(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
I didn't watch Missouri basketball this past season so I didn't know a whole lot about him. And unlike Andre Drummond where the Internet was stuffed with info on him, I've had to do a little more extrapolating with the second-round picks. But with all that said, now that i've spent some time looking into him as a player and a person I think I can safely make a prediction: We're all going to love him.
He's like the new Arron Afflalo (though I don't think he'll be quite as good), only hopefully this time we won't give him away for nothing.
Known as a one-dimensional player with light's out shooting ability (46 percent from 3 last season) the instant reaction was that he was a younger, cheaper replacement for Ben Gordon. But I think he has a chance to be even better than that. He looks like he can be a very good perimeter defender if he's able to bulk up a little more and while many of the knocks against him were the same ones pegged to Afflalo when he came out, I wouldn't be surprised that much like AA, English could improve all facets of his game at the pro level, become a tenacious intelligent defender and be an efficient role player.
Trolling the internet looking for comments and interviews it became clear that English is a tough, blue-collar kid and that he is incredibly intelligent. More predictions: Barring the signing of a veteran backup point guard, English is going to be the first guard off the bench; He is going to be the beat writer's favorite person to get a quote from. He's smart, eloquent and funny.
Other things I learned:
Kim went by Kimmie all through high school and had a stuttering problem to boot. I think that might have gone a long way into building up his toughness and will to succeed. He is a strong, 6-foot-6 two-guard that was asked to player the power forward position for Mizzou last season and it worked largely because of his toughness on defense. And when he he scrimmaged at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament he was forced into playing point guard and played that well, too. And while he's known for his offensive ability, you can tell that he loves and takes pride in defense.
While English may be the best spot-up shooter in the country, he has never developed his game elsewhere to the extent that suggests he can be more than a shooting specialist at the next level. For one, his average physical profile and his below-average ball-handling skills limit his abilities as a slasher, and he has yet to demonstrate that he has developed, much beyond flashes of potential, in the way of an efficient mid-range arsenal. Despite taking far fewer pull-up jumpers this season, his accuracy on these types of shots has only increased marginally, from a horrid 15.5% to 24% this year.
English's lack of versatility may not be as much of a problem as it once appeared, however, as he displays excellent intangibles on the offensive end. Though his court vision is just average, he is a willing passer and an unselfish teammate. English is also a vocal leader on an off of the court, as well, communicating well with his teammates andleading by example through his toughness and work ethic.Furthermore and as has been documented at length throughout his career, English is an intelligent individual with an outstanding basketball IQ, which combined with his other intangibles are an ideal combination for a projected role player in the NBA.
Overall: Kim's role at the next level will likely be as a specialist, but one that several teams could use when you consider the impact of a reliable three-point threat ... He still needs to put on bulk so he can body up with stronger 2-guards, but with a high basketball IQ and appealing complimentary features, English should land a job from a team looking to support its ball-dominant scorers ... If teams are looking at English, they're not focused on his deficiencies as much as they are focused on maximizing his strengths ...
In his own words
English exudes confidence.
English talks about shooting and defense and why he wasn't ready to come out after last season.
On his willingness to shift from shooting guard to power forward to benefit his team:
"I scored 1,000 at Missouri my first two years as a shooting guard, so that's obviously what I am at the next level," English said in a recent phone interview. "But it wasn't time to talk about that during the season."
English correctly noted that looking ahead to the future, whether it's the NCAA Tournament or the NBA, is exactly what keeps teams from reaching their goals. If you focus on winning basketball games - and the Tigers did plenty of that this season, finishing 30-5 - English said, the rest will take care of itself.
"There's no need to market yourself as anything in college," English said. "If you're a pro, you're a pro. Teams will see that; front offices will see that. No matter what you think you are."
English says he wants to be a "consummate pro."
"I respect Kansas basketball to the fullest. I respect their players. I respect their coaches big time. I just hate their fans," English, a 6-6 senior from Baltimore, said.
"Their fans kind of have a false sense of security about what Kansas basketball is. It's not Kentucky. It's not UCLA."
He sees it as KU has three national titles, not five. "If they want to count championships from 1922 and '23, then that's fine," he told the paper, referring to Helms Foundation titles.
English on Wednesday jokingly thanked KU and Kansas State fans for spending money in the state of Missouri while attending the 2012 Big 12 tournament. He also referred to K.C. as "our town."
And he's a poet:
Ed Isaccson of NBADraftblog.com
"He was someone who got overshadowed a lot during the season, but when you focus on what he does during a game, he's easily the best pro prospect of this Missouri group," Isaacson said.
"It's all the little things he does. You can have your superstars, but what separates winning NBA teams from everyone else are guys like Kim English, who can knock down shots on the perimeter, is a leader and is out there not only guarding guys bigger than him, but directing his teammates, letting them know what they should be doing."
Based on the evaluation he did of English throughout the season, Isaacson said was not surprised when the 6-foot-6, 192-pounder from Baltimore's name started popping up more recently. He projects English as a mid-second round pick with the potential to go high in the second round (depending on who is picking), largely because of his size and shooting ability.