Nickeil Alexander-Walker is a long, rangy, combo guard who has flashed potential as a playmaker and shooter. The 6’6” Virginia Tech guard from Toronto, Ontario, Canada has vaulted into a potential lottery selection in the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft.
NBA Draft Profile for Nickeil Alexander-Walker
Nickeil Alexander-Walker was a five-star recruit out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada back in 2017. His freshman season he mainly played as a secondary ball-handler and an off-ball scorer behind the outstanding point guard Justin Robinson. Alexander-Walker averaged 10.7 points per game while shooting 40 percent from three. His second season with the Hokies, Robinson was injured early in January. As a result, Alexander-Walker was forced to become more of a distributor. He increased his assists per game from 1.5 to four from his freshman to sophomore season.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker NBA Positives
The first thing that comes to mind with Alexander-Walker is his ability to shoot the ball from the outside. He shot 38 percent for his career from three and although he does not have a lightning quick release, he is 6’6” with a 6’9” wingspan and has a very high release point. Alexander-Walker is excellent when attacking close-outs, he is comfortable pulling up from mid-range, hitting a floater in the lane, and finishing at the rim. He is the perfect off-ball guard in the modern NBA as he can make the right pass if needed but also cannot be left open.
Defensively is where Nickeil Alexander-Walker shows some of his best attributes. Because of his length, he is a tremendous defender, particularly when off the ball. He averaged two steals per game last season and was often used as a rover. He is able to jump in passing lanes and protect the rim as a guard. Alexander-Walker projects to be an above average NBA defender because of his tremendous length and natural defensive instincts.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker Question Marks
While he has good size and length for the guard position, his thin frame and lack of an elite first step are major question marks for Alexander-Walker. While in college he was used as a perimeter stopper and rover off the ball. He may struggle with the quickness of NBA guards.
Offensively he has shown potential as a primary ball-handler. However, he rarely makes proper reads coming off the pick and roll. If he is unable to get into the paint for a runner or pull-up jump shot he can struggle. Getting to the rim may be a problem in the NBA. College defenders were consistently able to push him off of his spot. He will have to add strength quickly if he wants to finish over NBA athletes.
It is difficult to compare a player like Nickeil Alexander-Walker as his game consists of a mosaic of players. His size, length, and ability to be a secondary ball-handler are similar to Delon Wright. However, Wright is much more adept at getting all the way to the rim. Alexander-Walker is more comfortable from midrange where he can use his floater. Many will be tempted to compare him to his cousin Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Yet, he is much more capable as an outside shooter but lacks the elite vision and crafty ball-handling of Gilgeous-Alexander. Ultimately, Nickeil Alexander-Walker has the frame of Gilgeous-Alexander, the spot up ability of a Spencer Dinwiddie, and the secondary ball-handling skillset of Delon Wright.
Round 1, Pick 11 to the Minnesota Timberwolves
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