With the NBA season approaching, Chase Hughes and Andrew Gillis dissect the biggest questions for the Wizards entering the 2021-22 season.
Today's question: What are reasonable expectations for Corey Kispert this season?
CH: Reasonable expectations for Corey Kispert’s first season should probably be fairly moderate, despite the fact he played four years in college and the recent track record of Gonzaga players finding early success at the NBA level (Rui Hachimura, Brandon Clarke, etc.). Kispert has a chance to become an elite three-point shooter, but there will be plenty he has to adjust to at the professional level, all while navigating a deep position on the Wizards’ roster.
In the last three seasons, only five rookies have shot 40% from three or better while playing at least 1,000 minutes that season. For comparison, Aaron Nesmith was taken 14th overall in 2020 by the Celtics and was regarded by many as the best shooter in the draft. He was fine as a rookie, but didn’t make a major impact, shooting 37.0% while playing 14.5 minutes per game.
Kispert will have to compete with a bunch of veteran wings for playing time, like Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Davis Bertans, Hachimura and then also Deni Avdija, who was a first round pick one year ago. It could help his cause if he can play some at the two behind Bradley Beal, where there isn’t as much depth.
AG: Kispert’s rookie season will be an interesting one to monitor, solely because of how deep the Wizards are on the wings now — which is certainly not something they could say a year ago.
Kispert was an excellent 3-point shooter in college and cashed 44 percent of his triples a year ago at Gonzaga. Chase’s stat about rookies shooting 40 percent is a wildly important one, but if he even approaches that figure in his first professional season, the Wizards will have a mighty fun problem on their hands.
Absent Russell Westbrook, they’ll need more players to create offensively and I think Kispert could be the beneficiary of some of those other players stepping up. He noted multiple times throughout the draft process (before and after he was drafted) that he felt one of his strengths was his ability to play off the ball and make quick decisions offensively. With boosted 3-point shooting on the roster, and then with the addition of Kispert, the Wizards could become one of the tougher matchups on the perimeter.
Still, expectations for him shouldn’t necessarily be rooted in the box score (as is the case for most, if not all, rookies). If he can add anything of substance to the defensive end of the floor, and then be a spot-up shooter on the other end with a playmaking mindset, the Wizards will feel good about their future with Kispert.