Valentine is widely known as one of the most complete all-around player's in this year's draft class. During the 2015-16 season he earned the AP Player of the Year honors, was a First-Team All-American, Big Ten Player of the Year, First team All-Big Ten honors, while also leading the Spartans to the NCAA Tournament losing a shocking first round match-up with Middle Tennessee State.
The 6-foot-6, 220 pound guard averaged a staggering 19.2 points-per-game, 7.5 rebounds, 7.8 assists while connecting on 46.2 percent from the field, 44.4 percent from three-point and 85.3 percent on his free throws. The season he had is only comparable in recent memory to Evan Turner's junior year at Ohio State.
During the entire draft process, he has been drawing comparisons to fellow Spartan Draymond Green for his versatility on the basketball court. Valentine has a 6'10-6'11 wingspan, with an ability to shoot, rebound, dribble and pass at an exceptional level. Though he lacks stifling defense and eye-popping explosiveness, he finds a way to make an impact which is something Green is widely recognized for in Golden State.
Besides his lack of quickness and explosion, the main topic of discussion surrounding him during the draft process had been his knee issues. He's had knee injuries dating back to his days at Sexton High School.
He sat down with ESPN's Andy Katz to answer some of those questions and to also discuss what teams wanted to know about those issues during his pre-draft visits.
Valentine's intangibles have not been in question and neither has his shooting ability. He is one of the most consistent shooters in the draft, as you can tell from his 44.4 percent three-point average, making 3.4 three-pointers out of 7.5 per-game. He's able to spot-up, pull-up and come off screens making him not just consistent, but one of the more dangerous shooters.
He's known as a winner, competitor and a high character player. If you don't believe this statement, just watch this video after the Spartans suffered their first round loss in the NCAA Tournament when head coach Tom Izzo broke down talking about what it will mean losing him for the program. Izzo's Hall-of-Fame coaching resume is extensive, so if a player can make him do this, then there's something special about the player.
Valentine is from Lansing, Michigan and coming out of high school was the 98th player in the 2012 ESPN 100. Though he wasn't a McDonald's All-American, the pinnacle he reached at Michigan State is something most college players don't reach. The rise he made since his freshman season, averaging just five points-per-game that year to now, shows the improvement he should continue to make during his NBA career.