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2020 Draft Profiles: Robert Woodard II

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Robert Woodard has the prototype to be a great role player in today’s NBA.

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NCAA Basketball: Mississippi State at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Woodard, Wing, Mississippi State University

  • 2019-2020 Season: 31 Games Played, 33.1 MPG, 11.4 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1 BPG, 49.5 FG%, 42.9 3PT%, 56.4 TS%
  • Career: 65 GP, 8.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1 APG, 0.8 SPG, 48.5 FG%, 36.8 3PT%
  • Advanced Statistical Strengths: OBPM (4.1), Offensive Rebound Percentage (8.2), Block Percentage (3.4)
  • Advanced Statistical Weaknesses: Win Shares (.129), 3PT Rate (.255), AST/TO Ratio (0.69)
  • Big Board Placements: Tankathon (50), The Ringer (28), CBS Sports (43), ESPN (25), The Athletic (43)
NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Liberty vs Mississippi State Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

When there’s a 6’7” wing with a plus-6 wingspan on the board, most scouts will gravitate towards him. When he also shots 43% from 3 last year, he’ll garner a lot of attention.

Mississippi State’s Robert Woodard II has the tools to succeed in today’s NBA. He’s a rangy wing with amazing size — 6’7” with a 7’1” wingspan — which he uses to defend multiple positions. He also improved on his jumper, as his percentage rose from 27.3% to 42.9%. That astronomical jump landed him on NBA radars, as there aren’t many wings with his size with his shooting touch.

If his outside jumper is legitimate, Woodard could have a successful career at the next level.


Strengths

Robert Woodard’s calling card in the league will be his defense. At his size, he can theoretically guard positions 1-4, and with more muscle, he could guard the 5 spot. He projects as a good weak-side rim protector, as he’s a bouncy athlete with good timing on his blocks.

Offensively, he has the tools to be a plus-asset on that end of the floor. Last season, he shot 42.9% from 3, which is surely enticing as a combo forward. In addition, he excels at finishing above the rim, using his size and athleticism to convert on easy chances in the paint. These two skills are important for the next level, as he could use his outside shooting as a threat to attack closeouts with minimal handling to finish at the rim.

3-and-D wings are a commodity in today’s NBA. As the league is trending smaller, Woodard is player that could thrive and fit in just about anywhere he needs to.


Areas of Improvement

Woodard isn’t much of a creator on ball. His ball-handling is suspect at the moment, and his assist-to-turnover ratio is quite low. Though he won’t need to be much of a secondary playmaker at the next level, it could limit his ceiling. The best case for Woodard in this regard is to establish himself as a good ball-mover that makes minimal mistakes within the offense.

One thing most NBA people are going to monitor is the legitimacy behind his 3-point shooting. Though he improved in this area, he’s a year removed from being a sub-30% 3-point shooter. He also shot 3’s at a low volume — 2.3 attempts per game, 25.5% of his shot attempts. At the next level, he’ll have to prove that he can connect from deep at an efficient clip and a high volume.


NCAA Basketball: Mississippi State at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Where He Fits

There’s a pathway for Robert Woodard to become a rotation player in his rookie season if selected by the Memphis Grizzlies. It’d be ideal to test him and give him reps in uncomfortable roles with the Hustle. There, he could develop his playmaker, 3-level scoring, and ball-handling, while floating between positions 1-5.

For the Grizzlies, his outside shooting and defense could land him consistent minutes next season. He’s a better, more willing outside shooter than Kyle Anderson and John Konchar — and maybe Josh Jackson. He’s a better defender than Grayson Allen, who’s gotten some minutes at the 3 this season. In addition, if they wanted to go small with Brandon Clarke at the 5, a forward combination of Woodard and Anderson (or even Winslow or Brooks) would give the Grizzlies size and defensive versatility.

If he booms as a consistent 3-point threat, he could be a nice complementary wing alongside Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, and Justise Winslow.

The verdict: A contender takes him with a first-round pick for more wing depth.

Stats found on sports-reference.

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