Tomorrow’s NBA draft is supposedly one of the deepest in history. Only time will tell, but thanks to shooting data collected by the nice folks at ESPN Stats & Info, we can preview the scoring tendencies of many of the top prospects. Let’s start at the top.
Parker is versatile, but relative to Andrew Wiggins, he’s much less active in the midrange and more active near the basket. Still, his blend of strong interior skills and a jumper good enough to stretch opposing defenses is what makes him a top offensive prospect. Now if he could only learn to play defense …
Wiggins is probably the most creative and most versatile scorer in the draft. At Kansas he generated volume near the basket, in the midrange, and from beyond the arc. He can spawn his own opportunities at will and can also play well off the ball. He’s an above-average shooter and finisher near the rim, but mediocre as a jump-shooter. However, few freshmen have incredible jump shots, and as Kawhi Leonard just showed us, judging a college prospect based on his teenage jumper is a fool’s errand.
Vonleh has a lot of potential, but thanks to limited playing time, he remains a bit of an unknown commodity. He only took 216 shots in Bloomington and most of those came via post-ups or putbacks. He showed promise as a shooter, but really didn’t have enough chances to demonstrate the perimeter aspect of his game.
More than two-thirds of Gordon’s shots last season came inside of eight feet. That makes sense, because like Julius Randle, he can’t really shoot beyond that. He made only 23 percent of his midrange jumpers.
You don’t need a shot chart for Embiid, but here’s one anyway. Almost all of Embiid’s shots at Kansas came near the basket, and he converted them at very high rates. He has potential as a jump-shooter, but at this point it’s only potential.
Randle is one of the worst jump-shooters in the draft; he made less than a quarter of his jumpers. But that’s not a dealbreaker — the league is full of terrible jump-shooters with other marketable skills, and Randle is one of the top rebounders in this class. He’s at his best turning his teammates’ misses into second-chance points. If the Lakers get him, look for those Kobe Assists to surge.
Smart is the best guard in the draft when it comes to scoring at the rim. What he lacks as a jump-shooter he makes up for near the basket. If he can develop a better jumper, he has the potential to become a poor man’s Russell Westbrook, a combo guard constantly able to get his team points near the rim or at the line.
Unlike Gordon and Randle, McDermott is a forward who can actually score effectively outside the paint. In fact, he’s one of the most efficient shooters in the draft. He’s already got NBA range, but has also demonstrated he can score in the midrange and near the basket as well. The question is whether his mid-major game will translate to the NBA.
Stauskas might be the best pure jump-shooter in the draft. He was born to be an elite 3-point shooter in the NBA and his numbers from college prove he’s ready.