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 New Mexico State wing Trevelin Queen.
When ESPN’s Kevin Pelton released his initial statistical ranking of the top 30 prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft, many of the biggest names available made appearances. As one would expect, LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Isaac Okoro and others made the cut but, along the way, there was a significant surprise in the top 20.
New Mexico State wing Trevelin Queen landed at No. 19 overall and, when considering his national profile, that felt like a major shock. After all, Queen is far from a household name after playing in the WAC, and the 23-year-old is also considerably older than most of his counterparts in the 2020 class. Still, a deeper look at Queen does reveal some intriguing strengths that NBA teams could value, even if a top-20 perch still may seem lofty.
After two years of junior college play at New Mexico Military Institute, Queen debuted for NMSU in 2018-19, appearing in 25 games as a pure role player off the bench. In his second campaign, the 6’6, 190-pound wing became much more of a focal point, making 25 starts in 26 games and playing 27.5 minutes per contest.
In terms of the box score, Queen’s stats don’t jump off the page, especially when considering the weak level of competition in the WAC. He averaged 13.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 2019-20, though he did post a more than solid 58.8 percent true shooting. It is Queen’s defensive projection that turns heads, though, and that is his ticket to prospect status.
Queen’s 3.9 percent career steal rate jumps off the page first, with the wing averaging 2.6 steals per 40 minutes over two seasons. In his ESPN rankings, Pelton notes that, among prospects 6’6 or taller, “only Michael Carter-Williams had a better projected steal rate than Queen, who is also an above-average shot-blocker for a wing.” To throw a bit of cold water on the blocked shots, Queen’s numbers really spiked in his first season (in a small sample) before leveling off in a big way, but he certainly profiles as a defensive playmaker, which is also visible on tape.
In addition to the ability to create havoc in passing lanes and with his sharp hands, Queen understands how to function within a defensive scheme. He is able to deny position using his length and frame and, while he needs to get stronger, there is reason to believe he will. As a rebounder, Queen was probably more effective on the offensive glass, but he posted a solid enough clip (15.4 percent) on the defensive glass when accounting for his size and role.
From there, it is important to note that Queen plays hard and consistently competes. As a player that will certainly be a small-usage role player in the NBA if he makes the cut, Queen needs to bring that motor to the table.
Offensively, it is a bit of a mixed bag for Queen, though there are tools that could useful in the aforementioned small-usage role. He displays strong vision for a wing and, with a 20.8 percent career assist rate and the general ability to avoid turnovers, Queen is a solid passer at worst.
Queen is also a pretty good athlete that excels in transition, at least at this college level, and he is active in moving without the ball. His shooting numbers were also good this season, knocking down 38.7 percent from three-point range on 5.3 attempts per game, and Queen displays good touch. Along the way, some of his shot selection wasn’t exactly stellar, but that likely won’t be an issue when he falls into an NBA pecking order where he is not being relied upon for difficult shot-making.
There are reasons to be a little bit worried about Queen’s offensive repertoire, including some real concerns about his finishing. After all, he wasn’t overly productive in a traditional sense as a (very) old prospect at a fairly low level in college, but Queen does flash useful traits as an offensive role player.
Ultimately, it won’t be an overwhelming surprise if Queen isn’t drafted in 2020, simply because of where he lands on mainstream big boards. The metrics do like him — as evidenced by Pelton’s numbers — and that should help to prop Queen up in the minds of some analytic-friendly franchises, but his age and competition level might scare teams off as well.
From the lens of the Atlanta Hawks, Queen is a player that should be at least in modest consideration at No. 52 overall, as he profiles as a very solid defensive prospect that can be connecting tissue on the offensive end. Perhaps more likely, Queen might be a good Two-Way gamble to bet on his tools, but despite his modest pedigree, it isn’t difficult to see how he may fit in to the NBA world.