D.J. Wilson NBA Draft Profile

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D.J. Wilson – 6’10” Power Forward, University of Michigan, 21 Years Old

D.J. Wilson is a power forward from the University of Michigan who is projected to be taken in the top half of the second round. In his redshirt sophomore season he put up 11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. He shot 63.1% on two-point field goals, and 37.3% on three-point field goals (per DraftExpress). He had a player efficiency rating of 21.2, but only a 19.3 efficiency rating per 40 minutes. It’s difficult to forecast his NBA future, as he really just played significant minutes in one season. Wilson was not a one-and-done guy.

Strengths

Wilson showed flashes of promise throughout this year. He took advantage of his shot at playing big minutes (30.4 per game), and he did deliver in big moments. What this guy specializes in is the pick and pop. Coach John Beilein and his staff did a great job of bringing this lanky big man’s game along, and he grew significantly this year. Wilson doesn’t need a lot of touches to have an immediate impact from the perimeter. He could really do damage in the screen-and-roll at the next level to take advantage of mismatches on switch-outs. In addition, he finished well at the rim in 2016-17. Due to defenders often being glued to him because of his shooting ability, he often gets easy buckets from cuts and rim-runs, where he finishes with authority. Now to the defensive end of the floor. Wilson’s calling card are his blocks. With his 7’3″ wingspan (per DraftExpress), he can alter shots in the paint and when closing out on the wing. In addition, his deceiving quickness is a valuable asset, and he combines that with those long arms to get hustle steals. As a help-side defender, he could force a fair amount of live-ball turnovers.

Weaknesses

As I said earlier, this guy has a long way to go. What stands out to me at first glance is that he doesn’t have the strength to be a consistent inside presence yet. Against the physicality of NBA bigs, he’ll have trouble with contested rebounding on both ends. Just five rebounds in thirty minutes per game at the college level is concerning. Hopefully with NBA training, he can get tougher around the basket to control the glass. Next up is the lack of post development offensively. It’s going to take time to develop, as Wilson does not have much of a back-to-basket skill set right now. He looks uncomfortable at times in set offense due to his lack of scoring off the bounce. If he’s going to see meaningful minutes as a stretch four, he’ll need to have more than a spot-up and face-up game to take full advantage of his height. If he can counter his already solid catch-and-shoot ability, that could make him a tough guard for slower or shorter bigs in small-ball sets. Overall, it’s understandable that selecting Wilson is a long-term vision, given his lack of consistency and unfortunate ankle and knee injuries.

NBA Potential

Wilson is one of the tougher guys to evaluate in this class. He essentially rode a great Big Ten and NCAA tournament to warrant declaring for the NBA Draft. That’s okay though, because he played his best basketball against good competition on the big stage. He put up over 15 points per game in four games in the Big Ten tourney, and shot over 60% (per mgoblue.com). He then put up averages of 16.0 points and three blocks in three NCAA tournament games, and hit a number of big shots down the stretch of every one of those games. To me, he projects as a “3-and-D” guy in the Association, who starts out as a rotational big. His length makes him have attractive as a rim protector as a small-ball center, but he needs to get a lot stronger to be a starter in the league. That said, he could become a great bench player with his long ball skill set. Initially, Wilson’s shooting can help others inside by dragging shot blockers away from the rim. He definitely fits in today’s league in that way, and defensively, he can guard multiple positions due to his length and above average quickness.

NBA Comparison

I see Wilson as being a similar player to Channing Frye of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has the height to be a mismatch in terms of perimeter shot-making, and projects well in the high screen-and-roll. Offensively, he has much more athleticism than Frye to finish at the rim and in transition in a variety of ways, though. He actually has displayed a pretty tight handle in traffic as well, but it’s the lack of back-to-basket polish and strength inside that concerns me for him to play big minutes. That’s why I think he fits in small-ball lineups hanging on the perimeter to take advantage of teammates swinging the ball around the horn to him. Like Frye, he can also get some help-side blocks with his length on the defensive end. He has much more ability defensively than Channing, however. His athletic versatility on switch-outs and closeouts is a big bright spot, but I don’t see him as a lockdown individual defender against inside-out forwards.

Look for D.J. Wilson to land in the top half of the second round on draft night, and be sure to stay updated with our complete coverage of the 2017 NBA Draft!

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