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2021 NBA Draft Coverage: Trendon Watford

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Versatile, playmaking forward

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Louisiana State at Michigan Joshua Bickel-USA TODAY Sports

Trendon Watford is considered one of the greatest high school basketball players in Alabama state history and holds multiple state records. He was a 5-star recruit, and although his college career wasn’t as dominant as some might have expected, he’s still only 20 years old with potential for growth and development.

Watford’s versatile offensive game is as balanced as it gets. Of the 11 play types tracked by Synergy, none of them up more than 16% of his possessions per NBA.com.

Stats and measurements

Age: 20

Year: Sophomore

Height: 6’ 7.5”

Weight 237 lbs

Wingspan: 7’ 2.25”

PTS: 16.3

REB: 7.4

AST: 2.9

NBA fit

Watford is a Swiss Army knife, capable of slotting into multiple roles and positions. He is a skilled ball handler and passer with good court vision, has a knack for drawing fouls (career .421 free throw rate), and is an efficient paint scorer with a euro-step floater in his arsenal. While his raw shooting numbers (32% from 3, 65% from the free throw line) aren’t great, his soft touch on floaters/runners and his ability to hit pull-up twos are positive indicators for potential growth as a shooter.

Watford is a cerebral player capable of reading the floor on both ends of the court. On offense, he slides into open space to create passing lanes for ball handlers or force a defensive shift. Defensively, he has good court awareness, rotates well, and plays sound positional defense. Although he’s not an explosive athlete, his movements are fluid and he has superb body control.

Watford’s (#62, black) versatility stood out during a scrimmage at this year’s NBA combine:

On defense, Watford rotates multiple times, then protects the rim, blocking a layup and forcing a turnover. On the ensuing offensive possession, on the short roll, he reads the floor (his eyes are already up as he’s catching the ball), and kicks the ball to an open shooter. Next, he catches a pass at the 3-point line, already looking toward the big on the baseline. His pass fake gets the defender in the air, and he throws a ridiculous sidearm pass for a dunk.

Despite a massive wingspan and 240 pound frame, his college rebounding numbers are uninspiring. His footwork is sloppy in some areas. He shuffles his feet (aka: travels) when launching into a drive after a pump fake, from the triple threat, or off the catch. NBA refs will nail him for traveling most of the time with that footwork.

How the Jazz get him?

Watford is currently projected as a 2nd round pick (possibly undrafted). Taking Watford at 30 would be a reach, and Utah does not have a 2nd round pick in this year’s draft. After pick 40 or so the Jazz should be able to buy their way into the 2nd.

In the back half of the 2nd, Watford is absolutely worth a flier.