Gradey Dick is a one-and-done prospect who helped Kansas win the Big 12 regular season title and finish fourth in the AP Poll. He was named one of the Wooden Award Midseason Players and earned First Team All-Big 12 and conference All-Freshman honors. And if there’s a player more polarizing among draft-hawking Utah Jazz fans…I’d really like to know who that is because I should have been looking into him instead.
There are some who’d love to have Dick on the Jazz while others vehemently oppose the notion of Utah using one of their top picks on him. Even aside from the endless teenage-level humor potential of Gradey Dick, there’s a lot to who this young man is, so let’s get to it.
- Age (on draft day): 19.58 years old
- Position: Wing
- Height: 6-8
- Weight: 205 lbs
- School: Kansas
- Per Game Stats — 14.1 points | 5.1 rebounds | 1.7 assists | 1.4 steals | 0.3 blocks
- Shooting Splits — 44.2 FG% | 40.3 3P% | 85.4 FT% | 58.1 TS% | 54.7 eFG%
- Advanced Stats — 7.7 BPM (4.9 Off BPM, 2.9 Def BPM) | 4.9 Win Shares | +18.7 Net Rating
NBA teams are constantly looking out for top-level shooters and Dick is a top-level shooter. As a jump shooter, Dick ranked among the best, especially when accounting for volume. According to Synergy Sports, he ranked T-27th in points per possession on jump shots among players with at least 250 attempts. And it wasn’t just catch-and-shoot jumpers either that Dick excels at. He also makes scores out of the pick-and-roll, on dribble-jumpers, shots off screens and even in transition. There’s hardly a type of shot that exists that Dick doesn’t hit at a high rate.
Dick does basically everything a team wants on offense from its wing players (save for perhaps high-level passing). He shoots well, is a willing passer and moves well off ball. The team that drafts him will be all the better for it on offense. And the impact will likely be immediate. Dick has All-Rookie potential written all over him with his potential Day 1 impact.
Defensively, Dick has enough IQ, athleticism and length to pull his weight. There’s very little worry that he’ll be a liability on that end of the floor. He’ll be able to guard 2-4 and maybe even 1-4 effectively enough. He’s not going to be targeted by anyone on defense.
The main weakness Dick has isn’t so much of a fatal flaw in his game but more of a lack of being the kind of elite talent a team might be looking for in the lottery. Teams and fans like to see superstar potential in lottery picks and Dick doesn’t really have that. He lacks top-flight athleticism, a quick first step, length, ball-handling, elite passing, ability to draw fouls and so forth. There’s no doubt that he’s a shot-maker, but can he be truly elite? He’s more likely to be a Gordon Hayward or Bojan Bogdanovic, to use former Jazz player comparisons, than he is an All-NBA caliber scorer.
Dick is also not someone who projects as a top-tier defender to make up for a lack of elite shot creation. As mentioned above he long/athletic enough to pull his weight in the NBA (provided he adds a bit of strength) but he’s not going to be anywhere near the All-Defense team. His added value there will be limited.
Will the Jazz draft him?
Draft projections have Dick being drafted around the range of Utah’s first pick at No. 9. Some currently have him going as high as sixth but it’s likely he’ll be available at No. 9, or at least very close. Given that, it’s very possible the Jazz draft Dick. He plays a position the Jazz are likely looking to fill so if they like him more than some of the prospects around him then he’ll wind up wearing Jazz colors next season (whatever those colors may be).
There’s a trend among mock draft writers that the Jazz are in the market for a point guard, making Anthony Black and Carson Wallace more likely options. But don’t underestimate the chance Utah surprises people with who they fall in love with.
It’s possible that drafting Dick at No. 9 could cause backlash among Jazz fans, but it’s not entirely justified. The ninth pick isn’t going to often yield superstar players so finding a solid player with virtually guaranteed shot-making ability is hard to pass up. Does he have the upside of others? No. And that’s something the Jazz will have to consider. Are they willing to take a risk or get a guy more likely to succeed but limited in All-NBA potential. It’s a trade-off that most teams picking after the top handful of picks have to contend with.