2022 NBA Draft: Pistons in Search Of — High-Level Scorers

Detroit Bad Boys

Now that we’ve looked at jumpy-jump guys and shooters, it’s time to look at guys that are just a straight bucket. As the title suggests, these guys are known for scoring a lot of points. Some may have some overlying skills of being explosive or being good shooters, but what they all have in common is a penchant for putting the ball in the hoop a lot.

Let me be clear here from the jump, I don’t want this to turn into a list of volume scores. Volume scorer is a dirty word in a lot of scouting circles as it saddles a guy with a rep as someone who just wants to put up his shots and does not care about efficiency and is not always a good passer. While that may be fair to say about some of the guys on this list, I don’t want this to be the label that everybody gets here. As with every different player type, there is a lot of diversity even within one particular skill set.

As always, I will give you some stats and I’m also going to give you a brief breakdown of each of these high-level scorers. This time around, I’m really only going to be using a few different stats. Points per game because obviously that is where most people start when they look at a scorer. I will also give you their shooting splits to give you an idea how efficient or inefficient they may be as a scorer. Finally, I will be giving you the player’s free-throw attempt rate which is the ratio of free-throw attempts to field goal attempts. This gives you an idea of how often a player gets to the line and adds that extra component to their scoring. If you’re not sure what a good percentage is, being at 30% or above is average, being above 40% is good and being above 50% is exceptional.

So with that out of the way, let’s go get some buckets!

The UDFA Tier

Antoine Davis, PG/SG Detroit Mercy

  • 23.5 points per game, 21.5% Free Throw Attempt Rate
  • 47.3% on two-point attempts, 37.3% in three-point shots, 86.9% on Free Throws

NCAA Basketball: Detroit at Michigan State

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s start this list off right with acknowledging one of the greatest scorers in Michigan basketball history—and no that is NOT hyperbole. Davis has averaged over 23 points per game all four seasons at Detroit Mercy and is already the school’s all-time leader in Points, 3-Point Field Goals, Usage, and Assist Percentage. And barring an injury or some freak slump in production, Davis is also on track to end up being Detroit Mercy’s all-time leader in Free-Throw Percentage and Points Per Game. This is even more impressive when you consider the guys he passes on these lists include: Dave DeBusschere, Spencer Haywood, John Long, Willie Green, Earl Cureton, and Yoda himself Rashad Phillips. This is some rare company.

I REALLY debated putting Davis on the shooters list, but he is more of a microwave scorer than JUST a shooter. It cannot be overstated, however, that Davis’ jump shot is on another level. Ladies and gentlemen, here we have the only player on this list (and quite possibly the only player in college basketball ever) who averaged over 10 attempts from three every year in college while posting a career three-point percentage of 36%. Really, if it were not for his shooting struggles in his sophomore year, he would have been able to shoot above 36% all four years at Detroit Mercy. In addition to this, he also posts a career 86.9% from the free-throw line (remember he is the University’s all-time leader here). If he drains the remainder of his free throws this seasons at a high clip, then he would be able to post the third straight year of shooting over 90% from the line. Oh, and did I also mention he is currently posting a 30.5% assist percentage?

BUT as we are well aware, just because you get buckets in college doesn’t necessarily mean you will in the NBA—and there are reasons for why Davis is on the UDFA tier. He is listed at 6-foot-1 and 165 pounds so his size is immediately going to hinder him in the eyes of many evaluators who do not want someone that skinny. And in terms of areas for improvement in his game, this lack of size shows up most in his struggles to finish at the rim. Currently he is only shooting 49.1% at the rim. He also does not take many shots at the rim as only 12.4% of his offense comes on shots at the rim. He does, however, shoot 43.8% on his midrange shots in addition to the 37.3% from three he is currently posting so the majority of his offense comes in areas where is does not struggle to be efficient.

If the Pistons wanted to comb the UDFA market for a scoring punch off the bench who can also create for others, then really they should take the short drive down M-10 to find Antoine Davis ready to put up buckets.

