What is Shaedon Sharpe’s game?
Sharpe’s evaluation will be based almost entirely on his play in last summer’s AAU circuit. He did well, averaging 22.6 points, 5.8 rebounds in 12 NIKE EYBL games against other top AAU clubs. But extrapolating how good a NBA player someone will become based on year-old AAU games (I say this as an AAU coach myself,) is certainly a challenge for any NBA personnel department.
It is hard enough to figure out who are the best players in the draft after one year of college, let alone none.
The best comparison to Sharpe’s game is: an even more athletic Jalen Green, but with the shooting skills of a Zach Levine. Hey, the Pistons could use that! (as long as he does not bring Green’s anti-Detroit attitude).
The closest comparison to this situation occurred in 2020. Center James Wiseman, acclaimed as one of the top players in that high school class, played just three games for Memphis before eligibility issue cropped up, and he did not play the rest of the season. Wiseman still got selected second overall by the Golden State Warriors in the draft.
Of course, quality centers are harder to find, meaning teams are more willing to gamble at that position (the history of the NBA Draft is littered with busts at No. 1 as teams overreached for a center). Wiseman has had injury problems since joining Golden State, so it is hard to evaluate his career to date.
Sharpe would have been the No. 1 ranked player in the college Class of 2022 had he stayed in high school. That usually translates into being an extremely high draft pick. Cunningham was rated the No. 1 college recruit in 2020.
So, does a team take a player who projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft, when he becomes available a year early?