Discover more from Dub Nation HQ
Draft Tourney Group B: Roddy, Liddell, Hardy, LaRavia
Vote to decide who moves on to the final round
Results will be updated at the master index for the 2022 Dub Nation HQ Draft Tournament.
(6/18) Added Liddell rumor, Roddy video
Your task is to select ONE of the four to move on to the final round. There is no option to “select no one” or “trade the pick” because OF COURSE everyone prefers a great trade and OF COURSE every prospect this low in the draft will be flawed. We’ve moved beyond that.
Vote at Twitter or in the comments (worth 10 Twitter votes).
Here is my absurdly oversimplified summary, followed by some film and longer scouting reports.
Excellent college player feasting on a weak schedule. A football player body that puts off most mock drafters but for some make him an underrated gem.
Maybe the Next Draymond, except no Next Draymond has yet become the next Draymond.
Once projected as a top draft pick, a dazzling bucket-getter who was very inefficient against G-League men.
A long big guy who is pretty good at everything but not elite at anything, hence widely tagged as a future NBA role player.
Longer Scouting Reports
#30. The Nuggets received this pick in a trade with Oklahoma City this week that also provided them with financial flexibility this summer. Roddy, who played down the street at Colorado State, could be an attractive option. Roddy rebounded from an underwhelming showing at the NBA Combine with a slew of strong private workouts, showcasing why he was one of the most uniquely versatile players in the college game. At 6-foot-6, he sees quite a few minutes at center -- where he can thrive thanks to his 260-pound frame -- but is also a creative ballhandler and passer who converted 44% of his 3-pointers, making him a huge mismatch.
FORWARD Colorado State
Grant Williams, DeJuan Blair, Admiral Schofield
HEIGHT 6'4.5"WEIGHT 261
AGE 21.2YEAR Junior
Supersized wing with shot-creation skills, but players with his body type rarely succeed in the NBA
Feel for the Game
Nimble athlete with a quick first step who uses spins, rip throughs, and up-and-unders from the post with either hand. With a wide frame, he can rumble into and finish through contact.
Though go-to scoring won’t be a primary part of his game early in his career, he can hit fadeaways, runners, and pull-ups when facing up. He’s also strong in actions such as cutting, attacking closeouts, and rolling to the basket.
Selfless passer who looks for the open man. In addition to basic passes within the flow of the offense, he shows a feel for weaponizing his scoring to create passing lanes, whether he’s spraying the ball out to the perimeter or dishing it inside.
Developed into a reliable spot-up 3-point shooter as a junior. He’s even running around screens and balancing his body in midair like he’s a thicker JJ Redick. He can hit pull-ups, too. Though it all comes on a small sample, he has shown touch from the line and from close midrange in prior seasons. He’ll need to prove his new percentages are sustainable, but his past success is reason for optimism.
Hard-nosed defender with excellent awareness patrolling the interior. He lacks height, but puts himself in position to make plays using the rule of verticality or by intercepting a pass. When defending the perimeter, he dn by 15 to 20 pounds? That’s the question on the mind of NBA teams. Strength and size are pluses for him in many respects, but losing a little bit of bulk could make him a more versatile defender. He has a tough time changing directions when defending one-on-one on the perimeter and closing out on spot-up shooters.
Unproven shooter. One season of success doesn’t erase his subpar percentage on his jumper (23.6 percent from 3) in the past.
He’s not an elite athlete who plays above the rim. Even if he improves athletically, he still projects as a player who will need to rely on angles, positioning, and feel to make positive plays.
Lacks experience against top competition. Colorado State plays a weak schedule compared to many first-round prospects.
Why He’ll Succeed
Huge frame, long arms, barrel chested. This guy can play the 4 in the modern NBA without question.
Some concerns over his erratic 3P% (any time an upperclassman suddenly becomes an elite shooter it is cause for concern) but his form is solid and he’s not really a gunner.
