AJ Griffin is a 6’6” wing who is projected to land in the 7-12 range of the 2022 NBA Draft. He can play either shooting guard or small forward, so there is some positional versatility to his game. At 18-years-old, Griffin is one of the younger prospects available, which boosts his stock.
AJ Griffin Scouting Report
Griffin was an ACC All-Freshman who averaged 10.4 PPG on a 44.7 3PT%. Griffin’s low usage percentage deflated his stats because Duke had a variety of offensive options. High school knee injuries and a pre-season knee injury also sapped his athleticism early in the season, but he looked more explosive towards the end. Health is a slight concern, which may cause him to drop.
Weight: 222 lbs
College: Duke Blue Devils
Strengths: Griffin is a knockdown shooter who shot 44.7% on 4.1 3PA. He was one of the best catch and shoot players in the nation because of his smooth shooting stroke. His base is unusually wide, but the upper form is excellent. Griffin understood where to optimally position himself on the court, as his off-ball movement and relocation bestowed him consistent open looks. Although he didn’t receive many chances, Griffin excelled shooting off the dribble and used the threat of his shot to set up drives. Griffin was solid around the rim, but he could have been more aggressive and efficient given his frame. If his athleticism and burst fully return, Griffin will be a problem for opponents at the basket.
Defensively, his 7’0” wingspan will cover up some mistakes. His post defense stonewalled opponents, which should translate to the NBA. The potential is there, but he has a lot of work to do on that side of the ball.
Weaknesses: Griffin’s inability to create separation is a huge concern, and it limits his ceiling as an isolation scorer. He doesn’t project as a guy who can create his own offense and score 30 points. When he does drive to the rim, he fails to draw free throws at an elite clip.
While his offensive ceiling isn’t extremely high, Griffin will always be an asset because of his elite shooting. His defense, though, is a glaring question. Griffin has a wide base on defense, which allows opponents to catch him flat-footed. He can’t closeout well because of his slow start, and backdoor cutters consistently caught him ball-watching. His 6’6” frame and 7’0” wingspan give him the potential to be a plus defender, but Griffin is raw right now. Given that he is only 18-years-old, Griffin still has plenty of time to develop.
AJ Griffin Stats
AJ Griffin NBA Draft Ranking, Team Fit, Landing Spot
Draft Ranking: He is 10th on my Big Board because of his elite shooting, frame, and youth. His floor is very solid; however, the potential isn’t boundless.
Team Fit: His best fit is with the New Orleans Pelicans at 8th – they were 27th at 33.2 3PT%. Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and Herb Jones need spacing around them, and Griffin provides that to the highest degree. Griffin won’t start, but he can immediately be a good role player for a franchise looking to make the playoffs.
Landing Spot: Griffin is likely drafted in the 7-12 range. He would fit with the Knicks at 11; they were 23rd in Offensive Rating. With Griffin on the roster, New York could move on from Evan Fournier and save a ton of cap space. If the Knicks keep the Randle Robinson duo, spacing is a need. Oklahoma City also needs Griffin’s shooting, as they were 30th in Offensive Rating and 3PT%. Giddey and Gilgeous-Alexander are excellent playmakers, so Griffin could thrive on the Thunder.
AJ Griffin NBA Comparison
There is no perfect comparison for Griffin, but he shares traits with Buddy Hield. In his prime, Hield was a 6’4” sharpshooter who had a 6’8” wingspan. He didn’t operate off the dribble, but his efficiency was excellent when he did. Hield was a poor defender who opponents targeted. Griffin’s ceiling is higher than Hield though because of the increased height, wingspan, athleticism, and defensive potential.
At his absolute peak, Griffin can become a fringe All-Star similar to Desmond Bane – a combo guard who can run the pick and roll while being a lights out shooter.