2014 NBA Draft: Anthony Ireland Could be a Draft Day Steal
With elite point guards like Dante Exum and Marcus Smart headlining the draft, less notable floor generals have an uphill battle when it comes to warranting the attention they deserve.
That much can be said about Loyola Marymount’s Anthony Ireland, who has officially declared for the draft after completing his senior season, an accomplishment that has become more of a rarity in today’s crop of NBA players.
One thing that stands out immediately in Ireland’s game is his knack to drain buckets at will, evolving into the team’s go-to option on offense after leading the roster in scoring for the last 3 seasons with 18.3 points per game.
“Mentally I was getting better at the game, seeing different aspects and just gaining a better knowledge overall.” Ireland told HoopsScoop when asked about his offensive improvement. “As my sophomore year came along it became a lot easier for me to score despite the defense keying in on me. I just watched a lot of film and just realized how teams are playing me in certain situations.”
And although it appears that scoring is Ireland’s primary strength, he insists he’s more of a pass-first point guard that was converted into a scorer, since the team relied on him heavily to carry the offense for much of his collegiate career.
“The thing is, I’ve always been a natural passing point guard when I was in prep school, but when I came to LMU, I was asked to play a different role. It was good for me because I really developed as a player… but I feel like I’m definitely a leader and can play the point guard position like how it’s supposed to be run.”
With the draft approaching, Ireland is one point guard prospect to keep an eye on, as he’s drawn interest from several NBA franchises including the Nuggets, Mavericks, Clippers and Magic – all teams that could use a high quality backup point guard like Ireland.
When asked about the adversity of being a 5’10” floor general in the NBA Ireland responded, “My whole life there’s always been naysayers and someone telling me I can’t do this or can’t do that, but at each level I have always overcome that.”
Follow Evan Caulfield on Twitter @fieldhoops