Surprisingly effective interior scorer. Has a lot more vertical burst than you’d assume looking at him, and really shrugs off minor contact on the way to strong finishes. 27 dunks and shot over .700 at the rim, making one of the better sub 6’7’’ finishers in the entire country.
Smart, intelligent player with good instincts and a solid understanding of his own game.
Why He’ll Fail
All the athletic concerns with Roddy are on the defensive end, where he will likely struggle in containment.
Not a great ballhandler or creator, mostly works off smart cuts, OREBs and mismatches. Will have some difficulty breaking down other 6’5’’ players off the dribble for sure.
Likely a career role player, even if that’s a fine career to have. It holds him back from legitimate top 25 looks for me.
NBA Role: 3&D combo forward who has broken out late in his college career. Classic modern small ball 4.
College Head Coach 3 (his team played Colorado State): I actually love him. I didn’t love playing against him. … I just thought he had a good way about him. He’s got a tremendous body, first off. He’s got really good size, he’s got really good strength, he’s got really good feet. His feet are excellent. He can shoot the ball. He’s a confident shooter. He can demand a double, and at our level, on the block — if you wait until the block (to body him), it’s too late. He’s going to overpower you and score. You get outside that area, and he can make skilled plays to get shots off.
He was big in important moments throughout the season. When they needed a basket or need someone to make a really big play, he was right there and not afraid to do it. And defensively, sometimes these kind of guys, they don’t do it at the other end. I felt like he was committed on the defensive end to really try to guard and impact the game at that end as well. I feel like he’ll get drafted. You never know who else is out there. … A Grant Williams-type player. A similar kind of player. Has a big body but is more bouncy than you would expect. Can shoot it. And Grant had to work his way into that. Roddy seems to have a pretty natural J. I certainly think he can play at that level. Will he be a star? I don’t know about that.
They would screen him to his spot to get a catch. They run good offense — you know, five out type of offense. Pick-and-pops, he’s good at. It wasn’t like they just force-fed him. They had other players; they were a pretty well-balanced team. So the other guys made him better too. They would screen to get him the ball at certain spots, whether it’s that middle of the court, the elbows, or whether it’s the mid-post area. We did not want him shooting 3s. That was one of our things. You’re going to have to dribble to shoot. We started switching, which was pretty effective. … To me, he’s going to be P.J. Tucker, Grant Williams, he’s got to be that kind of guy — they’re going to space the court, but they can also put it down a little bit. But they’re not going to be the main guy doing that. Which I think will be good for him. I think he’ll fit that well.
Like those two players, Roddy is strong, with thick legs and a wide chest, and knows how to use his frame. He can be a bit slow laterally but will use his strength to cut off angles without fouling; he’s not going to reach or hand check. Although short, Roddy is pretty good at exploding up to challenge shots and will surprise some guys. His lack of height becomes more problematic closer to the rim, where opposing post players could shoot over him with impunity.
Offensively, I’m a believer in Roddy’s catch-and-shoot game (he shot 43.8 percent from 3 this year on low volume, but having watched him warm up before Colorado State’s NCAA Tournament game, I can assure you it wasn’t a fluke). However, he doesn’t bring a lot else to the table right now, and that was on display during his struggles at the combine.
Compared himself to: Guys like P.J. Tucker, Grant Williams, Paul Millsap, Draymond. I’d take pieces from their game, offensively and defensively. Like Draymond being able to pass and the heart that all of those guys bring on the defensive end.”
FORWARD Ohio State
Paul Millsap, PJ Washington
HEIGHT 6'5.5"WEIGHT 243
AGE 21.5YEAR Junior
Went back to school to improve as a shooter and perimeter defender, which he has done.
Boasts a muscular 240-pound frame that can handle the rigors of the interior. He played center for most of his sophomore season despite standing at 6-foot-7. He’s an excellent shot blocker, especially in help situations rotating into the paint. In February, he had success defending Illinois star Kofi Cockburn.
