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The Pro Prospects of Joe Alexander

When there's news involving WVU basketball, Joe Alexander, and the NBA, there's only one person we thought to ask to evaluate the situation. Well, he was busy, so Stiles is filling in. Take it away, Stiles...

With news of Joe Alexander declaring for the NBA Draft, but not hiring an agent, let’s take a deeper look into Alexander’s game as it relates to the NBA.

First, we’ll look at Alexander’s weaknesses. Why? Because it is these areas that will get Joe back to Morgantown next year.

  • Alexander struggles in making decision with the dribble. Watch tonight’s Nuggets-Warriors game on TNT (Ed. note: it is never a good idea to watch the NBA). Not only will you be blown away by how good the players are, but, also how good they are creating with the dribble. This is a huge problem area for Alexander, mostly due to the problem starting because…

  • Alexander is not a strong dribbler of the basketball and has virtually no left hand. You can’t survive in the NBA playing the three position, unless you are a dead eye shooter, without a strong handle. Alexander has a ways to go here.

  • Joe struggles playing without the ball. This can be attributed to him lacking a lot of game experience, but very rarely during the course of the season did you say to yourself, wow, that’s a great off the ball cut when it came to Alexander. With the NBA getting further and further from isolation basketball, players are being required to move without the basketball.

  • Alexander has shown that ticky tack stuff can throw him off his game. With the quality of player in the NBA, you will find yourself on the bench pretty quickly if you can’t play through struggles.

  • Alexander said after the season he was down to about 215. When you factor in his late season collapse during his sophomore year, there are some red flags that maybe his body isn’t as ready it as it appears. Especially when you factor in the additional grind of an 82 game NBA schedule.

Well, after that dissection, you would think that Alexander is a guy that is hoping to be picked in the second round, not a First Team All-Big East player. But, hey, we do acknowledge that there are some strengths to his game.

  • Alexander has tremendous hops. When he gets a head of steam going, he can leap with the best of them. Watching the NBA, I know that’s probably not a lot of you, the thing that jumps out is the athleticism of the players. You can’t survive with just athletic skill or you will get swallowed whole.

  • Joe has developed that quick turnaround jump shot in the post. With his high release point and quick jumps, that shot is virtually unblockable. It’s always good to have a go to move.

  • Alexander has improved his foul shooting from shaky to very good. Anytime you knock down 80% of your free throws you’re doing alright.

  • Joe is a very good passer of the basketball. Sometimes he tries to force things, but he has shown that he can identify the open man.

  • By all indications, Joe is a good kid who gets along well with his teammates. Always a plus.

The decision, in my opinion, for Alexander will come down to two things: Does Joe want to just be in the NBA or does Joe want to be a difference maker. Right now, Alexander is good enough to be in the NBA. He could have a nice career and make more money than any other WBGV poster except The 25314, who’s earmarked for big things. However, if Joe wants to be someone big, it would benefit him to come back next year. Huggins has shown that he will base his offense around Alexander. With another year, Alexander can work on things like pick and roll and moving without the basketball- two things that will take his game to the next level.

Taking it a step further, the NBA Draft looks like it is going to be very deep this year with a number of talented underclassmen already declaring. When you factor the talent that is leaving and a not so highly regarded freshmen class coming in, Alexander has a certain chance to go in the top 10, as compared to likely going from 10-20 this year.

The ball is in Joe’s court, but the great thing for him is he really can’t make the wrong decision.