2020 NBA Draft: Some observations on other prospects – Devin Vassell

There’s a lot to like about Devin Vassell. The 6'7" 194 lbs wing finished his sophomore season with averages of 12,7 PPG (with shooting splits of 49/41,5/73,8), 5,1 RPG, 1,6 APG (against 0,8 TPG), 1,4 SPG and 1 BPG. He led his team to the best season in recent history, showing some great stuff on both ends of the floor.

The word is that he’s excellent team defender. And there’s no exaggeration here. He rotates superbly, he engages in helping on defense passionately and plays the passing lanes unrelentingly. He can crash the d-board from perimeter and protect the rim when opponents break through full-court traps. Finally, he commands whole team’s defensive efforts.

Vassell is also solid on ball defender. He moves his feet quickly, can fight through screens and has active hands. The one thing he’s lacking in this department is more elastic legs. As you can see here, he moves quickly but is a little mechanical in his movement leaving too much space when ball-handler stops on a dime. He could use some elasticity from this Plasticman (… and former Piston). Without it, he could be sometimes abused by quicker guards in the NBA.

Overall, last year he was the cornerstone of one of the better defenses in the NCAA. He’s doing things that are in high demand in nowadays NBA’s defense. With a proper weightlifting and stretching regiment he should be able to improve some his most noticeable defensive liability. There’s a lot to like about him on this end alone.

But you also like plenty of things he brings to the table on offense. He’s efficient three point shooter, who can make all kinds of triples. He has a fine midrange game where he’s making 43,1% of his shots, and won’t a skinny wing, running like crazy off screens across the court to make a shot like this, bring a smile to every Pistons’ fan? Vassell can also make drives and plays well off the ball. He makes 69,4% of his shots at rim. He has a useful handles in which his long strides and crossovers allow him to take his man off the dribble. He’s a beast in open court. And, although he doesn’t get tons of assists, he moves the ball very well.

The things on that end he needs to work on are using his off-hand at the rim in drives, his P&R game (this is all I find from him in this regard) and his 0,221 FTr.

Despite all this accolades, I can’t put him higher than a plan C. At the moment, his ceiling looks like an efficient scorer with good to very good defense, but not a leader of a championship team. To use a metaphor: he’s Rip while we are looking for our new Big Bens and Misters Big Shot. I find more of this potential for leading role in some other players from this draft. That’s why he drops all the way down to my tier C. And it’s a pity, because this Devin Vassell guy is really very likable player.

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