As the name might allude to, Glen Rice Jr. is an outstanding jump shooter who connected on 38 percent of his three-pointers in 48 D-League games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers last season. Much like his father, Rice has consistent mechanics that make him deadly in catch-and-shoot situations but not bad off the dribble either. He steps into his shots, squares his feet with the rim and doesn’t have much unnecessary motion.
The development of his jump shot is surprisingly new. Since being kicked off the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in his junior season, Rice has improved greatly in that regard. But he was always effective because of his athleticism. Rice is at his best in transition, using his length and athleticism to run and then finish.
At 6-foot-5.75 with shoes, it’s Rice’s 6-foot-9 wingspan that gives him another advantage. That combination of length and athleticism makes him a very good rebounder for a shooting guard. His added strength since playing in the D-League has helped him finish around the rim through contact as well.
Multiple off-court issues led to Rice getting booted from Georgia Tech. The final straw was being charged with “permitting unlawful operation” because he was pulled over in Atlanta and two associates were charged with discharging a firearm and DUI, respectively, according to USA Today.
It’s hard to say whether Rice’s borderline first-round stock is more because of his issues from college or other deficiencies.
On the court, he has a way to go especially on the defensive end. Considering his athletic abilities and knack for getting in passing lanes and blocking shots, Rice’s untapped potential is because he often doesn’t display the effort or focus needed to keep him on an NBA court.
Additionally, Rice is fairly limited as a scorer and has yet to shown the ability to create for others.
Rice has the genes and the experiences at this point to be an excellent pro, but the red flags certainly have hurt his stock. That being said, Rice having the experience of playing in college then as an essential pro in the D-League – not to mention having the advice of his father – could lead NBA executives to believe that he’s grown up.
And the improvement in Rice’s three-point shot is possibly a sign that his upside based on his athletic talents can be tapped into. Still, all this is to-be-determined.
How he fits with the Suns
Rice worked out for the Suns with a number of intriguing shooting guards on Friday. He was joined by Evansville’s Colt Ryan, who averaged 20 points per game, 4.0 assists per and also shot nearly 40 percent from the three-point line in his senior year. Also among the group was an unknown in Angelo Sharpless, an athlete who played at Elizabeth City State College and at one time jumped over Duke’s Mason Plumlee.
Obviously, the Suns are looking for upgrades at shooting guard. Scoring ability and athleticism are the two key components for Phoenix, and Rice brings both. He may be a project defensively, but the Suns have time for Jeff Hornacek to mold him. With the ability to play immediately, a player like Rice could have a few years to turn into a Lance Stephenson-esque pick a few years down the road.
And 1 … a second-rounder to consider
The Suns also worked out big men in BYU Brandon Davies, St. Joseph’s C.J. Aiken and Creighton’s Greg Echenrique on Friday. While Davies would be appealing for that 57th pick, Sharpless is a star in the bluegrass hoops circuit because of his freak athleticism and that could make him a project selection with greater upside. He averaged 20 points per game at a Division II school and wasn’t a poor shooter, so it’s a wonder if he could be a steal of a pick considering his athletic gifts.
Another And 1
- Paul Coro confirmed that the Suns will unveil new jerseys sometime in September. Check out his full story on the new-look color scheme and logos.
- Hat-tip to Coro again for pointing out this longread in the Washington Post about former Suns assistant Ralph Sampson’s odd journey.