Though Maryland's Dez Wells is not a clear cut NBA player or star of the future, he has the potential to become a good role player in the NBA. He will have to fight to earn a spot on an NBA roster, but he appears to be well on the way over this offseason. Let's take a look at what he can bring to the NBA.
Wells is undersized for a shooting guard in the NBA, standing only 6'3, and unfortunately doesn't have the right skill set to transition to (or even play many minutes at) point guard. The biggest thing that knocked him down draft boards, though, is probably his age (23). Those are legitimate causes for concern (and two major bugaboos for GM's), but it's still a little perplexing to see Wells' stock so low ahead of the draft.
Wells will probably be able to do a good job of compensating for his lack of size with superior athleticism. He was able to get to the rim seemingly at will at times in college because he has a quick first step, is surprisingly fast, and can finish at an elite level around the rim because he has a wide frame and excellent leaping ability. Check it out:
It seems like he'll be able to mitigate his height disadvantage, but a problem he won't be able to mitigate is his age. When you get past the lottery, the chances of finding a franchise-changing player is basically nil, so teams should be looking for role players that do one or two things well and are otherwise polished. That's what Wells brings to the table. The advantage of spending four years in college is that players like Wells get to develop skills and learn the game.
Wells will help whatever team signs him pretty immediately because his skill set will translate well to NBA (and he's had time to hone it). He's athletic enough to catch the ball in traffic and get a shot up in the lane, he also spent his senior year developing a three point shot, which he shot at a 51% clip, up a staggering 21% from the year before. On top of that, you know he's gonna try on the defensive end even if he will be overmatched from time to time. If his three point stroke wasn't a fluke last year, he could be a really good 10-12 minute per game player in the NBA, especially at a position that has a relative dearth of talent at the next level.
If he gets enough minutes, he's going to endear himself to a fanbase pretty quickly. Bit role players that are good for one or two thunderous dunks and hard fouls every now and then are fun (if they're on your team, of course). Wells probably has a sinuous road to find consistent minutes on any team (and as much he might want major minutes, he should be praying to stay away from the 76ers), but when he does he's gonna be fun to watch. Plus, he sent Duke packing from the ACC Tournament in 2013 with the game of his life, so I'll be rooting for him just for that.