2022 NBA Draft: AJ Griffin a boom-or-bust prospect worth taking a swing on

The Washington Wizards have the 10th best lottery odds for the 2022 NBA Draft. Here’s the latest in our series on draft prospects who might be falling around where the Wizards will be picking….

2022 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Profile: AJ Griffin

School: duke

Position: Little advance

Age: 18 (turns 19 on August 25)

Height: 6-6

Weight: 222

Span: 7-0

Statistics 2021/22: 39G, 10.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.6 bpg, 49.3 FG% (3.7/7.6), 44.7 3PT% (1.8/ 4.1), 79.2FT% (1.1/1.4)

Player comparison: Jaylen Brown

projections: NBC Sports Washington 8th, Sports Illustrated 10th, Ringer 6th, Athletic N/A, ESPN 8th, NBADraft.net 8th, Bleacher Report 6th

5 things to know:

– Griffin has top 5 talent, but using a top 10 pick for a player this talented, you’d hope he’s a little more NBA ready than he was after a season at Duke. Injuries in high school limited his reps and stunted his development early on, making him one of the more raw prospects you’ll see in the lottery.

– He may be raw, but Griffin is already a good scorer and shooter with a reliable shot that should be carried over to the next level. It’s a bit slow on release and he needs to work on accelerating it, but Griffin shot over 49% from the floor, 44% from three and 79% from the free throw line at Duke. For a young winger, these numbers are incredibly encouraging when forecasting his future as an off-ball scorer.

– Griffin suffered two separate knee injuries in high school that caused him to miss nearly two years of game action. He also struggled with an ankle injury during his debut season with Duke. For a player who needs more time and spice on the floor, he wasn’t healthy enough to get those reps.

– With a 6’6, 220-pound frame, a 7’0 wingspan and the athleticism he possesses, Griffin’s defensive potential is off the charts. He’s also struggling to defend, but the basics just aren’t there yet. Whether he’s caught in bad position or missing a turn, Griffin’s inexperience shows itself most on the defensive end of the floor. The good news is he has the physical tools and desire to compete on that end. Any minus he has as a defender is absolutely teachable.

– Much like his comparison Jaylen Brown, Griffin struggles to take care of others when he has the ball. He’s known to be a great isolation scorer, but one day he’ll need to brush up on his playing skills if he wants to become a star. At least for the time being, he is a low-turnover player who flashes great passes at his teammates every now and then.

Fit with Wizards:

Griffin’s fit with the Wizards as currently constructed is a bit shaky. With Bradley Beal, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Corey Kispert and Deni Avdija on the list, Griffin doesn’t exactly have a great route to regular minutes. If he’s able to develop his game faster than expected and make a mutual impression as a rookie, Wes Unseld Jr. will have no trouble getting him onto the floor.

But without an immediate rotation spot for him, it will be difficult for a raw prospect like Griffin to deliver the value Washington needs from his first-round pick this year. However, the core of the Wizards that would keep Griffin away from regular minutes isn’t exactly championship caliber. So when a player with an all-star advantage like this is on the board for Tommy Sheppard, it’s easier to justify a block on the wing.

If you just can’t have enough talent in one position, it’s on the wing. Griffin has elite qualities in aspects of the game you can’t teach, and he just needs the right coaching and development to round out his mistakes.

2022 NBA Draft Profiles:

Jabari Smith Jr., Auburn

Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga

Jaden Ivey, Purdue

Paolo Banchero, Duke

Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky

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