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 report evaluates Gonzaga wing Zach Norvell.
The Atlanta Hawks will host dozen of prospects at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex in the coming weeks, with several already making the trip to Brookhaven in advance of the 2019 NBA Draft. One such draft hopeful is Gonzaga wing Zach Norvell, who spent May 9 working out in front of Travis Schlenk and Atlanta’s personnel staff.
While the vast majority of pre-draft workouts will occur without public incident, that was not the case for Norvell, who actually broke a bit of news during his Atlanta visit. In short, he declared that there is no turning back from the 2019 draft.
Gonzaga's Zach Norvell said he's 100 percent locked into this draft and won't return to school.— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) May 9, 2019
Asked Zach Norvell, Jr. if he was up in the air with his decision to stay in the draft or return to school.— Kevin Chouinard (@KLChouinard) May 9, 2019
"No, I'm coming out."
Coming into the process, the consensus was that Norvell could certainly remain in the 2019 class but it was quite possible that the 2020 draft might provide a softer landing spot. Along the way, though, things have changed and it is easy to be intrigued by his talents.
Norvell stands at 6’5 and, first and foremost, he is seen as a shooter. The 21-year-old converted 37 percent of his three-point attempts across two seasons in Gonzaga and, considering the volume (470 attempts overall), that is no small feat. In addition, he wasn’t only a catch-and-shoot player under Mark Few, knocking down threes on relatively difficult shot quality.
During his second season in Spokane, Norvell was near-elite as a spot-up player overall, burying jumpers and creating effectively when defenders were able to close out. He brings NBA-quality shooting range to the table and, while he might carry the “streaky” label for some, others are impressed with his willingness to shoot through slumps with unwavering confidence.
In addition to his spot-up ability, Norvell sported (very) solid numbers in both pick-and-roll and DHO (dribble hand-off) opportunities during the 2018-19 campaign. His primary value to an NBA team may come in his floor-spacing but he does not have to be a pure specialist, with the ability to handle the ball in secondary action. If that skill continues to develop, he could be a deadly offensive weapon and, even if it doesn’t, his shooting acumen could carry enough water to bring real value.
Defensively, Norvell was an adventure early in his Gonzaga career but there was real growth over the course of his tenure in college. His 2.4 percent steal rate in 2018-19 is encouraging, and he has decent physical tools. Prior to the NBA combine, there is not even an unofficial wingspan measurement available for him but, in short, he is an average athlete and that is (frankly) all he needs to be.
In an overall sense, Norvell could be viewed as a 3-and-D prospect, though the “3” part of the equation is far more certain than the “D” section. That is actually more appealing than prospects with the reverse profile, however, and his offensive arsenal should be enough to ensure that he is drafted in 2019.
There are areas in which Norvell must improve in the future, ranging from his ability as a play finisher offensively to his overall acumen and physicality on the defensive end. Still, he has a clearly defined strength and, if a prospect was able to choose just one at his size, long-distance shooting might be the logical area.
With the NBA Draft Combine on the way and more pre-draft workouts coming in a hurry, Norvell’s stock could be on the move in the coming days. For now, though, he would seem to be firmly in play for one of the second-round picks for the Atlanta Hawks (No. 35, 41 and 44) and he fits the mold that the front office enjoys as a player that can dribble, pass and shoot. It is never wise to become too attached to projected second-round prospects but Norvell would seemingly fit snugly in a Hawks uniform.