The Washington Wizards hold the 52nd overall pick in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft. Who will they take? Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select. Check back for more as we continue to get closer to the draft...
Name: Kobi Simmons
Position: Point guard
Age: 19 (turns 20 on 7/4)
2016/17 stats: 8.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.7 FG%, 32.7 3PT% (1.9 3P/2.4 3PA), 71.3 FT%
Projections: DraftExpress 60th, NBADraft.net 60th
5 things to know:
*Simmons has sky-high potential as a young point guard with excellent size and athleticism. He recorded a 38 1/2-inch max vertical at the combine and threw down some vicious dunks this past season for the Wildcats. With his height and speed, he has the potential to be a very good NBA player, but he remains a raw prospect. Also, he weighs just 166 pounds, which means he needs to put on some muscle or else he will get pushed around by bigger guards.
*Shooting appears to be a significant weakness for Simmons at this stage. He shot just 39.7 percent from the field in college and 32.7 percent from three. His 77.5 percent from the free throw line suggests he could improve those numbers, but his lack of shooting efficiency will no doubt hurt him among NBA talent evaluators.
*Simmons had a big dropoff in playing time down the stretch of Arizona's season. That was affected in part by Alonzo Trier's return from a suspension, but Simmons basically disappeared in Sean Miller's rotation. He averaged just 6.1 minutes per game in Arizona's final seven, including their NCAA Tournament run. The minutes decrease hurt his numbers. Through his first 15 games, Simmons averaged 12.5 points on 43.8 percent shooting and 34.1 percent from three. In his last 22 games he averaged just 6.2 points on 35.5 percent shooting and 31.5 percent from three.
*A point guard in high school, Simmons played a lot at shooting guard in college. That said, he sees himself as a point guard at the NBA level. He recently told the Arizona Daily Star that he is "definitely a point guard."
*Simmons was a five-star recruit out of Atlanta, Ga., ranked the 20th-best prospect in the 2016 class and a McDonald's All-American. He then lived up to the hype, at least initially, with 18 points against No. 12 Michigan in his college debut.
Fit with Wizards: The Wizards could use help at the backup guard position and Simmons checks off that box. He is very athletic, but appears to be a long-term project at this point. Perhaps Scott Brooks sees some Reggie Jackson in him and is willing to take the time to develop him. That could pay off down the road, but it doesn't look like Simmons could help immediately for a team that is looking to win now.
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