Defensive versatility. As a junior, Liddell came back a better perimeter defender than ever. Early in the season, he shut down Paolo Banchero all over the court, and then continued to bother players across positions. In a switching defense, he can handle any position.
Good spot-up shooter with comfortable mechanics. He has improved every season from behind the arc, so defenders close out hard and he’s able to dribble into pull-ups or get all the way to the basket.
Skilled post player who’s at his best facing up because he can take a jumper or attack off the dribble. With his improved shooting range, he has begun to tap into his isolation scoring.
Quality passer who delivers an accurate ball to teammates. He won’t be a primary initiator of offensive sets but he’s skilled in the open floor and can run some pick-and-roll.
To score in the NBA like he did at Ohio State, he’ll need to tighten his ballhandling and improve his first step. He’s a bit loose with his handle by pro standards, which would limit his ability to generate space.
Decision-making could improve. Sometimes he gets tunnel vision and barrels into two defenders, missing opportunities to swing the ball and find an open teammate. However, his role at Ohio State was to score.
Liddell is trying to make the transition from college star to NBA role player after an outstanding three-year career at Ohio State. A 6’7, 240 pound forward with a 7-foot wingspan, Liddell has the length, strength, and improving skill level to develop into a quality NBA four. He made major strides as a shooter every season with the Buckeyes, and hit 37.4 percent of his threes on 123 attempts this year. He also looked a little quicker laterally on the defensive end while doubling his block rate (8.5 percent this season) from his sophomore to junior years. A player like Grant Williams serves as a good model for what Liddell can become if the shooting improvement he showed as a junior at OSU is for real.
Why He’ll Succeed
Very strong player with great balance. Has developed into a very good helpside shot blocker and effort rebounder. Does all the little things, consistently.
Good shooter, especially on the catch. Can punish slow rotations with either a quick shot or the correct pass.
Just a fundamentally competent player in most respects. Plays with poise and leadership. A classic four year player on a good team. Not a priority draft pick but will fall to the exact sort of team that needs him: to provide depth, toughness and consistency for several years.
Why He’ll Fail
While a generally solid athlete, Liddell is just a little too short to really be a dominant physical force in the NBA. Likely best served as a bench warrior for a while.
NBA Comp: Lamar Stevens/Jeff Green
#19 Pick. With former Nuggets boss Tim Connelly now helming basketball operations in Minnesota, it’s a tad unclear right now which direction the Wolves will take with this pick. Considering the state of the roster, with a lot of money tied up in the backcourt, this is a logical spot to eye frontcourt help. While Liddell doesn’t have ideal size for a power forward, he’s a reliable, versatile player who can play around the rim or on the perimeter and fit in a range of lineups. As Minnesota looks to find the right pieces to complement Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, a broadly useful player like Liddell makes some sense as part of the supporting cast.
College Assistant Coach 3 (his team played Ohio State): EJ’s a dog. He can be like the P.J. Tucker, that Draymond Green type. He’s only 6-5, 6-6. He’s built like a tank, like a linebacker. Those calves and legs are like tree trunks. He’s a man. And every year, I can say he’s gotten better. He’s added something to his game every single year, even now to the point where he can defend on the perimeter. He’s an interior guy, a five man. In a perfect world, people don’t realize that Jae Crowder and Jimmy Butler were five men in college. If you can make spot-up 3s and just go and rebound and be nasty guarding people, that’s how he’s got to try and make it and stick long term. If you want to be a superstar in a role, when I compare him to those guys, that’s like the superstar role for them, if they can fill it.
I’m a bit higher on Liddell than most, just because I can’t help thinking that he’s so darn smart that he’s going to figure this out one way or another. Watching him defend against guards is a good example; even though he’s at a speed disadvantage, he plays just close enough to stop them from walking into pull-up jumpers and forces them to dribble into his help.
