Seniors aren't the hot commodity that they used to be in the NBA Draft. Now that most of the higher-ceiling players bolt from college as soon as they get a feeling that they can get picked in the first round, the guys left over are seen as less worthy investments. There are exceptions, though. Just look at this year's NBA Finals, where undrafted four-year player Matthew Dellavedova had a surprisingly large impact. Can Dez Wells, complete with all his intangible leadership value, do something similar with his future NBA career?
Although Wells's scoring ability peaked early in his college career, there are other areas in which he improved noticeably, even from his junior to senior season. Just look at that three-point shooting percentage. Always more of a penetrating guard than a high-volume shooter, Wells has never attempted more than two triples per game over the course of a season, but in 2015 he finally started putting them in consistently. That kind of range should make him attractive to NBA teams, as should his improved free throw shooting, which is a must for any guard these days.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Wells's calling card should be that he is a big (six feet, five inches) guard who can handle the ball and create for his teammates. In that way, he's not unlike fellow Terrapin Greivis Vasquez, who has carved out a nice professional career for himself. The big difference between the two is that Vasquez was more of a feared shooter who averaged almost 20 points per game during his senior year at Maryland. It would be interesting to know if Wells would have expanded his offensive role with no Melo Trimble in the picture last season, but that is going to be left as a mystery.
With Trimble handling the ball so much, we didn't get to see Wells take over many games the way D.J. Newbill did at Penn State. Was Wells's improved three-point shooting all about the player getting better in the gym, or did Trimble's prowess in the lane just open up better opportunities? That's something NBA teams will be wondering when they decide whether or not to take a chances on Wells in the second round of next week's Draft. The 11 shot attempts that Wells averaged per game last season will also raise questions over whether he can remain efficient while handling an NBA workload.
I think Wells' combination of size, versatility, and athleticism would make him a good choice in the second round. He could certainly be useful in the future as a combo guard coming off the bench, but there's a lot of competition out there. Since he's not projected to be drafted, Wells's best bet may be to choose his own team as an undrafted free agent and show what he's got during the NBA Summer League. We've seen before that undrafted doesn't always mean unwanted.