Coming off of a season that earned him consensus All-American honors, Jarrod Uthoff is poised to make a splash in the NBA in 2016.
Uthoff, a 23-year-old senior, is coming off a season where he averaged nearly 19 points per game and almost seven boards per contest en route to leading the Iowa Hawkeyes to their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Despite his stellar play for the Hawks, there are still questions as to how well he can contribute to an NBA team, and rightfully so.
The 6-foot-10 small forward is one of the more versatile seniors in this draft. He is a capable shooter from the outside, connecting on nearly 40% of his three-point attempts this season. He also displayed the ability to score from the post with an array of of step back and fade away jumpers. Despite a lack of strength, Uthoff uses his length to seal off and position his man in order to create room for those shots. Most of Uthoff's offense came from his jump shot during his time in Iowa City (35% of his offense according to DraftExpress), which bodes well for his NBA future, given that his role at least early on in the league will be that of a jump shooter.
Uthoff's size in another intriguing asset for an NBA team looking to take a chance on the Cedar Rapids native. He will primarily be a three in the NBA, but could theoretically man the four in smaller lineups. Armed with a 6-foot-11.5 wingspan, Uthoff uses his size to contort himself around defenders at the rim, as he shot nearly 60% around the rim this past season. Another plus for Uthoff is the feel he has for disrupting and blocking shots. He was one of just eight players in the NCAA to play over 25 minutes a game and average at least one steal and three blocked shots per 40 minutes, although quite a few of his blocked shots were the result of him recovering after getting beat off the ball.
Where Uthoff falls short on the NBA level is in his ability to play stellar on-ball defense against NBA athleticism and his capacity to create offense for himself. Quite often, Uthoff finds himself out of position on defense, standing straight up and not able to recover after his man beats him to the rim. While still a bit of a guru when it comes to blocking shots, he benefitted from having Adam Woodbury's help down low cutting off his man after he was beat (as did all of the Hawkeye players). This allowed Uthoff to be able to recover and block his man's shot after they were stood up by Woodbury, despite getting beat more often than one would like.
Iowa's ball movement and spacing left a lot to be desired, especially in the latter half of the season, but Uthoff didn't help with that at times. Too often he settled for long three's or tough fade away jumpers before he even looked to drive to the rim. He is a decent finisher at the rim if he can get there, but he will have to take a step forward in his ball handling and quickness at the next level.
At 23-years-old, Uthoff is almost a lock for the second round, should he get drafted. As the one of the best NBA prospects to come out of the University of Iowa in recent memory, there is a lot to like in the former Hawkeye, especially in the modern pace and space NBA.