Top NBA Draft Prospects in the SEC, Part Two (#11-15)October 28, 2011
A highly touted high school recruit, Reginald Buckner
took some time to develop under Andy Kennedy, but could be on the verge of a breakout junior season at Ole Miss.
Despite possessing average height at 6-8, Buckner compensates for that from a physical standpoint with a terrific frame, a huge wingspan and very good athleticism. He runs the floor well when motivated, is agile with his movements, and elevates exceptionally well around the rim on both ends of the floor, sometimes in highlight reel fashion.
Buckner looks like a more talented scorer on film than his 7 points per game would indicate, as hinted by his 59% conversion rate from the field. This may be partially due to the lack of playmaking and offensive cohesion his team suffered from last season, as there was no one to create easy opportunities and take advantage of his excellent potential as a finisher around the basket.
More than just a run-jump athlete, his skill-level shows promise, as he can attack his matchup a bit off the dribble with a quick first step and decent ball-handling skills, and has some nice spin moves he can utilize inside the paint. He was able to do some damage with his back to the basket in the SEC last year as well thanks to his excellent physical tools, but may not have the size or bulk to translate that to the NBA level unless he significantly improves his footwork, left hand and countermoves.
Buckner also doesn't have any type of perimeter game at this stage, making just one jump-shot on the season and converting a dismal 44% of his free throws. Considering his likely role in the pros, this is something he would be well suited to work on.
Defensively, Buckner shows both extreme strengths and weaknesses. On one hand he ranks as the #1 shot-blocking prospect
in college basketball, thanks to his terrific length, athleticism and anticipation skills.
On the other hand, he doesn't do much to help his team get stops outside of the rejections he produces, as he's decidedly average in every other facet of defense.
His effort level and fundamentals are sub-par at best, as he gives up deep post position in the paint at will, and looks extremely lethargic off the ball. He struggles to step out on the perimeter and stay in front of his defender, and will regularly get beaten up the floor by opposing matchups who have likely scouted his lackadaisical tendencies on film.
Buckner's length and athleticism makes him a significant factor on the offensive glass, but his rebounding production as a whole is just average relative to his role and potential, a product of his lack of hustle.
He struggles to stay on the floor due to foul trouble, averaging 6.3 fouls per-40 minutes, as he regularly gets caught out of position and ends up biting on pump-fakes.
Only going into his junior year, Buckner still has time to improve his fundamentals and change his reputation as an underachiever. Players in his mold are extremely coveted at the professional level, and if the light bulb ever comes on and he finds the motivation needed to reach his potential, he could be an asset in the right situation.
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