Shooters in the House.
The NBA Draft is rapidly approaching and we have officially crossed the less than 25 days remaining mark until the latest class of NBA Draft prospects find themselves a new home. Each draft class features a variety of talent that NBA teams are looking to add to their rosters. While this draft class offers a surplus of talent from the point guard position, it's always crucial to highlight players that have desired skill sets that should allow them to contribute immediately to an NBA team. In this segment, we want to highlight some of the notable shooting prospects in this draft.
There's an argument to be had that teams will covet shooting in this draft more than ever. With the way that the modern NBA has continued to develop over the recent years, we've seen these "specialists" play a major impact in creating offensive firepower for specific NBA teams. Sure, NBA teams like the Golden State Warriors with the splash brothers of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will always be dangerous. But remember, Curry and Thompson were both early lottery selections in their drafts. Not all of the teams looking for shooters are going to have such a high selection, which means teams will be passionately searching for players who could offer intriguing value as a floor-spacing threat.
It will be interesting to see if this draft class changes the "norm" when it comes to coveting shooters. In recent drafts, it seems as if a number of floor spacing players have fallen down draft boards. You can go all the way back to the 2003 draft, in which Kyle Korver fell to the 51st selection overall. It's been a strange trend that I believe will change this year. With players such as Miami Heat wing Duncan Robinson and even Tyler Herro, teams should be more determined to add players who can light it up from the outside. With that being said, here's a look at some of the best shooting prospects to keep an eye on in this years class.
AARON NESMITH, F, VANDERBILT
Nesmith is going to be the cream of the crop when it comes to potential shooting threats, and it's expected that you should hear his name sometime in the lottery. There's a serious argument that Nesmith is the best shooter in this class and he's a catch and shoot monster. Under head coach and former NBA veteran Jerry Stackhouse, Vanderbilt ran a lot of sets for Nesmith in which he was utilized running off of screens. An eye-opening stat for Nesmith is the fact that he ranked in the 100th (!) percentile via Synergy when it came to catch and shoot offense. Nesmith would only play 14 games for Vanderbilt this year after suffering a foot injury. After averaging 11 points per game as a freshman, Nesmith went on to average 23.0 points per game while shooting an absurd 51.2% from the field and 52.2% from 3. He will be the cream of the crop when it comes to a team that is looking to add a Spot Up shooting threat from outside.
TYRESE HALIBURTON, G, IOWA STATE
Yes, Haliburton and his "catapult" shooting form get some love from us here. Although some might be a bit "scared" from the long load up from Haliburton, the numbers and tape just flat out don't lie. The Iowa State sophomore was asked to take a major load increase in terms of an offensive standpoint this year, and his production spiked across the board. Haliburton thrives as a Spot Up asset and would be best used as an off the ball presence early on in his development. Haliburton ranked in the 99th percentile (via Synergy) in Spot Up offense and 93rd percentile in transition. He's an analytics darling, and a favorite to be one of the first selections from this list of shooters.
DEVIN VASSELL, G, FLORIDA STATE
A lengthy wing with a high release, Devin Vassell has been one of the hottest names in draft circles throughout the predraft process. Vassell hangs his hat on his ability to dominate on the defensive side of the ball with his fantastic feel for the game and outstanding basketball IQ. But his offensive game is something that is being a bit slept on. There's some serious potential on the offensive side of the ball, and that starts with his outside shooting ability. Standing at 6'7", Vassell is lengthy and has an ideal high release point that makes him a nightmare for opposing defenders. There are some serious Khris Middleton vibes to his game. The Florida State product went on to average 12.7 points per game for the Seminoles this year, while shooting 41.5% from deep and posting a 56.5 EFG%.
