Men's Basketball

NBA Draft: The case for picking Andrew White

Jacob Greenfeld | Staff Photographer

All season long, White launched long-range shots and made 40.3 percent of his 278 attempts from deep. Last season, only 10 NBA players with 50 3-point attempts or more shot better than 40 percent.

UPDATED: June 20, 2017 at 10:55 a.m.

The case for drafting Andrew White goes like this: Dude gets buckets.

Two weeks after a 3-point-laden NBA Finals, in which Cleveland had to pour in a Finals-record 24 triples to beat Golden State in just one game, White hopes that his shooting skill will convince a team to pick him during the NBA Draft on Thursday night at the Barclay’s Center in  Brooklyn. The draft begins at 7 p.m.

Most projections have White, who last season set the single-season record for 3-pointers at Syracuse (112), going in the late-second round. This spring, White trained with Tyler Relph of Dr1ven Training, every day, in Dallas for an hour to an hour-and-a-half.

Relph sees White’s NBA comparison as James Jones. The Ringer thinks Rodney Hood.

The Daily Orange builds a case here for NBA teams to draft White and find out if those comps could be correct.

“He fits any place that needs shooting,” Relph said. “And in the way the NBA’s going, everywhere needs shooting.”

Threat from beyond the arc

An NBA 3-point line is 23 feet, nine inches from the hoop — a three-foot increase from the college game and a transition that a shooter such as Andrew White doesn’t worry about making.

All season long, White launched long-range shots and made 40.3 percent of his 278 attempts from deep. Last season, only 10 NBA players with 50 3-point attempts or more shot better than 40 percent.

At SU, opponents regularly rushed defenders to White if he got the ball four feet or closer to the 3-point line, but it often didn’t matter. White’s elevation and high release point from a 6-foot-7 frame — another plus for White — separated him from the closest defenders.

“I was impressed with his shooting while contested,” Relph said when asked what surprised him most about White. “He really doesn’t seem affected.”

Nowhere was it more evident than in his final 3-pointer in a career-high, 40-point barrage on Senior Night against Georgia Tech. Late in the second half, White snagged a pass across his body and pulled up well behind the arc. GT’s Josh Okogie never had a chance.

There’s every reason to believe White’s skills will translate to the next level. He provided evidence in a mid-June workout with Relph when White, albeit without a defender, knocked down 32 NBA-range 3-pointers in a row. Once opponents respect his jump shot, he opens up other facets of his team’s offense.

“He’s a guy who comes off the bench and gives you good minutes,” Relph said. “He’s a good locker room guy and he gives you 3s.”

Low-risk, high-reward investment

The counterpoint to the knock on White’s age (he’s almost 24) is his experience, multiple mock drafts cited. He’s played in the Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC, arguably college basketball’s three best conferences, transferred twice and patiently sat out a year. He remained level-headed throughout shooting slumps and never seemed flustered on or off the floor.

He showed a savvy approach before the 2016 draft by using his allotted month to gather information and think through his situation before ultimately deciding to return to college. White’s maturity impressed Relph. The trainer compared White’s persona to Los Angeles Lakers forward and fellow client Julius Randle, who sat out his rookie season following a leg injury in his first game.

Maturity may not equate to on-court production, but in White, teams know what they’re getting.

3-and-D potential

White’s skill set paired with his 6-foot-7, 210-pound frame makes him a candidate to become a 3-and-D contributor in a league that’s never shot more 3s and never needed more lengthy wings on defense. The caveat here is that White spent a year playing zone defense and major scouting reports unanimously regard him as an unpolished defender. Offensively, White fits a similar profile as Michael Gbinije did a year ago: An older, skilled player who can fill a role immediately to provide potential value in the late second round.

Even if teams must stash White in the G-League, as the Detroit Pistons did Gbinije, they will always need shooting. White told DraftExpress he believes teams already think of him as a specialized 3-and-D player, and that he watched Golden State’s Klay Thompson and San Antonio’s Danny Green to model his game after theirs. He hasn’t fully embraced the tag, but whether or not he develops into a more all-around scorer is irrelevant right now. Teams should draft White for who he is.

“If you can shoot it,” Relph said, “you’ve got a chance.”

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, the start time for the NBA Draft was misstated. The draft begins at 7 p.m. EST. The Daily Orange regrets this error.

Comments

Top Stories