D.J. Wilson Could Solve Brooklyn’s Big Man Issues

D.J. Wilson does not have much of a track record of success. The redshirt sophomore played fewer than ten minutes per game in both his injury-shortened true freshman year and his redshirt freshman season in 2015-16. However, Wilson broke out during his sophomore campaign and shone in a larger role, including a stellar tournament for the Wolverines where he averaged 16.0 points per game with 42.9 percent shooting from deep and three blocks per game. His shooting touch, ball handling ability, and defensive upside make him a great fit for Brooklyn’s bench. DraftExpress’ most recent mock draft has Wilson as the 27th pick.He would be a solid choice for the Nets at that point in the draft if he is still on the board.

Slow Maturation

D.J. Wilson was not always a big man, and that shows in his guard-like offensive game. Wilson spent much of his high school days as a wing. He finished high school as the 159th best player in his class according to the RSCI rankings.

Wilson did not flourish during his first two years as a Michigan Wolverine either. Wilson played 24 minutes in five games as a true freshman before an injury led to him redshirting the rest of the year. D.J.’s situation did not change much during his redshirt freshman campaign either, as he averaged just 6.1 minutes per game.

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Everything seemed to click for Wilson in his third year at Michigan. Once he finally managed to snag a starting role, he took full advantage of the additional minutes. Wilson only averaged 11.0 points per game, but he did so with an absurdly efficient True Shooting Percentage of 62.8 percent. Wilson also showed some long-range ability, canning 37.3 percent of his triples. He also showed up when the pressure mounted; some of his best games of the season came during the NCAA tournament.

D.J. Wilson is exactly the type of high-upside player that would be worth a gamble for the Nets late in the first round. While he does not have a more sustained history of success beyond his solid 2016-17 campaign, his offensive skill set and defensive potential give him a decently high floor and a sky-high ceiling that outstrip his late first-round pedigree.

Offense: Swingman Skills, Big Man Body

D.J. Wilson’s slow maturation process is evident in his offensive game. Wilson is 6’9″ and sports a 7’3″ wingspan, but he plays like he has never seen a post-up. His smooth jump shot and guard-like handle have translated from his high school days spent playing on the wing.

Wilson showed three-point range this past season at Michigan. However, his shot is more versatile than that of the typical big man. Wilson is a solid catch-and-shoot player, but he can also shoot off the dribble. While he is not a high-usage offensive player, Wilson has enough of an in-between game that he can be effective when forced to play inside the arc.

In addition to his potential as a stretch big man, Wilson has a knack for slipping through seams in opposing defenses. He seems to instinctually know when to cut to the basket:

Wilson’s basket cuts may be an even more important part of his offense at the NBA level than his shooting from deep. The sample size of his college career is not large enough to declare that he will be solid from deep right away in the NBA (although his 83 percent shooting from the free throw line is a good sign). However, Wilson’s ability to read defenses for easy basket cuts and his athletic tools will allow him to score on backdoor plays immediately as a pro.