We continue to review the profiles of the best projects for the NBA Draft 2021 and in this case it was time to put the magnifying glass on James Bouknight, a guard of 1.96 in height and 20 years, who comes from playing two seasons at the University of Connecticut, averaging 13 points and 4.1 rebounds in 2019-2020 as a rookie and raising their numbers to 18.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 2020-2021.
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Bouknight’s potential goes largely through his scoring ability and individual imbalance. He projects himself as a scorer, who could do well with a revulsive substitute role. Before talking about his technical characteristics, it is worth mentioning that we are talking about a player with an ideal height (1.96) for his function and good athletic ability.
Bouknight’s greatest damage comes from attacking the paint, being an upright and aggressive player. He creates those shots mostly from the pick and roll, a facet that he controls very well (as a scorer): the 1.8 conversions for every 40 minutes that he scores from the pick and roll place him among the best projects of this draft, in a type of plays that absorb 22.7% of his total possessions.
Not only does he go to the rim frequently, but once there he is a very good finisher: launched 55% within the restricted area, showing different resources to finish the play near the rim.
It does not escape the contact far from it: took 6.1 free times for 40 minutes in his NCAA career, also scoring 80% from the line.
In addition to the pick and roll, the other type of plays that he uses to reach the rim are quick attacks. Almost 17% of his possessions arrived in transition and he was efficient in those actions.
Bouknight’s main flaw is undoubtedly his lack of outside shooting. It is very good at penetrating, but its exterior launch limits its impact. He can score a few shots from the dribble in the middle distance, but his steady foot shot is totally lacking and lacking the best mechanics: he just shot 2-17 en triples en catch and shoot, an exaggeratedly low and worrying number.
The worst thing is that despite its low effectiveness, Bouknight tests too much from the perimeter. He was only 29% out of three in 2020-2021, but still took 6.3 triples per 40 minutes. That tendency to abuse the outside shot considerably lowered its effectiveness in clearing situations: only 28% from the field in those possessions.
Bouknight looks at the rim as the first, second and third options. He is a player who needs the ball in his hands to be effective, but he is not going to generate play for his teammates. That is why his projection seems to be tied to that of a scorer from the second unit. He had just 27 assists in 2020-2021, in contrast to 42 losses.
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Defensively Bouknight has good height and speed to defend solidly in one on one, but he is far from being a specialist and he is not the most physical marker one will find. He has tools to improve, but he’s probably never going to be a defensive impact player. He gives the best as a rebounder: 7.2 rebounds per 40 minutes in 2020-2021.
Allowed 41% of field in rinse plays, a somewhat high number for such shares (the average for your position is 37%).
The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the NBA or its organizations.