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Gary Trent Jr., 6’6″ Guard, Duke University, 19 Years Old
Duke has been a one-and-done machine over the past six or seven years. Gary Trent Jr. has just added himself to the list of Blue Devils who will play in the NBA when he declared for the NBA Draft. In his lone season at Duke, he averaged 14.5 points and 1.4 assists, shooting 40 percent from three. He’s one of the most physically imposing point guards available with his 6’6″, 210-pound frame. He also has perhaps the smoothest jumper in this upcoming NBA Draft. His family has NBA pedigree, as his father was an NBA player.
One of the most attractive aspects of Gary Trent Jr. is the fact he can play more than one position. He has the size of an NBA shooting guard but played most of his collegiate career as a point guard. At 6’6″, he can guard both positions and is tall enough to see over defenders in pick-and-roll situations. His most dangerous talent is his shooting ability. At Duke, 35 percent of his possession used were spot-up jump shots. His 1.154 points on these shots rank him in the 73rd percentile. This is an incredible number considering his high volume of shot attempts. Trent Jr. is also dangerous from behind the arc in transition, where he shot in the 94th percentile. It is not hard to imagine him running the floor the same way Klay Thompson does to get easy looks.
Gary Trent Jr. does not possess elite quickness, instead relying on his size to get to the rim. He is also not someone who is going to burn a defender when attacking the rim. On the rare occasion that he does attack defenders, Trent is more likely to take a pull-up jump shot than find a teammate. This despite playing with a knockdown shooter like Grayson Allen and two elite big men, Wendell Carter Jr. and Marvin Bagley III. This can be seen with his low 1.4 assists per game average. Trent will have to improve as a playmaker to reach his maximum potential in the NBA.
At the moment, Gary Trent Jr. will be more of spot up shooter than a creative player for a team. He’s a guy who can come off of the bench and provide space for other players with his mere presence. He is projected to go in the late first round to mid second round and should be able to play right away. Because of his shooting, he has an NBA-ready skill and will be given time to develop the rest of his game. Golden State would be an interesting fit to perhaps replace Patrick McCaw, who’s a free agent. A good NBA comparison for Trent Jr. is Allen Crabbe or Wesley Matthews: a big body for a guard who can make shots.
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