The Washington Wizards are likely to have a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2020 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Aaron Nesmith
2019/20 stats: 14 G, 35.7 mpg, 23.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.9 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.9 bpg, 51.2 FG% (7.5/14.6), 52.2 3PT% (4.3/8.2), 82.5 FT%
Player comparison: Tyler Herro, Landry Shamet
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 17th, Sports Illustrated 18th, Ringer 15th, NBADraft.net 25th, Bleacher Report 16th
5 things to know:
*Nesmith is one of the best shooters available in this draft. Though he only played 14 games this past season, his 52.2 three-point percentage on 8.2 attempts per game is extremely impressive. According to Basketball Reference, he is the only player to make that high of a percentage on eight or more attempts per game since at least 1992-93. Nesmith also had four games where he hit seven threes or more.
*His sophomore season at Vanderbilt was cut short by a stress fracture in his right foot. That's the type of injury that will raise some eyebrows during the pre-draft process, but the drawn-out timeline due to the NBA's hiatus could help his cause by giving him more time to recover.
*Nesmith also rebounds well for his position and is considered a plus-defender. He has the size and strength to be a perimeter pest and gives a consistent effort on that end of the floor. He should at a base-level be able to thrive in a sound defensive structure.
*The knocks on Nesmith would include his relative lack of explosiveness around the rim and his still-developing handle. Nesmith could find success at the NBA level as a knock-down shooter, but as of now will have to rely mostly on catch-and-shoot plays and screens. In order to unlock his full offensive potential, he will need to get better at creating his own shot.
*Nesmith is a standout student. He was on the SEC academic honor roll and was planning to play in the Ivy League before Vanderbilt discovered him late in the recruitment process. His brother is a senior at Harvard.
Fit with Wizards: Nesmith would be a strong fit for the Wizards for a few reasons, most notably the fact he could help fill a need at the wing/small forward position. The Wizards have some decent young players in Troy Brown Jr. and Isaac Bonga, but Nesmith could push them for minutes right away and perhaps present more upside than either of them.
He would also give the Wizards another shooter. With John Wall coming back next season, they could roll out lineups with all three-point threats around him. Imagine Wall running the floor dishing passes all over the place to Bradley Beal at the two, Nesmith at the three, Davis Bertans at the four and either Thomas Bryant or Moe Wagner at the five. Pick your poison.
Ideally, the Wizards would also find a scrappy defender in a wing to pair with Wall and Beal, and it's probably unlikely to expect Nesmith to be that guy right away. That is a tough position to guard and especially for a rookie. But the long-term potential would certainly be there for him to help elevate their defense as well.
All in all, Nesmith would be a solid pick for the Wizards. He would add shooting, possibly some defense and give them another high-IQ player to build their culture with.
Best highlight video:
Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.
MORE PROSPECT PROFILES: