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Emoni Bates 2023 NBA Draft Profile

Emoni Bates 2023 NBA Draft

(Joel Bissell/

Emoni Bates 2023 NBA Draft
(Joel Bissell/

Emoni Bates 2023 NBA Draft Profile

Emoni Bates 2023 NBA Draft Profile

Height/Weight/Age: 6’9”/179 lbs /19 years old 

Primary Position: Small Forward 

Sophomore Season Stats: 19.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 40.5% FG, 33.0% 3PT, 78.2% FT, 0.7 SPG,  0.5 BPG,  2.5 TOPG

Strengths: Isolation Scoring, Three-Point Scoring, Tough Shot Making 

Eastern Michigan’s Emoni Bates is one of the curious prospects in the 2023 NBA Draft. The talent is evident. It is easy to see why he was such a highly touted prospect coming out of high school.

Bates is a great isolation scorer. At Eastern Michigan, he was put in a ton of isolation scenarios and was able to create shots on the perimeter. This is mostly because Bates has a solid package of isolation moves, a quick release and is able to get a shot off with little space. To pair with his skills, he has an uncanny ability to get hot and torch a defense, which is how he managed to drop 30 points or more on several occasions. 

Bates is also a great 3-point scorer. Obviously, this starts with his ability to hit isolation threes. That is not the end of his shooting game; he showed the ability to hit movement threes after coming off screens. The catch-and-shoot volume was low because the ball was often in his hands, but he hit those looks when they were presented.

Bates also has insane range. If the ball is in his hands in the half-court, there is a chance he will pull a deep three and hit it. 

It is fair to question Bates’ three-point efficiency. In his final season, he shot 33 percent from three. That is not the typical profile for a player that projects to be an above-average three-point shooter in NBA. That said, his shot selection was awful. In his sophomore season, he shot 7.7 threes per game and often took deep or heavily contested shots. 

Speaking of contested shots, the final strength in Bates’ skill set is his ability to hit those tough shots. Bates is capable of hitting shots with defenders in his grill, one of the main reasons for this is because he has a great fadeaway. This helps him hit tough jumpers that he has no business making. Inside the arch, his touch with his floater helps him hit contested mid-range looks.

Weaknesses: Frame, Athleticism, Playmaking

Emoni Bates has a ton of issues in his skill set that tank his 2023 NBA Draft stock. This begins with his frame. At 6-foot-9, Bates has good height, but has a 6-foot-9 wingspan. That takes away a lot of the potential advantages that his height can create. Additionally, he’s only 179 pounds.

All in all, Bates is incredibly skinny with a small wingspan. That limits his ability to get isolation mismatches against smaller defenders. 

Bates’ detrimental frame is paired with an unimpressive athletic profile. Bates has a little vertical burst and lateral quickness. So, he is not athletic and does not have an NBA frame. 

Bates’ size and athletic profile greatly limit his offensive skillset. To start, he does not get to the rim at an effective rate and he is a poor finisher at the rim. This essentially limits his scoring to jumpers. The lack of driving capability makes it harder for him to create those jump shots as well. 

On the defensive side, he is not strong enough to defend in the post and he is not quick enough to defend on the perimeter. His off-ball awareness and intelligence do not make up for those issues either. In total, Bates is one of the worst defenders in the 2023 NBA Draft.

The final weakness for Bates is his playmaking. The issue here is that it is practically nonexistent. From a statistical perspective, he averaged 2.5 turnovers and 1.4 assists per game; that’s horrendous considering he was the lead ball handler at Eastern Michigan. 

One of the main reasons for this is that Bates has an awful tendency to get tunnel vision. On drives, he rarely looks to pass and is more willing to settle for insanely tough shots. To pair, he does not deal with double teams well, allowing teams to pressure him and force him into turning the ball over or taking really bad shots. On the rare occasion he passes, he does not make great decisions or effective passes. Once again, that leads to turnovers. 

Best Fits: Washington Wizards, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs

While Bates’ is filled with flaws, a team will likely take a swing at his scoring upside at some point. Ideally, that would come late in the second round. It is undeniable that whatever team takes him will need to give time to develop. 

I love the idea of the Wizards taking a swing on Bates in the second. After the Bradley Beal trade, Washington is years away from meaningful basketball. This would let Bates get experience in the G League while the franchise tanks. If he figures things out, they hit a home run in the second round and get a jump on their rebuild. If he cannot, the Wizards do not lose too much. 

It would not be a shock to see the Oklahoma City Thunder take Bates. At this point, everyone is aware that the Thunder love to take swings on high-upside talent. With pick No. 50, the Thunder may make a move on Bates.

Once again, this situation would allow the Thunder to place Bates in the G League while they look to make a playoff push in the NBA. The player development system in Oklahoma City would greatly help Bates too. 

The last landing spot that I like for Bates is the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs currently sit with two second-round picks which makes it more likely they would be willing to add Bates. The Spurs are an appealing fit because of the development and culture in San Antonio. That culture is largely because of who they opt to bring into the organization which makes this less likely. Still, I would love to see how Bates progresses in an outstanding organization. 

NBA Comparison: N/A

I do not want to compare Bates to an NBA player. It is not easy to find a player that matches Bates’ frame, athletic profile or offensive mindset. You can find players that match one of those three aspects of his game, but not all three. It is fair to view that as a red flag and few players like Bates have become NBA-caliber talent. 

Projection: Late Second Round

Emoni Bates will be one of the riskiest prospects in the 2023 NBA Draft. Frankly, his bust rate is fairly high. As a result, Bates will have to wait until the bottom of the second round to hear his name called. This is indicative of the talent in this year’s draft. The top of the second round has some talented players that can be viewed as potential role players. Eventually, the well will run dry on those types of players. That is when Bates will enter the conversation as a possible selection.

The real question with Bates is how he progresses. If Bates can reach his top outcome he will be a great NBA player. It would be ignorant for that to be the expected outcome, however. A Bates selection is the equivalent of buying a Mega Millions ticket for a couple of dollars knowing you will not hit the lottery.


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