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NBA

James Bouknight is More than Just a Scorer

There is creation and defensive upside after all!

James Bouknight is billed as an electric athlete and high level scorer coming in to this draft. Most have him in the lottery, some even top 10. This year he posted OBPM 6.2 and a DBPM of 2.5. Here are players from previous first rounds of the NBA draft who posted similar numbers

  1. Freshman Landry Shamet, Former 26th pick
  2. Freshman D’Angelo Russell, Former 2nd Pick
  3. Sophomore Gary Harris, Former 19th Pick
  4. Sophomore Josh Hart, former 30th pick
  5. Freshman Ben McLemore, Former 7th Pick
  6. Sophomore Jarett Culvert, Former 6th Pick

Mostly a bag of misfit toys. Russell is the only one on the list who ended up what people say Bouknight should be, someone who can get you 20 points every night. Apart from McLemore, Bouknight is a far superior athlete to all of them, which should bode well for his chances at the next level.

Defensive Metrics

Bouknight posted a DBPM of 2.6, defensive rebound rate of 15, very impressive for a guard, steal rate of 2, block rate of 0.9. Lets see if there is more case for optimism than in the Intro section of this article:

  1. Tim Hardaway Jr. former 24th pick
  2. Donte DiVincenzo , former 17th pick
  3. Reggie Bullock,  former 25th pick
  4. Devin Booker,  13th pick
  5. Immanuel Quickley, 25th pick

People don’t really rave about Bouknight as a defender, the comparisons back that up. But he should become a player who is ok on defense, maybe even good considering the fact that he is a superior athlete than the guys on the list. DiVincenzo turned himself into a valuable defender on a title contender. Bouknight’s ability to grab defensive rebounds and turn them into transition opportunities might be his best trait on defense.

Will the he be able to space the Floor?

Bouknight posted a FT% of 78, a free throw rate of 37,both are very good indicators, three point percentage of 29 and usage of around 32, a very high mark,

  1. Collin Sexton, former 8th pick, career 38.5 from 3
  2. Kemba Walker, former 9th pick, career 36% from 3
  3. Marcus Smart, former 6th pick, career 32% from 3
  4. Cole Anthony, 15th pick last year, shot 34% from 3 his rookie year
  5. Bradley Beal, former 3rd pick, career 38% from 3
  6. Victor Oladipo, former 2nd pick, career  35% from 3

Very optimistic list. While Bouknights shot didn’t fall in college, the vast majority of his comps went on to be good or very good three point scorers, Marcus Smart being the only exception.

Creation for Others

Bouknight has a bad, below 1 assist to turnover ratio, his usage was an immense 30+%  and his assist% is an ok 13%.   

  1. Jamal Murray, former 7th pick, close to 5 assists per game last 3 seasons
  2. Gary Harris, former 19th pick, peaked with 3  assists per game
  3. Austin Rivers,  former 10th pick, peaked with 4 assists per game
  4. Alec Burks, former 12th pick, peaked with 3 assists per game
  5. Victor Oladipo, former 2nd pick, peaked with 5 assists per game

While Bouknight didn’t get to show his passing as much in college, due to poor offensive construction in college, lack of spacing and playing with a ball dominant point guard, there are a lot of positive outcomes on this list that make me comfortable that he might be more than just a scorer on the next level. He doesn’t need to become a Oladipo or Murray level passer, but between 3 and 4 assists per game is good return for such a potential scoring machine.

Scoring Volume

Bouknightis  posted a FT rate of 37, FT% of 78%, 9.5 3pt field goal attempts per 100 possessions and a pt field goal percentage of 29%. He took 9.6 2s per game and made 53%

  1. Bradley Beal, former 3rd pick, averaged more than 30 PPG twice
  2. Eric Gordon, former former 7th pick, peaked with 22 PPG
  3. Jordan Adams, former 22nd pick, peaked 3 ppg/ 16 PPG per 36

These comparisons are quite flattering and show that many draft are on the right track when they say that Bouknight could be a 20+ PPG kind of scorer.

Summary

Bouknight should be one of the best scorers in this draft. While I had some concerns about creation, seeing players who posted similar numbers in college, and managed to turn themselves into good to very good creators , mostly thanks to their scoring gravity, eases my mind. Looking at the whole package, there is a realistic chance that Bouknight will get you 20 or more points per game at some point. His defensive rebounding, combined with his immense speed and vertical pop will be an amazing weapon in transition. And he will get you probably more than 3 assists per game. At his peak you could be looking at a 22-6-4 with very good shooting splits for a player of his scoring volume.

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