|Team: South Florida|
H: 6' 4"|
W: 182 lbs
(30 Years Old)
|RSCI: 39 ||
High School: South Gwinnett
Hometown: Snellville, GA
A talented combo guard from Georgia, Mike Mercer has all the physical tools needed to become an excellent NBA player. After showing good progress last season, his sophomore campaign was brought to a halt when he tore his ACL late in the SEC season. This season will be a question mark for Mercer, who must add polish on-court while proving he still possesses his pre-injury athleticism.
Physically, Mercer resembles Dwayne Wade at times, showing the same ability to hang in the air and get past defenders at will. He stands a legit 6-4, giving him the size to effectively play either guard spot for the Bulldogs. The junior has a strong frame that will easily allow him to play comfortably at 210 pounds without effecting his leaping ability or agility inside.
Mercer plays both on and off the ball for Georgia, and progressed nicely with his ability to play the point last season. On the drive, he has an excellent feel for where the open man is and usually delivers the ball cleanly. In addition, Mercer looked somewhat competent running a half court offense during stretches, even if he has plenty of room for improvement still here.
Despite his progress, a few big factors remain in the way of Mercerís transition from project to player. In the half court, he tends to play too much one on one isolation basketball rather than picking the right spots to score in the offensive flow. People have questioned his ability to make decisions since high school, though there has been some progress here. On his drives to the basket, Mercer fails to convert on many finishes inside. This can mostly be attributed to the instinct to shy away from contact rather than going up strong and forcing the defense to foul. Last season, he only drew 2.5 free throw attempts per game, an incredibly low number for someone with Mercerís natural physical gifts.
Perimeter shooting has proven to be another major problem for Mercer. His release point lacks consistency, though his mechanics looked slightly improved from his freshman season. Mercerís 25% three point percentage reflects his poor shot selection on the perimeter, as well as his lack of range.
Defensively, Mercer has the tools to lockdown opposing point guards in the NBA, and his length allows him to disrupt the passing lanes. His man to man defense remains slightly above average for now, but he has the size, strength and quickness to hang with anyone.
This will be a very telling year for Mike Mercer. All reports coming from Georgia indicate that the junior guard will be at 100% going into the season, but the injury may or may not have a lingering effect on his athleticism. If he bounces back athletically and shows improved maturity and outside shooting, the potential is there for Mercer to become a high draft pick. This will probably be the most important season for him so far, and NBA scouts will be watching very closely.
Mercer still has issues with playing within the flow of the offense, but his athletic gifts are very hard to ignore. He is a legit 6'4, but with long arms and elite-level athleticism he plays like he is 6'7. He can get around his man at will, and does a good job of finding the open man on penetrations to the basket. He gets great elevation on his forays into the lane, able to hang in the air and shoot over almost any college-level defender. This skill is almost too much of a good thing at the moment, as he tends to fade away instead of drawing contact and getting to the line. Mercer is an active and opportunistic defender, averaging 2.6 spg so far this year and certainly capable of defending the position at the next level.
Mercer struggled to finish at the rim against Gonzaga, on several occasions failing to convert relatively easy finishes after spectacular initial moves, but was so overpowering athletically that he was able to anticipate and put in several of his own misses. This is a player that is certainly in need of more polish, but guards with the natural tools of Mike Mercer are almost always given the benefit of the doubt come draft day.
A big guard, with great length, awesome athleticism and lots of potential to play the point. He can run the break and make a great pass for an alley-oop, or he can be on the receiving end and finish with an emphatic dunk. Defensively he is already pretty solid as well. Heís a raw player, but is in a terrific situation where heíll be able to learn on the job every night through consistent playing time and patient coaching to figure out the nuances of the game. Heís probably at least two seasons away from making a true impact, but plenty of people think he is going to end up as a much better player than his much more heralded teammate in high school Louis Williams. He needs to improve his stroke and ball-handling skills along with filling out his skinny frame, but he'll be able to make as many mistakes as he wants next year playing for the conference doormats.[Read Full Article]