James Bouknight’s hyperactivity leaps off the video screen. He’s non-stop. Energetic in everything he does, from the dazzling handle to the soft jumper to the easy, breezy and utterly unfair flights above the rim.
He’s scintillating even when changing speeds, an underrated asset in the NBA.
The Warriors are acutely aware of Bouknight’s skills, because every team in the league has taken notice.
The more they see, the more they like.
Initially projected as a mid-to-late first-round pick, the 6-foot-5, 190-pound shooting guard from UConn is now considered a lock for the lottery. The Warriors are on the board at No. 7, when he might be there. They also own the No. 14 pick, which will be too late.
The early projections largely were based on Bouknight’s two seasons with the Huskies. Over 43 games, he shot only 32.0 percent beyond the arc and 45.6 percent overall. His 80.2-percent shooting from the line indicated his touch is not in question.
All along, Bouknight flashed enough game to pique the curiosity of NBA personnel evaluators. Though his defense is, like that of most collegians, less than impressive, his offense is mesmerizing. He’s fearless in the paint, can use either hand, and, based on his relentless off-ball movement, has watched a lot of Warriors superstar Steph Curry.
Bouknight as a sophomore was tops in the Big East in offensive rating (106.2) and usage rate (30.4). He also led the conference in number of double-teams faced. When he lit up Creighton for 40 points on 13-of-24 shooting, his teammates were 11-of-43 in a 76-74 loss.
“Never mind a secondary scorer,” UConn coach Dan Hurley told reporters afterward. “We couldn’t find scoring, really, anywhere else, which pretty much just left (Bouknight) out there on an island.”
The Warriors go into the offseason looking to add dynamic scorers, players that can put the ball through the hoop in a variety of ways. Bouknight can shoot it, float it or slam it. He appears to have the tools to meet the challenge.
James Bouknight profile
Position: Shooting guard
Birthdate: Sept. 10, 2000 (20)
2020-21 season averages: 18.7 points (44.7 percent FG, 29.3 percent 3-point, 77.8 percent FT), 5.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals.
NBA comps: Donovan Mitchell (The Ringer), CJ McCollum (The Ringer), Derrick White (Bleacher Report), Jordan Clarkson (CBS Sports).
What they’re saying: “This place was in shambles when he got here, and now we’re getting a chance to enjoy the Selection Show.” -UConn coach Dan Hurley, reflecting on Bouknight’s two-year impact on the program.