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NBA Draft Scouting: Shadeon Sharpe

Sharpe’s ability is unknown but he is a tantalising prospect

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

Physicals:

Height - 6’6

Weight - 200 lbs

Wingspan - 7’0

Shaedon Sharpe is one of the most hyped prospects in this class despite the fact that he did not even play college basketball this season. Sharpe’s last game came in high school for Dream City Christian in Arizona. For months, his camp maintained that Sharpe would spend the 2022-23 season at Kentucky and then he would declare for the Draft.

In the last few weeks, his stance has changed and Sharpe will enter the 2022 NBA Draft without even playing a competitive game for Kentucky. Shaedon has decided to strike while his stock is high. As decisions go, it should mean he ends up as a lottery pick on a pro team.

On the other hand, his decision means that his feet are put straight to the fire. Sharpe will not have the benefit of a season at college learning how to deal with high-pressure games. There are advantages and disadvantages to his decision but he certainly seems like a player ready for the NBA.

Sharpe’s game is reminiscent of Anthony Edwards and Zach LaVine. He is a big scoring wing who can fill up the stat sheet efficiently on a nightly basis. His style of play is likely one of the reasons why he is so desirable. Wings who can lead an offense are very useful in the postseason when the game gets tight and good shots are taken off the table.

Physically, Shadeon is one of the best wings in this class. He is bouncy, fast and has great agility. Sharpe can comfortably finish above the rim but I have been seriously impressed with how he gets to that shooting zone.

Shadeon does not simply look to overwhelm the opposing team with his raw pace; he uses his shiftiness to change direction and evade pressure. His footwork is technically sound and he was able to get to the basket easily in high school competition.

Scoring will be harder in the NBA but in the last two Drafts, we have seen players with similar physical profiles do really well in their rookie seasons. Anthony Edwards joined the Timberwolves in 2020 and has not looked back. Edwards is putting together strong nights from the field and he is contributing productively to the T-Wolves.

Jalen Green was taken last year by the Houston Rockets and he really found his scoring groove in the last few months of the season. Those are two examples which indicate that a player like Sharpe could do well for the Thunder.

Sharpe’s finishing around the rim is polished and he has the ability to execute a few different finishes. Shadeon has good feel for angles and knows how to create shooting windows at the hoop. His control of angles is not quite Shai Gilgeous-Alexander but it is still very impressive.

Shadeon is an excellent outside shooter. In high school, he shot 39% from deep and reliably drained pull-up threes. That shooting ability should translate to the NBA and will allow him to maximise his game. Defenses cannot afford to sag off him and go under screens if Sharpe can fill it up from deep.

I was also impressed by Sharpe’s selflessness. It is very common for highly touted prospects to demand the ball and focus on improving their own draft stock instead of contributing to winning basketball. With Sharpe, there was none of that.

His film consistently showed a player who was willing to set screens, cut and crash the boards if it led to his team winning games. That effort is emblematic of his approach to the game and should pay dividends down the line.

Of course, there are concerns with drafting players straight out of high school. Sharpe is not fully developed physically and his first few seasons may be a difficult transition for him. I would not expect him to be an instant hit at the NBA level.

The other weakness worth noting is that Sharpe’s handle is a little loose and he loses control of his dribble too easily. His ball-handling will need to improve for Sharpe to be an elite inside scorer in the NBA.

Shaedon Sharpe is a high-risk, high-reward draft pick. He is an All-Star level talent and his ceiling is almost limitless. The worry with Sharpe is that the pre-draft hype is just hype and he is miles away from what we expect him to be. That being said, I do expect Sam Presti to be aggressive in this year’s draft and a player like Sharpe might just take his fancy.