Dariq Whitehead joins the 2023 NBA Draft after an up and down freshman season at Duke. Check out below for a Dariq Whitehead scouting report, NBA comparison, stats, highlights, draft ranking, and team fits. Other scouting reports can quickly be found on the Lineups 2023 Big Board or Final Mock Draft as well.
Dariq Whitehead Scouting Report
Whitehead was a consensus five star and the #2 recruit in the 2022 class. He chose Duke and held high expectations, but a preseason fractured foot forced him to miss games and sapped his athleticism. For the season, he averaged 8.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.0 APG and 0.8 SPG on a 42/42/79 shooting split. Whitehead recently underwent another surgery on his foot in an attempt to fully correct, and he’s expected to be ready on opening night.
Draft Age: 18.10
Strengths: Whitehead’s biggest foundational weapon is his shooting. He’s an effective catch-and-shoot marksman from deep with the size to easily get his shot off. Whitehead also displayed an intriguing pull-up jumper in both an attacking closeouts and half-court self-creation manner. For the latter, he routinely burned defenders with a nice in-and-out dribble into a step-back three. Whitehead won’t be a creator at the NBA level, but it’s encouraging to see it in his repertoire.
He also strung together plenty of impressive defensive possessions where he either walled off the drive or deterred the passing lane. He’s far from a finished product defensively, but he has the tools to become an average to above average defender. Overall, Whitehead fits the classic 3&D mold with a touch of off-the-dribble scoring.
Weaknesses: Although he thrived from the perimeter, Whitehead struggled mightily around the basket. He couldn’t consistently get by defenders on drives, and he wasn’t efficient at the rim when he did achieve those opportunities. His foot injury likely contributed to the issue, but it assuredly wasn’t the root of the problem.
Whitehead’s playmaking and decision making were sub par; he either couldn’t make the necessary pass or threw a dangerous one. Finally, he wasn’t fluid at his size – his stiff hips and slow change of direction restrained him from gaining separation. Again, his foot injury contributed to this reality, but it’s unknown whether Whitehead improves in this area. His pre-injury athleticism may never return. Overall, these limiting factors severely hinder his ability to garner significant minutes on-ball, which lowers his value to franchises.
Dariq Whitehead Stats
Dariq Whitehead NBA Comparison
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a decent snapshot of Whitehead’s ceiling. They share deadly three-point shooting, a decent pull-up jumper, plus defense on the wing, and inefficient at the rim scoring. Whitehead is slightly bigger and slower than KCP, and his defense isn’t at the same level; however, his handle and self-creation repertoire is superior. Caldwell-Pope’s 2022 production paints a solid picture of Whitehead’s potential impact: 13.2 PPG and a 39 3PT% on 5.3 attempts per game.
Dariq Whitehead Highlights
Dariq Whitehead NBA Draft Ranking, Team Fit, Landing Spot
Draft Ranking: Whitehead ranks 27th on my Big Board and sits in the seventh tier with names like Kris Murray, Nick Smith Jr, and James Nnaji.
Team Fit: The Indiana Pacers (26th, 29th, 32nd) are a fantastic landing spot. They need to boost their wing room and add doses of self-creation. With three picks in the 26-32 range, they can afford to take a swing on Whitehead and hope his athleticism returns. If not, they still acquire a 3&D piece, which all franchises need.
Landing Spot: Because of his concerning injury history, Whitehead is probably drafted in the 25-30 range. Charlotte (27th) is completely rebuilding and owns an underwhelming roster outside of LaMelo Ball and Mark Williams. Whitehead’s spacing would pair well with this duo, and he fills a position of need. Utah (28th) also needs shooting around Walker Kessler, and the Jazz need juice on the wing too.