Dec 22, 2011; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers guard Marcus Denmon (12) and Tigers guard Michael Dixon (11) celebrate their 78-74 victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Marcus Denmon is a lot like Gary Neal

Marcus Denmon was an effective scorer at Missouri. Denmon was the Big 12’s second-leading scorer with an average of 17.7 points per game on 46% shooting. That fact may excite some people but R.C. Buford will manage his expectations considering Denmon’s size isn’t conducive to consistent scoring.

Buford isn’t ready to make rash conclusions but it’s very likely that Denmon will enter training camp as a quasi-point guard despite his natural 2-guard tendencies. The decision will be made because Denmon won’t be able to create his own shot against taller defenders. Defensively the prospect of the 6’3″ Denmon defending guys like Kobe Bryant becomes even more frightening.

In this sense, Denmon is a lot like undrafted free agent Gary Neal. Both are shooters with endless range but, because of their size, they face an uphill battle to find minutes. They don’t have the requisite point guard mindset nor do they have the size to sustain their play. Neal carved himself a comfortable niche in the Spurs’ rotation and he had less collegiate pedigree than Denmon.

It’s not going to be easy. But at least Denmon has a relevant model to pattern his game after. Confidence in his shot along with a good showing in Summer League or with Austin could pay dividends for the Missouri product.

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