That IQ translates to other facets, such as his timing for off-ball shot blocks that made him an elite college rim protector despite being 6-7; his 35-inch standing vertical at the combine helps explain why. Seemingly every time I watch an Ohio State game, I see Liddell do some random, clever thing that you don’t normally see from college players.
Liddell added the 3-ball to his repertoire this season, knocking down 37.4 percent on decent volume, and has become a very good pull-up shooter. Despite lacking a deceptive handle, he drew a ton of fouls; his strength obviously helps here and should acquit him well against fours and fives at the NBA level.
Overall, you’d like him to be quicker laterally, especially with his first defensive slide, where now he can look stuck in concrete at times, and you question how much of his offensive game translates to the next level. Nonetheless, I’m buying him as a 3-and-D combo forward who can be effective in a variety of lineups.
Spinella: One scout I spoke with mentioned that the word on the street about EJ Liddell is that he’s not a first-round pick on everybody’s board and is becoming a bit polarizing inside front offices. Some see him as that high-IQ defensive specialist who can fulfill a Grant Williams role, while others are unsure of where the offensive impact comes from to keep him on the floor. It only takes one team to fall in love, but such intel might mean he’s overvalued in media circles right now.
Bradley Beal, Cam Thomas, Dion Waiters
HEIGHT 6'4"WEIGHT 190
Pure bucket-getter who needs to improve his efficiency and playmaking.
Smooth ball handler with a deep bag of moves to create space and launch shots off the bounce. He can elevate without setting his feet and find his balance in midair. Since high school, isolation scoring has been the center of his game. Now, he needs to extend his range as a shooter to continue to excel. This season, he made 35.7 percent of pull-up 2-point jumpers compared to only 27.4 percent of 3s off the dribble, per Synergy.
Potential knockdown shooter who can drain 3s after running around screens. He’s the type of player who can run hard into the catch, turn, and shoot. He made 36.6 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s in the G League, according to Synergy.
Made solid progress as a pick-and-roll ball handler in the G League. He operates with newfound patience navigating screens.
Though he’s not a stopper, he battles on defense, fighting through screens and even taking charges. With long arms, he could be a quality defender if his level of consistency improves.
Lacks vertical pop and a quick first step, leading to him struggling at the rim. He flails around at impact. As a counter, he needs to develop his floater and download a craftier layup package.
Decision-making. He was asked to be a scorer in high school but needs to prove he will take smart shots as a playmaker. He improved with the Ignite but still misses some open teammates in favor of forcing tough looks.
Frequent defensive liability who at times appeared apathetic and unmotivated, losing focus off the ball and not even getting into a stance one-on-one.
Is he just a volume scorer or can he become efficient? For the most part, iso scoring has always been his calling card. Teams wonder whether he’ll ever develop any other NBA skills.
Hardy was a consensus top-five recruit out of high school, and had some league insiders believing he’d contend to be the No. 1 overall pick in this draft as he chose to play for the G League Ignite program over going to college. The 6’4 guard didn’t quite live up to the hype, but the package of skills that made him so highly-touted could still serve as the foundation for a successful NBA career. Hardy is a shooting guard with a nasty stepback package, deep shooting range, and a bucket-getter’s mentality. While Hardy’s offense looks incredible when he has it going, he also has some severe limitations. He’s a poor finisher who lacks pop around the basket, and only made 38 percent of his attempts at the rim, per The Box and One’s Adam Spinella. Hardy also finished with more turnovers (42) than assists (38), and shot 35 percent from the field and 27 percent from three. Hardy’s 88 percent mark from the free throw line might be a better indicator of his shooting talent, but there’s plenty of room for growth across his skill set despite his lofty reputation.
Pick #22. The Grizzlies have drafted well in recent years and should have some opportunity to be creative with their two picks in the 20s. Hardy would be an interesting upside play, as a scoring guard who could potentially give them some juice off the bench behind Ja Morant and Desmond Bane. Hardy’s stock fluctuated heavily this year, but he ended the season on a positive note and has a lot to offer on the offensive end, particularly if he’s able to adjust his shot selection and become more efficient. He’s a talented shot-maker, has a good frame at his size, and it should help that he’s already been tested by the G League. Once projected as a lottery pick, Hardy becomes a nice value play in this range of the draft.
