Because he didn’t get on the court his freshman season of college before entering the NBA Draft, Providence Friars shooting guard Ricky Ledo never showcased his ability to score against Big East competition. Perhaps his draft stock would have been jolted to lottery status had he done so.
Ledo’s academic struggles kept him sidelined, but there’s no doubt the 6-foot-6 guard with a 6-foot-7 wingspan was considered one of the best shooting guards coming out of high school. His range is unlimited but he’s also advanced as a ball handler and playmaker.
Running Providence’s scout team, Ledo also has point guard capabilities that give him an edge on some of the higher-rated prospects from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all the way up to Ben McLemore.
Ledo’s simple lack of game tape over the course of the last season makes him a risky pick, but what caused him to the sideline is the bigger issue. Known as a bit of a vagabond during his high school days, he’ll need to clear up the character questions surrounding him if he wants to get drafted.
He can’t become poisonous to a locker room – that is something he allegedly was as a high school player.
Still, Ledo is hovering at the end of the first round or early second, so it appears he’s drowned out those questions thus far. And he’s projected to be taken in that position because he’s still very unexperienced. Though he was able to practice with the Friars, Ledo’s year without true game action hindered his growth. On the defensive end, that is especially the case. Ledo will be a major project on that side of the ball when he hits NBA practices and for that he might be too big of a risk come gametime.
Is Ricky Ledo ready to be a professional? That should be the question on an NBA team’s mind before it drafts the Providence guard. Ledo’s 10.3 percent body fat at the draft combine was one of few above 10 percent, and that could be a sign that he’s not yet ready to commit himself to the game.
Ledo also showed confidence issues at the draft combine, playing well one day then fizzling out the next.
All signs point to him being a project, but projects don’t turn into studs without the willingness to listen and improve. Right now, that’s still for Ledo to answer.
How he fits with the Suns
Ledo is the typical Danny Ainge reach for the Boston Celtics and obviously Ainge protege Ryan McDonough might trend toward taking the best talent at 30. As a project, Ledo would be a solid choice and falls in the Suns’ wheelhouse.
Their need for a scorer is much chronicled. But Ledo is quite appealing with Phoenix’s current roster because he’d be able to take pressure off Goran Dragic as a ball handler. Although Ledo’s athletic tests at the combine were somewhat ordinary, he’s has natural basketball IQ that could make his ability to rebound and begin the break on his own ideal in the Suns system. Essentially, he could act like a backup point guard in a pinch and it’s that playmaking skill that gives him an advantage over pure scorers like Tony Snell and Caldwell-Pope.
And if professionalism is a problem — professionalism, not character — growing under Jared Dudley and competing with a swingman like P.J. Tucker surely will get a young Ledo’s attention.
If the shoes he’s wearing the below workout video are any indication, he might see himself as a perfect fit with the Suns.
And 1 … a second-rounder to consider
Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael didn’t get much airtime, but he’s widely viewed as a surefire second-round pick. The Suns worked out the 6-foot-8 power forward who is comparable to Udonis Haslem. He can stretch the floor to midrange but is also a bruiser. Though Carmichael is projected to go in the mid-second-round, he’s the type that could slip depending on how everything shakes out.