He might just be one of the more underrated players in the draft and in Syracuse history. Former Orange small forward C.J. Fair is one of the most accomplished players in this draft.
Many are wondering though if that accomplishment can transition into true NBA talent.
Playing the underdog is nothing new to Fair, who many believe faces an uphill battle at the NBA level. He has improved many facets of his game over the past few years, and looks to do so in the NBA.
He doesn’t lack confidence, yet he doesn’t go out of his way to overcompensate what he can do on the court.
It seems to be the conscientious that he’ll be the third member of Syracuse’s 2013-14 squad. Yet there is no reason to not believe in the fact that he could contribute right away to a team looking for a solid all-around forward.
Height: 6′ 8″
Wingspan: 6′ 9.5″
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Points Per Game: 16.5| Field Goal Percentage: 43% | Free Throw Percentage: 73% | Rebounds Per Game: 6.4 | True Shooting Percentage: 48% | Offensive Rating 101
From an interview with HoopsHype.com’s Raul Barrigon:
I’m a competitor and I like to push myself on both sides of the court. Sometimes teams might not need you to be the go-to guy, maybe they need you to take the open shot and just guard hard, then that’s what I would do. As my role gets bigger that’s when I’ll be able to do more things. I always take pride in being consistent, to produce at a high level.
C.J. Fair has proved at the college level that he is one of the best of this senior class. After returning for his senior season and passing on the NBA Draft, Fair wanted to make one thing clear.
That he can be the go-to-guy for his team.
He proved that by leading the Orange in scoring, and scoring in double figures in 31 of Syracuses 34 games.
The lefty has a great offensive skill set that he combines with top athletic ability to get to the hoop. Being the team player he is, Fair played a lot of power forward at Syracuse, despite having the frame of a small forward. It has proved that he has good vision across the court.
He is a very good spot up shooter that has solid form on his jumper. Teams that are interested in him already know that he has one of the best mid-range games in this whole draft. He has mastered it for the Orange, and it’s been a go-to for Jim Boeheim over the four years Fair has been in Syracuse.
There is no doubting that he’s exciting and when he has a hole through the lane and to the rack, you better watch out, because he is going to throw it down and make you look foolish.
Fair is creative in the lane and finds ways to score. One of the underrated parts of his game is his put back ability. He has great vision in the lane on incoming layups or shots and puts himself in position to get to the basketball and score.
He is a top notch athlete and an even better leader.
Defensively, his numbers don’t necessarily stick out, but in Jim Boeheim’s zone defense he was a stopper who got steals. For a small forward, he does a good job of rebounding and transitioning back to the offensive side of the floor.
Since his senior season has ended, he has taken his talent to Houston to work with the well respected John Lucas on being a better man to man defender as well as his consistency offensively and ball handling skill.
Lucas is a mastermind for getting the best out of players and showing them what their game is missing. Ask Kobe Bryant and LeBron James what he meant for them in their transition to the NBA from High school. He has been a destination for tons of projected draft picks the last few years.
Sometimes weaknesses can be way overblown. For Fair, that seems to be the case with teams worrying about his age, strength and position in the NBA.
Scouts seem to wonder if he can play small forward at the highest level, but to me, there is evidence he can compete with top notch athletes.
Fair is older than most of this senior class, so that will also be a black mark on his resume.
Many also worry about his defensive ability after playing four years of zone defense at Syracuse.
The playing style will be drastically different, but to think that Fair can’t eventually make the transition rather quickly seems ludicrous.
Coaches get paid to coach and players get paid to play.
Someone will see the value and be willing to teach him the missing nuances. For every scout out there that thinks it’s an issue, there is a general manager and coach who believes enough in their system to teach it to a player.
Fitting the Pistons Glove
Fair is a really good player and he could very well fit the role that has been left void by the likely departure of Rodney Stuckey. Fair is a score that can get to the glass and even with the right coaching can shoot from long range.
Fair shot below 30% from three in a limited amount of attempts this season after shooting nearly 50% his junior season. Yet most seem to agree that he has great form and fundamentals. If a shooting guru can spot what bugged Fair this season, he could become a good all-around player with a role on an NBA roster next season.