Isiaih Mosley, SG/SF Missouri State

  • 19.5 points per game, 27.1% Free Throw Attempt Rate
  • 53.6% on two-point attempts, 42.1% in three-point shots, 91.9% on Free Throws

Syndication: The News-Leader

Andrew Jansen/News-Leader / USA TODAY NETWORK

Another big-time scorer who has not gotten enough due, Mosley has really exploded over these past two seasons. The pride of Columbia, Missouri, coming out of Rock Bridge High School, Mosley was a role player in his first season scoring just 8.3 points per game and putting up just 218 shot attempts. Fast forward to today and he is the seventh leading scorer in the nation with 566 points.

As you can see in his shooting splits, Mosley is not wasting ANY shot attempt he takes. He mainly operates in the midrange and from three where he excels in both areas. While you can see his 42.1% from three in his shooting splits, he also posts a 49.4% on his midrange shots. He has a great handle, soft touch on floaters, and an awesome step-back three he utilizes to gain separation at any time. As the Director of Scouting at NBA Big Board Rafael Barlowe stated of Mosley, “he might be the best one-on-one player in college basketball.” That’s backed up by ranking in the 92nd percentile in isolation scoring—and he actually ranks in the 90th percentile in a bunch of different categories. And all of this at 6-foot-5 and 201 pounds means Mosley size the size to play a variety of positions on the court.

Unfortunately, I do think his lack of passing keeps the idea of playing him at point guard out of the question. While he is second in assists on the Bears’ roster with 63, his assist percentage is just 15.2% so he not generating a ton of extra looks for his teammates. He is also struggling to finish at the rim as he is posting a 58.3% on shots in that area. This may end of being a non-factor in the NBA as he currently only plays with one teammate at 6-foot-8 or taller, but he is also not an amazing athlete and has to rely on his handle and bag of tricks to get by his defender. No doubt he DOES get by his defender more often than not, but in the NBA only a select few in history can do this on a consistent basis while also not being a top level athlete.

If the Pistons are looking for a scorer with size who could also project to be a good wing shooter at the very least, then Mosley is the perfect pick.

Jamaree Bouyea, PG/SG San Francisco

  • 17.3 points per game, 19.7% Free Throw Attempt Rate
  • 56.3% on two-point attempts, 38.8% in three-point shots, 77.0% on Free Throws

NCAA Basketball: San Francisco at California

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Leader of the 21-7 San Francisco Dons, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound guard has a game that fits the modern NBA perfectly. Bouyea’s shooting profile is what DBB contributor ScottFL and I like to call a Morey Special as almost all of his shots come at the rim or from long range, which is the preferred shot profile of GM Darryl Morey. As of now, 41.2% of Boyea’s attempts are at the rim, 42.8% come from three-point distance, and what remains is a very small 16.0% of attempts from the midrange.

He also is very efficient (another aspect of the Morey Special) on his shot attempts. He shoots 63.0% on shots at the rim and 40.0% on his midrangers. This translates to a True Shooting Percentage of 59.1%. This is even more of a positive when you see he does not have the highest usage on his team at 23.6%. Why is this a positive you may ask? Role player scale-ability! He doesn’t demand the ball, scores more than his teammates, AND wastes very few shots. Again, he IS the Morey Special.

Obviously being 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds is going place him in the “size concerns” category, but he is also a fifth year senior so he had the double whammy of being an older prospect with size concerns. He will be 23 on draft night. This is also more of a concern for Bouyea as he did not show he could be a good shooter or scorer until last season. In his first 3 years he scored under 13 points per games and had a career high of 31.0% from three in his junior season. Some people might chalk up these last two seasons to getting fully acclimated to the college game and worry it would take a similar 3 year period for Bouyea to get acclimated to the pro game—by which time he will be 26.

Bouyea definitely could fill a Seth Curry-like role if everything breaks right, however, as he is going to be as efficient with his shot selection as possible.

