Before the 2019 NBA Draft arrives, Peachtree Hoops will break down more than 70 available prospects with an eye toward what the Atlanta Hawks may look to do in late June.
This edition focuses on Mississippi State’s Quinndary Weatherspoon.
Prior to his fourth and final college season, there wasn’t much in the way of NBA Draft buzz centering on Mississippi State guard Quinndary Weatherspoon. He was certainly an above-average SEC guard through three seasons of work but, during his senior campaign, the 6’4, 210-pound guard markedly improved and he is now firmly on the radar from an NBA standpoint.
Weatherspoon’s stock rose even more with a (very) strong showing during the Portsmouth Invitational — a pre-draft event focused on seniors — but, prior to that, his play under the bright lights helped quite a bit. During his senior year, Weatherspoon averaged 18.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game and he did so with 62 percent true shooting and impressive overall efficiency. It is certainly worth keeping in mind that Weatherspoon will turn 23 years old before ever appearing in an NBA game, which could account for some of that growth, but he was legitimately impressive over the course of the full season against high-level competition.
As an athlete, Weatherspoon has impressive tools. He boasts a 6’9 wingspan (measured in Portsmouth) to go along with real fluidity and a solid level of explosiveness. He also carries his 210-pound frame well, turning that into power when given the opportunity, and Weatherspoon maximizes his tools with a strong motor.
Offensively, Weatherspoon carried a usage rate that was probably too high during his first three seasons but, with the way he played as a senior, his 26.1 percent usage was appropriately robust. He converted 40 percent of his three-point attempts during his fourth season (37 percent for his career) and, given the relatively difficulty of some of those efforts, that is an encouraging figure.
Weatherspoon isn’t preternaturally gifted as a creator for others, as evidenced by only 2.8 assists per game, but he can function as a pick-and-roll operator when asked to do so. In the NBA, Weatherspoon profiles as an off-ball player for the most part but, given what he was able to do in Starkville, he could ease into a secondary ball-handling role without too much hesitation.
Defensively, there is a lot to like about Weatherspoon’s game, as he uses his strong, lengthy frame effectively. It would be fair to assume that he won’t be a full-on game-changer on that end of the floor but, when combined with the likelihood of a reduced offensive role, Weatherspoon’s tools could play up and he is an intriguing talent as a result.
From an overall standpoint, Weatherspoon’s primary value is that he takes very little, if anything, off the table as a prospect. He had a tendency to shoot the ball too often during the early stages of his college career but, in the league, that likely wouldn’t be an issue with role development, and his “3-and-D” archetype makes a ton of sense, particularly as multi-position entity on both ends of the floor.
The looming factor is age, with Weatherspoon already 22 years old, but that is less of a factor in a second-round pick than it would be for someone drafted in the top half of round one. From the perspective of the Hawks, Weatherspoon would seemingly be a snug fit, as the front office enjoys players that can fill it up from distance while also being able to dribble and pass. Weatherspoon can do all three to varying degrees and, when combined with his potentially stout defensive profile, there is a lot to like in the second round.
Between now and late June, it can’t be emphasized enough that the Hawks may not use all three of their second-round selections and, as such, the pool of talent in view with those picks may shrink. At the moment, however, the theory of Quinndary Weatherspoon would make some sense for the Hawks in the 40’s as a gap-filling role player that could, with some development, function in an NBA rotation.