The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Nassir Little
School: North Carolina
Max vertical: 38.5 in.
2018/19 stats: 9.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, 47.8 FG% (3.6/7.6), 26.9 3PT% (0.4/1.4), 77.0 FT%
Player comparison: Jae Crowder, Justise Winslow
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 11th, NBADraft.net 11th, Bleacher Report 16th, Sports Illustrated 11th, Ringer 14th
5 things to know:
*Little came to UNC as their top-ranked recruit and the sixth-ranked player in his class, but didn't live up to those expectations in his one year in Chapel Hill. There is a debate about whether he will be better suited for the NBA, given his athleticism and playing style. The team who drafts him could come away with a steal if the latter proves true.
*He is more known for his defense at this point. Little is an aggressive and physical perimeter defender who could develop into a Marcus Smart-like pest. Though he didn't force a ton of turnovers in college, Little clearly gave opposing teams problems with his energy and length.
*There are questions about whether Little will ever be more than a dunker on the offensive end. He is excellent in transition and cutting to the rim, but he didn't do much creating off the dribble in college and needs to work on his outside shooting. He shot just 26.9 percent from three at UNC.
*Little had a strong combine with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and a 38.5-inch vertical leap. Those numbers helped his reputation as one of the most athletic wings in this year's class.
*Both of Little's parents were in the U.S. military. He had a 4.2 GPA in high school and was named Academic All-ACC.
Fit with Wizards: Little fits with the Wizards given he is a small forward and they currently have an opening there. He would also give them something they need in terms of style as a physical wing defender. Little is the type of player who could help them improve their horrid three-point defense.
But Little's raw skillset suggests he may take some time to develop offensively and it brings into question how high his ceiling will ultimately prove to be. The Wizards may be able to find someone with the ninth pick who can both contribute sooner than Little and offer a clearer road to potential stardom.
That said, if Little's game is indeed more designed for the NBA than in college, he could impress in pre-draft workouts and end up rising up the board.
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