Chris Chiozza – Washington: As a junior at the University of Florida, Chiozza pounced on the national scene when he hit a running three-pointer as time expired in overtime against Wisconsin at Madison Square Garden to send the Gators to the Elite Eight. I recall having Florida winning that game on my bracket, so my personal affinity for Chiozza grew out of that moment. As a senior last season, Chiozza had a good year, although there was something fundamentally wrong with the gators which never could really get them off the ground. Their lack of player movement offensively seemed to be an issue, often a lot of standing on the perimeter while a ball screen was happening, and not much shooting to boot. Was Chiozza part of the problem? He can often be ball dominant. His assist numbers, though often high, prove just how much he is the final decision maker. Similarly, this summer when playing for the Washington Wizards, he was second in summer league in assists with 7.4 a game, only behind Frank Mason with eight per game.
Chiozza has a great feel for the game and can be incredibly proactive with his ball movement too. He sees plays develop and often delivers the ball at the perfect time for teammates to make their own play. He has the ability to pass guys open. His inability to shoot the ball from the perimeter consistently is a problem. His shot selection is always pretty sound, but his 30% shooting in summer league did not help his case. His size is an issue defensively, although, by the eye test, he didn’t get exposed in the way one would think. He is tough, strong, and again, proactive in his ability to feel the game.
There is…something about Chiozza’s game which always makes me want to give him another look or give him another chance. Is his game actually better suited for the NBA? It very well could be, although that doesn’t mean he will be given the opportunity. But he is someone worth keeping an eye on, and someone who will undoubtedly be given a contract somewhere in the world. With an uptick in his shooting capabilities, Chiozza could be a serviceable back-up point guard in the league on day.