The NBA draft has been pushed back a few months, which gives us a few more months to assess prospects. Devin Vassell is surely a first-round pick, with loads of potential, and he somehow is sliding under the radar still.
Today I will be writing about a first-round sleeper, Devin Vassell.
Devin Vassell has more career made 3s, assists, steals and blocks than turnovers. Not combined. He has more of each one of those than he has turnovers. https://t.co/1pTuJnOGBE
— Spike Smeagol (@Cosmis) July 1, 2020
Height: 6 foot 6
Weight: 180 lbs
Wingspan: 6 foot 11
It’s shocking to me that so few people are talking about Devin Vassell as a top pick in this draft. When I look at other prospects that are projected to go in the top 10, they do not compare to Vassell and Vassell’s skill set. Let’s go over his offensive game.
This is easily one of DV’s best traits as an offensive threat. Vassell is an efficient shooter and can shoot it from anywhere on the floor in a multitude of ways. He had an eFG% of 56.5% this year and shot over 41% from three. It doesn’t even matter what kind of shot it is either. Vassell is lethal in all scenarios where he shoots the ball. In the catch and shoot scenario, Vassell yields 1.22 points per possession (PPP), which is excellent at any level.
It’s not like Vassell was getting wide-open looks either. Just under 48% of his catch and shoot jump shots were contested. Of that 48%, he still converted a PPP over 1, which is ideal for a shooter. This shows that Vassell has put the work in to make his shot consistent, regardless of defense. That is something that every scout must love to see.
Off the dribble, Vassell can explode vertically and rise up and over defenders. He has good size and length for his position, so his athleticism allows him almost always to get a clean look at the rim. Although his 1-dribble pull-up in the mid-range is rarely used, it’s nice to know that he can knock it down.
Vassell can beat you with his shooting from anywhere on the court, so he is always a threat on the offensive end.
Vassell is the most efficient on the court when Florida State gets out in transition. He is in the 90th percentile in efficiency in all facets of the transition game. As a ball-handler, Vassell yields a PPP of 1.21 and converts 80% of his field goals. As a lane runner, he generates 1.45 PPP, which is remarkable. You are pretty much guaranteed a basket every time Vassell gets the ball in transition.
This is critical in the NBA game. The NBA is shifting to a more pace & space style of play, so Vassell’s ability to get out and run in transition makes him an even more intriguing prospect.
Pick and Roll
Vassell is a pure shooting guard but can play a bit of small forward and point guard if he’s asked to. To look to Vassell to be a secondary playmaker, however, could be a little bit problematic.
Vassell isn’t a great playmaker in the half-court. The only area on offense that he struggled with at FSU was in the pick and roll. As the primary ball-handler in the pick and roll, Vassell only managed a PPP of 0.714, which is nothing to admire. He also had a high turnover rate, and rarely converted into scores.
Vassell should not be chosen in the draft based on his ability to create, but rather his ability to score off the ball. The fact that he can shoot it from anywhere and be a force in transition makes him an excellent prospect.
To me, this is what makes Vassell one of the most slept on prospects in this draft. He is an anchor on the defensive end. Vassell is an exceptional perimeter defender and has tremendous defensive versatility. He can guard positions 1-4, and he can do it effectively. There are areas that he can improve, but for the most part, Vassell looks like a prototypical 3&D wing, which is exactly what teams are looking for in today’s NBA.
The Inspiring Story Of DEVIN VASSELL- From 200TH RANKED To LOTTERY PICK?!?! @Yvngdevo
— OfficialRomp 2.0 (@OfficialRomp) May 1, 2020
Length & Frame
Vassell is only 180 lbs at 6 foot 6, so there is no doubt that he’ll need to add some muscle to defend other guards and forwards at the NBA level. If Vassell can get to the 200 lbs mark by the end of year one, he becomes a physical specimen on the defensive side of the ball.
In terms of length, Vassell has nearly a 7-foot wingspan for a G/F. That is ridiculous! His range in combination with his athleticism, lateral quickness, and overall speed will make him a force to be reckoned with on defense. His length will allow him to block and contest shots, get in the passing lanes to deflect or steal passes, and just cover more ground on the perimeter.
Vassell impresses me the most when he gets put in isolation situations. Often in the NBA, rookies will be called upon to defend more veteran players in isolation situations to see if they can hold their own against more experienced players one on one. I highly doubt that teams would put Vassell in those situations early in his career.
When put in isolation situations, Vassell allowed a mere 0.538 PPP, which is excellent. He does a great job staying in front of players along the perimeter and uses his length to contest or deflect shots that most defenders have no business getting close to.
