L.J. Peak’s junior season at Georgetown was by far the best of his college career. On both ends of the floor many saw massive improvement from his sophomore campaign, but what does that mean for his pro prospects?
After developing into one of the leaders for the Hoyas and their best all-around player Peak looks to hear his name called in Brooklyn.
Peak was the most versatile player for Georgetown last season and emerged as one of the better players in the conference. The scoring was there as Peak averaged 16.3 points per game which ranked seventh in the Big East last season and the way he did it was even more impressive. Peak shot 48.1 percent from the field, which ranked in the top 15 in the conference. It showed great efficiency from a guard who took almost 11 shots per game last season and needed to carry a good portion of the scoring load.
The other impressive part of Peak’s game is his ability to score in different ways. He can get to the basket and score with contact or make something happen for his teammates. Peak’s 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists help to demonstrate that he would do anything his team needed on a particular night. That is valuable at any level of basketball.
Peak also makes an impact in transition with his speed and athleticism while having the skill to be creative and get his own shot in a half court set as well.
When watching Peak play, another tool in his kit that stands out is his ball handling. Peak can use that skill to make a shot out of nothing or attack a player in isolation. All of that adds up to a formidable player on the offensive end of the floor.
Size + Length = Defense
Peak was able to do it on both ends of the floor last season and his defense was top notch for Georgetown. Obviously, John Thompson III was a big reason why Peak became a great defender, but his physique certainly played a factor as well.
Listed at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, Peak provides a major roadblock for defenders trying to get into the lane. His size and athleticism allow Peak to guard multiple positions including forwards as we saw at times when the Hoyas would play small last season. Peak would more than hold his own and make things difficult on opposing teams. This part of his game is what Peak hopes he can showcase at the next level.
“I want to guard the best player every night and make it really tough for him to score,” Peak said to USA Today’s Hoopshype. “I’m going to be following him everywhere he goes. And I’m going to be playing the passing lanes too.”
The other measurement that sticks out is his 6-foot-10 wingspan. Those long arms grabbed 1.1 steals per game last season and made opposing guards think twice when going up against Peak one on one. They say defense wins championships and that box is definitely checked off for Peak. His ability on the defensive end of the floor is ready for the next level.
If you have watched basketball at all over the last few seasons, then you know why this is such a vital part of the game now. Three-point shooting is extremely important to have in the NBA for players at all positions now. For proof, look no further than the World Champion Golden State Warriors. Peak struggled shooting it from downtown last season after making a huge improvement as a sophomore. From freshman to sophomore year, Peak went from shooting an appalling 24.6 percent from three-point range to 40.9 percent his second season. However, Peak shot just 32.7 percent as a junior with only a slight increase in the amount of shots from distance per game. It is extremely important that Peak improves that figure in the pros if he wants to have a long career. The good news is that improving your shot is not the worst thing to have to work on when making the transition from college to the pro level of basketball.
Lack of Aggression
At times, we saw inconsistency from Peak last season. Many players at all levels deal with that because it is a tough sport. However, Peak’s biggest issue with inconsistency comes on the offensive side of the ball. Georgetown lost some games last year when Peak was not aggressive on the offensive end of the floor. We all know how great Peak was in the open floor and driving inside last season, but there were times when he would be too passive. Now Rodney Pryor, Georgetown’s leading scorer, needed his touches as well, but Peak’s passive plays would sometimes lead to turnovers or bad shots on the offensive end. That aggressiveness is what makes Peak so good on both ends, which is why it needs to be consistent for him to be successful in the NBA.
Of course, this does not reflect poorly on Peak’s overall game, but it is important to note because when Peak finds himself starting out on an NBA team he will need to take advantage of the minutes he gets on the floor. He will need to be aggressive right from the start and when he is Peak is at his best.
Some believe Peak will be one of the 60 players selected in the draft on Thursday. Draft Express has Peak ranked 46 in their top 100 prospects and CBS Sports has Peak ranked 58 on their big board. Others do not feel the same way about Peak and some mock drafts do not feature him being selected. During this process, Peak has worked out for teams like the Lakers, 76ers, Wizards and Hawks. All of those teams would be solid fits for Peak and places where he could make an impact off the bench if given the chance. The possibilities truly are endless, but it will be interesting to see where Peak will go if he is selected. With Creighton’s Justin Patton a virtual first round lock, it will be interesting to see where the other big prospects from the Big East will go in the NBA Draft.