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Grizzlies 2019 NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Coby White

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Coming into college he was projected to be in the 2020 lottery. Now he's projected top 5 in the 2019 lottery.

Auburn v North Carolina Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Coby White can score. A 6’5” freshman point guard from UNC, he’s one of those gifted players that can get a bucket at will. That’s what made him such an attractive prospect coming into college. However, could he develop his game into a modern day NBA point guard? That was the big question for him coming into college. It’s why he was projected as a TWO and done.

Not anymore.

Sure, we know Zion will be selected first in the upcoming NBA Draft. However, can Coby White jump into the top-5?

STRENGTHS

He can flat out SCORE. Plain and simple. He is also very athletic. This plays a huge part in his transition game. Shooting a solid 42% from the field and 35% from the 3, his numbers are respectable enough for you to not leave him open. He’s also shooting 80% from the FT line, so you feel good about him being able to convert the easy ones when he’s driving to the hole, and is fouled.

He’s nearly unstoppable when coming down the court. He makes everyone else on the court seem like they're in slow motion when he is full speed ahead. He’s also a solid finisher. Whether it’s to the rim, or the short stop and pop, his finishing ability is easily one of the best in this draft.

His footwork is terrific. While he tends to pick up his dribble quite a bit, Coby changed the perception of that being a cardinal sin. If you watch his highlights, you’ll see that when he does this, it’s almost as if he’s trapped. But with his footwork, and his ball fakes, that bails him out of bad situations quite often. Furthermore, he can shift and move on anyone. His dancing skills with the ball are so smooth. It’s Kyrie Irving-like. This only makes him even harder to defend.

His midrange game makes you think that the midrange shot is making a comeback. His ability to steer away from the basket, then pull up from 15, is a thing of beauty. Lastly, his step back jumper game is near flawless. To watch him make art with the crossover the way he does, then hit you with the step back during a move? It’s amazing. That’ll be a huge factor for him going into the next level for him.

If he’s able to consistently knock down that step back jumper, he will have a nice. long career in the NBA.

WEAKNESSES

Right now, his glaring weakness is his decision making. He’s so fast, and quick, that at times he finds himself making bad decisions with the basketball, whether it’s a forced shot or a bad turnover in transition. He is a project when it comes to the point guard position, as most young point guards are. Per game, he averaged 4.1 assists, to 2.7 turnovers. So at first glance, he’s not getting his teammates involved enough to impress the next level guys.

His turnovers, though relatively low, are about the same amount as his assists. Which isn’t good. He also needs to learn to slow the game down. There are times when he’s pushing the ball up the court, but he doesn’t have any teammates running with him. He will still take on the defense. 3 against 1? Don’t care. He is probably taking it to the hole. Sure, sometimes he gets bailed out with a foul call, or converts the shot, but mostly he ends up taking a bad shot, or turning the ball over.

This is a massive weakness that he will have to improve on if he is to be a successful PG in the NBA. I also think his defense can evolve. He averaged 1.5 steals a game. If he is able to build upon that, he should be fine.

VERDICT

I think Coby White will enjoy a nice, long career in the NBA. I also think he is still unpolished as a PG. That scares me. He needs to be in a situation where he is not asked immediately to be the starting PG in the league. If he finds himself in a situation where he can learn from a veteran PG before being handed the keys to a franchise, I like his chances, and I think the sky is there limit. However, I think if he is drafted to be the starting PG from the jump, I don’t like his chances, and he may find himself becoming a journeyman PG. He has the offensive skills to stick.

With him committing a little more to defense, and landing in the right situation that helps him unlock his PG skillset, he could be a problem in this league for years to come.

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