NBA Draft Prospect Evaluation #2

This is a weekly piece where I pick one prospect from this year’s upcoming NBA draft that the Timberwolves have a legitimate shot at to draft. They will also need to fit the style of the team as well as addressing a current need of the roster. 

Week 1: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

This week’s selection: Anfernee Simons

Simons is a player that is difficult to evaluate purely due to the fact he is still in high school at the moment. He is currently attending IMG academy in what would be his fifth year of high school, completing a post-grad year at the school. Pair this along with that fact he will be 19 by the time the NBA draft rolls around, he therefore qualifies to take his talents to the next level.

Because he is difficult to evaluate, we are seeing a lot of fluxuation of his potential draft selection. Sites like thestepien.com have him ranked all the way down to 49 and 55 by some of their writers and evaluators. Those who see him going in the early to middle of the first round see a player packed with potential that can and will translate to the NBA.

Let’s go over his strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths:

  • Can score well off the dribble
  • Good free throw shooter
  • Good Athlete
  • Scoring will translate to the next level
  • High upside

Weaknesses:

  • Needs the ball in his hands to make things happen
  • Defensive effort can be questionable
  • Needs to get stronger
  • Low floor potentially
  • Doesn’t record enough stats in areas other than scoring

At 6’4″, Simons has the physical profile to play at the 1 but he would be undersized to fill in at the 2 which hurts his value as a prospect. Being that the Wolves should for sure draft a wing with their first pick, this selection wouldn’t make the most sense overall other than if they were aiming for the player with the highest upside remaining. Head coach Tom Thibodeau is also known not to give rookies significant minutes and being that he would only 19 heading into his rookie year, I doubt he would be trusted very much at all by Thibs. This claim can be supported by the fact that Thibs drafted the more polished but much older Kris Dunn compared to drafting Jamal Murray who had arguably the higher upside.

If the Wolves front office do not view resigning Tyus Jones back to Minnesota as a reasonable proposition, then drafting a guard with their first round pick could very well be on the table. I would not be at all shocked if we saw Simons in a Wolves jersey next fall.

 

photo credit bleacherreport.com

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