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 Point Loma Nazarene forward Daulton Hommes.
Daulton Hommes burst onto the scene last summer, when he caught the eye of Gordon Hayward as the latter was in San Diego recovering from his gruesome ankle injury. Hommes, a 6’8 junior out of Division II Point Loma Nazarene University, rode that momentum throughout the season and fully jumped into the draft, hiring an agent to ensure that he cannot go back to the collegiate game.
A truly elite offensive player at the college level, he’ll be looking to prove that his D-II roots are good enough for the NBA, whether he’s drafted in the latter part of the second round or finds his way to a roster as an undrafted free agent. There is a lot of confidence in Hommes’ camp that he can make it as the professional level; he wouldn’t have hired an agent as early in the process as he did if he didn’t have some intel that he’d be high enough on teams’ draft boards to make it worthwhile to forgo his remaining eligibility.
Hommes profiles as a very strong shooter at the next level, with fantastic three-point and free throw shooting numbers throughout his collegiate career. He finished up three years at Western Washington and Point Loma Nazarene with 46.1% three-point shooting and 86% free throw shooting, both of which will bode well for his professional career. As I recently covered with Taurean Prince, being 6’8 and a high-level shooter isn’t going out of style anytime soon and every NBA team is on a worldwide hunt for that exact archetype of player. His long-distance shooting was also strong; he hit 24 of his 47 attempts last season from beyond 24 feet, showing off his NBA range more than once a game. There will be obvious concerns that the level of play in Division II isn’t anywhere near the type of opposition he’ll see in the NBA, but his spot-up shooting should translate perfectly fine.
The rest of his offensive game is much muddier. He was phenomenal at just about everything he did at PLNU, but the immense skill and size advantages he enjoyed in college will not persist at the professional level. He was a dominant three-level scorer for the Sea Lions and certainly impressed Hayward in their time together, but it’s going to take more than that to really put him onto teams’ radars in the bottom part of the second round.
As a do-it-all forward for the Sea Lions this season, he had the ball in his hands a lot more often than he will on a potential NBA team. He was successful in the possessions he did have as an isolation or pick-and-roll operator, but didn’t display the sort of ball handling that’s consistent with NBA wings. Development as a ball handler won’t necessarily make or break his career, but it would be a huge positive if he could even be a tertiary creator for a team. He’s not a particularly good passer and missed initial reads in pick-and-roll consistently, though whether he saw those passes and chose to score for himself anyway due to his immense advantages at the D-II level is unknown. Perhaps with teammates who are on and above his level, he’d be a more willing and better passer, but not having those creation reps at this point in his career is worrying.
Should he stick to his guns as a spot-up shooter going forward, playing him up at the power forward spot would give his team enough perimeter creation to hold up with him on the floor. That might be the best move for his career on both ends, since he struggles with the lateral athleticism that will be necessary for him to guard NBA wings. At the 4, he can be a cog in a team defense without having to worry as much about getting through on-ball screens or dribble handoffs. He’ll have to be more attentive as an off-ball defender in his rotations and has a tendency to watch the ball a bit too much. He’s got some vertical athleticism to rotate over and be some modicum of a weak-side rim protector, which would really help to alleviate the overall concerns he poses defensively.
Another important reason Hommes might be a 4 rather than a 3 in the NBA is his on-the-move shooting, which is really not very good at this stage. He’s much better with his feet set or even off the dribble, but there’s almost no chance a team is going to be running him off screens to get him open looks. Whether he could develop the footwork to be a consistent pick-and-pop threat is an open question; he did very little of that with PLNU but had a lot of success when he did.
Injury concerns may also push teams away; Hommes tore his ACL twice before graduating high school and while he hasn’t had any issues since then, there may be teams who write him off for that reason. Age is also an issue, as he’ll turn 23 shortly after the draft and therefore doesn’t necessarily have a ton of athletic upside to explore early in his career, as many one-and-done 19-year-olds do. Still, a team that falls in love with his shooting and believes his scoring will translate to the NBA level should be willing to take a late flier on him or bring him into Summer League and training camp as an undrafted free agent.