In his three years at the University of Wisconsin, Sam Dekker developed into an overall good, but puzzling player.
He had an unreal run in the NCAA Tournament, where he hit an abundance of threes and scored a lot of points.
What could he turn out to be in the NBA, though?
Here is what I found.
First off, his three-point shooting in the tournament was far, far better than it has been the last two seasons. He was hitting incredibly difficult shots over defenders while he was falling away and off balance.
That being said, his shooting and consistency with his shot will need to improve significantly if he will want to have sustained success in the NBA. I’m sure he knows that.
NBADraft.net has compared him to Gordon Hayward. Both are players similar, but Dekker is a little taller (supposedly 6’9) and I’m sure he is heavier than Hayward. Hayward was a better shooter in college than Dekker was, despite having a rough sophomore year from three-point range.
Both players are athletic, and with Dekker being a little taller and wider, I think his athleticism will help him make up for some of the skill he lacks that Hayward already had when he entered the draft.
My other problem with this player comparison is Hayward makes $15 million per year. In all honesty, and all my hate for the Badgers aside, I don’t think Dekker will ever make it to that level. Now, he could prove me wrong, and I hope he does, but I don’t see it.
I like that Dekker plays with a chip on his shoulder. Is it the right chip to have? I’m not sure, but it’s always nice when incoming NBA-ers have an edge to them. The reason I asked my question is I feel Dekker can almost be cocky at times. There is a difference between being cocky and having an edge. Normally, cocky players find that out in their first team practice.
He is able to run the floor very well, and is pretty quick in doing so. He is pretty good off the dribble, too, despite not being a tremendous ball-handler.
I don’t think he’ll ever be good at creating his own offense much, but if he can learn how to use his body and become a good post-up player, then I think he be fine. He won’t beat a lot of players off the dribble, though, because I don’t believe he is quick enough.
However, he is very quick when he catches and attacks closeouts. I saw a fair amount of plays where he is able to blow by players who close out too close to him. That’s where he can be pretty good, or even great.
He has to become a better free throw shooter. While few players like LeBron James can get away with shooting 70 percent from the line, Dekker can’t. I would like to see him shoot at least 75 percent from the line.
He has nice strength, and I think it will almost purely translate at the NBA level. Of course, he will continue to lift and get stronger, but he pretty much already has NBA-level strength.
Bo Ryan runs a very structured offense, so I’m wondering how Dekker’s off-ball offensive abilities will translate. He has shown to be a good cutter, but will those cuts be there? Of course, that all depends on what team drafts him and what kind of offense is run, and where he fits into the offense.
I would like to see him grab more rebounds, especially for his size, but he is a good offensive rebounder. He averaged nearly two offensive rebounds per game this past season.
As with most prospects, I question his defensive ability. However, I don’t question his effort. He tries very hard on defense, and that in turn made him into a pretty good defender in college. In the NBA, it will be about his ability to guard much quicker, stronger, and more athletic players.
He has a high motor, and that will probably help him see more playing time as a rookie.
I will continue to shy away from comparisons like Hayward and Chandler Parsons. Right now, I believe he is more in the realm of players like Harrison Barnes, Jeff Green, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Could he get to Hayward’s level? Maybe, someday.
After looking at several mock drafts, it looks like he will be on the edge of the lottery. A team I think he could have success with would be Phoenix (No. 13) or Atlanta (No. 15). I could see him going as high as No. 10, which is where Miami will be picking, more than likely. The draft lottery isn’t until next week, but chances are likely that No. 10 is where Miami will pick.
I will continue to stand firm with Dekker’s comparison of Barnes, Green, and Kidd-Gilchrist. Barnes is an OK shooter, but is big and good off the bounce. He has the athleticism of Green and the motor of Kidd-Gilchrist. One thing that bugs me is he isn’t great at one thing, but can do several things fairly well. He doesn’t do a lot of things well.
I hope he proves me wrong and turns into a player like Hayward, or even better.