2015-16 Season Stats:
40% from the field
36% from three
77% from the free-throw line
Weight: 175 pounds Height w/shoes: 6′ 2″. Wingspan: 6'4″. Max Vert: N/A
Marcus Paige is a very good point guard who is very good at shooting while being a good leader of his teams. "Good" is an accurate descriptor for his game. Peaking in his sophomore season with a career-high average of a little over 19 points per game, Paige has been rather solid the other three years of his college career. Solid isn't bad, however, so Paige still has plenty that he can offer an NBA team once he inevitably throws his name into the NBA Draft.
For starters, although Paige is not nearly as short as the All-Star point guard for the Boston Celtics, there is a striking similarity between how he and Isaiah Thomas play their games. Both are predicated around strong perimeter (lefty) shooting mixed in with creative finishes around the rim. Although Paige, in his early years, avoided contact and was poor at finishing around the rim over length, he has improved that aspect of his game in recent years. With that being said, shooting a sub-40% season is by no means a statistical comfort for any team looking to draft him, regardless of how much the offense is predicated on his own play.
Marcus Paige is a pretty smooth shooter even though he shot 35% from three this past season. He can kill opponents off the dribble and in spot-up situations, and that will get him time on NBA courts due to his ability to be a threat from deep. On top of this, Paige is a very crafty dribbler, adding multiple change-of-pace moves and hesitations to get to the rim. Paige also added a nice floater to his game, allowing him to finish before the contact reaches him. That's a solid way to mask one of his deficiencies.
On the defensive end, Paige has some tenacity. My favorite thing about his defensive ability is his lateral quickness. He slides effortlessly, and because of it, he contains enemy dribbles and keeps his man on the perimeter. Due to his ability to defend in this manner, he's excellent at containing opposing pick-and-rolls by going under screens. His weakness comes, though, with his lack of strength.
Paige has difficulty fighting through screens when he tries to go over the screen, and that puts the rest of the defense in a tough spot, especially if the big-man defending the pick-and-roll doesn't hedge hard enough. Also, when stronger and bigger point guards try to get in the lane, Paige's quickness doesn't do anything to stop them. He gets pushed around in the paint, and that side of his defense is a problem. His sub-par wingspan also does him little good in these situations, and that limits his defensive potential.
Intangibles-wise, Paige is a good leader, and he doesn't give up. His big shot in the title game against Villanova is a great indicator of how much he wants to win. No one ever thought Isaiah Thomas would be a big deal in this league, but now he's leading a Celtics team to the playoffs, potentially with home court advantage in the first round, and he has way more defensive deficiencies. If Paige continues to work hard, he can carve out a role in the NBA. As of now, perhaps his tournament run will help his stock. He currently projects to be a second-round pick, but he might be able to creep into the late-first round, similar to how Shabazz Napier made a first-round run following a strong tournament showing.