Iverson Molinar, PG/SG Mississippi State

  • 18.3 points per game, 41.8% Free Throw Attempt Rate
  • 55.2% on two-point attempts, 28.0% in three-point shots, 87.8% on Free Throws

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi State at Alabama

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

A preseason favorite for many evaluators out there, Molinar attacks you on all three levels. Molinar has a fantastic shot distribution as 32.4% of his shots come at the rim, 41.2% come in the midrange, and 26.4% come from downtown. This is incredibly hard for defenses to game plan against as he can switch it up when you think you know what he wants to do.

ANYONE who is going to lobby the “size concerns at Molinar needs to just stop that thought right now. Molinar has two things to combat these size concerns: his passing ability and his ability to finish at the rim. Currently, Molinar is posting a 24.8% assist percentage and an 11.7% Turnover Raito. He also leads the Bulldogs in assists with 102 so he can play point guard. And, on his shots taken at the rim, he is shooting 64.9%. So not only can he play point to offset size concerns, he also is able to finish at a high rate to give the indication that his size does not effect his ability to be effective.

Unfortunately, this year Molinar is struggling mightily from three-point range. Last year he did shoot 43.6% and the year before 37.1% so this is a recent issue for Molinar. He will have to answer questions about why he has dropped off so dramatically from long range this season. His shooting form MIGHT factor into this for some teams. I personally like Molinar’s shot as he has a very high release point—something that smaller guys should try to have to combat getting the shot swatted so easily. But, even I admit it seems he does not release the ball at the top of his shot all the time. Still, someone who shoots 87.8% on 147 free throws has to have some sound mechanics in that shot.

If the Pistons want a scoring guard who can get to the rack, finish, and run the point then Molinar is tough to beat.

Bryce Hamilton, SG UNLV

  • 21.5 points per game, 29.2% Free Throw Attempt Rate
  • 48.9% on two-point attempts, 36.7% in three-point shots, 74.3% on Free Throws

NCAA Basketball: UNLV at San Diego State

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Hamilton is not a name that is thrown out there in NBA Draft circles, but he has put in some major work this season. Currently the third leading scorer in the nation, Hamilton certainly has thrown away his shot. He has really come on in the last 11 games as he is averaging 25.5 points per game while shooting 49.2% from two, 42.1% from three, and 72.3% from the Free Throw line. Hamilton is the definition of a microwave scorer as he will heat up in a hurry and burn you. Case in point is on January 28, 2022, when he scored 45 of UNLV’s 88 points to beat a very good Colorado State team.

He also does flash as a capable passer. Currently he is posting a 18.1% assist percentage and a very impressive 9.7% turnover ratio. His turnover ratio is incredibly impressive in my eyes as he also sports one of the highest usage rates of any player in college basketball at 35.0%. It is anomalous that a basketball player posts a usage over 30% and a turnover rate under 10%. And while 18.1% isn’t exactly point guard material, it also does place him over fellow microwave scorer Isiaih Mosley and guys ranked in the lottery like Johnny Davis (15.9% currently).

Hamilton, however, is most likely going to be project as more of a shooter than scorer in NBA team’s eyes. UNLV runs more of a ball movement offense where not a lot of guys dribble. Hamilton is more often than not the ONLY guy allowed to create in isolation situations. Here he shows a pretty basic handle, but you don’t see him busting out many dribble moves and you don’t seem him running pick-and-roles either. While this may not effect Hamilton’s ability to be successful in the NBA, it will be something he has to work on if he wants to show teams he is more than just a shooter.

Listed at 6’4” and 205 pounds the Pistons could see shades of an old friend Wayne Ellington and look to add Hamilton to start out in that shooter role and hope his handles advance to become a menace off the dribble.


The 2nd Rounders Tier

David Roddy, Colorado State

  • 19.4 points per game, 38.0% Free Throw Attempt Rate
  • 61.4% on two-point attempts, 45.8% in three-point shots, 70.8% on Free Throws

NCAA Basketball: Fresno State at Colorado State

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The most unique player in the draft. You will notice I did not list a position for Roddy as he is LISTED as a guard in Sports-Reference, but at 6-foot-5 and 252 pounds, he offers a ton of versatility. Right now, in addition to his team-leading 485 points, he also leads the Rams in rebounds, free throw attempts, two-point attempts, blocks, block rate, and minutes played. Oh and he also boasts an assist percentage of 20.6% (dropping 75 total dimes so far this season) and is second on the team in steals (28) and three-point attempts (83).

