Breaking down Paras game
On Wednesday, UCLA picked up a commitment from 6-foot-5, 190-pound Los Angeles Cathedral 2016 shooting guard Kobe Paras. What kind of player are the Bruins landing in Paras? An import from the Philippines who sat out last season at Cathedral, Kobe's father, Benjie, was a two-time PBA (Philippines Basketball Association) MVP. The younger Paras is an athletic wing who thrives in transition due to his quickness, ball skills and body control. Paras was the starting small forward for the Philippines 18U team in the recent FIBA Asia Championships and was the team's second-leading scorer with 11.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in eight games. The junior has a classic wing frame with very long arms. He's best on offense as a slasher due to his extremely quick first step, attacking mindset, footwork and finishing ability. He's an explosive leaper who will throw down some high level dunks. Paras gets to the line a lot due to all those aforementioned attributes, although he can improve as a free throw shooter (31-55 in FIBA games). He doesn't have a broken stroke by any means, but he needs to get a lot better as a shooter because he'll always be able to score attacking the basket. At the FIBA games, he was 0-7 from three and found much more success shooting from midrange and attacking the basket. With hard work, there's every reason to think Paras will be able to eventually develop into a much better jump shooter. Despite an inconsistent jump shot, Paras can create his own shot due to his footwork and ball skills. He has a stepback jumper that he's made progress with, and could be a dangerous weapon for him in the future. While Paras has good vision and is a capable passer, he's ball dominant at times and will have to use his passing ability to find teammates when there isn't a clear look for him. Paras had 12 assists to 20 turnovers in the FIBA games, and while you can't typically expect a scorer like him to have a ton of assists, he possesses the vision to improve on those numbers, even if they're in an eight-game window. On offense he'll be able to play either the two or three in college and should be able to defend both wing positions at the next level as well, although giving consistent effort on defense will be an area to improve at moving forward. Besides continuing to develop as a shooter and defender, Paras will have to work on moving without the ball on offense and playing hard at all times. Like all kids his age, Paras will need to continue to develop to reach his potential, but he's a prospect with quite a bit of upside if he puts it all together.
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