Prior to the last home game in April, Sean Marks gave an interview for Nets Magazine on the YES Network when he said that among the number of needs that the team has, “I think we know the 3 position for us is certainly one that needs to be addressed.” It was evident by his comments that he would like to see Caris LeVert move from small forward to shooting guard, Marks commented that he would like to “fortify” the small forward position in the offseason. Among the candidates in the draft at the three, Dwayne Bacon out of Florida State has the talent to specifically add scoring and offensive versatility to the roster.
Bacon entered the draft after his Sophomore season, where he averaged 17.2 points on 45.2 percent shooting overall, 33.3 percent from deep, and 75.4 percent at the free throw line along with 4.2 rebounds in 28.8 minutes per game. He is 21 years old and he was the leading scorer on a Seminoles team that went 26-9 out of the ACC and he made All-ACC second team.
Bacon is 6’6″ with a 6’10” wingspan and he was measured with a 36.5 inch vertical at the NBA Combine. He is also well built at 222 pounds. His size allows him to finish well around the basket with contact which is important to be an effective offensive player at the next level. Bacon played the two in college but his size and length should be a fit to be a three in the NBA.
Scoring the basketball is by far the best part of Bacon’s game and his versatility is a strength as he can score in various different ways. He is a threat to score from midrange, pull up for a jumper, create space on a step back, and he is able to slash as well. He is really good at driving the ball to the basket with the combination of his strength and athletic ability.
Bacon is not overly quick but he is able to create his own shot with an array of spin moves and floaters in the lane. His moves remind me of Joe Johnson, who the Nets fans know well, and a great similarity is that Bacon also uses his body well to get his shots off and score in the paint. The following video illustrates how he plays like a more athletic Joe Johnson and that is a good thing.
Dwayne Bacon also can push the ball on the break. He is a load when he gets going in the open court, as he shot 59.5 percent in transition and he averaged 1.2 points per possession. In addition while at Florida State, he scored 0.85 points per possession in the pick and roll, which places him in the 73rd percentile among qualified players according to Synergy Sports Technology. He uses a change of pace in the pick and roll while using his bulk to score in a variety of ways either outside or inside. Bacon’s solid body as a NBA wing will help him rebound and as a two in college, he was effective on the boards as he averaged 6.9 rebounds per 40 minutes. On defense, his size, length , and strength allows him to guard wing players as well as stretch fours.
Bacon had a good Freshman campaign as he led Florida State in scoring with 15.8 points but the biggest weakness in his game was his poor three point shooting, as he only shot 28 precent from deep. He initially entered the NBA draft but he eventually withdrew his name from and returned to school. The three point shooting improved in his Sophomore season to 33 percent, which is still not good but he made progress from his Freshman year. Bacon was efficient with his two point attempts at Florida State as he shot 50.5 percent and 51.6 percent from the field.
Recently at a Roc Nation Pro Day, where he participated in front of several executives including Sean Marks, he hit 26 of 32 shots from 3 according to @JamieShaw5 which is a very impressive 81 percent. Bacon will also have to shoot it well in his individual workout with teams if he is to be selected in the first round. It appears that the Nets have not individually worked out Dwayne Bacon and it remains to be seen if it will happen prior to the draft. He is aware that teams are interested in other areas in his game besides his scoring and he is making a conscious effort to display his defensive ability.
Although he has the physical tools to be a good defender when he is engaged, he loses focus at times and his technique is not good as he is too upright in his stance when defending. This allows players to blow by him and Bacon could get lost in terms of defending screens where he gets caught behind and give up open jumpers. Also he can lose his man on the perimeter by not paying attention and he is slow to closeout to shooters.
Offense is clearly the bread and butter for Bacon but there are questions about his shot selection as he often settles for contested pull up jumpers and he has a tendency to force the action and take low percentage shots. In addition, he does not possess the quickness to separate himself from the defender and it can lead to tough shots when he can’t create enough space for himself. Another weakness is that Bacon is not a play maker as evidenced by his very low 1.7 assists per game as a wing player and he needs to improve in this regard to get his teammates more involved. If he does not improve his weaknesses, he is likely to be just a role player in the NBA who could be best suited for a scorer off the bench and provide offense for the second unit.
In regards to how Dwayne Bacon could fit in with the Nets, it is possible that he could replace Randy Foye‘s spot as a starter and play the wing position along side LeVert. He could be the 3rd or 4th option offensively and be another player who could surprise like LeVert without the health concerns as a sleeper in the draft. Per NBADraft.net, he is a plug and play type player and his offensive ability should translate to the next level. In a rebuilding situation, Bacon could grow as a player without much pressure and he could be a factor offensively sooner than later.
Dwayne Bacon’s game does not appear to be a good fit for Kenny Atkinson’s motion offense, especially with his lack of three point shooting, but this is where player development comes in which Atkinson is known for. Atkinson could work on his three point shooting, which will make him a bigger threat offensively. Jeremy Lin, Brook Lopez, Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Quincy Acy all had the best shooting percentage from three in their careers this past season. Nets need to accumulate a lot more talent and Bacon’s offensive skills along with potential as a wing defender could be appealing to both Marks and Atkinson.
NBA Draft.net currently has Bacon going to the Nets at 27 and there is a wide range where he could be picked in the draft. I think he could be drafted anywhere from 24-30 and he worked out for the Jazz, Magic, and the Lakers which are teams within that range. Nets are right in that range as well so we will see what happens. The current Draft Express 2017 mock draft has Bacon projected to be drafted with the 55th pick which seems very late with a player of his ability. Whether it is in the first or possibly second round, I think this Bacon could sizzle if given an opportunity by the Nets.