As far as scoring the ball and why he is on this list, though, he really can do everything. He WILL set screens and operate as a roll man who will then dunk and finish the play. He DOES post up anyone with great core and lower body strength and movement. He HAS handles he uses to attack guys off the dribble to finish or run drive-and-kicks. AND he can shoot threes and drains them at an incredibly high rate. This bears itself out in his shooting numbers where he posts 72.8% at the rim, 44.7% in the midrange, and the aforementioned 45.8% from three. He also is active and engaged on defense where you do see him make switches, slide his feet, and stay with guards in addition to bodying other big men.

Some teams may question his size and conditioning, however. Because this is professional sports body expectations are of the highest order and I am sure those that value a certain physical specimen type of prospect will have major pause with Roddy. He also falls in the PJ Tucker mold of big man skills and mindset in the body of someone the NBA won’t see as a big man. At 6-foot-5, Tucker had to play five seasons overseas before getting another shot in the NBA. Grant Williams is probably who Roddy will be compared to and also a reason why I personally have a hard time really talking about his weaknesses, because, like Williams, I believe he is just going to work because he does so many different things well he will find a role. IF a team expected him to be more than a role player, then maybe it would be more of a thing.

If you want the Pistons to nab a guy with PJ Tucker potential in the second round, the start routing for Roddy immediately!

Alondes Williams, PG/SG Wake Forest

  • 19.9 points per game, 36.8% Free Throw Attempt Rate
  • 60.4% on two-point attempts, 32.5% in three-point shots, 71.2% on Free Throws

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Florida State

Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

A scoring machine who sat behind Austin Reaves the past two years at Oklahoma, Williams decided to transfer to Wake Forest in the offseason and has exploded onto the scene as a result. Currently, Williams is the 10th leading scorer in the country. He also leads his team in rebounds with 193 and assists at 142 so he certainly can score, pass, and rebound all at a high level.

As laid out by our man Rafael Barlowe, Williams has handles, footwork, and the scoring instincts to make any and all defenders dance. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 201 pounds, he always seems bigger to me because how he breaks guys down on the dribble before going through the big men that are forced to rotate over after Williams shakes the initial defender. He will also throw down some rim rattling dunks seemingly every game that you know give his team that extra spark to step up their play as well. He is also shooting 65.9% at the rim so he is finishing no matter what.

Williams will be 23 years old by the time draft night roles around so the age concerns will be his biggest obstacle. Even now when you look on sites like Tankathon, you will not find Williams in their mock draft. To me, this seems irresponsible as Williams has a handle, size, and the ability to get the rim and finish at a high level that warrants at the very least a second-round selection. Unfortunately, Williams is going to have to answer questions about if he is a one-year wonder as this is the only year where he has scored at least 7.0 points per game and taken at least 6.0 field goal attempts per game. The NBA Draft is filled with many of these types of stories and some teams may not want to try and see if a 23-year-old rookie really has major potential as a scorer.

Despite his age, though, I think Alondes Williams is one of the best options in this draft cycle if the team is looking for another scoring guard who at the very least can be a Jordan Clarkson-like scoring threat coming off the bench.

Caleb Love, SG/PG North Carolina

  • 15.3 points per game, 30.0% Free Throw Attempt Rate
  • 38.2% on two-point attempts, 41.1% in three-point shots, 84.2% on Free Throws

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at North Carolina

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

While his point per game total might seem much less than the rest of the guys on this list, Love is without a doubt a scorer first and foremost. Utilized primarily in a North Carolina offense with three shooters who provide space to leading scorer and center Armando Bacot, Love has still managed to excel in that role while being the Tar Heels go-to scorer and ball handler.

