It’s been quite a last few years for the Iowa Hawkeyes and Tyler Cook. After underwhelming in Cook’s first two years with the team, Iowa was able to get to the Round of 32 last March before narrowing falling to Tennessee. After the postseason run, Cook opted to take his talents to the 2019 NBA Draft.
But will Cook hear his name called on draft night? Let’s take a look.
There’s little debating that the most exciting aspect of Cook’s game is his raw athleticism. He’s a guy that routinely can play above the hoop, make plays in transition, and finish well when he gets in the paint. During last season, this athleticism helped Cook be one of the league’s most productive players at getting to the line, finishing fourth in the Big Ten in free throw rate during conference play.
That athleticism also helps him be productive on the boards. Cook was one of the best defensive rebounders in the Big Ten last year and it went a long way for Iowa’s success as a team. He’s not going to be an elite rebounder in the NBA, but he should be able to hold his own in that area more often than not.
The easy red flag to circle on Cook’s resume as he prepares for the NBA is his shooting. Cook was an absolute no show from outside the arc with the Hawkeyes and topped out at 66.1 percent from the charity stripe in college. In a league where shooting matters more and more, those aren’t encouraging things to say about Cook’s game.
Cook also showed quite a bit of inconsistency on the defensive end of the floor. He was part of some pretty horrendous defensive units with Iowa and he has never showed elite block potential. Perhaps playing less in the frontcourt helps Cook’s defense in the NBA, but this will be one of his major challenges to make it at the next level.
Cook is going to need to land on a team that likes to play in transition and needs a player that can rebound at the three or four spot. Teams like the Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphis 76ers seem like they would be decent fits in this regard.
However, with that said, Cook projects to be a fringe second round pick. That likely means no guaranteed deals and the challenge of earning his spot on a roster. Regardless of fit, he’s going to want a team willing to invest to give him a few years to get comfortable.
Cook had quite a career in Iowa City, highlighted by a trip to the Round of 32 last March. Nonetheless, he now has an uphill battle this summer to get drafted and earn a spot on an NBA roster. It should be interesting to watch in the weeks to come.