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Youngest Pro in US History Makes NBA Draft Decision, With Catch

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After becoming the youngest pro in U.S. history when he signed with the G League Ignite at 17, Dallas native Dink Pate is seeking a waiver that will grant him eligibility for the 2024 NBA Draft, per The Athletic’s Tobias Bass.

Dink Pate Makes Draft Decision, With Catch

Having signed a two-year contract with the Ignite, Pate finds himself without a home after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver decided to shut down the program.

Pate averaged 8.0 points, 3.6 assists (with a 23.6 percent assist rate), and 0.6 steals with the Ignnite in 23.6 minutes per game. However, he only made 34.8 percent of his shot attempts and 21.4 percent of his 3s.

Long and athletic at 6-foot-8, Pate is at his best when getting downhill.

Though he doesn’t explode out the gates, his stride and fluidity can get him past the first line of defense, especially when he starts with a head of steam. At the NBA level, he’ll be able to exploit this by becoming a better 3-point threat. As teams guard him out further or close out harder, Pate can use their aggressiveness to his strength. Furthermore, with the prominence of the pick-and-roll, Pate can be used as a ball-handler or roller in various types of pick-and-rolls.

To that end, Pate’s midrange jumpers could signal that he’ll become an effective shooter from 3-point range. His free-throw percentage (72.7) indicates his potential as an outside shooter as well. To that point, he doesn’t project to be highly efficient but does show signs he could be respectable.

Even that’s better than the alternative though:

Players giving him so much time and space they could be going through a breakup.

A point guard in high school, Pate also displays nice passing instincts with a live dribble, able to dish it with either hand. This is a nice secondary skill to have at any level. For Pate’s NBA outlook, it could lead to a role as a big point guard or point-forward.

Dink Pate’s NBA Outlook

Due to Pate’s youth, positional versatility, and potential, he could be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. If invited, his play in the NBA Combine scrimmage should be the most significant factor in where he’s drafted. That is, aside from the private workouts that are sure to take place.

If Pate is denied eligibility, he could consider the NBL route. 2021 Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball and Alexandre Sarr, projected to be a top-three pick in the upcoming draft, both found success there.

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