Why He’ll Succeed
Aggressive, tough shot maker with a true scorer’s mindset.
Pretty good kickout passer who plays with more flair as a playmaker than most score first guards of his archetype.
Very willing shooter with a mostly good form. Good FT shooter. Should hit a higher percentage of his jumpers with a smaller NBA role.
Good craft finisher when given space to operate in the paint. Leverages his broad shoulders well and forces the issue inside the paint.
Why He’ll Fail
Horribly inefficient at this stage. Gets a little leeway with me given his age, relative lack of inexperience compared to the seasoned pros he’s competing against and huge usage, but it’s unlikely we’re looking at James Harden here.
Just okay at defense, and that’s when he’s really locked in. Mostly an under the rim player so the only real avenues for improvement are getting stronger and playing smarter.
NBA Comp: Cam Thomas/Poor Man’s Gilbert Arenas
Jaden Hardy demonstrated a stunning scoring acumen with NBA range in his high school career and has developed into a better athlete as he has matured. Hardy is a scorer by nature who has improved as a facilitator drawing much attention as the go-to scorer on G-League Ignite. Hardy has all-star like traits in his ease with which he gets space and to his spots but will need to learn when and how to use those skills to fully fit an NBA team and their roster construction.
Strengths: * He can score the ball and has the belief that he is THE SCORER. * Can shoot the ball with ease from well beyond the NBA 3 point line off of the bounce or off of the catch. * Has a very good first step he uses to drive to the rack at an impressive level against grown men in the G-League. * Enticing ability to get to his spots with absolute ease using a tight handle and an understanding of how to change pace. * Developing as a playmaker. * Shot 88.2% from the free throw line and got there often against impressive athletes fresh out of high school. * Great step-back shooter who shoots more purely going backward than he does stepping into a mid-range jumper (slight mechanical difference that causes this dip in efficiency)
Concerns: * Inefficiency that can be attributed to poor shot selection. (He is a good shooter but only shot 27% from 3 and 35% from the field). * Can get tunnel vision and settle for difficult shots because he has the capacity to make them. * Shoots too many isolation jumpers rather than using his plus speed and handle to create advantages toward the rim and get to the line. * Though he is improving as a passer, he still needs to pass as less of a reaction to being stopped and more as an instinctive part of basketball if he wants to be the featured guard that has all-star talent like he does. * Competes on defense but can fall asleep off ball and will be attacked for such by energetic cutters.
Jaden Hardy is polarizing because he can score the ball and that is clear but his shot selection scares some evaluators. IF Hardy wants to reach the all-star potential he has, he must improve as a facilitator and the scoring and passing will become easier if he attacks the rim more often. Hardy can play the Cam Thomas role instantly and can grow into the Jordan Poole role as a scorer with a beautiful jumper but toes a line of confidence as opposed to arrogance that if kept in check can result in amazingly potent offense. Hardy presents a rare scoring upside that few possess and good enough athletic traits that I remain confident in his development and I think he will score 20 ppg at some point in his NBA career and will be a steal should he fall much past the lottery.
Hardy is still being talked about as a first-round pick, apparently, even though he was one of the worst players in the G League a year ago. He played 21 games and posted an 8.5 PER and was a traffic cone on defense.
Hardy’s shot is a definite plus, a tight flick off the shoulder that he gets into relatively easily off the dribble, and he has a pretty strong frame. However, that’s where the positives end. His shot selection bordered on disastrous, he’s not an elite athlete and rarely got all the way to the basket, and he pretty clearly isn’t a point guard. He also didn’t do the measurements portion of the combine, and I’m wondering if he’s shorter than his listed 6-4.
