Peachtree Hoops 2021 NBA Draft scouting report series continues with a study of Corey Kispert, a sharpshooter out of Gonzaga.
Corey Kispert has a skill that will translate to the NBA on day one, his shooting. Probably the best all around shooter in the draft class with a form and general efficiency reminiscent of some of the best perimeter shooters in recent history, he stands out as a unique plug-and-play type among his peers.
But the 22-year-old can do a lot more than shoot the basketball. Kispert has a well rounded game on both ends of the court that will help him adapt at the next level.
Kispert has good size for a wing, just enough in fact that he might spend some time at both forward positions in time. You’d never guess it but he checks in at 223 pounds in the form of excellent strength that he has sometimes put to use defending opposing bigs.
He’s 6’6 with a 6’7 wingspan and a bit more athleticism than sometimes comes in the template of perceived spot-up shooter.
For Kispert, though, it really does start with the shooting. He converted 44% from the three-point line last season on over 200 attempts. In his four campaigns at Gonzaga he was a 41% three-point shooter on over 600 attempts.
The efficiency in his form is about as good as it gets:
Kispert is much more than a spot-up shooter though. He’s exceptional shooting on the move and operates with an immense amount of nuance in setting up opposing defenses to find high quality shots.
Here Kispert uses a simple down screen to find a nice shooting pocket:
The ability to change direction based upon how the defender is playing the screen is highly desired at the NBA level.
There is no doubt that Kispert has NBA range:
Even when shooting on the move.
His ability to get to techniques to counter how he is being defended is likely what sets him apart from the other elite shooters in the draft class. Not much of it is flashy, but a little relocation dribble here, a little drive and a floater there, all of which is deployed with impressive consistency differentiates him.
And, when needed, Kispert makes all the passes you need a player in his role to make without ever trying to get more than the defense makes available.
He’s the kind of player that did everything that was asked of him during his collegiate career, so from an evaluation stand point you don’t want to think of him as being limited to that inventory of things. One has to imagine he can do more if the roster fit and lineup construction call for it.
An the NBA level, for example, I can see Kispert being deployed regularly as a pick-and-pop player, which isn’t tied to specific positions as much in the professional setting. The ability to move with fluidity and use excellent feel to locate the optimal spot operating out of the screen seems to me something that could be right in his sweet spot.
Another potential layer for Kispert would be the opportunity to function in the short roll when on the floor with a point guard that often demands attention from more than one defender.
There really is no real firm reason he can’t do things like this. They don’t usually require exceptional ball handling. Just solid ball skills paired with good processing of information and decision making.
These are the possibilities that could cause a team to see him as more than a floor spacer, which, to me, seems appropriate.
Kispert uses the fluid athleticism and a bit of sneaky burst here and there to work to the rim and demonstrate some nice finishing acumen:
And the craft is quite impressive:
It’s likely to be a tougher fit on defense for Kispert, where the strength works for him but doesn’t completely offset his somewhat limited lateral quickness.
He helps himself by being proactive with his footwork and positioning, but once isolated he struggles to hold up at the point of attack.
But he will do little things to help him recover on plays after he’s lost contain:
In this example, Kispert anticipates the pass after he gets defensive help from a teammate and creates a turnover. Otherwise he is an immensely reliable team defender, helping with digs and stunts and the like with impeccable timing and impact.
Kispert also has terrific hands as a defender. The way he gets to the basketball without fouling is a bit reminiscent of Paul Millsap. As seen here:
On both ends of the court, Kispert can constantly be seen thinking the game without letting it slow him down, organizing actions and flow.
Here it’s a bit subtle, but just letting a teammate fill the lane in transition ahead of him leads to an open shot (despite the result):
In 137 games of collegiate action in one of the winningest programs in recent years, Kispert has made himself professionally ready in numerous ways.
The hardware backs up his impact. Just last season he was a consensus first-team All-American, the West Coast Conference player of the year and a Naismith Award finalist.
Gonzaga went 127-12 in his four seasons on campus losing fewer games than the season before in each the final three years. He played in 13 NCAA tournament games, 10 of those resulting in wins.
Projected by most outlets to be drafted in the middle of the first round, Kispert may be a prospect whose draft night outcome is impacted by teams moving and/or down in the draft order by way of trades. Rebuilding teams likely want younger players with more perceived upside while established teams may value what he could give them for four full years at manageable costs. Kispert may not slip all the way to 20, but if he does, it would be easy to see what could attract Hawks GM Travis Schlenk to his game.