I find Kris Wilkes to be one of the more fascinating prospects in this year's draft class. He's not a finished product by any means necessary, but the flashes he shows at certain times makes you go back and dive into more film. When I watched Wilkes at UCLA during his Freshmen year, when he was on his "A game" he looked like a young Kris Middleton. He's built the same way and plays a very similar style to Middleton, but consistency is the thing that is holding him back. He's 6'7.5" with a 6'10.25" wingspan, but he can shoot the ball and get hot in a hurry.
Now before you go and grab your pitchfork for me comparing a potential 2nd rounder to Kris Middleton...let's calm down and take a deep breath. For every reason that Wilkes can be a player, there's a reason he's projected in the 2nd round these days.
Wilkes attended the NBA Combine before turning in an "underwhelming" performance. So he's back to UCLA for his Sophomore campaign and honestly, it's probably for the best. With Wilkes returning, the hope was for UCLA to make Wilkes a focal point of their offense, while surrounding him with some young intriguing pieces. Well, let's just say it hasn't been a great year for the Bruins. Still, Wilkes has shown flashes of his ability that makes him an intriguing developmental piece. There's a lot to love but there's a lot of work need to be done when it comes to Kris' game. He's not a great shot creator off of the dribble, and he needs to be more of a factor on the defensive side of the ball. Wilkes also has a questionable shot selection at times and will find himself trying to do too much. In EVERY Draft class, there are players like Wilkes that fall through the cracks and land in the absolute perfect situation. Don't be surprised if Wilkes is one of those stories, the talent is there.
MEASUREMENTS FROM 2018 NBA DRAFT COMBINE
For a player that has the potential to develop into a wing that can shoot from deep, Wilkes has the measurements you would want. It's going to come down to whether his next team can find a way to put all of the pieces to the puzzle together for Wilkes and bring out his best basketball. Let's take a look at Kris' production currently over his career as a Bruin.
There's a lot we can take in from here but one thing that puzzles me is Wilkes 3P%. If you catch Wilkes on a good night, you might think to yourself that he's the best shooter in College Basketball. Wilkes has the ability to get hot in a hurry and stay there, but if you're looking from a number perspective...shooting 33.1% from outside isn't going to cut it. With the type of player Kris is, it would have been huge for him this year to be in the 40s from downtown. Some might say that could be from Kris being forced into increased production due to a down year from UCLA. Still, although I like to see the increase in PPG in his second year, there's not a lot of growth across the board. So when you watch Kris you have to ask yourself, is his lack of development because of the players surrounding him or is he going to struggle to improve?
VS #15 OHIO ST 12.22.18
ATTACKING THE RIM
Remember as I said earlier, Wilkes is lengthy for his position. If Kris wants to become a weapon and succeed at the next level, he's going to have to be someone who can be effective off of the ball. Here we see Wilkes on the move before catching and attacking the lane. Good use of his length to finish the and-one opportunity.
Although he demonstrates some extremely chaotic ball handling here, I like this clip of Wilkes for a number of reasons. First, it's great awareness on defense by Kris to read the pass. UCLA looks to be in zone defensively here, but still a great job of Kris to make a play. Despite being out of control in transition, it might be more impressive that Kris is able to gather himself at the last minute and finish this tough play.
VS ARIZONA 1.26.19
OFF THE DRIBBLE
This was one of Wilkes best games of this year so far. Although Wilkes doesn't have good numbers from deep, he can hurt you out there in a hurry. Arizona knows this so they close hard on Kris when he catches on the perimeter. Good shot fake here followed by a nice tough drive and finish with the left hand. Plays like this are going to make talent evaluators intrigued with the Sophomore.
SHOOTING ON THE MOVE
I put this clip in here because it's going to be a crucial development for Wilkes moving forward. He needs to be a consistent shooter on the move. Kris fades a little here on this shot but it's still an encouraging sign for his versatility as a scorer.
Another good look at Kris creating offense off the move as well as off the dribble. Here we get to see Wilkes shooting with a small window. If he can develop this sort of shooting with consistency he can make an impact at the next level.
VS #7 NORTH CAROLINA 11.23.18
SHOOTING ON THE MOVE PART II
Just another good look here at Wilkes ability to score on the move. Here, unlike the other clips, is an example of a catch and shoot situation for Wilkes. Yes, I know I'm picky about one dribble but it counts.
Great recognition by Wilkes here to set up his defender and create an angle for the cut to the basket. We get to see another example of Wilkes ability to finish around the rim here as well.
THREE POINT SHOOTING
The next two clips show a good example of Wilke's ability to shoot it from deep. The form might not look the prettiest, but Wilkes does a good job of getting the ball up quickly in his shooting pocket.
You can see why there's overall intrigue with Kris Wilkes. He's got plus size for a wing at 6'8" and has the potential to be a weapon from deep. Wilkes is going to have to continue to develop his frame, as well as his offensive versatility, in order to grow into a potential role player in the NBA. It wouldn't surprise me to see an organization take a flier on Wilkes in the 2nd, with the goal of developing him with experience in the G-League.