Is there something to grab on to here with the youth, the shooting and the frame? Perhaps it’s worth the bite of the apple by this point in the draft, which is why I’ve listed him here, but I’m having a hard time getting excited.
G League Coach (his team played Ignite): His game is, he’s not going to be allowed to play his game in the NBA. He’s not going to be a guy that’s going to able to come in and just put up a bunch of shots. He’s a volume shooter. Not much of a playmaker right now. When we played them. … I thought to myself, ‘Jason Hart’s got his work cut out for him with this kid.’ I thought he was just out there trying to get shots up and try to impress the scouts and not really learn how to play. … He’s athletic. Well, let me say: he’s got a good build, but he’s not super athletic. The build tells me he’ll have the durability to stay on the court, be available. He scores enough that I think someone takes him in the late 20s, just because when you get to that part of the draft, you start gambling on talent — not necessarily what he is now. But can the talent take him to a level where he’s a serviceable two guard, backup two guard in the NBA?
His style of play, his size and the lack of playmaking for others is going to be the big thing that people are going to question him on. What you hope, and I do think it happens (more often) than not, is as these guys get older, and they start to understand the landscape — and, frankly, as they get closer to being out of the league they get it. OK, I’ve got to start playing better defense — and, again, I question whether he really wants to. I’ve got to rebound better — does he really want to? Pass the ball — does he really want to? But as they closer to being out of the league, they find God and they start doing those things.
The Warriors could be in the market for a versatile wing-forward who can play off others, make shots from the perimeter and defend multiple positions. LaRavia, who shot 38% from 3 last season and 78% at the free throw line, brings a strong feel for the game and intriguing playmaking ability defensively. The fact that he's only 20 years old gives him some additional upside he can still tap into as he continues to improve his frame, maximize his athleticism and become a more assertive perimeter shooter.
FORWARD Wake Forest
HEIGHT 6'6.75"WEIGHT 227
AGE 20.6YEAR Junior
Highly skilled player who makes his teammates better with his passing, cutting, and defending.
Feel for the Game
Plays his role at a high level. He's a savvy cutter off-ball who uses ball fakes to finish inside. On the break, he runs the floor hard to the corners.
Selfless passer who makes the ball flow any time he’s on the floor. With his blend of size, cutting, and playmaking ability, he could be a major threat on the pick-and-pop or short roll. If defenses switch, he also has the height and footwork to score from the post with hook shots and drop steps.
Solid spot-up shooter who displays confidence.
Hard-nosed on-ball defender with the versatility to defend multiple positions. He also has excellent off-ball awareness. His positioning and effort are enough, but he should improve athletically anyway once he’s in an NBA strength and conditioning program.
Lacks a reliable jump shot off the dribble. He’s not a primary shot creator at this stage.
His limitations as a ball handler can put him into precarious situations in the middle of the floor, forcing him into difficult passes.
He shot a lower percentage off the catch during his sophomore season, which raises some questions about his success as a junior.
He doesn’t have ideal athleticism for a defensive wing.
LaRavia measured 6’8 as listed. His wingspan is slightly underwhelming at 6’9.5, but sufficient for a wing given his height. He also crushed lane agility with the 3rd best time and tied for 2nd best in the shuttle run. His standing and max verticals were less impressive, but this is consistent with his style of play– he is not particularly explosive, but he is agile.
This enables him to provide value as a versatile and switchable defensive player, which is likely his biggest strengths as a prospect as he is a high IQ defensive player who moves his feet well and actively generates steals with a solid 2.7% steal rate as a junior for Wake Forest.
Offensively he is an excellent passer and an efficient scorer on middling volume, and projects as a complementary piece. The biggest factor for him is if he develops NBA 3 point range– he made 38.4% 3P and 77.7% FT as a 20 year old junior, but took a meager 3.6 3PA per 100 possessions and likely will need time to develop from NBA 3 point range.