Posting a team high 21.1% usage almost all the offense in Chapel Hill is run with Love. This is evidence first in Love’s team lead in field goal attempts at 337 (186 from two-point range and 151 from three). While I easily could have put Love on the shooters list due to his 44.8% 3PAr, I think his ability to attack off the dribble sets him apart from being JUST a shooter. He has step back and he can pull up from three in a variety of situations which is always a much coveted skill in the NBA. He also always probes the defense off the dribble and finds his open teammates for easy buckets. While his 21.1% assist percentage does not seem very high, it does lead the team as do Love’s 101 assists. Coach Hubert Davis also stresses that playmaking duties are shared among Love, RJ Davis and Leaky Black (all posting 14.0% assist percentage or higher) so he does not have as many opportunities to create as others on this list.

BUT, there is no excuse for shooting under 39% from two. Love has a high level big man in Armando Bacot and his team leading 434 points to draw defenders to the rim. He has FIVE teammates in the regular rotation who shoot 35.9% or higher from three to draw defenses away from him. YET, he still remains alarmingly inefficient inside the three-point arc. Currently he shooting an abysmal 47.7% at the rim and an even worse 29.6% on his attempts in the midrange. He HAS TO find something like a floater or a pull-up jumper to keep defense honest and actually guard him as something other than a pure shooter.

If you believe in that UNC pedigree or want the Pistons to take a chance on a young guard with upside outside of the lottery, then we got nothing but Love for you bay-bey!


First Round…? Tier

Bryce McGowens, SG/SF Nebraska

  • 16.8 points per game, 48.4% Free Throw Attempt Rate
  • 47.4% on two-point attempts, 27.0% in three-point shots, 84.0% on Free Throws

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Nebraska

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

McGowen is a wildcard in this draft who I am much higher on than the consensus—which is why I will write a full post on him once Nebraska’s season ends in March. Listed at 6-foot-7 and 179 pounds, McGowens is a skinny, strong, tough wing that knows how to get buckets.

FINALLY, we have our first scorer who can get to the free-throw line at a high rate. McGowens seeks contact and does not play out of control where he draws unnecessary fouls getting into guys bodies. To date he has taken 162 free throws which is more than Keegan Murray (135), Paolo Banchero (129), Jaden Ivey (155), and more than double the amount of Chet Holmgren (80). This is even more impressive when you see McGowens leads the Cornhuskers in field goal attempts at 335. In addition to carrying the lead scoring load on offense, he makes sure to draw contact and get extra buckets. He also stresses getting to the rim in his game as 40.9% of his field goal attempts come on shots at the rim. McGowens is always in attack mode!

Yes that three-point percentage is bad and his percentages overall are less than stellar. Not only is he posting that putrid 27.6% from three, but per hoop-math, he is shooting 58.4% on his shots at the rim and a straight-up awful 27.6% from the midrange. He also has 36 assists versus 53 turnovers so there are real concerns about him having tunnel vision. BUT, McGowens is in a tough situation on a Nebraska team that is not built to compliment him. Also McGowens is the second tallest guy out there most nights as Derrick Walker, listed at 6’8”, is the only “bigger” teammate who has played consistent minutes.

As I said, I will revisit McGowens in more detail here in March, but until then just know that is you have been one of the Piston fans out there clamoring for another player who can put consistent pressure on the rim, then McGowens is your guy!

Jaden Hardy, SG/PG G League Ignite

  • 17.7 points per game, 16.7% Free Throw Attempt Rate
  • 40.1% on two-point attempts, 26.9% in three-point shots, 88.2% on Free Throws

NBA: G League-Vegas Showcase-G League Ignite vs Grand Rapids Gold

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit’s own, Jaden Hardy was the highest profile signing for the NBA’s G League Ignite team this season. Unfortunately, things have not gone according to plan as you can see in Hardy’s shooting numbers. Still, he is able to drop points in a hurry and has some skills that NBA teams will take a gamble on.

Number one is Hardy’s ability to score off the dribble and get to his jumper from anywhere on the court. 54.2% of his offense is made unassisted and that number goes up even more when you look at his two-point offense where he creates 64.7% of his own offense. I also think that Hardy is a developing passer as he has amassed 38 assists in 12 games. I would not say he projects as a point guard, but you do see him trying out more and more passes as he becomes more familiar with his teammates and studies more and more film.

