The NBA Draft Blog Scouting Report makes its second trip out to Columbus with a look at Ohio State senior David Lighty (I looked earlier at Jared Sullinger here). Lighty, who suffered a horrible knee injury just a few years ago, has made his way back and shown himself to be a more complete player than many expected. On top of that, he emerged as a strong leader for a team that has spent a lot of time near the top of polls the last few years. Will his diverse game and strong leadership be enough to get him a chance in the NBA. Let’s take a closer look at Buckeye David Lighty:
David Lighty, Ohio State - Senior
Guard/Forward- 6'5, 220
12.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.3 apg, 46.8% FG, 62.7% FT, 42.9% 3FG
Perimeter Shooting- If there is one area you can point to where Lighty has improved the most over his 5 years in Columbus, it is in his perimeter game. All aspects have gotten better – from getting better lift and a higher release point, to increasing his range and consistency. While he is mainly and catch-and-shoot guy - he has shown the ability to hit the mid-range jumper coming off of screens or flashing into open spaces – he has improved considerably in his ability to hit the mid-range jumper off the dribble. He needs to improve his ability to create space to get a good look when covered tightly on the perimeter, as well as making sure to square himself when shooting off the screen or dribble. His shot selection is good, and has improved greatly, though he may not look to take his shot as often as he can.
Ballhandling/Hands/Penetration- Lighty is an above-average ball-handler, uses both hands very well, keeps his dribble close and has added a very good hesitation dribble to his skills. He needs to be careful with a tendency to over-dribble or get careless if plays aren’t developing quickly, and to also watch control issues if the defensive gets aggressive. Lighty is much better off-the-dribble than he seems, and can catch defenders off guard with a quick, long first step. His long strides let him get to the basket quickly and once he gets into the lane, he has very good body control. While he isn’t a greater finisher off of penetration, he has improved, and has shown that he can finish strong or pull up and hit a short jumper. When he does choose to go at the basket hard, he has great elevation and control and can take contact and still get his shot off. Again, a recurring theme as we go through this look at Lighty, there are too many times when he defers to teammates, even when he has favorable match-ups.
Rebounding/Passing- Lighty, while a decent offensive rebounder, needs to do a better job anticipating missed shots and getting in position where he can get to the ball and either reset or get another shot up, though as mostly perimeter player, its not a huge concern. He has shown to be a very good passer, especially out on the perimeter, where he sees the whole court well and knows how to get the ball to his teammates in position for them to do something with it. Where he needs to improve is his ability to hit the pass off of penetration, especially when he draws help defenders in the lane. While he doesn’t make bad passes often, there are often better options open. I was also impressed with his ability to feed the post, finding ways to get the ball in over fronting defenders or around a defender denying the post.
Free Throw Shooting - Lighty really should be a better free throw shooter than he is, both in the amount of times he gets to the line and being able to hit once he is there. Mechanically, there is nothing wrong with his shot, but getting to the line is a different story. Again, being more aggressive when the opportunities are there will help this.
Perimeter Defense- Lighty is a very good perimeter defender – positions himself well, has very good balance, uses his arms well to keep the defender in front of him while disrupting passes, and his lateral movement is great. He can guard either the 2 or the 3 positions well, and handles himself well if caught in a mismatch off a switch. He could do a better job getting through screens, though he does do a good job getting over screens on players he knows can hit the long jumper. While his foot speed isn’t great, he anticipates and recovers well if his man gets by him. Off-the-ball, he plays passing lanes well and puts himself in great position to get out to his man quickly or rotate to help if necessary. He is an excellent help defender – rotates quick when needed and is more than willing to step in on someone going strong to the basket. While he closes well on shooters, I would like to see him do a better job getting an arm up to try and disrupt the shooter – just getting out on him is not enough.
Rebounding- While often not around the basket on missed shots, he could do a better job anticipating where misses will go and getting into position for long rebounds. Also, he needs to do a better job looking to put a body on offensive players looking to charge in from the perimeter for the offensive rebound. When he is around the rim for a miss, he does a good job boxing out and gets off the floor quickly to get the ball and secures it well.
Lighty has the ability to either push the ball on the break or fill a lane on the outside, though if he is the one leading the break, he is most effective when he takes the ball all the way to the basket himself. His decision-making and ability to draw the defenders who have rotated back are not very good, and he is much better getting the ball on the way to the hoop. He also would benefit by becoming better at his ability to stop quickly on the wing and hit the mid-long range jumper.
Summary & Intangibles
Athleticism – Above Average
BB IQ – High
Lighty is certainly a case where the sum is greater than the individual parts. While he is a very good defender, on the offensive end, it is the little things he does – working to get teammates open, making the extra pass, taking control if things get a little out of control – that make him a very good player. I still think it would be to his benefit to become more aggressive on the offensive end looking for his shot, I am almost certain that he could fit in seamlessly with any offense out there and have them run smoothly. I am sure there will still be some lingering concerns from the ACL tear a few years back, he has seemed to have adjusted his game in a way which still makes him a valuable asset. If teams aren’t impressed now, they will be after they see how he works, how he leads, and how well he knows the game – combined that with his skill-set and I see some team taking a chance on him in the mid-late second round.