Wizards

Kispert has been compared to Joe Harris, and has studied him

Wizards

Some pre-draft player comparisons are easier to make than others. For Wizards first round draft pick Corey Kispert, Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris became a common parallel and some of the numbers are so close it's eerie.

Both measured in at the combine at 6-foot-6, they each played four years in college and had almost identical three-point shooting numbers entering the draft. Harris, who played at Virginia, shot 40.7% from three on 4.8 attempts per game in his college career. Kispert shot 40.8% also on 4.8 attempts.

While Harris was a second round pick in 2014, Kispert went 15th overall last week, perhaps a product of three-point shooting becoming more and more paramount for NBA teams over the last seven years. But nonetheless, if Kispert has a Harris-like career, the Wizards will have made an excellent pick.

Harris has gone on to become one of the best shooters in the NBA. He is a 43.8% three-point shooter for his career and led the NBA in the category two of the past three years. This past season, he topped the league by shooting a ridiculous 47.5% on 6.4 attempts, both career-highs.

The good news for the Wizards is not only does Kispert recognize the similarities, he is embracing them.

"Joe Harris has been someone that I've studied a lot," Kispert told NBC Sports Washington at a Wizards back-to-school giveaway in Southeast D.C. "I've developed a little bit of a relationship with him and watching his film has been great for me just to analyze and especially as a person who likes shooting the ball."

 

In order to replicate Harris' game, that require the ability to catch and shoot. Harris was tied for second in the NBA last season (to Davis Bertans) in threes made per game off catch-and-shoot plays. But Harris shot an absurd 51.5% on them, by far the highest clip of anyone who averaged at least 3.0 attempts per game.

Of the shots Harris attempted last season, 75.2% featured him touching the ball for fewer than two seconds and 50.3% were of the catch-and-shoot variety. Kispert also attempted a majority of his shots as a senior at Gonzaga last year on catch-and-shoot plays.

If Kispert can become an elite catch-and-shoot marksmen in the NBA, the Wizards would have two of them with Bertans also in the mix. That could lead to a lethal offense as nothing can create space quite like a guy with a lightning quick release and accuracy from deep.

Kispert has been keeping all of that in mind as he works on his game this offseason to prepare for his rookie year.

"The NBA line is further back, so you have to take steps back and shoot it as good from further back. The guys are more athletic and taller and faster in the NBA as well. Your windows to shoot are a lot smaller. So, just getting a quick release and being accurate from deep," he said.

Kispert, 22, is expected to contribute sooner than later as a more experienced prospect after playing four years in college. But it could take some time for his three-point shooting to translate. Harris didn't become a 40% three-point shooter until his fourth NBA season, when he was 26.

In the last 10 NBA seasons, only eight qualified rookies have shot 40% or higher from three. Three did it last year -- Tyrese Haliburton, Desmond Bane and Peyton Pritchard -- but none the season before or from 2014 to 2018.

Kispert appears as well-positioned as any rookie in recent years to join that list. Perhaps the tips he's received from Harris and what he's learned by studying him will help.