Optimistic Outlook: Bobby Jackson
Pessimistic Outlook: Gerald Fitch