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 centers on Kansas State’s Dean Wade.
Dean Wade enters the 2019 NBA draft class after completing a successful four year stretch of collegiate play at Kansas State. In both his junior and senior seasons, he was named to the first team all Big 12 team. His team won 25 games in those two seasons. Two seasons ago his team reached the Elite 8 tournament and, this past season, his team was broadly considered a favorite to threaten a deep run in the NCAA tournament until the Wildcats lost him to an injury.
When Wade arrived at Kansas State for his freshman season, he wasn’t known for his shooting acumen. That definitely changed across his four years of NCAA play. He shot the ball better than 40% from the three-point line in every season after freshman campaign, although not at a significant volume. He could be one of the 20 best shooters in this class and, when a player that measures at 6’10 can do that, he’s going to get a look from more than one NBA team.
He was one of the 10 best post players in the NCAA last season. He has solid footwork and good touch working, primarily, with his back to the basket in the mid post, but there is a very low likelihood that he will ever get to operate in that role on a good NBA team. If he is going to eventually stick in the NBA, his ability to stretch the floor as a power forward is going to be the primary reason it happens.
He looks like an above average athlete when in the open floor. He has solid speed for his size and he can throw down a nasty dunk when in space, but the great differentiator at the next level is whether you can put that athleticism to work in traffic and Wade has not demonstrated the ability to do that as of yet. The competition is only going to be bigger and faster at the next level.
He’s a smart player; he sees and makes the right plays. He got better every season as a passer and playmaker. But, again, he’s not likely to find himself in a role that frequently requires him to put those skills to use at the next level. At least he’s not a ball stopper — he consistently moves the ball to the right teammate when defensive rotations dictate such.
This is where the big questions come in to play for Wade. What will he ever be able to do for his team on the defensive end of the court? Kansas State did run a man-to-man defensive scheme, so scouts should be able to fully evaluate what he is right now as a defender. He’s doesn’t look like the same athlete when he is moving laterally as he does when running in a straight line, which will hinder his defensive production at the NBA level.
The 22-year-old doesn’t project, apart from working with a professional training and development staff to become a more explosive athlete, to offer any rim protection at the next level. He could also struggle significantly in the rebounding department. However, he did function at the power forward position for one of the best defensive teams in the country last season.
He handled himself well when operating on the perimeter defensively the last two seasons, but the longer NBA three-point line and the continued growth in the number of three-point attempts that teams are willing to put up will force a player like Wade to function further from the paint than he ever had to do at Kansas State. As such, he will need to demonstrate he can handle that type of responsibility if he’s ever going to break into an NBA team’s rotation.
Wade is currently absent on most outlet’s big boards and mock drafts, but he is the type of player that could move up those lists once NBA teams really start scrutinizing this draft class, simply because of his size and his ability to shoot the basketball. If a team really believes in his shot making, and if that team really believes their training staff can get him another level as an athlete, he could end up being a late second round pick. If not, he could be a candidate to join an NBA organization on a two-way contract.