By Max Feldman
Perimeter scoring is at an all-time premium in the NBA. The recent contracts for Davis Bertans, Joe Harris, Gordon Hayward and Malik Beasley should show the ample value executives put toward shooting. The 2021 NBA Draft class has plenty of star power at the top, but every roster outside the lottery in compete mode has the need for shooting to space the floor for their stars. The next draft class should provide plenty high level rotational pieces on the perimeter, and here is an early glimpse of the standouts.
If Kispert kept his name in the 2020 NBA Draft, I am confident he would have landed in the first round and certainly would have been a top 30 prospect for FOG. At 6-7 and 220 pounds, Kispert is the absolute premier shooting option in the 2021 NBA Draft class. The Senior is off to a hot start with the Zags, shooting 45% from deep, 86% from the line and a miraculous 60% from the field. The key swing trait with his shooting has been the ability to create and get to his own shoot, as he’s previously been a spot up guy in recent years. He has already shown development in that area and aggressive closeouts all season should force his hand to lock down a strong step back and pull up off the bounce. He was the top rated shooter for FOG the second he took his name out of the previous draft and there is little to no chance that changes in the next 10-11 months. Kispert is a top 20 player for FOG.
Williams is one of the more fluid prospects in the 2021 Draft and is not just a perimeter threat. At 6-8 and 190 pounds, the Stanford Freshman projects as a strong fit on the wing, and for FOG after evaluating Williams for multiple years, has a very similar play style to Louis King, the former Oregon and now Detroit Piston wing, but with plenty more upside. Williams put his pull up game on display early and often, which is a trait incredibly showing for FOG as shown by the heightened value of Cole Anthony in the 2020 evaluation. A smooth, high release with consistency off the catch and off the bounce. The roster around him is solid in his one year in Palo Alto, but will not provide expansive spacing for him to have a high volume of open shots. Williams’ shot versatility, balance and touch at all three levels making him a top ten prospect and premier perimeter weapon.
Another potential one and done, Cam Thomas has been a bucket at every step of the way from Oak Hill to Baton Rouge. A natural creator who can get to his spots with ease off a versatile scoring package and a tight handle, Thomas has had an efficient start to his collegiate career. 49% from the field, 44% from three and 87% from the charity stripe bode well for his Lou Williams type of scoring trajectory. He can heat, and heat up quick, with oozing confidence as shown by 50 field goals through just 3 games. The efficiency could very well end up being a concern at the end of the season considering that 16 field goal per game pace, but with that, he should continue to show monstrous perimeter flashes with plenty of big games.
The Arkansas Freshman has gotten off to a very strong start after shining with the star studded Montverde Academy in High School. Eric Musselman lost Isaiah Joe and Mason Jones to the 2020 NBA Draft, who accounted for nearly 40 points per game for the Razorbacks last year. Plenty of the void will be filled by the 6-6 and 205 pound Freshman who was one of the more dynamic and pure perimeter threats in the 2020 recruiting class. Moody is another guy who is not just a spot up shooter, but improving his efficiency and knocking down shots as a creator at the intermediate and deep level will be keys. The SEC is extremely tough in 2020-2021, and Moody will be the first name on every opponents scouting report. The talent is oozing and if he can pace the Razorbacks at a high rate, he could end up in the lottery.
The Oregon Junior will miss 6 weeks after a thumb surgery just hours prior to the Ducks season opener, but is one of the most slept on, under the radar shooters in the nation. Another Oak Hill alumni, Richardson knocked down an incredible 47% of his threes and 85% of free throws in 30 minutes per game. At 6-5, his ability to handle the ball and shoot off spot ups makes him a near ideal fit as a combo guard at the next level. The smooth southpaw will have the opportunity to fill Payton Pritchard’s role when he is healthy as a PnR creator, providing the chance expand his outlook as a shot creator rather than just shot maker. He is the second best spot up shooter in this class outside of Kispert.
Bagley is a blast to watch, and his shooting efficiency has been better than expected this early into his tenure in Tempe. At 6-8 and 215 pounds, the brother of Kings big Marvin Bagley, has provided far more hope as a one and done than most previously thought. The run and gun system for the Sun Devils fits Bagley very well, allowing him to get easy buckets and use his athleticism, yet even more potent, is his ability to stretch the floor and open up the lane for Josh Christopher and Remy Martin. Bagley’s early ability to set his feet and rise up coming off of pin downs and fades is incredibly unique for a 6-8 freshman. The touch is there and his footwork is NBA ready. Providing a third weapon and versatility to Arizona State as well as proving his ability to guard multiple positions defensively will be swing traits throughout this season, but Bagley’s shot making versatility has been a very pleasant surprise thus far.
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