2022 NBA Draft: Sharpe the biggest mystery in NBA Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Washington Wizards have the 10th-best lottery odds for the 2022 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select....
2022 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Profile: Shaedon Sharpe
Position: Shooting guard
Age: 18 (turns 19 May 30)
2021/22 stats: N/A
Player comparison: Vince Carter, Andrew Wiggins
5 things to know:
-Sharpe was one of the highest-ranked recruits in his high school class and committed to the University of Kentucky, but never played in a single game after reclassifying and then becoming eligible for the draft. There aren't even a ton of stats from his high school days readily available online. NBA teams are going to need to see him up close in predraft workouts to get an accurate read on what he can be at the next level.
-Based purely on potential, Sharpe is a very intriguing prospect. He's got ideal size for a two-guard and elite athleticism. He's a very mobile athlete and can play above the rim. He reportedly had a 49-inch vertical leap recorded, though it wasn't at an official event. Whether his vertical is indeed that special (it would have set an NBA record), his leaping ability definitely stands out on the court. He regularly throws down high-flying dunks with effortless ease.
-Sharpe also stands out for his ability to create off the dribble and make plays for others. He has an advanced skill set as a ball-handler with the ability to find daylight with tight crossovers and stepbacks. He has good patience and feel for getting defenders off-balance. Getting to the rim in the halfcourt would be one area for development moving forward, but he has all the necessary tools to be a force going downhill.
-Part of the mystery surrounding Sharpe would be his defense, since the only film available has him defending high school players, albeit very good ones. Some evaluators believe he has a high ceiling on that end of the floor due to his size, athleticism and approach on that end. What does stand out is his ability to create turnovers, as he's shown good timing with steals and blocks.
-Sharpe's cousin, Dasan Brown, is an MLB prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays' system. He was a third-round pick in 2019.
Fit with Wizards:
If Sharpe were the pick for the Wizards, the expectations in the short term would probably need to be set fairly low. Maybe that would change with how he played in the Summer League or in the preseason, but it's likely going to take a significant adjustment for Sharpe to essentially go from high school to the NBA with a gap year in between.
Sharpe, though, may be able to find minutes early on behind Bradley Beal at shooting guard, as the Wizards don't have an established player at that spot. That could change once free agency and trades factor in, but Sharpe would fill a current need.
Ideally, he would at least be able to contribute by the second half of his rookie season, but Sharpe would be more of a long-term play given his age, lack of experience and unique athletic potential. The hope would be he works out like Anfernee Simons has for the Blazers. They drafted him at 18 years old in 2018 and now four seasons later he looks like a future star, still at only 22.
While best player available is always a smart strategy in the NBA Draft, the Wizards would have to consider how a potential project like Sharpe would fit with Beal's timeline. If he takes 2-to-3 years to become a reliable rotation piece, by then Beal will be into his 30s. That said, Sharpe could be worth the wait in that sense as his prime could line up to make him Beal's long-term replacement at shooting guard.
2022 NBA Draft profiles: