The 2020 NBA Draft has finally come and gone, and while this wasn’t a class carrying a clear top player or once-in-a-generation level talent, it’s a deep one full of high-floor talent waiting to be unlocked. With their first lottery pick in 23 years, the Spurs went with a prospect they had been frequently linked to and addressed an area of need: small forward.
And before going off on the “but he’s a shooting guard” tangent, he did in fact play small forward at Florida State and fits the metrics for the position with a listed height of 6’7” (and possibly still growing?) and 6’10” wingspan. Of note: that’s same height as Kawhi Leonard, and while not every human being can gifted with his giant mitts and 7’3” wingspan, Vassell’s is similar to another former All-Defensive Spur who could play SF in Danny Green.
However, if some of the highlights and video analyses out there are to be believed, the comparisons to Green end there. While Vassell is currently considered an elite 3-and-D player, Icy-Hot would be his floor. The potential is there for him to be so much more than a spot up shooter or slasher off the ball on offense. This amazing video by YouTube channel Sub Me In Coach shows how rapidly he has been improving on his pull-up shot, and in the right developmental system he could become into a star on both ends. (Spurs, anyone?)
Here’s another scouting breakdown of Vassell’s strengths and weaknesses from Hoop Intellect.
This is definitely giving me some flashbacks to 2011 here, where Leonard’s scouting reports were eerily similar (minus the three-point stroke), and yet the Spurs were able to get more out of him than any scout thought possible.
The general consensus seems to be that Vassell’s floor is elite role player who fits the exact 3-and-D mold the Spurs have needed the last two seasons, but his quick improvement in college and willingness to keep learning shows his ceiling could be much higher. If you aren’t hyped about Vassell yet, you should at least start feeling a little bit better about his fit with the Spurs.