SADDIQ BEY, F, VILLANOVA
Bey is a personal favorite here at Backcourt Violation, and he's going to be a favorite when it comes to potential 3-and-D prospects in this year's class. The Villanova sophomore might not be the "sexiest" prospect in this class, but his ability to stretch the floor from outside will have the serious attention of NBA teams. Bey has one of the quickest releases of any prospect in this class and is comfortable shooting off of the dribble or on the move. The best part of Bey's game is that he doesn't need much space to get his shot off. Standing at 6'8" and 215 pounds, Bey has the ideal measurements and skillsets that teams will look for in a floor-spacing wing with versatility on both sides of the ball. Bey ranked in the 98th percentile (via Synergy) when it came to Spot Up offense. He would shoot 47.7% from the field last year as well as 45.1% from deep.
DESMOND BANE, G, TCU
Bane has been a hot name in draft circles. His stock has continued to rise throughout the draft process and he's expected to be selected somewhere in the middle-to-late first round. There's plenty to love about his game. Standing at 6'6" 215 pounds, Bane has the frame and versatility on both sides of the ball that you're looking for. But he's also a phenomenal and efficient shooter from deep. His mechanics are a bit funky, but the numbers don't lie and his consistency should make teams feel better. Bane ranked in the 91st percentile (via Synergy) in Spot Up offense. This past season for TCU, Desmond would shoot 45.2% from the field and 44.2% from deep.
JORDAN NWORA, F, LOUISVILLE
It's been fascinating throughout the draft process that the former Louisville Cardinal has not received more love. Nwora was on the eyes of scouts and talent evaluators around the league heading into this season, as most thought he was ready to take another leap forward in his development. Despite solid production across the board, his stock has cooled as of late. Still, Nwora can offer some serious value, if he ends up going somewhere early in the second round of this year's class. Nwora can light it up on the perimeter and has a lightning-quick release. His shot could use a little bit of fine-tuning, as he has moments where he brings the ball a little low, but that should go away with additional reps. Nwora went on to average 18.0 points per game for the Cardinals this year, including 44.0% from the field and 40.2% from deep. He would also finish the year ranked in the 94th percentile (via Synergy) in Spot Up opportunities, and posted a 46.7 FG% in those opportunities.
TYRELL TERRY, G, STANFORD
This will be one of the most notable shooters in this class that you need to keep an eye on. Terry has one of the widest ranges in this year's class, and he could be a "curveball" on draft night. There's no denying Terry's shooting ability from outside. He has "Steph Curry" range to his game and is a threat to pull up at any opportunity. Terry was extremely thin-framed last year at Stanford but has reportedly put on 20 pounds while preparing for the draft. If teams are convinced that Terry's additional weight can allow him to thrive offensively, they could jump all over him early in this draft. Terry gets the ball up in a hurry and has a high release. He would go on to average 14.6 points per game for Stanford this year while shooting 40.8% from deep.
MARKUS HOWARD, G, MARQUETTE
If you've been paying close attention to the college basketball world over the last couple of years, then you should be more than familiar with Markus Howard. An absolute flamethrower from outside, Howard has the ability to take over games with his shooting ability. He's a threat to launch the moment he crosses half court and has put up some eye-opening box scores over his career at Marquette. Howard is a bit undersized for a modern-day point guard at 5'11", but he could intrigue NBA teams as a potential microwave option off of the bench. A multi-level scorer, Howard averaged 27.8 points per game during his final year for Marquette, while shooting 41.2% from deep.
IMMANUEL QUICKLEY, G, KENTUCKY
This is where we get into some juicy sleepers in this draft class. While some might have Immanuel Quickley projected lower in their rankings, don't be surprised if a team jumps on Quickley's shooting ability somewhere early in the second round. When Quickley gets hot, he can stay there in a hurry. Will need some upper body strengthening, but the former Kentucky Wildcat went on to shoot 43.3% in Spot Up attempts this year, as well as 92.3% from the line.
SAM MERRILL, G, UTAH STATE
Merrill has skyrocketed up draft boards and now has himself positioned as a potential middle second-round pick. Some were a bit worried about his age (24 years old), but Merrill's skill set and ability to shoot it from deep has teams intrigued with his potential to contribute off of the bench. The former Utah State product finished the year with a 46.1% from the field and 41.0% from deep. Merrill is an intelligent basketball player who takes smart shots. He also finished the season with a 56.6 EFG%.