• Fenrich

Nickeil, Dylan, and Admiral: The Late 20s

Nickeil Alexander-Walker

6’5”, 204-pounds, 6’9.5” wingspan, unknown max vertical, turns 21 in September; scouted by Bug, ranked #24 on Bug’s BB:

Alexander-Walker is one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft with a solid all-around game and good size (6-5 205) for a guard. He had the opportunity to play both guard spots at Virginia Tech and appears to be comfortable playing the point when needed. That versatility should only help his value with NBA teams and speed up his chances of seeing the court sooner. Alexander-Walker also has good length with a 6-9.5-inch wingspan and an 8-6 standing reach which gives him a comparable body profile to top-5 prospect, Jarrett Culver.

His standout skill is his outside shot. He hit from distance at a 38% clip with a good sample size over 300 career attempts in college. His range extends out to the NBA line and should translate at the next level. He also flashed some playmaking skills out of the pick and roll and the high post at Virginia Tech, frequently drawing the defense and finding shooters or cutters at the rim. His game could be defined as crafty, as he plays below the rim with the ability to make creative finishes with either hand. On the defensive end, Alexander-Walker uses his length and basketball IQ to cause disruption in the passing lanes, as evidenced by his nearly two steals/game. He’s not a lockdown defender, but he is a competent defender that won’t be a liability.

The area of concern at the next level is going to be whether or not he has enough bounce to make the same plays he did in college. His game relies on a lot of change of pace movement and below the rim finishes which has been successful for players like CJ McCollum.

He'll need to increase his aggressiveness to get to McCollum’s level, but the tools are there to be a high-end secondary ball-handler. At worst, Alexander-Walker will be a solid rotational player that can come in off the bench and provide some shooting in the 2nd unit with the potential to grow into a starter as his body matures and he gains strength. A good landing spot would be in Philly with the 24th pick, where his shooting touch would be a welcomed addition with the possible departure of JJ Redick in free agency. With most draft pundits predicting him to go in the mid-to-late teens, that is probably just wishful thinking for the Sixers that he falls that far.

Dylan Windler

6’7.5”, 196-pounds, 6’10” wingspan, 37.5” max vertical, turns 23 in September; scouted by Hamilton, ranked #25 on Hamilton’s BB:

I really like Dylan Windler. The dude can play. He didn’t get on any part of the AAU circuit until just prior to his senior year so college scouts didn’t get a look at him until late. That’s how a kid capable of shooting over 40% from three and getting 10+ rebounds ends up at a small school. Windler showed a lot in his junior year and his 2018-19 senior season didn’t disappoint. He went 52-42-84 shooting on solid volume and averaged 21-points-per-game along with those 10+ rebounds. He gets it done with good feet and movements that are efficient – offensively, he doesn’t waste motion. Windler has good sense of timing and position, at times floating around in all the right spots above the free throw line extended. His handle isn’t that sharp but his first step gets him by a lot of defenders. Off-the-catch, he needs minimal time and space to get a good look. The quick release on his shot fits the pattern of the rest of his game: short, quick bursts to gain an edge. Even with the suspect handle he still average over 3 assists/40 in his junior and senior seasons. Passing and creating baskets for others are an indication of a good feel for the game. He has great reaction to the ball and beats people to loose ones and rebounds. Windler hits the glass hard and instinctively gets position when the shots go up in a Kevin Love-ish way. The effort and instinct coupled with his quick reactions have him frequently getting to rebounds in front of and over taller, beefier players.

He’ll need to improve on the defensive end before he can get out on an NBA court. Despite averaging 1.4 steals per game in 18-19, he gets lost frequently chasing his man on screens and makes poor decisions negotiating them. (By the way, the steal number is another indicator of his great reaction speed.) He often closes out too hard and high up the floor and is easily beaten putting himself out of the play. Once that happens, the defensive possession is in shambles. It’s hard to project players who didn’t face high level competition every night, but he’s a good offensive player whose key skills (shooting and rebounding) tend to translate well into NBA. It’s likely Windler won’t be selected in the mid-20s where I’ve ranked him, and the adjustment to the NBA will be a tough one for him; mainly on defense.

There’s no such thing as too many shooters and some team drafting in the late first round could see a player whose shooting adds to their depth at minimal risk. If Windler ends up falling to the second round, he could be a real value pick.

Admiral Schofield

6’5.25”, 240-pounds, 6’9.75” wingspan, 34” max vertical, turned 22 in March; scouted by Hamilton, ranked #29 on Hamilton’s BB:

I really hate typing the letters in the combination S-C-H-O-F-I-E-L-D so I’m just going with Admiral here. The last couple seasons watching Admiral he has, at times, looked like a solid rotation player, and yet at other occasions, it’s less evident that he will be one. He’s an intriguing prospect for me due to a seemingly wide range of potential outcomes. In looking at a couple of his strengths, you can see why:

He has a great upper body but he’s only 6-5 (with a nearly 6-10 wingspan). He shoots it well – career nearly 38% from 3 on almost 500 attempts and 76% FT - but attempted just two FTs/game.

And yet at the same time, his weaknesses aren’t that weak. He doesn’t make many plays for himself or others off the dribble, but he doesn’t often get himself in trouble trying to. His career free throw rate of 22% is uninspiring and a lot of his shots in the paint are going away from the rim, but that’s more of a play toward his being on the shorter side for a forward. Despite being shorter for a player I see mostly as small ball 4, he goes hard on both ends.

It is understood players ranked in the area Admiral Schofield falls have a wide range of potential outcomes. Ending up on the positive side of that range may come down to “intangibles.” Things like mental toughness, basketball IQ, work ethic, character; not to mention luck of being selected by the right team. Admiral appears to have these qualities. He’s a good teammate with leadership qualities who sets a tone when he’s on the floor and loves to compete. He and Grant Williams led their Vols teams in a lot of high-level games the past two seasons and he generally showed up and played with poise in big moments. He plays with enthusiasm and loves the physicality of the game. A hardworking player who will maximize his skills and adapt to any role, a playoff team drafting in the late first round will be getting a player physically ready on day one. If Admiral embraces the role his team envisions for him, contributing something positive on a good team as a rookie is within his reach.