For the most part, Vassell is very effective when playing team defense. His versatility allows him to guard multiple positions, so his team will rarely have to worry about mismatches. His IQ is good, he’s disruptive, and he is one of those guys that will always give you 100% effort.
He does, however, have to work on tightening up his rotations and making sure that he’s making the right switches and movements at the right time. One of the few defensive weaknesses for Vassell last season was his inability to close out on shooters in time when he was forced to rotate. As an individual defender, he is excellent at contesting shots. Sometimes he gets caught watching the ball as a team defender and will be late closing out on shooters. As a 3&D player, Vassell will definitely have to improve on this. Being late on rotations is one way to play your way out of the rotation.
Player Comparison: Bradley Beal
I’m not saying that Vassell will ever be as good as Bradley Beal, but when I watch Vassell play, he reminds me so much of Beal. Like Beal, Vassell is constantly a threat on the offensive end. The fact that he shoots it efficiently and can score it from anywhere any way reminds me of the Wizards all-star. Defensively, Vassell may even be better than Beal because of his length and versatility. Vassell may not score the ball quite as effectively or often as Beal, but his style of play is very similar.
I think that Vassell will be selected anywhere in the middle of the first round, so between picks 10-20. Every team in the modern NBA era is looking for a 3&D wing, so it shouldn’t be a problem finding team fits for Devin Vassell.
Portland Trail Blazers
I have Vassell going to the Blazers in my Mock Draft 1.0 (if you haven’t seen it yet, check it out: https://www.lineups.com/articles/2020-nba-mock-draft-1-0/) and I think that he would be a great fit there. With Whiteside as a free agent, many believed that the Blazers would go with a big here, but I think that a two-way wing is the better option.
Nurkic and Zach Collins should have no problem holding down the fort in Portland. Nasir Little and Carmelo Anthony can also play a stretch four to spread the minutes out. Rodney Hood is still recovering from a massive injury, and neither Trevor Ariza nor Mario Hezonja is long term answers for the Blazers weakness at the wing position.
Vassell gives the Blazers backcourt something that they haven’t had in years, defense. Mccollum and Lillard are known for their notoriously weak defense, so Vassell can be looked upon as the team’s lockdown perimeter defender against opposing guards. Good luck succeeding in the Western Conference without a lockdown perimeter defender. This pick makes sense and is necessary for the Blazers. I love this fit.
The Timberwolves have two first-round picks this year and are hoping to get out of the lottery by next year finally. They landed a franchise PG (finally), and parted ways with Wiggins’ massive contract. There is definitely an opportunity here for the Wolves to fill that void with young talent. That’s why I think Devin Vassell would be an excellent fit here.
I know the Wolves just drafted Culver, and Josh Okogie has also been solid, but Vassell gives you what those guys don’t. The ability to be a 2-way threat. Okogie is strictly a defensive guy, while Culver can provide you with offense, but struggles on the defensive side of the ball. Vassell is a sweet hybrid of both. His versatility on both offense and defense will also give the Timberwolves plenty of choices and new strategies when it comes to rotation and gameplan.
Vassell can replace Wiggins and the guy that they were looking for when they drafted him. A scorer who can defend multiple positions. Vassell is an excellent fit in Minnesota.
Currently, Milwaukee has the best record in the NBA entering the 8-game regular season. They did this with a 33-year-old Wesley Matthews starting at shooting guard. To say they need to upgrade at the two-guard is an understatement. To say that Vassell wouldn’t fit perfectly in Budenholzer’s defensive focused system is ludicrous.
Vassell would most likely be an immediate starter for the Bucks at shooting guard and do everything that they need from that position. He would need to defend the opposing team’s guard, be versatile, add length, get out in transition, and knock down the catch and shoot corner three. All things that he excelled at in college.
Vassell would also join an incredibly successful and well-coached team, which would be tremendous for his development as an NBA player. Not only is this an excellent fit for Milwaukee, but this is an ideal landing spot for Vassell. I would not be surprised to see Milwaukee take him at 18.
Overall, Devin Vassell is easily one of my favorite prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft. He is precisely what you want from your wing players in the modern NBA era. He can shoot the ball efficiently, he loves to get out in transition, he’s lengthy and disruptive on defense, and he gets after it every game. There aren’t many scouts who can watch this kid and not want him to be apart of their team. Regardless of where he ends up in the 2020 draft, I am very excited to watch Devin Vassell become an impact player in the NBA.