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2022 NBA Draft Coverage: Shaedon Sharpe

This year’s biggest draft mystery

2022 NBA Draft Lottery - Portraits Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Shaedon Sharpe is probably the most complicated player to evaluate in this year’s draft, but there is a lot to like in the little bit we’ve seen of him. Sharpe was the number 1 overall men’s basketball prospect coming out of high school. He graduated a year early and committed to the University of Kentucky, but took a redshirt freshman year and didn’t play a single minute for the Wildcats. He is listed as a Shooting Guard, however, he would slot in really well at either wing position in a modern NBA offense. Sharpe is projected to be drafted in the top 5 on most boards right now, which means the Jazz’s only chance at taking him would be in a trade, most likely with the Sacramento Kings who have the 4th pick. In this hypothetical scenario where the Jazz hit the reset button by dealing Gobert or Mitchell to the Kings, Shaedon Sharpe could be the guy to take a shot on.

Stats

Age: 18

Height: 6’5”

Wingspan: 7’0”

Weight: 200 lbs.

Official NBA Combine Measurements

Since Shaedon didn’t play any minutes at the collegiate level the stats below are from his most recent season in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL). Keep in mind that this is a very low sample size.

Per Game: 22.6 PTS, 5.8 REB, 2.7 AST

Shooting Splits: 47.9% FG/ 36.4% 3P/ 63.5% FT

Stats from https://www.theseasonticket.com/

Syndication: The Courier-Journal Matt Stone/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Strengths

Shaedon Sharpe is an eye-popping athlete. It’s reported that he recorded a 49” vertical leap which would break the NBA combine record set by Keon Johnson at 48”. You can see the alleged hops on display in his film, it makes him a very effective lob finisher. His teams ran a lot of off-ball action for him to finish easy lobs in the half-court, and he proved to be a great cutter and showed an ability to play in the dunker spot as well. Shaedon looks like he could be an effective off-ball scorer at the NBA level on day one.

Sharpe has the physical tools to be a great on-ball defender in the NBA, looking like a guy that could switch 1-3 and even 1-4 once he gets stronger. He has great lateral quickness, and also showed great timing and anticipation against ball-handlers in transition and on drives, picking pockets to create easy transition opportunities. His leaping ability also gives him the potential to be a great rim protector. He showed flashes of great help defense, swatting a number of shots from the weak side. He won’t ever be big enough to fill in at the 5, but he will be an effective help defender and secondary rim protector from the wing position.

Weaknesses

One of the things that really jumps out in Shaedon Sharpe’s film is his motor, especially on the defensive end, not being very high. There are moments of high effort where he jumps off of the screen, but he also takes a lot of plays off on that end of the floor. Now, I think this is pretty easily explained for a kid who we’ve only seen play AAU and High School ball, but if you want to find red flags this could be seen as a pretty glaring one. There are plenty of moments where you can see him getting lost off-ball or letting drivers past him.

The lack of motor can be seen a bit on the offensive end as well, Sharpe sometimes has a tendency to fall in love with his jumper instead of driving to the basket, you’d like to see him increase his free throw attempts to make the jump from an 18-20 PPG scorer to a possible 25-27 PPG scorer at the NBA level. Sharpe also doesn’t have the elite first step you’d expect from an athlete of his caliber, but it’s not quite there. He’ll need to tighten up his handle and get a deeper bag of tricks to reliably create offense at the NBA level. I think he’ll be best used as an off-ball wing player cutting to the basket when he first enters the professional level, but there have been flashes of three-level scoring for Shaedon on film.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia at Kentucky Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Jazz Fit

The Jazz would only end up with Shaedon Sharpe if they move off of Rudy Gobert or Donovan Mitchell in exchange for a top 5 pick. Just about every mock draft has Sharpe going off the board by pick 5 at this point. If the Jazz are keeping one of their established stars in this hypothetical scenario then I’d like to see Sharpe playing alongside Donovan Mitchell. Donovan can handle the bulk of the playmaking responsibility and be paired with an off-ball scorer with a totally different style than anyone he’s played with previously.

If the Jazz were to completely hit the reset button and ended up with the 4th or 5th pick in this draft I think Shaedon Sharpe is the guy with the biggest upside in that spot. While there are some potential red flags with his motor and willingness to drive to the basket, we just have no idea how he’ll look at a higher level of play. One thing that is apparent in scouting Sharpe is that he is a hard worker. There are parts of his game that were bigger holes when he was younger, but by the end of his high school career, he had made significant strides in those areas. He’s improved his jumper, developed a nice step-back, and become much more comfortable firing from 3-point range. Once he develops some more dribble moves and the floor opens up for him in an NBA offense I think he could end up being the best wing player in the draft, and the Jazz would have a potential superstar on their hands.

Player Comparisons

Andrew Wiggins, Bradley Beal