Yes, the percentages are bad. No, I have no defense for this. Here we do have someone who will get the inefficient volume scorer label by many a scout because just about all his percentages are bad. While he leads the Ignite with 212 points you can see his shooting splits are bad, and this also translates over into his where he has a True Shooting Percentage of 48.2% and an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 40.2%. All of this on 28.6% usage will make it incredibly difficult for this label of inefficient volume scorer not to stick. I do think, however, Hardy is in a tough situation for him to thrive and will definitely revisit him in March as well to break down the context in which he operates.

If you want to keep it in the family, then plead for the Pistons to draft one of their recent basketball sons in Jaden Hardy.


The Cream of the Crop

Johnny Davis, SG/PG Wisconsin

  • 20.9 points per game, 38.9% Free Throw Attempt Rate
  • 48.7% on two-point attempts, 33.0% in three-point shots, 77.1% on Free Throws

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Indiana

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

A leading candidate for NCAA Men’s National Player of the Year, Johnny Davis may be the guy doing the heaviest of heavy lifting on this list. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 196 pounds, Davis is a guard who scores in so many different ways.

As I mentioned, Davis is generating a lot of offense for his team. How much you ask? Well for starters he has scored 125 more points than his next closest teammate (Brad Davison), he has taken 99 more shots than the next closest Badger (Davison again), and he has taken 120 more two-point attempts than the guy in second place on his team (Tyler Wahl). Having scored 502 point so far this season, Davis is the leading scorer out of the three scorers here at the Cream of the Crop. And while role and talent around him does play a role in Davis NEEDING to take all these shots, he has been quite possibly the most consistent scorer here logging only one game where he failed to reach double figures and only four games where he failed to score at least 15 points. And he does all this in a variety of ways using his handle to attack off the dribble, his pullup to punish in the midrange, and spot-ups from downtown. Just ask Jaden Ivey how tough it is to defend him.

Advanced statistics, unfortunately are not going to favor Davis. His True Shooting percentage sits at 53.9%. He posts a monster usage percentage of 32.2% And, he de-emphasizes the three-point shot in his arsenal with a 23.2% three-point attempt rate. Also, he is not a ball hog with tunnel vision who never passes, but his assist numbers are average. To date he has 56 total assists and an assist percentage of 15.9%. I think he is another guy that requires more contextualization in this regard and don’t see these things as a net negative, but I also understand the argument if you feel like Davis will need the ball a lot to succeed in the NBA.

If you want another high-level scoring threat next to Cade to develop long term, then hitch your hopes to Davis up in the lottery.

Jaden Ivey, SG/PG Purdue

  • 17.3 points per game, 47.4% Free Throw Attempt Rate
  • 52.8% on two-point attempts, 36.9% in three-point shots, 74.8% on Free Throws

Syndication: Journal-Courier

Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

This will now be the third time breaking down Jaden Ivey, but that just speaks to the level of player that he is! Not only is he a vertical spacer, but he has emerged as a major scoring threat who utilizes his top-notch athleticism to get buckets. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, he is an almost identical physical specimen to Victor Oladipo, but he also has Oladipo’s ability to get to the rack and draw contact.

While many want to draw comparisons to Russell Westbrook and Ja Morant, I see Ivey as more peak era Oladipo who can get to the rim via great athleticism and strength. Ivey is a transition terror who can grab a rebound, outrun the entire opposition, and dunk on you before the opposing center even crosses halfcourt. Like Oladipo, he has some guard skills while operating more like scoring wing despite being 6-foot-4. He is third on Purdue’s roster with 84 assists and second in Assist Percentage at 19.4%. Ivey sees 77.1% of his offense either come at the rim or from three-point range (we have another Morey Special maybe?) which also indicates he is providing what someone like a Bennedict Mathurin does to supplement his guards and big men.

