Multiple Washington basketball prospects are looking to get taken in tomorrow night’s NBA draft, but where do they fit at the next level?
Washington basketball is losing four starters going into 2019, and at least two of them will be picked tomorrow in the NBA Draft. Among those four are the 2018-19 National Defensive Player of the Year, Matisse Thybulle, and 2018-19 Pac-12 Player of the Year, Jaylen Nowell. Both are more than likely going to be drafted, so what teams fit them best?
Husky fans know Thybulle very well, he’s an incredibly intelligent, long, athletic, defensive-minded player. His three ball is a little inconsistent, he shot 35% from behind this line over his four years at UW, and that number decreased over each of his last two seasons after he shot at a 40% clip during his sophomore season. That and his age will probably push him down in the first round, but he deserves to be picked in the 20s.
Critics will say that a lot of his production comes from taking advantage of opportunity at the top of the 2-3 zone, but averaging 3.5 steals and 2.3 blocks per game is a lot more than taking advantage of his opportunities. He’s an excellent defensive player who will hold his own defending guards and small forwards. There are multiple teams picking in that range, but as a player who, due to his need to develop at the offensive end will likely force him to start off as a role player, but if he can improve the three ball, he’ll be a starter.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder
There are multiple teams in the 20s that could use a backup guard, but the best team to utilize his skill set is the Oklahoma City Thunder. He can learn from Andre Roberson, one of the best defenders in the league, and Paul George, one of the best two-way players in the league. Learning from those two guys would benefit Thybulle in the best possible way, and he could potentially take over as their starting shooting guard at some point down the line.
Nowell is an excellent offensive player who can beat you in every way. He’s lethal in the mid-range, and he improved tremendously from beyond the arc, shooting 44% from the three-point line during his sophomore campaign. And of course, he can destroy you at driving to the basket, he’s an artist when it comes to scoring inside.
Defensively he’s a bit of a question mark, as sometimes it looks like he’s just going through the motions. He has the athleticism to succeed on the defensive end, and in the right system with the right coach, he can produce. So what system fits him best?
Prediction: Boston Celtics
The Celtics could use a star combo guard like Nowell. They’re losing Kyrie Irving, and potentially Terry Rozier as well at point guard so there’s a huge need. They have three first round picks, and they’ll probably end up using at least one on a guard and one on a big (the recent news of Al Horford wanting out shows how much offense they’re losing and will need to recoup through the draft). Nowell can be an inexpensive piece that they can potentially grab later in the second round, and Brad Stevens can