In advance of the 2020 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops is evaluating prospects with a look at what the Atlanta Hawks might be considering from now until the selection process occurs. Dozens of prospects will be profiled in this space and, today, we examine Mississippi State big man Reggie Perry.
Reggie Perry entered his name into the 2020 NBA Draft after a much improved sophomore season at Mississippi State. He was one of the best big men in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) last year, and Perry was a top-35 prospect nationally in the 2018 high school class.
At about 6’9” and 250 pounds, he is a little bit short for a center, but Perry does not lack strength. The consensus is that he projects to be a late first round pick or an early to mid second round selection.
Perry made a big jump in his sophomore season, so that is going to be the focus of this draft profile.
He made the scoring jump from 9.7 points per game in his freshman year to averaging 17.4 points per-game in his sophomore season. That put him at No. 6 overall in the SEC in scoring, which is something to note with all of the talented scorers that played in the conference this past season.
He averaged just over 10 rebounds per-game, and Perry led the SEC in total rebounds and rebounds per-game in his sophomore year. His total rebound percentage was ranked second in the conference.
For a big man, he shot pretty well from deep. He made threes at a 32.4% clip, and he shot 50% from the field.
He shot a very solid 78.9% at the free throw line. Perry was also third in both free throws made and attempted in the SEC.
Defensively, his stats did not pop out at you. He averaged 1.2 blocks per-game, which was only ninth-best in the conference and he was 10th in defensive win shares.
Perry’s greatest strength is his inside scoring on the offensive end. His physical strength helps him down low.
Perry’s go-to move is receiving the ball in the low-post and then spinning around and finishing with his right hand. His ability to fake the defender out and use his strength and touch inside to score is very impressive and an important trait from a strong big.
His athleticism and motor are one of his biggest strengths. Those are things that cannot be taught to a player, they harness the athleticism and they control their motor.
Perry has speed in transition and the open floor, and he has the potential to be a really good rim runner in the NBA. He gets out quickly in transition and that often leads to easy dunks and lay-ins for him.
His dunks were often ferocious. Opposing players would sometimes move out of the way and he got a little bit of space inside the paint. He had the ability to bully people that were smaller or weaker than him.
To be frank, his strength is a strength. Perry was the leading rebounder in the SEC last year, and that is a high physical college basketball conference.
His ability to box out and high point to ball are right out of the textbook. At the next level, he is going to need to use his athleticism to get boards because he will run into a lot bigger and more physical players in the league.
Perry has potential to develop into a better three-point shooter. He does not project to be someone that shoots a lot of threes in the NBA, but his improvement in shooting percentages from his freshman to sophomore seasons is encouraging.
Perry is not extremely versatile, but he projects to get better. It is clear that, in his younger days, he was probably rarely expected to step outside of the paint. He does not have great perimeter skills, although he is a big.
The league is changing. More and more bigs are trying to develop their game to be like Giannis Antetokounmpo and other versatile frontcourt stars. Perry lacks lateral quickness and control to make that kind of jump, and that mostly hurts him on the defensive end.
Perry is not a player that is going to use a dribble move to get to the paint or hit a step-back jumper in your face. Those were rarer occasions for him. His shooting mechanics are also slow, which is expected from a bigger player.
When guarding players outside of the paint, Perry’s relative lack of lateral quickness contributed to players blowing by him. This occurred a lot in pick-and-roll defense. Whenever he was switched onto a guard, they had a good chance of using their speed and ball-handling to get by him.
Something he will need to get a handle on is fouling. He averaged 3.1 fouls per game. That is not the worst, but at the next level, he will be playing bigger and faster players. He needs to use his length and physical stature to play upright defense.
As mentioned earlier, Perry projects to go somewhere around the end of the first round or the beginning of the second round. He is not expected to develop into a star. He will most likely be drafted for depth in the frontcourt.
His outside shooting will need to improve if he wants to contend for more minutes and become more of a modern forward.
Teams will also need to determine how to use him. Is he going to be a small-ball center, or is he going to be more of a four that can play on the perimeter in the modern game?
Perry is definitely athletic and fast enough to develop into a solid small-ball center who can get out and make an impact in transition while also keeping the defense honest by shooting spot up threes.
Fit on Hawks
Perry will not be in consideration when the Hawks select at No. 6 overall, that is if they decide not to trade out of that pick.
Atlanta’s next selection is No. 50 overall. It is reasonably likely that Perry is gone by the time that pick rolls around, but if not, then he should be considered as a “best player available” choice.
There is at least a chance the Hawks will have turnover in the frontcourt in the coming years, with John Collins hitting restricted free agency, Dewayne Dedmon only signed short-term and Bruno Fernando still operating on a rookie contract without fully establishing himself in the league. While Perry is not nearly the prospect that Collins is, for example, they have some similar skills. Perry would not be a bad pickup to add to frontcourt depth, but the Hawks have been pretty active in bolstering their frontcourt over the last year and it isn’t a full-fledged area of need.