The lottery’s biggest mystery worked out for Charlotte recently despite not being projected to go in their draft range.
The Charlotte Hornets have been churning prospects through Charlotte for workouts in preparation for the 2022 NBA Draft next week. The most eyebrow raising of those visits came last Friday. The Hornets hosted Duke big Mark Williams for an individual workout, which wasn’t the least bit surprising given how frequently he’s been linked with the team. But then the team tweeted out that they had one more workout for the day, Kentucky wing Shaedon Sharpe.
Sharpe is this draft’s Rorschach Test. He enters the draft as a projected lottery pick despite not playing a competitive game since high school. He’s widely projected to go well before the Hornets pick, with DraftKings sportsbook setting the over/under of his draft position at 7.5. That would be well out of the Hornets’ range, which makes his workout in Charlotte curious. Do his handlers think he could potentially fall to 13, or do the Hornets have something up their sleeve. Either way, let’s look at who Shaedon Sharpe is.
Height: 6’4.25” w/o shoes, 6’5.25” in shoes
Weight: 198 pounds
Standing reach: 8’7.5”
Physical attributes, shot making potential
Sharpe’s upside starts with his physical profile. He is basically the prototype for NBA wings. He’s close to 6’5” with a near 7-foot wingspan, big hands, and broad shoulders. He’s an incredible athlete with quick feet and a crazy vertical leap.
Shaedon Sharpe really likes to dunk. pic.twitter.com/YTpzuz8geb
— Dennis Janßen (@DennisJBBall) May 25, 2021
He has highlight tapes full of extraordinary dunks for a player of his position. He can dunk out of the dunker spot and can elevate with little space to operate. His explosiveness also gives him time to perform acrobatic finishes and adjust his shot in midair.
The physical tools give him top tier defensive potential, even if there isn’t a lot of tape to support that. He should be able to move his feet well enough to guard on the perimeter if he’s engaged and his length and athleticism give him the ability to bother shots at the rim.
The other selling point of Sharpe’s game is his shot making ability. He has a smooth shot from three and the mid range with the ability to create looks for himself. He can step back going both right and left and shot the ball extremely efficiently off the dribble in the EYBL circuit. His athleticism and touch around the basket make him a true three level scoring threat with the ability to create for himself (and maybe for others as well).
Here’s a taste of what Shaedon Sharpe has shown in the Nike EYBL so far. Went from unranked to top ten in a very short span thanks to his terrific athletic ability and versatile shot-making prowess. Canada continues to pump out top-tier talent. pic.twitter.com/yMd6ajIdDt
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) July 16, 2021
Lack of competitive experience, applying the talent
The biggest concern with Sharpe as a prospect is how little anyone has seen of him in a competitive setting. He was a relatively late riser in his high school class before bursting onto the scene as an upperclassman. A lot of the tape people have to go off are workouts and a 12 game season in the Nike EYBL. There isn’t a lot that can be translated to the NBA level from an evaluation perspective.
On top of that, some of Sharpe’s appeal is more theoretical than actual. He has a ton of talent, but he played a style that’s not exactly NBA friendly. He settled for a lot of tough jump shots and isn’t always as aggressive as he could be attacking the rim. Defensively, he played with little effort for stretches and has some very bad looks where he plays swinging door defense with no attempts to recover. A lot of that can be attributed to the high school environment where the play is much more disorganized and there isn’t nearly as much accountability as there will be at the pro level. But still, it makes it harder to tell what kind of player Sharpe will be as a pro.
Sharpe looks like a superstar. He has the physical attributes and shot making ability to tantalize teams and provide hope that he’ll be a big time player in the league. However, the question marks surrounding his path to the league and the lack of competitive tape out there make it hard to fully by in. He strikes me as a similar prospect to Anthony Edwards with his combination of athleticism and shot making ability along with his frustrating tendency to settle for jumpers and lack of defensive production relative to the tools. Edwards looks to be on his way to stardom, and perhaps Sharpe will follow that path for himself.
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