Lakers NBA Draft Prospect Watch: Rodney Hood

Duke may be Jabari Parker’s team when it comes down to the final shot. But he isn’t the only Blue Devil who will be going in the lottery when the NBA drafts in June.

Newcomer Rodney Hood, who transferred from Mississippi State, has had a solid season without the hype that Parker has received. All he has done is average 16 points and grabbed four rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the field and 45 percent from three.

Hood hasn’t received the national recognition that fellow newcomer Parker has, but he has been equally impressive.

The 6-foot-8-inch small forward has had to play down low at times, but is a load to handle. He is an athletic, bouncy and athletic forward who can score in transition or in the half-court set. He can step out and shoot “the rock” or really attack the rim. He uses dribble drives mostly to the left (he is a natural lefty) and can score the ball over his defender or stop on a dime and shoot it. One aspect that is mostly overlooked is his ability to shot fake his defender. He utilizes a head fake that gets his defender to go backwards and then goes up with a soft shot that you can count when it leaves his hands.

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Coach K has been known to run a dribble drive offense that attracts guards and wings who can shoot and score off the dribble. This is the perfect offense for Hood, but at the next level he should be even better due to it being more open. With a full head of stem Hood can jump over a defender, or finish around a defender.

There aren’t a ton of concerns about Hood, but there are a few red flags. Hood hardly ever goes to his right and this will become even more clear at the next level. Teams will force him to his right and it has been more or less unseen if he can finish going that way.

Another concern would be on the defensive end. Though he can defend multiple positions and is quick enough, the intensity has yet to be seen. This has been a problem for Duke all year long as they often get out-rebounded.

The last issue is we haven’t seen Hood as a playmaker. At Mississippi State he was purely a catch and shoot player, but at Duke he has shown a more well-rounded game scoring wise. Hood needs to work on seeing the open man and instead of at times forcing a shot, swinging the ball to teammate.

For most of the game last night at North Carolina, Hood looked like the best player on the court. He was scoring at will from deep and finishing at the rim. If he can do this consistently at the next level, he will be a great pick in the late lottery.
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