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: Nickeil Alexander-Walker
School: Virginia Tech
Age: 20 (turns 21 in September)
Max vertical: N/A
2018/19 stats: 16.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.5 bpg, 47.4 FG% (5.6/11.8), 37.4 3PT% (1.7/4.6), 77.8 FT%
Player comparison: Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Tomas Satoransky
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 19th, NBADraft.net 14th, Bleacher Report 18th, Sports Illustrated 20th, Ringer 16th
5 things to know:
*Alexander-Walker is a big guard known for his offensive skillset. He can handle the ball, pass and score in a variety of ways. He can play both point guard and shooting guard and affect games with his passing at either spot.
*He was an excellent three-point shooter in college. As a freshman, he shot 39.2 percent from long range on 4.5 attempts per game. His percentage dipped as a sophomore to 37.4 percent, but that was still impressive given he attempted 4.6 shots per game.
*Alexander-Walker has a plus wingspan, which he uses to his advantage on defense. He averaged 1.9 steals per game this past season in Blacksburg and his highlight reels are flooded with open court dunks off turnovers. He appears to have strong instincts as a perimeter defender, but could struggle initially at the NBA level against quicker and stronger guards.
*Though he has great size and length for a guard, Alexander-Walker is not considered a premier athlete for the position. He does not have elite quickness or the ability to play consistently above the rim. Because of that, some wonder how high his ceiling will be in the NBA. He may, however, have a high floor given his well-rounded game and basketball IQ.
*Alexander-Walker is from Canada. He has played for the national team as a junior and is part of a new wave of players from the country in the NBA. Alexander-Walker was a high school teammate of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who just enjoyed a strong rookie season with the L.A. Clippers.
Fit with Wizards: The Wizards need help at just about every position, so even a guard can't be ruled out. Alexander-Walker would give them more backcourt depth and that is needed long-term, even after John Wall returns from injury.
If Alexander-Walker can develop into an above average perimeter defender, he could be very useful for the Wizards. They need to improve at stopping dribble penetration and three-point shooters. They could use more players with Alexander-Walker's length and ability to force turnovers. Also, he would help spread the floor with his shooting.
All that said, the Wizards could probably find a player with more upside than Alexander-Walker with the ninth overall pick. He would be more in line with their decision to take Troy Brown Jr. last June.
Like Brown, he is smart and a safe bet to carve out a long NBA career. But could Alexander-Walker become an elite player at his position? He seems like a better option if they trade down into the teens and acquire more picks.
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