On Wednesday morning deep in the heart of Chicago, 66 prospects alongside most of the pro basketball world entered the Quest Multisport facility to kick off the 2019 NBA Draft Combine. During that first day, the prospects either had their pictures taken or received their measurements. Some of the biggest highlights of that initial day included: UCF alum Tacko Fall measuring in at 7’7 in shoes, Texas big Jaxson Hayes having 9’2 standing reach and Oregon forward Bol Bol weighing only 208 pounds despite standing at 7’2.
The action at the NBA Draft Combine heated up earlier today as it marked the start of the scrimmages. While headline acts like Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Ja Morant will not be stepping on the court, a plethora of solid prospects will be competing against the wide swath of NBA executives in the hopes of hearing their name get called in next month’s draft. One of the dozens of players will be former Mississippi State guard Quinndary Weatherspoon.
Getting invited to the Draft Combine is another step in what has been a solid year for Weatherspoon. That run started back during his senior season with Mississippi State where he stood as one of the backcourt players in the conference. His status is evident by him averaging 18.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.7 steals on 51% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc on 4.1 attempts per game. Those great shooting averages allowed him to maintain a 62% True Shooting Percentage, which made him the most efficient small forward in the SEC.
That tremendous play unsurprisingly led to him receiving some big accolades at the close of the season. The Mississippi State alum was named to the Associated Press’ All-SEC Team and First Team All-SEC on a squad that’s selected by the coaches within the conference.
Shortly after playing his last game with the Bulldogs, he joined numerous other graduating seniors in Virginia for that year’s Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. While no longer playing in the SEC, Weatherspoon still played at the same level that he did during his final year at Mississippi State. During his three games during the tournament, the guard caught fire as he put up 17.3 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.7 steals on 51% from field and 43% from beyond the arc on 4.7 attempts per game.
The combination of great play at Mississippi State and the Portsmouth Invitational were the keys behind him getting invited to the Draft Combine, Of course, that consistent play at multiple levels wouldn’t be possible if Weatherspoon wasn’t a well-rounded offensive player. In fact, the Mississippi State alum has shown himself capable in the following ways: pushing the ball up the court in transition, driving to the rim, nailing perimeter jumpers.
In terms of his potential in the NBA, his work as a perimeter shooter and facilitator are probably the two biggest traits to keep an eye on. In regards to his work as a three-point threat, Weatherspoon was very solid as a senior where he shot 40% from beyond the arc on 4.1 attempts per game.
His efficiency is largely a product of the guard maintaining a silky smooth shooting stroke which is quick and has a very high release point, which is able to be repeated whether he’s working off the dribble or through catch and shoot. In fact, the young guard seems to be more comfortable with working with the ball in his hands as he’s showcased a knack for breaking down his opposition and hitting a step-back jumper.
Moving onto his work as a facilitator, that skill really doesn’t seem to be apparent when you look at numbers as he averaged 2.8 assists per game with a lackluster .9 Ast/TO ratio as a senior. That inefficiency persists when you look at his whole time at Mississippi State where he had 2.4 assists with a 1.3 Ast/TO ratio.
Although those numbers might be troubling, his potential is evident when you actually watch film of his play at Mississippi State or Portsmouth. When you watch him play, the upside is evident as Weatherspoon honestly looks like a lead facilitator with how he throws entry apsses to bigs, working in the pick-and-roll or hitting those tight passes while he’s driving to the rim. As a pick-and-roll facilitator, he definitely shows patience with waiting for both his roll man to both set the screen and roll to the paint.
While he shows promise with working as a passer in the pick-and-roll, his best work in this category is probably best with passing while he’s driving to the paint. That trait is best seen in the clip below where he uses a head fake to get around his opponent, drove to the paint before throwing a beautiful bounce pass that went between two defenders to Jessie Govan who made the mid-range jumper.
Along with shining as a perimeter shooter and showing promise as a facilitator, Weatherspoon definitely has some upside on the defensive end. From a statistical standpoint, that was shown by how he averaged 1.5 steals per game over the course of his four-year college career. His knack as a ball hawk simply came through being a hard working player that knows the correct moment when to try to snatch the ball from the offensive player.
He shows the rare quality of being able to stick close to that guard while the opposing player is moving around, and going for the steal, without drawing a lot of fouls. During his senior season, he only had 2.5 fouls per 40 minutes, the 2nd lowest average among SEC small forwards that played at least 15 minutes per game.
Weatherspoon’s solid defense came through him defending multiple positions as the 6’4 player spent time at both the shooting guard and small forward position during his time at SEC. While that smaller frame might be a concern, he makes up for it by being a lanky player with a 6’9 wingspan. While it’s great that he can match up against small forwards, Weatherspoon would ideally play more point guard and shooting guard when he makes that leap to the pro level.
As we get closer to the NBA Draft, there’s going to be dozens of players that will capture the attention of everybody from NBA executives, scouts, coaches, media and even fans. While those talented prospects definitely deserve their moment in the sunshine as we near June, make sure to keep your eye on Mississippi State alum Quinndary Weatherspoon.
Because due to the trifecta of offensive versatility, hard work on defense and solid frame, there’s a strong possibility that we’ll see Weatherspoon shining on the second unit for an NBA team in the future.