The 2020 NBA regular season, playoffs, Draft, Lottery, and Combine have been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Still, it’s never to early to dive into the vast prospect pool that awaits the Spurs come draft night.
San Antonio has a decorated track record of developing late-first-round talent, but this year they’ll have an opportunity to select in the lottery for the first time since 1997. The 2020 Draft Class hasn’t received much praise from experts around the nation, though if anyone can make the most of their cards, it’s probably PATFO.
Devin Vassell | Florida State | Sophomore | Wing |
Weight: 194 lbs
2020 Stats (30 GP)
Per Game: 12.7 PPG/5.1 RPG/1.6 APG/1.4 SPG/1.0 BPG
Per 36: 15.9 PPG/6.3 RPG/2.0 APG/1.8 SPG/1.2 BPG
Shooting Splits: .490 FG%/.415 3P%/.738 FT%
Devin Vassell isn’t an exceptionally gifted offensive player, though his ability to immediately fill the role of a 3-and-D wing for any franchise makes him a highly valuable asset. While questions remain about his scoring potential, his growth from freshman to sophomore year suggests the work ethic to continue expanding his currently limited repertoire.
In regards to translatable offensive skills, Vassell possesses solid footwork in catch-and-shoot situations, legitimate NBA range on his three-point jumper, and a quick above-the-head release that makes it a tough shot to contest. The lanky wing also displayed exceptional touch and body control around the rim, exhibiting ambidexterity, and a reliable floater.
Vassell rarely takes a possession off on either end of the floor, and his remarkable motor shines off-ball and in transition where he can take advantage of unaware defenders. He makes purposeful cuts to the basket, runs hard on fastbreaks, and is an opportune offensive rebounder who actively seeks out the orange.
Despite his low assist numbers, Devin keeps the ball moving, rarely forces ill-advised passes, and refrains from pounding the rock in search of points. That in mind, ball-handling is perhaps the weakest part of his entire package, with his left-hand noticeably shakier than his right. Simple spins and hesitations are about as deep as his arsenal goes, and live-dribble turnovers accounted for a decent sum of his giveaways.
Additionally, Vassell showed a tendency to adjust his shot in traffic rather than attempt to finish through contact. This habitual inclination to sky-and-adjust likely derives from his slight frame and need to leap off both feet to maximize his explosiveness. As a result, the six-seven sophomore drew few fouls, had several layups erased at the hole, and you can expect that figure to increase with longer NBA defenders patrolling the paint.
San Antonio was once the gold standard of the league for their relentless approach and attention to detail on the defensive end. The Spurs haven’t enjoyed much success stopping opponents from stuffing the stat sheet in recent seasons, though the addition of Vassell to their young defensive core could help turn that dilemma around sooner than later.
He may be the best defender in the 2020 Draft Class, and his capacity to disrupt opposing offenses in a variety of ways sets him apart from his peers. From steal and swats to closeouts and communication, this 19-year-old does just about everything at an elite level given his size and position, and his boundless energy further highlights his talents.
He is a spectacular team defender who consistently makes the correct rotation, and his active hands combined with his acute anticipation on-ball and in the passing lanes allowed him to come up with almost two steals per game. Vassell also lays claim to solid footwork, a six-ten wingspan, and an uncanny knack for blocking shots from behind.
As a weakside defender, Vassell repositions himself quite nicely to get involved and break up plays. He excels at digging down on slashers and cutters and has no issue hitting the hardwood to repossess the ball. Furthermore, the defensive-minded wing has shown the wherewithal to appropriately execute within a zone defense and cover multiple men.
Although Vassell may frequently bite on ball fakes and occasionally whiff when gambling for steals, it’s impossible to ignore his well-rounded defensive skillset. You won’t find a better culmination of length, athleticism, and defensive IQ on the wing, and for that reason alone, Devin Vassell should be on the San Antonio Spurs’ radar.
Player Comparison: Mikal Bridges
Finding an accurate professional comparison for incoming players isn’t an exact science, so starting with suitable physical and statistical profiles is one way to expedite the process. While Vassell best fits the 3-and-D archetype, he most resembles the Suns’ second-year swingman Mikal Bridges.
The two posted comparable stat-lines during their sophomore campaigns, and though Bridges is the superior athlete, both have been labeled high-floor low-ceiling prospects. Mikal has already demonstrated plug-and-playability from day one, albeit for a sorry Suns squad, and Devin figures to contribute right off the bat for virtually any team that chooses him.
Like many collegiate standouts who came before him, Bridges experienced an up-and-down rookie season that saw him flip flop from the starting lineup to the second unit. As a second-year pro, Mikal improved in practically every statistical category despite a slight decrease in minutes, a welcome sight for someone who relied heavily on others to get himself going within the flow of the offense.
Vassell, similar to Bridges, is projected to be swept away by the time we reach the mid-to-late lottery. And that’s perfect considering we can expect the Silver and Black to pick somewhere within that range. If Devin Vassell is available and there’s no one better to be had, the Spurs would be smart to draft him before someone else does.
To check out more potential 2020 draft targets, click here.