Devin Vassell, SG/SF, Florida State
Age: 20 (8/23/2000)
Devin Vassell College Stats
Projected Draft Range: Late Lottery
Denver Stiffs Big Board: 7th overall
NBA Comparison: Josh Richardson
Vassell shot over 41% from three both seasons as a Seminole. His shooting release is fairly high and his gather is quick enough that spot-up shooting should be a ready-made NBA trait. His 72% free throw shooting isn’t low or high enough to offer additional insight into his prospects as a shooter, especially when considering he only averaged 1.5 free throw attempts per game at Florida State.
He expanded his offensive arsenal his sophomore season by improving his ability to shoot off the dribble and convert at all three levels. This was evident in his field goal percentage increasing by 7.1% from his freshman to sophomore campaign. This jump coincided with 175 more total shots and 44 more threes attempted, making it all the more impressive. Vassell certainly wasn’t bubble Jamal Murray, dancing around defenses and creatively finishing from wherever he found the most space, but his ability to produce some uncontested shots after the initial closeout is encouraging progress.
Vassell has fluid hip movement to stay in front his matchup and is not often caught “ball watching”. He usually makes the right decision on when to stunt, recover, or fully rotate on defense, as well as picking up on the opposition’s tendencies. He is rarely beaten the same way twice. Vassell also reads passing lanes well, creating turnovers on and off ball. If all that isn’t enough, he offers about as much rim protection as a wing player can.
At just 6’6”/6’7”, Vassell actually led FSU with 5.1 rebounds per game. His vertical, wingspan, and hustle allow him to both chase down and high point the ball for rebounds. If he can put on some additional muscle, he should have an easier time boxing out and snag even more boards as a result.
This combination of off-ball instincts, on-ball pestering, length, lateral quickness, and vertical prowess make him a nightmare defensive matchup for opposing wings.
I just outlined how Vassell’s athleticism helps him perform on the defensive end. Here’s what it looks like on both sides:
Vassell began the 2019-2020 season at just 180 pounds. He has already been able to pack on 14 more pounds since then, but still has work to do if he doesn’t want to be bullied in the NBA. His skinny frame currently limits his defense to only matchup against wings. If he can put on another 15-30 pounds, it should allow him to obtain the coveted ability to switch 1-4 effectively on defense. As is, he’ll be limited to only defending wings.
Vassell also struggles at playing through contact and was often overpowered under the basket. This played a large role in why he was unable to get many free throw attempts. Additionally, his rebounding and shot blocking will have trouble translating to the NBA level if he can’t gain more strength.
With just 1.1 assists per game in his time at as a seminole, Vassell does not possess a high-level handle or passing acumen. It should be mentioned that FSU has an equal opportunity offense and that he was actually second on the team in assists to Trent Forrest’s 4 per game last year. At just 0.8 turnovers, he at least doesn’t make many costly passes or over dribble often. Still, if Vassell ever wants to be a secondary playmaker in the NBA, this skillset will need to improve.
Fit with the Nuggets
It seems very unlikely that Vassell will drop to the Nuggets 22nd overall pick. It was, however, similarly unlikely that Michael Porter Jr. would fall all the way to 14th or Bol Bol to 44th. While their respective drops were primarily due to medical red flags, if Vassell were to experience the same fate it would likely be because of an attempted change in his jump shot form. In a since deleted tweet, you can see a considerably slower and clunkier shooting motion than the threes he drains in his highlights below.
The most recent and memorable case of a player changing their shooting form during the pre-draft process was Orlando Magic point guard Markelle Fultz. Just like Vassell, the former Washington Husky shot 41% from three in college. The decision backfired on Fultz, as he has shot just 26.7% from three over the course of his first three NBA seasons.
Even if Vassell struggles to shoot at the next level, it would be foolish of the Nuggets to not take a chance on him. His defense and athleticism alone are enough to make him an impactful role player. Vassell might simultaneously have the highest ceiling and lowest floor in the Nuggets draft range and could fill in nicely at shooting guard or small forward as a 3&D role player for the Nuggets. It may even be worth exploring the possibility of trading up to the mid-to-late teens if Vassell begins to slip.
How would you feel if the Nuggets drafted Devin Vassell?
This poll is closed
They should trade up
If he’s still available at 22, i’d happily take him
Don’t want him, If he falls that far it’s too much risk