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2022 NBA Draft Profile: Blake Wesley

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round San Diego-Notre Dame vs Texas Tech Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Wesley is a quick, shifty, and lengthy guard out of Notre Dame. Coming into the season he wasn’t a highly touted prospect — not seen as a one and done, and even starting his college career off the bench for the Fighting Irish. Eventually though, he proved through his prowess in the pick and roll as a ball handler, and impactful perimeter defense that he belonged in the starting lineup and 2022 NBA Draft. With his growth in his freshman season he earned All-ACC Second Team honors as well as placing second in ACC Freshman of the Year voting behind only Paolo Banchero.

He’s someone people thought may return to college, even after his stand out freshman season. However, he kept his name in the 2022 NBA Draft and is now a projected first round pick. He has tools and skills that make him enticing to teams — the Nuggets among them. He is one of the few prospects that fans know the Nuggets have worked out.


Blake Wesley, Wing, Notre Dame


Vitals

Height (w/ shoes): 6 foot 4 inches

Weight: 187 pounds

Wingspan: 6 foot 9 14 inches

Age: 19 (03/16/2003)


College Career Stats

2021-22 Blake Wesley Season Per Game Stats

Season School Conf G GS MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Season School Conf G GS MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2021-22 Notre Dame ACC 35 28 29.3 5.1 12.6 0.404 3.5 7.5 0.471 1.5 5.1 0.303 2.7 4.1 0.657 0.7 3 3.7 2.4 1.3 0.1 2.2 1.9 14.4

Strengths

Pick and Roll Play

The biggest source of offense in the NBA is pick and roll. So much of the offense run in today’s league is at least based in pick and roll. This is something that Blake Wesley excels at. He has great eyes for making the right reads in pick and roll situations. He hits the big man when he’s open, and can also hit players that are being helped off of. Using head fakes and misdirection, he’s able to manipulate the defense and free up looks for teammates.

He also is able to utilize a great feel for the game and change of pace while creating for himself. He’s able to get to the rim in good amounts and likes to go to pull up jumpers. His mid range jump shot was something he looked very confident in and had good footwork for. Going into the jumper he could stop on a dime and get himself a good look just by doing that. He’s a threat out of pick and roll and that is a huge thing in the NBA.

Examples

A high screen is set for Blake Wesley and he immediately gets downhill momentum — getting past his man; leaving the big on an island against Wesley. While Wesley has the big on his hip, he uses a delayed gather step to let the big man past him. The big jumps for a block, but Wesley is still on the ground while he’s in the air. This leaves Wesley open for an easy finish.

Out of the screen, the defense ices Blake Wesley. This leaves the roll man with a path of little resistance to the rim. Blake uses this to his advantage, staring down the roll man to get the defender in the corner to step in on the roll. This gives his teammate in the corner a step of space, and he capitalizes on it. Wesley throws a dime and forces a bad closeout to the corner — leading to a easy layup.

Perimeter Defense

One area of the game that Blake Wesley left his impact on at Notre Dame was his perimeter defense. He’s one of the better point of attack defenders in this class, and especially in the range that Denver will be picking. He has a long wingspan and uses it to disrupt passing lanes. He’s good at turning defense into offense; in general just a pain in the butt for the opposing offense.

He has some issues with his weight and strength, being pretty skinny in general. However, he has worked on it since the off-season. It gave him some issues navigating screens sometimes — getting bodied with harder screens at times. It shouldn’t be a huge issue for him though and getting in an NBA weight room will help remedy that area of his game even further.

He has free safety skills and is good at anticipating passes. In transition he often was able to get steals and turn it into a bucket in the open floor. His wingspan makes that anticipatory skill set even more deadly.

Examples


Improvement Areas

Finishing and Shooting

Blake Wesley really struggled at times to finish around the rim. He only shot 41.4% on rim attempts outside of dunks this past season. He has touch issues and can go too fast sometimes. He missed some bunnies throughout the season too, so it’s not just weight and strength issues. Ultimately, it’s probably the biggest hole in his game but can probably be improved upon. He had good finishes and flashes in his time at Notre Dame which lead me to believe he’ll get better, but not by a whole ton.

With his shooting, he looks good doing it but the results weren’t always there. He shot only 30.3% from beyond the three point line. His mid range jump shot also had times where it didn’t go in, but times when it did. He’s streaky and needs to get more consistent. The process to be good at both is there, and the results are likely to follow.

Examples


Expected Outcome

Projected Draft Range: Mid-to-Late First Round

Denver Stiffs Big Board: 27th Overall


Verdict

Blake Wesley is someone who has a lot of positives in his game. The pick and roll passing and scoring is something to get really excited about. The defense could be used by Denver immediately and can grow in the future. Those two things would make him extremely useful right away, and the holes in his game also have good processes behind them. I think he’s someone the Nuggets should consider, but there is overlap between him and other guards on the Nuggets roster. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — he can play off-ball and on-ball, but I think there are better options available. I wouldn’t be upset if the Nuggets decided to pick him, but he’s not the first name I’d take.