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2019 NBA Draft profiles: Nassir Little’s athleticism is intriguing, but his shooting remains a concern

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The North Carolina freshman has the raw athletic skills to be a very good NBA player. But he hasn’t developed most of the skills necessary to make an impact right away. Should the Wizards draft him for the long term?

Auburn v North Carolina
Nassir Little is one of many player who could be the Wizards’ first round pick in this year’s NBA Draft.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Nassir Little of the University of North Carolina is the latest prospect whom we are profiling in our list of 2019 NBA Draft prospects who could realistically be taken with the ninth overall pick. Here‘s his profile.

Nassir Little, Small Forward, North Carolina Tar Heels

Where is he from? — Little hails from Orange Park, Fla, where he went to Orlando Christian Prep for High School.

How did he do in college? — Little averaged 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds for the Tar Heels in the 2018-19 season. He played as a sixth man that year.

Strengths

There are some things that work out in Little’s favor right away including:

  • Physical size and athleticism — Little has great size for a wing player. He’s 6’6, has a wingspan of well above 7-feet and has a vertical of 38.5 inches.
  • Defensive ability with his physical strengths — Little is quite good at using his body to defend opposing scorers quite well. There are many great athletes in any NBA Draft, but few are able to ultize those talents like he can.

Weaknesses

Like any other person who is expected to drop down to ninth, Little has his share of weaknesses such as the following:

  • Three-point shooting efficiency — While Little shot 47.8 percent from the field, he only made 14-of-52 threes. As a small forward in the NBA, Little will have to improve drastically in this area to be a perimeter threat.
  • Overdependent on athleticism — As a younger player, Little can make highlights by jumping high to grab rebounds, block shots or dunk. But in the NBA, players have to rely on more than just speed and strength.
  • Why didn’t he start? Most early entries in the NBA Draft were starters, often leading their team in scoring and rebounding or close to it. In Little’s case, he never started because he played behind Cameron Johnson and didn’t average double-digit scoring. Yes, North Carolina is one of the strongest college basketball programs around, but a blue chip athlete should be able to play more than Little did.

What was Little’s best game as a college player?

On Jan. 21, 2019, Little scored 23 points in a 103-82 win over Virginia Tech. Little also shot 7-of-12 from the floor in the win.

Fit for the Wizards

Little figures to be a disruptive perimeter defender as an NBA rookie. He could be an athletic wing for Bradley Beal and Tomas Satoransky to pass alley oops to as well. However, he needs time to develop a better jump shot. Until that happens, teams will not defend him honestly.

Finally, the Wizards already have Troy Brown who plays a similar role and entered the league with similar weaknesses with perimeter shooting. Therefore, I’m not sold on him as a player who could make solid contributions right away.


Would you like Little to play for the Wizards or do you hope he ultimately plays for someone else? Let us know in the comments below.