After sitting out a year due to academic ineligibility, Omari Spellman is going to the NBA. He enters the draft one of the unique players of the last few years, boasting the skillset of a wing in the body of an old-school big. Whether he can become good enough defensively to stay on the floor is anyone’s guess, but there’s no denying he is a special player. Here’s why:

Player specifics:

  • Height: 6’9″
  • Weight: 260 lbs
  • Wingspan: 7’2″
  • Position: Forward
  • Age: 20
  • College: Villanova
  • Home town: North Royalton, Ohio

Statline:

Per Game Table
Season FG% 2P% 3P% FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PTS
2017-18 .476 .511 .433 .700 8.0 0.8 0.7 1.5 1.0 10.9
Career .476 .511 .433 .700 8.0 0.8 0.7 1.5 1.0 10.9
Provided by CBB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 6/14/2018.

Skills:

Mismatch Potential

Despite sporting an absolutely mammoth frame, Spellman boasts a skillset more reminiscent of a wing–if that wing were 260 pounds. At Villanova, he showed the ability to stroke three’s from NBA range and make  accurate passes on the move, yet still completely overpower defenders through sheer strength on the inside.

Just watch his reel from the combine in which he showcases his full toolbox:

And yes taking a stellar performance at the combine as gospel is naive, but it’s worth noting just how versatile and dominant he looked in a game filled with other NBA prospects, especially with consideration to his performance at Villanova. Perhaps no stats are more emblematic of his versatility than his simple rebounding numbers and three-point field goal percentage which show flashes of dominance in both the paint and out on the perimeter.

It’s possible that with more training he can refine his post game and hang with bigger players in the post or improve his handle just enough to bully smaller guards out on the perimeter to become a true multi-dimensional scorer. If a team invests time into his development, he could become a force in the league.

Weaknesses:

Defense

Even though he’s fluid and smooth for someone his size, he has real deficiencies athletically that have the potential to seriously hurt him in the NBA. Especially today when wings are expected to chase shooters around the perimeter on a nightly basis and contain small point guards, Spellman could be at a serious disadvantage.

Just watch how a guard easily blows by him for a lay-up:

Those kinds of plays will happen routinely in the NBA, and it’s fair to wonder whether Spellman will be able to see the court for extended periods of time if he doesn’t find a way to improve defensively. Granted, most players at his size have problems defending on the perimeter, but because Spellman is essentially a wing, his flaws are only going to be magnified.

If he can’t improve defensively or athletically in the Association, he might not be able to stick for long.

Awards and honors:

  • NCAA champion (2018)
  • Big East Rookie of the Year (2018)
  • Jordan Brand Classic (2016)

Pro comparison:

Because he’s such a unique player given his skillset and body-type, there isn’t really an accurate comparison for him. I’ve tried to compare him to everyone from a bigger Wilson Chandler to a more physical Channing Frye, but at this point there aren’t many players who fit the bill of a mammoth wing with a smooth stroke and physical mentality.

Current ranking:

ESPN/DraftExpress: 43rd

The Ringer: 43rd

Draft Net: 30th

CBS Sports: 21st

Sports Illustrated: 44th

Bleacher Report: 46th

Basketball Insider: 40th

Fit with Brooklyn Nets:

Spellman would be an interesting fit with the Nets. On one hand, he improves their three-point shooting which they desperately need in order to make their system work and succeed in the modern NBA, but on the other he could actively hurt their already atrocious defense. Maybe their development staff could work on Spellman’s body and help him at least start to improve defensively, but the odds that helps in any significant way are suspect.

This would be a tough call for Sean Marks. Spellman has obvious talent and potential, and the team can afford to gamble on players like him, but he might be just more of the same for Brooklyn and at some point the team needs to draft guys who can immediately shore up some of the team’s weaknesses. If I were Marks, I don’t know if I would even draft him, let alone give up assets to acquire him.

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