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1 Number To Know, ACC Prospects in the NBA Draft: Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Justin Robinson

With the 2019 NBA Draft set for Thursday this week (June 20), we’re rolling out a new, quick-hitter series that will focus on the plethora of ACC prospects heading into the event. For each player, we’ll keep it simple: one number to know, a signature highlight, the projected draft range, an attribute to know and one quick thought on how they project to the next level.

So far, we’ve covered prospects from three ACC programs: Duke, North Carolina and Florida State. Next up, we move to Blacksburg to check out two of the top pick-and-roll playmakers in the draft — both from Virginia Tech: Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Justin Robinson.

 

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G

Per 40 Minutes: 18.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.2 steals, 0.6 blocks

  • 5.3 3PA (37.4 3P%, 57.9 eFG% on catch-and-shoots), 4.9 FTA (77.8 FT%)
  • 60.7 FG% at the rim (12 dunks)
  • 26.4 percent usage rate, 54.6 eFG%

 

Number(s) To Know: 

  • 63 eFG% on spot-up no-dribble jumpers
  • VT scored 1.05 points per possession when NAW passed out of a pick-and-roll to a player who used the possession, per Synergy Sports

 

Highlight: 

(Note: NAW loves passing the ball with his left hand.)

 

Projected Range: 

  • Late lottery to the back-third of the first round, 14-20

 

Attribute To Know: 

  • Vision, length — rangy defender who offers 3-point shooting and pick-and-roll passing

 

Quick Thoughts: 

  • After spending most of a his freshman season as primarily a spot-up shooter, Alexander-Walker evolved into a dynamic two-way wing with some pick-and-roll chops. NAW’s assists numbers skyrocketed this season — jumping from a 10.6 percent assist rate to 24.6 percent — as he moved on-ball more. His pick-and-roll craft really spiked, especially with Justin Robinson out/injured; Alexander-Walker plays with vision and can make reads, plus fit passes into tight windows with either hand, though he leans on his left.
  • His spot-up numbers remained strong — as did his stocks numbers (3.4 percent steal rate). He’s likely not a stopper on the next level, but defensively there’s upside for NAW; at the least, he should fit a system and cause some turnovers. There are issues with his first step offensively; he needs a screen to get north-south. However, he showed some post-up versatility this season, too.

 

Justin Robinson, G

Per 40 Minutes: 18.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 2.2 steals, 0.1 blocks

  • 5.5 3PA (41.8 3P%, 65.5 eFG% on catch-and-shoots), 6.3 FTA (81.1 FT%)
  • 59.8 FG% (3 dunks)
  • 26.2 usage rate, 57.e FG%

 

Number To Know: 

  • 1.01 points per possession (57.3 eFG%, 14.8 percent turnover rate) out of pick-and-roll possessions when Robinson used the possession or passed the ball to someone who did, according to Synergy

 

Highlight: 

 

Projected Range: 

  • Second round, 45-60

 

Attribute To Know: 

  • Playmaking, vision, attack gaps/split double teams

 

Quick Thoughts: 

  • Drafting or looking for back-up point guard talent is always a bit of a challenge. Every team wants to find its own Monte Morris or Fred VanVleet (undrafted in 2016) or Tyus Jones — cheap, useful reserves that can lead a second unity. However, when targeting this group of players — a lot of 6-foot guards — teams must find plus-value on at least one end of the floor; for instance, FVV and Stones Jones provide defensive punch.
  • Robinson is a veteran; he’s a skilled distributor, and he can really shoot from deep. With his ability to run an offense, initiate pick-and-rolls and thread lefty pocket passes, he looks like a prospect that could stick in the league by just being an effective offensive player. He’s limited with his size; opponents will try to exploit that on defense.

 

Read More on Nickeil Alexander-Walker

Another look at the off-ball defense of NAW