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Houston Rockets Draft Prospect Series: Kahlil Felder

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With the 37th and 43rd overall draft picks, the Houston Rockets are in a position to bring aboard talent that will add immediate impact to a team that is in “win now” mode. Given that requirement could Kahlil (Kay) Felder be a prospect who could deliver immediately for the Rockets?

[In my most extreme Ron Jaworski voice] After watching approximately 72 hours of tape on draft prospect Kahlil (Kay) Felder, I truuuuuuly believe that what my eyes are telling me, is that this kid is God’s second attempt at revitalizing Nate Robinson’s NBA career through another human being.

The 5’9 point guard splashed onto the college scene this past season orchestrating the Oakland Golden Grizzlies offense to a tune of 86.4 points per game, which ranked first in all of Division 1 college basketball per sports-reference.com.

Although Felder didn’t play in the big name conferences, his game didn’t go unnoticed as he caught the eye of many with a 37 point outing against the number 1 ranked (at the time) Michigan State Spartans.

If u get a chance to see KAY FELDER of Oakland U do it / a superb scorer is the REAL DEAL ask Tom Izzo had 37 vs MSU https://t.co/zjBT00Kecg

— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) December 23, 2015

Felder is a problem from Oakland

— Allen Iverson (@alleniverson) December 23, 2015

A message to this kid Felder from Oakland: I watched you vs. Michigan St. Tonight. You are special kid!!!
Keep putting in that work!

— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) December 23, 2015

The Skills

Imagine living in a universe where Kevin Hart was super good at basketball and had the vertical of prime Vince Carter. That’s Kay Felder for you.

On second thought, that image was a bit too difficult for me to grasp and didn’t serve the subject at hand any justice. Kay Felder is if Isiah Thomas’ offensive skills had a baby with Nate Robinson’s athletic ability. An undersized, crafty, south paw scoring guard, who can for no good reason, jump out the building with a 44′ inch vertical. (I’m 5’8 maybe 5’9 on a good day and depending on whether I went out the night before or not, can barely tap the glass on layups. Their’s salt all over my keyboard right now.*)

*Growing up, tapping the backboard on layup attempts meant that you were NBA bound. So I applaud anyone that can do so.

Felder is a handful offensively for opposing defenses. The distance he creates from his defender off his step back jumper is, and this is scientifically proven – about the same distance the sun is from planet earth (fact: that is not scientifically proven). His quick bounce allows him to rise up over defenders while cleanly getting his shot off with effortless elevation. He has the ability to finish through contact due to his chiseled frame and tremendous upper body strength.

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I can only name two things that excite me more than when Felder is operating in the open court:

1) Jack In The Box curly fries

2) A TNT game NOT being called by Chris Webber and Reggie Miller.

His tight handle and Tim Hardaway esque movement is basketball eye candy as Felder is a highlight waiting to happen.

Along with lighting up opposing defenses for 24.4 points per game (3rd overall), Felder also averaged 9.3 assist per game (1st overall) per sports-reference.com.

The bulk of Oakland’s offense revolved around allowing Felder to shred defenses off Pick and Roll action where he was able to display his unique vision and play making ability.

Specifics

  • Height: 5’9″
  • Weight: 177 lbs
  • Country: USA
  • Position: Point Guard
  • Age: 21
  • Standing Reach: 7’4.5″
  • Wingspan: 6’2.5″
  • College or Pro League: Oakland Golden Grizzlies
  • Stat line: 35 Games, 24.4 Points Per Game, 4.3 Rebounds Per Game, 9.3 Assists Per Game, 2.0 Steals Per Game, 35.5 3P%, 44.0 FG%, 84.8 FT%

Current Rank

Draft Express: 55

NBA.com: David Aldridge ranks Felder 5th among point guards and says he’ll go late first round or early second round

Sports Illustrated: 54

CBS Sports 47

NBA Draft.net: 44

The Questions

Defensively, are where the red flags start to rise for Felder. Being 5’9, the obvious question is whether or not he’ll be able to defend NBA sized guards on a nightly basis.

At Oakland, Felder’s defensive incapabilities were hidden in the lack of talent the Horizon Conference had to offer. Although he’s earned the reputation of being a pest defensively, the question still remains as to whether or not he can stay in front of elite level guards, while maneuvering through behemoth NBA sized screens.

The NBA comparison made by most scouts due to Felder’s lack of height and left handed nature is Isiah Thomas. Felder sees Thomas’ success in the NBA as hope for himself to succeed amongst the world’s best.

The Fit

Though Felder possesses the patent step back and half turn hesitation move that Isiah embarrasses defenders with, his game reminds me most of Phoenix guard Eric Bledsoe.

Unlike Thomas, Felder more so creates angles with force whereas Isiah is able to slither through defenses with more fluidity and a thinner frame. Bledsoe and Felder are similar in the fact that they’re point guards stuck in running back bodies. Both of which have the ability to finish above the rim on occasion while bullying their way to the rim.

Felder’s potential to succeed in today’s guard dominated league should be without question. His ability to stretch the floor, create for himself and others makes for a promising asset to which ever team decides to draft him.

If the Rockets were to draft Felder, his contribution would come as a back up lead guard operating under a spaced out, run and gun offense coached by Mike D’Antoni. A style of play that Felder has thrived under for three years as a Oakland Golden Grizzly.

Awards and Honors

  • Horizon League Men’s Basketball Player of the Year
  • NCAA Division I men’s basketball season assists leaders

Next: Houston Rockets Social Media Buzz: NBA Finals Holding Court

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