Dylan Windler - Belmont
Small Forward, 6’7, 196 lbs, 22 years old
54 FG%, 42.9 3P%, 84.7 FT%
21.3 PTS 10.8 REB 2.5 AST 1.4 STL 2.1 TOV
Every year it seems like a draft prospect slips later because of his age. Simply being a junior or a senior makes a big difference on draft night. But every year there are those late round guys that overproduce compared to their draft slot. I’m talking about guys like Draymond Green, Montrezl Harrell, Malcolm Brogdon, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Khris Middleton. Upperclassmen in this year’s draft that might join that list include Brandon Clarke, Matisse Thybule, Cameron Johnson, Ty Jerome, and Dylan Windler. Will Belmont’s star in Windler find himself on Dennis Lindsey’s radar at pick 23?
If the Jazz are looking to add a shooter then you better believe Windler will be on the short list of potential selections. This guy can hit from all over the floor and would provide some spacing that Utah has struggled with. It’s expected that his 3 point shot would translate to the NBA without any issues. He shouldered a big load to carry a mid-major program to one of their best seasons ever.
He’s also an impressive rebounder, particularly on the defensive end. The Jazz may not benefit from that like other teams with Rudy Gobert manning the paint, but he might be a high level rebounder for his position. Add that to his shooting and he might have 2 bonafide NBA-level skills.
Personally, I think Windler has the shooting necessary to carve out a nice NBA career even if that means his ceiling isn’t particularly high. If you can find a solid role player at the end of the first round that’s a win every time.
As I highlighted at the beginning, Windler is older than most prospects in the draft. He played the full 4 years of college, so his upside might be comparatively limited. NBA GMs and scouts might be worried that he doesn’t have much room to grow at the next level.
Pushing Belmont to earn an at-large bid is very impressive. That being said, did Windler take advantage of playing in a lower conference against inferior opponents? How will he look against NBA athleticism and talent? He did play a few games against power schools—including fellow prospect Ja Morant—and generally held his own.
Q&A with Cam Newton from Mid-Major Madness
I was able to speak with Cam Newton—not that Cam Newton—from Mid-Major Madness about Windler. While Mid-Major Madness covers a plethora of teams, it turns out that Cam Newton actually is a fan of Belmont so he was poised to have some unique insight about Dylan Windler.
What strengths of Gordon Hay--er, I mean--Dylan Windler will translate well to the NBA?
In a league that has—from an outsider’s perspective, at least—become all about possessing key players with the ability to knock down long range baskets, Dylan Windler should be seen as an absolute steal. Of course, it’s not just his shooting stroke (on display for the entire country in his 35-point performance against Maryland in the NCAA Tournament) that made him a star for the Belmont Bruins. He’s a forward who can seemingly do it all for his team, thanks largely to his athleticism and ball handling, which allow him to score from every part of the court.
Consequently, he’s more than capable of putting his team on his back in pursuit of victory, with his second half heroics in a comeback win over Austin Peay last season—a game in which he scored 22 points in the final 20 minutes—illustrating exactly that point. Honestly, it’d be hard to say what he does best, but NBA executives and coaches alike surely have no choice but to smile after seeing highlights where his penchant for volume scoring is made exceedingly obvious.
What weaknesses of Dylan will need to be improved in the NBA?
I think the main complaint one could lodge against Windler is that he likely doesn’t have the muscle bulk required of guys who want to make a post impact in the NBA. Some added size in that department could allow him to have a greater presence down low, but it’s questionable as to whether or not doing so could cost him some of the agility, speed, and athleticism that has made him so valuable to begin with. Of course, those attributes and muscle strength aren’t mutually exclusive, so if bulking up a bit can be done without sacrificing other key values, Windler would benefit from doing so.
What role do you see Dylan being in the NBA?
The Belmont homer in me (the one who has written countless Rick Byrd-centric stories for Mid-Major Madness) says that Dylan Windler is going to be the next Gordon Hayward, something you all playfully alluded to in your first question posed to me. Putting those two players side-by-side, many similarities can be seen in both their physical stature, gameplay attributes, and style of play. That being said, it’s probably unrealistic to expect that Windler will ever have the same role that Hayward had both in Utah and Boston. That’s not necessarily a knock against Windler, but it’s obviously rare that a player ever rises to that stage in the professional level.
Would you consider Utah a good landing spot for him?
Admittedly, I don’t follow the NBA a great deal, as that’s what happens when you spend all of November-March watching hundreds of college basketball games while trying to cover about 200+ mid-major teams. However, it does appear as if selecting a player like Windler would be of great benefit to the Jazz, as he certainly possesses the potential to one day step into the starting lineup. Until then, I’d be content saying he could be a valuable role player for the Jazz for the next few seasons.