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NBA Draft 2018 scouting report: Rawle Alkins

Continuing our draft series with an unheralded wing.

UCLA v Arizona Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In advance of the 2018 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops will be breaking down prospects, both from the college ranks and internationally, with an eye toward what the Atlanta Hawks will be evaluating in the coming days. More than 50 prospects will be profiled in this space and, in the end, the goal is to inform Hawks fans prior to June 21, when the Hawks are scheduled to make four selections with the first 33 picks.

Today’s installment will evaluate Arizona wing Rawle Alkins.

After a strong freshman campaign on an intriguing team, it looked as if Rawle Alkins may jump to the NBA after the 2016-2017 college basketball season. However, the shooting guard elected to return and, while the Arizona Wildcats had off-the-charts expectations, it would be tough to argue that either the player or team lived up to the hype.

Alkins was seen, at least by some, as a fringe first-round prospect a year ago after flashing 3-and-D potential with solid efficiency in a limited role under Sean Miller. That combination allowed for all kinds of optimism for the 6’5, 220-pound guard but the 2017-2018 campaign got off to a brutal start with a broken foot and Alkins’ level of play never fully recovered to even his freshman-year level, much less anything beyond that.

In his initial campaign, Alkins converted 52.1 percent of his two-point field goals and 37.0 percent of his three-point attempts, using reasonable shot selection to produce relative efficiency. As a sophomore, those numbers dipped to 48.2 percent from two-point range and 35.9 percent from long distance, casting a shadow on the type of offensive player Alkins profiles as for the next level.

In two straight seasons, Alkins posted a higher turnover percentage (16.6 percent for his college career) than his assist percentage (14.0 percent) and, in short, he wasn’t overly responsible with the ball. There is some hope that the athletic shooting guard could couple his strength and burst with an uptick in efficiency and play-making but, to this point, positive thought largely stems from projection in that regard and Alkins may simply need to convert a higher number of his three-point opportunities (particularly of a catch-and-shoot variety) to stick at the NBA level.

Defensively, there are all kinds of tools with Alkins and it is easy to see why the 3-and-D label has been assigned to him. As a freshman, Alkins took secondary assignments next to defensive ace Kadeem Allen and he excelled in that role, using attentiveness, strength and quickness to cause positive havoc. In his second season, though, his overall level of defensive performance dropped sharply.

Part of that could certainly be attributed to the early injury woes but, even as he got healthy later in the campaign, Alkins’ was not as locked in defensively to the point of frustration for those evaluating him. It should be noted that Alkins may be better suited for life as a role player once he realizes that he is, in fact, a role player and scouts have at least seen him play at a high level defensively in the past. Still, it wasn’t overly encouraging to see him scuffle in his second college season and it is hard to imagine his stock taking a huge jump as a result.

At times, Alkins looks the part as a first-round prospect and it is entirely possible that a team could fall in love with him at the end back in of the top 30 picks. From an Atlanta Hawks perspective, he would be a reasonable target with either No. 30 or No. 33 picks, especially if Travis Schlenk lands non-wings with one (or both) of Atlanta’s top two picks.

Alkins has an NBA-body, real athleticism and a jumper that could play up at the professional level. It is unlikely that he’ll ever be more than a role player at the NBA level but, in the 30’s, a player that has a clear path to NBA playing time has real value and Alkins has it if everything comes together to support the player that he profiles to be.