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Cason Wallace 2023 NBA Draft Profile

Cason Wallace NBA

Photo Credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Cason Wallace NBA
Photo Credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Cason Wallace 2023 NBA Draft Profile

Cason Wallace NBA Profile:

  • Height/Weight/Age: 6’2″/195 lbs/19-years-old
  • Primary Position: Point Guard
  • Freshman Season Stats: 11.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 4.3 APG, 44.6% FG, 34.6% 3P, 75.7 FT%, 2.0 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 2.1 TOPG

Strengths: Defense, Playmaking, Craftiness

Cason Wallace is one of the best defensive prospects in this year’s draft class. He’s a feisty and engaged defender with a 6-foot-8 wingspan with unrivaled competitiveness. He projects to be a great point-of-attack defender who can disrupt lead ball-handlers with great instincts, hands and strength.

Outside of being a great point-of-attack defender and a smart rotational defender, Wallace is also a defensive playmaker. Wallace averaged the second-most steals per 40 minutes out of every prospect in the draft class with 2.5. (Behind UCLA’s Jaylen Clark, who averaged 3.4 per 40 minutes)

Wallace’s 6-foot-8 wingspan also gives him an advantage over other guards where he can recover and make chase-down blocks as well as blocks in transition.

Many analysts have pegged Wallace as a defensive specialist, but I love Wallace’s offensive game as well.

First, Wallace is a tremendous playmaker and decision-maker with a special feel for the game. 4.3 assists per game may not jump off the page at you, but he was doing high-level NBA things last season at Kentucky. Primarily, Wallace is already an extremely advanced pick-and-roll ball-handler who plays at his own pace. He’s extremely adept at methodically operating through the lane to open space or kicking out to the roll man or shooters.

On-ball the bulk of Wallace’s scoring will come from the mid-range. Along with the craftiness Wallace operates within the lane, he has shown some great touch inside the arc on runners, floaters and the interior.

Wallace also shot 64.2 percent on at-rim attempts in 2022-23.

Wallace shot 59 percent on pull-up jumpers within 17 feet, which would rank in the 97th percentile of all the NCAA. He’s just a crafty bucket.

At Kentucky, Wallace also showed how capable of an off-ball scorer he could be within the flow of the offense. He’s a high IQ half-court player and is always looking to relocate off passes or when he sees open space. Couple that with a butter-smooth stroke off the catch, and you could be looking at a real complete player out the gate.

Weaknesses: Athleticism, Injuries, Complete Shot Creation

The biggest concern with Wallace is his athleticism and how he will be impacted by it at the NBA level.

Wallace lacks an elite first step, so he won’t blow by defenders on-ball and create a ton of rim pressure. He also isn’t a great vertical athlete, so he won’t be an elite defensive stopper. All things considered, I think Wallace is crafty enough to where his lack of burst and explosiveness won’t limit his effectiveness.

Additionally, I have concerns about Wallace’s injury history. Wallace has battled ankle and a significant back injury throughout his young basketball career. The back injury is the biggest concern because the back really impacts players’ mobility and how low they can get on drives and defense. For example, a player like Michael Porter Jr. is significantly hampered by his back injury because he can’t get as low on defense and handling on-ball and drives. It limited Wallace at points throughout his freshman campaign, so it’s something to keep an eye on.

Finally, I’m concerned with Wallace’s complete depth of shot creation. I trust his mid-range game and touch shots to translate over to the NBA, but he needs to expand his off-the-dribble range to 3 to max out his offensive game. Admittedly, this a very minor critique of Wallace’s game, but star guards in the league today are killers from both the mid-range and the perimeter.

Best NBA Fit: Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards, Utah Jazz

One of Cason Wallace’s most underrated qualities is how seamlessly he’ll fit into any offense alongside any guard. Wallace has complementary qualities as a relocator, catch-and-shooter, and passer within the flow of an offense. But I also think Wallace can be a lead ball-handler who runs high-volume pick-and-roll immediately.

If he goes to Indiana, I think the Pacers have their backcourt tandem of the future with Wallace and Tyrese Haliburton. If the Wizards draft Wallace, they have a young point guard to build around and a complementary piece to set the table for Beal, Porzingis and Kuzma.

However, Utah is my favorite destination for Wallace. Utah loves to space the floor with their shooters and 5-out offense and run a ton of pick-and-roll. I’m almost salivating at the thought of how dominant Wallace will be with all that space to operate and the surrounding shooting. You add in the fact that Utah is in desperate need of a point guard after the Mike Conley trade, and I just think it makes too much sense.

NBA Comparison: Higher Upside De’Anthony Melton

I’ve seen Wallace draw comparisons to Jrue Holiday from many scouts. Personally, I can’t confidently compare Wallace to Holiday because he’s one of the best defensive guards in NBA history. However, I will compare Wallace to another one of the league’s best perimeter defenders in De’Anthony Melton.

Wallace and Melton are both hounds on the defensive end, but Wallace has much more offensive upside. Melton is a comparable athlete to Wallace, but Wallace has a much better feel for the game and overall pace. Wallace is a hard comparison. There aren’t many offensively gifted guards who provide the two-way impact that Wallace does.

Draft Projection: Top-10 Pick

Cason Wallace is one of my five favorite prospects in this year’s draft, and if I were one of the teams selecting in the top 5, I would take Wallace in a heartbeat. I think his floor is very high as a two-way complementary guard. But I also think Wallace has legitimate star two-way lead ball-handler upside. While I would draft Wallace in the top 5, he’ll likely go between picks No. 8 and 14.


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