A late riser in the first round of most 2023 NBA Mock Drafts and Big Boards, Kobe Bufkin is in a terrific position to get selected in the lottery this year. Bufkin had an explosive sophomore season for the Michigan Wolverines after getting very little playing time and opportunity in his freshman year. Bufkin is yet another example of a player who just needed one year in college to develop, mature, and catch up to the speed of the game before skyrocketing. Take a look at the in-depth scouting report of Kobe Bufkin below, including his strengths, weaknesses, NBA player comparisons, and measurements! Other scouting reports can quickly be found on the Lineups 2023 Big Board or Final Mock Draft as well.
Kobe Bufkin Scouting Report
Kobe Bufkin measured well at the combine, projecting to be roughly 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-8 wingspan: perfect size and length for a combo guard in today’s NBA. Bufkin’s weight is a slight concern, as he will need to pack on quite a bit of weight and muscle if he is going to be able to deal with the NBA’s physicality; however, he played in the Big 10 last season, which is notorious for its physical play. All things considered, as he continues to put on muscle, this concern will quickly dissipate. See the rest of his measurements below!
Weight: 186 lbs
Position: Combo Guard
College/ Professional Team: Michigan
Strengths: Kobe Bufkin is a natural-born hooper; there is no doubt about it. Bufkin has displayed impressive chops on both ends of the floor, with some of the quickest on-ball hands defensively and an impressive arsenal of offensive moves that aid his three-level scoring ability on offense. Craftiness is an understatement, and he pairs that exceptionally well with his ability to finish around the rim better than most guards in this draft. Bufkin is a tough shot-maker with a knack for drawing fouls and getting to the charity stripe. Lastly, Bufkin has shown flashes of his vertical athleticism, which will be huge for him at the next level; he won’t dunk over a ton of defenders, but his leaping could give him just enough time to contort in the air for acrobatic finishes.
Weaknesses: Bufkin needs to put on some more muscle. There are not many combo guards in the NBA that are 180-ish pounds, which could make it difficult in the beginning to adjust to the physicality. Another notable weakness that could be fixed relatively soon is his playmaking for others; he is clearly still working on developing his on-ball creation skills for others, which he can ease into over time. Besides those two concerns, Bufkin has done a terrific job in his growth from his freshman season to this past year.
Kobe Bufkin Stats
Kobe Bufkin NBA Comparison: Jordan Poole / D’Angelo Russell blend
Bufkin’s offensive repertoire reminds us a bit of a blend between D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Poole. Bufkin can score on all three levels and scarcely looks rushed with the ball. His handle is impressive and should continue to improve, and his isolation scoring upside is significant.
Kobe Bufkin Highlights
Check out Kobe Bufkin’s terrific sophomore highlight reel at Michigan, courtesy of Swish YouTube. What is impressive about Bufkin is how quickly he adapted to the physicality of the Big 10, despite lacking the weight that most guards in that conference have. This is a good sign for him in the future. Further, his three-level scoring ability is constantly displayed below!
Kobe Bufkin NBA Draft Ranking, Team Fit, Landing Spot
Draft Ranking: 9
Team Fit: Toronto
Toronto would be the perfect team fit for Kobe Bufkin, as he could play some at the 1 and the 2 for the Raptors and provide much-needed shooting and scoring at the position. Fred VanVleet was horribly inefficient last season for Toronto, so Bufkin could wind up being an improvement and replacement for him; his game is already pro-ready despite still being extremely young.
Landing Spot: Orlando, Utah, Toronto
Bufkin has a variety of ideal landing spots, which consist of Orlando, Utah, and Toronto, to name a few. Essentially, any team that has guard depth issues or lacks backcourt scoring talent could use Bufkin, which should be a solid indication of how desirable he will be in the draft. There is very little chance he drops outside of the lottery, especially after his measurements came in as well as they did.