We’re only a few days out from the 2022 NBA Draft and CHGO is examining prospects who could be in the Chicago Bulls range with their 18th pick. Let’s look into Auburn center Walker Kessler’s NBA Draft profile:
Age on Draft night: 20.9
Measurables: HT: 7’1 | WS: 7’4.25
Auburn: 11.4 pts | 8.1 reb | 4.6 blks | 1.1 stls
Shooting splits: 60.8 FG% | 20.0 3P% | 59.6 FT%
Projected range: Late 20s to early thirties
Here are my notes, including strengths, weaknesses or question marks, and potential fit with the Bulls should they take him at 18.
Blocking. Lots. Of. Shots. LOTS.
Highest block rate since 2009/10 at 19.05 holy cannoli
Blocks with both hands
Great timing, patience and verticality
Length allows him to block shots while vertical
Can stay 1-2 slides on drives
Will be very good at deterring shots at the rim and forcing in between shots in pick-and-roll drop coverage
Pick-and-roll dive man
Will be an effective lob threat in pick-and-roll
Not fast, but dives hard and deliberately
Some pick-and-pop potential? OK looking shot form, (10/50) on threes in college.
Question marks and weaknesses
Can shuffle a bit, but not going to be able to hedge, blitz, double, switch at all at NBA level
Showed the ability to contest step-back 3s in college, but not sure that translates with the line being further away in the NBA. More space and shiftier guards will be tough for him.
Will be targeted in pick-and-roll and played off the floor in most games
Role and potential fit with Bulls
If you’re a Bulls fan that has been clamoring for a center who protects the rim, but doesn’t want to give up anything to get one, Walker Kessler is your guy!
He’d be a reach with the 18th pick to be sure, but there’s a chance the Bulls could slide back in the draft or buy into the second round to take him if they so choose.
Kessler is truly a superstar rim protector, but he has very limited mobility and thus, limited potential to defend in space. Unless he literally becomes Rudy Gobert, he will top out as a 12 -18 minute per game backup who can give you a change of pace.
But do the Bulls need another lumbering big who limits your defensive versatility and doesn’t provide any offense?