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2019 NBA Draft Profiles: Should the Wizards take a gamble on Romeo Langford after a rocky year at Indiana?

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The Indiana Hoosiers guard showed promise in his lone college season. But Langford still lacks the perimeter shooting and defense needed at the next level.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Indiana Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Being crowned Mr. Indiana Basketball in the state of Indiana is a very big deal. Attending the state university, Indiana University, after being named Mr. Indiana Basketball in 2018 is a very, very big deal in the basketball-crazy Hoosier state.

As a freshman, Romeo Langford had an enormous burden on his shoulders. Langford, decided to stay home and entered his freshman season at Indiana University as the best high school recruit from the state since Eric Gordon. He had the weight of the entire state on his shoulders as the Hoosier faithful thought Langford would be the guy who would make IU relevant on a national scale once again. The stage was set for Langford to become an Indiana basketball hero.

Langford’s lone season at IU can best be described as a season filled with injury and unrealistic expectations. Should the Wizards take a risk on Langford with the 9th overall pick — a guy who was thought to be a top-5 pick prior to his one year in college?

Romeo Langford, Wing, Indiana Hoosiers

Where is he from? — New Albany, Ind. Despite getting interest from every top tier prep school, Langford played his high school ball at New Albany High School.

How did he do in college? Langford averaged 16.5 points on 44.8 percent shooting to go along with 5.4 rebounds per game in his lone year as a Hoosier.

Strengths

Ideal NBA frame — In high school, Langford had all of the attributes and frame of an NBA player which had college coaches and NBA scouts foaming at the mouth. Langford, a wing player who stands 6’6 with a 6’11 wingspan, on paper, has all of the tools of a traditional wing or 3-D guy in today’s NBA.

Creating off the dribble — Langford is a smooth operator who feels most comfortable with the ball in his hands. He’s terrific in the pick-and-roll game and his quickness and athleticism give him an unfair advantage to get to the hole even with a defender on his hip.

Langford has a great knack for getting to the hole and is a terrific finisher around the rim. As mentioned, Langford has a 6’11 wingspan, and he knows how to use it effectively. When driving to the hole, Langford is great at extending the ball out past the outstretched arms of the defender.

Langford’s an underrated post player, especially when he has a shorter guy on him, and uses his wingspan to his advantage to shoot over the smaller and weaker defenders.

Driving to his right — If you watch Langford for long enough, it’s no surprise that he favors his right hand. Whether it’s dribbling through traffic or driving to the hole, the ball seems to always find its way back to his right hand.

In college, Langford was able to get away with almost always crossing over or spinning back to his right hand since he was superior athletically to everyone on the floor.

Cons

Shot mechanics — Langford will need to pay a visit to the shot doctor. Langford slipped from being a potential top-5 pick from maybe falling out of the lottery due to his shooting mechanics. The 19-year-old’s shot is very much a work in progress. His shooting mechanics were inconsistent and sometimes, it almost looked as if he was shot-putting the ball.

In Langford’s defense, he tore a ligament in his thumb during a practice in November. Rather than making excuses, he played the entire season with a wrap on his right thumb, his shooting hand, and didn’t come out publicly about the injury until after the season was over.

Three-point shooting — His overall shooting numbers don’t look terrible as his ability to score from close in masked some of these issues. Langford’s three-point shooting was a different story though. Langford shot just 27.2 percent from three-point range in his sole season in Bloomington.

Defense — Langford has the tools to be a solid wing defender at the next level it’s just, he’s not 100% bought in at that end of the floor. When engaged, Langford looked like the best defender on IU’s roster. But, there were many possessions where he relaxed on that end of the floor. In his defense, he was asked to carry a huge scoring burden so fatigue likely played a factor. But even so, there was just a few too many instances where Langford looked disinterested in getting in a defensive stance and locking down.

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

On Feb. 26, Langford scored 22 points including the game winner at the buzzer to knock off the 19th ranked Wisconsin Badgers in a 75-73 double-overtime win.

Fit for the Wizards

It’s unlikely that the Wizards will take a shot on Langford. Washington’s biggest holes right now are at the point guard, power forward and center positions. And considering that they used their first round pick on Troy Brown Jr., a guy with similar attributes to Langford, it seems doubtful that they’d draft another guy with akin playing styles.

Langford’s sole year at Indiana arguably hurt him more than it helped. As a result, there a have been a few mock drafts where he’s fallen to the bottom or even out of the lottery. You can never have a shortage of wings in today’s NBA. But even so, it would be a stretch if Washington took Romeo Langford with the ninth overall pick.