If there was an MVP award handed out at the conclusion of the D-League Showcase, Coby Karl likely would have won it. He dropped a cool 50 points in a pair of victories in Utah, tacking on 17 assists for good measure. His play in Idaho's first game of the Showcase, bringing them back from a 25 point deficit against the very talented, but disorganized Fort Wayne Mad Ants, was really an eye-opener.
Karls contributions go much further than the box-score, as hes a very complete player with an outstanding understanding of the game. His body is looking better and better and his athleticism is not too shabby, particularly once he gets going past his below average first step.
Karl is a terrific shooter, as his 40% percentages on nearly two 3-point makes per contest would attest. Very few of those attempts come on clean looks, though, and it wouldn't be out of the question to see him shoot a much higher percentage if he consistently were able to get his feet set. Karl makes tough shots coming off screens or pulling up off the dribble, showing great mechanics and a real knack for putting the ball in the basket.
Karl really excels on the pick and roll, being extremely creative off the dribble and seeing the floor well. He is a very good ball-handler and can dish off to an open teammate using either hand, showing outstanding vision and smarts in the process. He gets to the free throw line in the D-League at a pretty good rate, as hes a tough guy who is not afraid to take the ball strong to the rack, and is more explosive than you might think getting up and finishing. His decision making leaves a little bit to be desired from time to timehe is prone to trying to do a little too much with the ball, and therefore turns it over at a pretty high rate.
Defensively, Karl is limited by his average to below-average lateral quickness, often looking a half a step slow when trying to stay in front of his man. Hes able to make up for that at times with his smarts and phenomenal length (he possesses a freakish 6-11 wingspan), and certainly cant be knocked for his effort. Still, there are major question marks about his ability to defend a position at the NBA level (the one or the two?), and this is probably what he needs to show the most to executives that make the trek to watch him play.
Karl is clearly one of the top guard prospects in the D-League, and should be on any NBA shortlist for a potential call-up. Whether he has what it takes to be a legit rotation player remains to be seen, but there is really only one way to find out.