USC had a dynamic duo at point guard in De’Anthony Melton and Jordan McLaughlin in 2016-17. However, due to a violation of NCAA rules, Melton was ruled ineligible for the 2017-18 season. McLaughlin made the most of his opportunity, and as a senior he averaged 12.8 PPG, 7 APG, 3.7 RPG, 2.0 SPG, and just 2.6 TOPG on 45/39.7/74.6 splits. Here’s how his game breaks down:
- Excellent playmaker and vision- sees plays before they happen and makes the simple pass
- Good in the Pick & roll
- Good shooter
- Good defender- All PAC-12 defender; good lateral quickness
- High IQ- good decision maker
- Not explosive. Lacks a degree of athleticism
- Lacks great length or size
- Subpar finisher at the rim
Overall: McLaughlin thrives in an uptempo offense. He’s at his best in transition, when he can pull up from 3, find an open corner shooter, or get to the rim quickly. McLaughlin is a cerebral player who knows how to play within himself. McLaughlin is likely to be a backup PG in the NBA, but has the prototypical tools to thrive in that role: a jump shot, playmaking, and a great understanding of the game. His lack of length hurts his upside overall, as it is unlikely to help him improve upon his poor finishing ability at the rim, as well as limiting his defensive upside. However, McLaughlin is one of the best defensive guards from the draft due to a high motor and excellent lateral quickness and not being afraid to make his opposition uncomfortable. Jordan McLaughlin was named to the All-Defense team for the PAC-12 in 2017-18 and has been continually awarded as Southern Cal’s best defender during most of his collegiate career.
NBA Comparison: Floor: Shelvin Mack/ Jacque Vaughn; ceiling: Yogi Ferrell
Projected draft range: 50- undrafted
Fit with Mavericks: When I compare someone to a current or former Maverick, it is likely that the player being discussed will be a good fit with the Mavericks. If you’ve been watching the Mavericks over the last season and a half, you know Yogi Ferrell has been a really good bench piece and could potentially be the heir to JJ Barea. McLaughlin is careful with the ball, is a strong defender despite his size, and is a good shooter. The area where McLaughlin has the edge on Ferrell is in playmaking. McLaughlin averaged nearly 8 assists per game in his senior season, whereas Yogi Ferrell averages 3 assists per 36 minutes and in college only averaged about 5 assists per game. McLaughlin may be best served as a 2 way player due to the depth of the point guard position for next season. However, he is ready to contribute to an NBA bench right away, which makes the Mavericks an awkward fit. The Mavs must weigh long term vs short term in considering McLaughlin. At the least, McLaughlin should get a look in either summer league or preseason.
Best fit: Any team that may be in pursuit of a Fred VanVleet type of player. Toronto could also be a potential fit with VanVleet’s pending free agency. Another destination that comes to mind Charlotte. The Hornets desperately need a backup to Kemba Walker, and the hole at backup point guard has plagued the Hornets for years.