Wizards

Kentucky's Boston Jr. presents big upside

Wizards

The Washington Wizards are picking squarely in the middle of the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft. Whether Washington trades up, down or stays firm at No. 15, here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who the Wizards could consider selecting.

2021 NBA Draft Prospect Preview: Brandon Boston Jr.

School/team: Kentucky

Position: Guard

Age: 19

Height: 6-7

Weight: 188

Wingspan: 6-11

2020/21 stats: 25 G, 11.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.2 bpg, 35.5 FG% (4.1/11.6), 30.0 3PT% (1.2/4.0), 78.5 FT%

Player comparison: Eddie Jones, Cam Reddish

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 2nd round, Sports Illustrated 39th, NBADraft.net 39th

5 things to know:

-Boston Jr. is an athletic wing known for his ability to score. He's 6-foot-7 and has a decent handle, especially when he drives right. Boston Jr. was at his best around the rim and in the midrange, showing solid touch on floaters and the ability to finish through some contact. In order to reach his potential as a scorer, he will need to improve his outside shooting significantly and likely add some muscle so he can withstand the physical defense of stronger players in the pros.

-His length and ability to force turnovers in college suggest some defensive upside, but offense is considered his biggest strength. Where Boston Jr. was able to make an impact on both ends, however, is with his rebounding. He pulled in 4.5 boards per game in school, which is solid for a guard.

 

-If there is one encouraging sign for Boston Jr.'s shooting trajectory, it's his free throw percentage. He shot nearly 80 percent at the line, which suggests his mechanics aren't completely broken. Boston Jr.'s three-point shot has a quick, fluid release, which is good. It's also interesting to note how he finished the season strong. He shot 42.2% on 5.6 three attempts per game in his final eight games at Kentucky, three times making four threes or more. He went 6-for-10 from long range against South Carolina in February.

-He was a top-5 recruit out of high school one year ago and the top-ranked player in Kentucky's freshman class. Boston Jr. was a McDonald's All-American and consensus five-star prospect. In that sense, he's similar to Reddish, who had similar hype entering college, but was not able to keep his shooting percentages high enough to maintain his draft stock.

-Boston Jr. played high school ball at Sierra Canyon in California where he was teammates with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade's sons. He also played with Ziaire Williams, a likely first-round pick this year out of Stanford.

Fit with Wizards:

Boston Jr.'s draft stock has fallen to the point where it would be a major surprise if he landed in the Wizards' range, in the middle of the first round. At this point, it seems like a safe bet he will be taken in the second round, with a chance he goes late first. So, in order to draft him, the Wizards would probably have to move back or acquire a second-round pick, which they have done each of the past two drafts under general manager Tommy Sheppard.

If the Wizards do find a way to get within range of Boston Jr., he would make sense for them in a variety of ways. They need depth at the two and three, his positions, and they need to continue adding young upside to their roster. He would give them the potential to develop a very good scorer and someone who could create his own plays, but it will likely take years before he realizes that potential.

Boston Jr. may be worth a flier, though, if anything because he follows a line of draft steals. For whatever reason, guards from Kentucky continue to be overlooked in the draft and seemingly every year some team benefits from the trend. Last year, it was Immanuel Quickley and Tyrese Maxey. Before them, it was Devin Booker, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Tyler Herro. There is something about the Kentucky program that seems to simultaneously disguise these guys' talents while also prepares them very well for the NBA.

As the Wizards look to restock their G-League program this year and add more upside to their organization, Boston Jr. could represent a perfect low risk, high reward option in the second round. Draft him now, give him the resources to develop and see what you have in a few years. Maybe you find the next UK diamond in the rough.