My personal concern for Ivey stems from him being extremely well insulated at Purdue. He has two top level big men in Trevion Williams and Zach Edey who are on the court at all times to draw defenders toward them to try and keep them out of the paint. Sasha Stefanovic, Isaiah Thompson, and Mason Gillis are also normally in the starting lineup with Ivey and all of them shoot 40.6% or better from three which provides Ivey with airplane runways for driving lanes at times. As Sam Vecenie and Matt Pennie asked in a recent episode of the Game Theory Podcast, do you believe Ivey is helped by the system at Purdue or do you think the system might be holding him back? This can also factor over into how you view his jump shot as his teammates do help him get more easy looks than most. Plus, he has had times this year where he is struggling to keep his Free Throw percentage over 70% so that will also give some reason to pause.

If you want more explosiveness out of the guard spots and someone who can grab-and-go any time, then Ivey is the pick for you.

Paolo Banchero, PF/C Duke

  • 16.9 points per game, 36.7% Free Throw Attempt Rate
  • 52.9% on two-point attempts, 29.9% in three-point shots, 77.5% on Free Throws

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Duke

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The peak of the mountain top, Banchero is the scorer all the other guys on this list are trying to catch. Compared to guys like Carmelo Anthony, Shareef Abdul-Raheem, and Derrick Coleman, Banchero is a rare big man with fluidity and technical craft to do just about anything he wants when it comes to scoring.

A great jump shooter who can attack out of the mid post and also operate as a roll man, the 6-foot-10, 250-pound Banchero is deployed in a variety of ways. Rather than me trying to explain it, I think the game he played against Florida State on January 18, 2022, best exemplifies all that Banchero can do as a scorer and how he leverages that into his passing and rebounding. Attacking off the dribble, posting up, drawing contact and getting to the line, throwing lobs to his center, getting his teammate free on direct handoffs. He does so much that you just don’t see in many guys his size.

He is also a solid passer posting a 15.9% assist percentage and 73 total assists (which is higher than a lot of the other guys we have seen on this list). One of the reasons I say Banchero is the scorer all the other guys are trying to catch is Banchero uses his ability to score to create a lot of easy looks for his teammates WITHOUT taking away from his foundational skills as a primary scorer. He remains aggressive in getting his own shot and does not differ to his teammates when he shouldn’t. This assertiveness and aggressiveness balanced with IQ is what evaluators look for in top-level scoring prospects in my opinion. I also do not think his rebounding gets enough love as he leads the Blue Devils with 228 total rebounds and 181 defensive boards. This is even more impressive when you consider Banchero plays next to 7-foot, 243-pound Mark Williams. Typically you think of these scorers that play next to a big center as deferring to them to go feast on the glass, but this is definitely not the case for Banchero who relishes in mixing it up down low to pull in the rebound.

A below average three-point percentage and questions about his defense are really the only things that give one pause when evaluating Banchero’s game. Only 24.9% of Banchero’s offense comes from long range and he is only shooting that 29.9% listed above. Banchero is only fourth in three-point attempts on his own team—particularly concerning is that AJ Griffin is ahead of him and he has played 330 fewer minutes than Banchero. In addition, out of the 26 games in which he has appeared, Banchero has posted 10 games where he did not make a single three-point shot and 19 games where he only made one or zero shots from downtown. Now, this may be less of a thing since his job is to attack inside the arc and draw defenders away from his shooters, BUT I do think this will be a question for teams that want their players to fire away from three regardless of their percentages. More concerning is what to do with him on defense. While playing next to Mark Williams he has not had to go against many guys who can match his physical profile. He is also not a very switchable defender. And he only has 26 total blocks so is he a 4 that can’t switch? Is he a center that can’t protect the rim? Perhaps he is such a good offensive player that his defensive concerns really only require him to be average on that end to be a high-level NBA starter, but these defensive questions are something in his scouting report that separate him in a negative way from fellow potential top 3 guys Jabari Smith and Chet Holmgren.

As it has been for a while, there is the desire for the Pistons to #Wallow4Paolo to secure that top 3 pick and get another high-level scorer to pair alongside Cade.


Thank you as always for reading and supporting us all here at DBB! Tell us who your favorite bucket here is in the comments and let us know if you feel I missed putting someone on the list! Next time I visit the 2022 NBA Draft class, I am going to be looking at guys that I personally find to be enigmas for one reason or another and ponder where, or even if, they fit in the NBA.

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