NBA Position: SF
Hometown: Meridian, MS
Side Notes: Started his college career for Mississippi State; where he was a part of the SEC All-Freshman Team (2012). Then Hood transferred to Duke, but sat out the 2012-13 season because of the NCAA transfer rules. Played one season for Duke; who was eliminated by Mercer in the first round. Hood was named to the second All-ACC Team (2014). His sophomore stats for Duke were: 16.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 2.1 APG. The forward also had a pre-draft workout for the Chicago Bulls recently. Rumored to be one of the favorites for Chicago. Projected to be drafted 15th in the first round by DraftExpress.
Strengths: Deadly three-point shooter in his college career; where he shot .420% behind the arc his sophomore season. Had no difficulties getting the shot he wanted, and where he wanted (.464% FG). Much like Dwayne Wade, Hood uses the pump-fake to create space for a shot, or to draw defenders into him for a chance to get to the line. Has the ability to make pull-up jumpers in the lane, or in transition. Excels at taking advantage of smaller defenders, and knowing when he has the mismatch. Athletic; along with top-notch ball handling skills. Has no problem running the fast-break. Hood has the potential to drive to the rim and become a slasher, but stuck to his jumper often. Very lengthy; will help him defensively and rebounding. Can defend both wing positions. Isn’t afraid to play in the paint, and to stick his nose in for rebounds. Good basketball I.Q; seems to never force a shot. Doesn’t turn the ball over often. Just above 80% free-throw shooter.
Weaknesses: While he can attack the glass, Hood’s physicality is questionable. Would struggle against a stretch-forward like Tobias Harris, or a big man who can hit a mid-range jumper like David West. Along with being physical, Hood can improve on being assertive; whether its driving to the rim, or on defense. Plays conservative, and could disappear for minutes at a time. Like I said earlier, the former Duke forward relied on his jumper way too often; which could be a problem in the NBA. Difficulty playing on-ball defense. Lacks defensive intensity, he only averaged 0.7 steals per game at Duke.
NBA Player Comparison: Rudy Gay
Summary: Hood and Gay are almost identical players. Same size, good ball-handling skills, both can score double-digits night in and night out, but defense is a liability. However, the 21-year old has the potential to become a good defender, especially under a coach like Thibodeau. Rumors have been swirling around Chicago that the Bulls might try and attempt to trade up. If Hood looks like he is going to go early; then we might see the Bulls trade up to grab him. Yet, he also has a chance of dropping to Chicago; who holds the 16th and 19th picks. If it came down to Hood or Nik Stauskas, I would choose Hood because of his higher ceiling. Also, Chicago needs scoring, and well… he can score. I believe that Rodney Hood is one of the Bulls favorite prospects, and will be on their target list come draft time. Expect Hood to be a scorer off the bench; with a chance of developing into a NBA starter.
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