Cassius Winston 2020 NBA Draft Profile

ROSEMONT, IL - FEBRUARY 17: Cassius Winston #5 of the Michigan State Spartans reacts after making a three-point basket against the Northwestern Wildcats during the second half on February 17, 2018 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Michigan State defeated Northwestern 65-60. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Cassius Winston came into the season as one of the best players in the nation. Michigan State was the preseason number one team in the nation but struggled at times. Unfortunately, Winston was not able to make his last run through March Madness, but he certainly impressed scouts.

Cassius Winston 2020 NBA Draft Profile

College Career

Winston had a long career for the Michigan State Spartans. He played 139 games and started 108. Undoubtedly, he will go down in history as one of the best players to ever go through East Lansing. Winston averaged 14.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 6.4 assists for his career, including 18.6 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists this season. 

Winston has won almost everything possible in his career. He’s been an All-American, a Big Ten Player of the Year, and Most Outstanding Player of a region. He did reach the Final Four but was unable to break the long Spartan Championship drought.

Strengths

On the offensive end, Winston is the total package. He can score from all levels and make plays for others. Winston is elite off the dribble. He has a great mid-range game and utilizes a pull-up and floaters to perfection. This will be important for the next level against better and bigger defenders. 

After Winston’s freshman season, he was shooting 38 percent from three but not taking many of them. He improved his shot each year to become a 43 percent shooter from deep on 4.3 threes per game. Winston even shot 50 percent from three on four shots per game in his sophomore year. 

Winston also formed one of the elite pick and roll pairings with Xavier Tillman this season. His basketball IQ is off the charts and he just has a knack for reading defenses. This led to Winston averaging anywhere between five and eight assists per game each season of his career.

Weaknesses

One of the major knocks on Winston is his size and lack of athleticism. He is listed at 6’1 185, but he will probably be measured slightly smaller by official NBA standards. He will rank towards the bottom of the league in terms of size, which makes him a risk for being a defensive liability. Usually, a player can rely on their athleticism to combat their lack of size, but that is not the case with Winston.

The other concern with Winston is turnovers. Each year, his turnover numbers rose and he averaged three per game. That is not a major concern, but he can definitely clean up his game. Also, his usage rating rose each year to almost 30 percent his senior year, so that will create some turnovers as well. The real concern is that there were a handful of games where Winston was very sloppy with the ball and that just can’t happen.

NBA Player Comparison

Less athletic Monte Morris. Winston will play well as the point guard of the second unit. He developed into a good enough shooter to spot up if necessary. Morris fills many holes in the Nuggets’ second unit. He is a good target for Winston.

NBA Draft Projection

Late first to early second.

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