The Evolution of Captain Clutch

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The biggest knock against him is his age and level of experience entering the league at the point guard position. Many feel the development at the point guard position is much more difficult at the NBA level than in college. Entering the NBA after just one season in college has proven to be particularly difficult for point guards, the track record is not great. His outside shooting is still a major question mark. He has solid form and can hit shots from the perimeter, but must gain better consistency and add range. Shot just 30% from college 3, but did show some improvement at the end of the year. Can improve from the line at 70% … Not a real factor on the boards, but has the athleticism and toughness necessary to improve there. Will likely take a few years before he’s ready to handle a full time starting NBA gig. Still has a lot to learn about running a team and all the responsibilities of a point guard. Besides his tremendous NCAA tourney performance, he’s somewhat unproven offensively.
–Aran Smith- NBAdraft.net

This was one of the scouting reports done on Mike Conley coming out of college, who would have thought he’d turn into one of the top 8 point guards in the NBA? Since the Grizzlies initially made the playoffs in 2011 after a 4-year hiatus, Captain Clutch has been surprising people all over the NBA world. In 2013, he had a career season at the time of 17 ppg, 6 apg, 1.5 spg on 45% FG, 36% 3PT, and 82% from the free throw line. He earned Second Team All-Defense honors and was the conductor in leading his squad to the Western Conference Finals.

We’ve seen him go toe to toe with Westbrook, Curry, CP3, Billups, Parker and Lillard. He’s outplayed every one of them at least 2 games of every series besides Russ. In Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals in 2014 after missing a few games because he BROKE HIS FACE, he came back and outplayed the league MVP, Stephen Curry, and single-handedly willed Memphis to the win. Fast forward to 2016 where he’s having an All-Star worthy season and he BREAKS HIS BACK, and then comes back in 3 weeks. He’s all of 6’1, 185 lbs soaking wet. I haven’t seen a tougher guard since Allen “Bubba Chuck” Iverson.

Per Synergy Sports, there is no one in the NBA that scores more efficiently coming off screens or coming off of dribble hand-offs than Michael Conley Jr. Before he hit his prime, you could go under a screen at ease. Not anymore. If you go under a screen against Mike now, he will hit you with a 57% 2 pointer or a 55% 3 pointer. And at the rim he is sixth best in the league at finishing, doing it at a 60% clip, which shatters his career best mark. Only “mini-Lebron” Eric Bledsoe draws more fouls at the basket than Conley.

He was left off of the All-Star team after having a career year averaging 19.1 Points, 6.3 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 44% from the field, 41% from deep, and 86% from the line. We all know that game is a popularity contest and we just aren’t big enough to have Two All Stars apparently. That’s ok though Mike — you’re OUR All Star. In Captain Clutch, We Trust.

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