But if that range does develop in time, you are looking at an ideal role player. He is currently slated at #38 in ESPN’s latest mock, but it would not be surprising to see a sharp team like the Grizzlies snipe him at #22 or #29.
LaRavia transferred to Wake Forest this past season after two years at Indiana State and immediately became both an All-ACC performer and a legitimate candidate to sneak into the late first round of the NBA draft. A 6’9, 235 pound forward with a 6’11 wingspan, LaRavia has an enticing off-ball offensive skill set while competing defensively with quick hands and enough size to defend in the front court. LaRavia showed quality shooting versatility for the Demon Deacons, hitting 38.4 percent of his threes this year. He’ll need to prove he can up his volume after attempting only 73 triples all season. He can also provide offensive value as a heady cutter, and by posting up smaller defenders. He finished in the 96th percentile on post-ups this season, per Synergy Sports. LaRavia doesn’t create much off the dribble, and needs to be set up for his threes, but his intersection of size and shooting should be appealing to teams.
Why He’ll Succeed
Strong, wide body with a good frame. Has pretty impressive short-area quickness and bend to chase smaller players around. Physically capable of holding his own in the paint immediately.
Competent shooter, passer, finisher and overall defensive playmaker. Average to very good at a great many things.
Plays with great anticipation and intelligence. Diagnoses plays very well.
Why He’ll Fail
A decent athlete overall, isn’t completely without burst vertically but will never be in a dunk contest.
In the end likely just a role player, even if a very good one.
NBA Comp: Walter McCarty/Chandler Parsons
Pick #27. Miami has done a terrific job finding talent on the fringes and can add a rookie on a cost-controlled deal here if it chooses. LaRavia endeared himself to teams over the course of the season with his competitiveness, efficient scoring and steady defense, building an analytics-friendly profile and gathering some momentum as a potential first-rounder. LaRavia isn’t super explosive and isn’t going to create a ton of offense off the dribble, but he’s a smart passer and ball-mover who can accentuate talent around him. His range appears to be somewhat wide, starting in the early 20s and running into the early 30s, but he does enough things well to think he’ll stick as a useful role player long-term.
#20. I originally had LaRavia in my “sleepers” section, but so many people have moved him up their draft boards lately that I feel like I’m not even ahead of the average on him anymore.
LaRavia is a relatively young junior, an unknown who transferred from Indiana State before the season and then blew up for the Demon Deacons. While his teammate Williams won ACC Player of the Year, I’m more encouraged by the pro prospects of LaRavia.
Defensively, in particular, he shows multi-positional potential. He has size and strength but also had the feet to comfortably stay with guards. His strong lower body and good balance help him pester dribblers without overcommitting or getting pushed off stride. He rarely fouls but has active hands that swiped 2.7 steals per 100 possessions and is able to challenge shots without flying into shooters. Few players I saw on tape were more adept at forcing dribblers to beat them with contested 2s. There may be some quickness limitations that show against NBA athletes, but in the ACC, they switched him against everybody and he aced the test.
LaRavia’s shooting will be another topic of discussion, as he hit 38.4 percent this season but on very low volume. Career marks of 37.1 percent from 3 and 74.3 percent from the line should ease some concerns here. LaRavia checks out in other respects, as he’s a good passer and hit 61.6 percent of his shots inside the arc. Nitpickers will also note he’s not a great rebounder.
College Assistant Coach 1 (his team played Wake Forest): Some people like him more than me. I like him. I’m not in love with him. But he’s a confident, hard-playing, can shoot the ball wing. … He’s got some stuff to him. He’s got a little shit to him. He’s confident in who he is. We tried to get him out of Indiana State, and he kind of big-timed us, was like, no, I’m gonna go somewhere where I can get off. But he’s good. I don’t see him as a first-round guy. He’s confident without the cockiness, if that makes sense, which I think you have to be to make it to that level. And you’ve got to have damn near a little bit arrogance. You’ve got to be borderline, people can’t stand you.