Isaiah Roby fits that bill. After playing in mostly a reserve role in his first two seasons at Nebraska, the former 3-star recruit put himself on the NBA radar in his junior season.
Height: 6’7.25” without shoes, 6’8.5” in shoes
Standing reach: 8’10”
Weight: 214 pounds
Vertical leap: 32.5” standing, 35.5” maximum
Strengths: Physical tools, 3&D potential
Roby has tremendous physical attributes for a combo forward. His height, wingspan, and reach are ideal for his position. At the combine he weighed in at a chiseled 214 pounds with less than 4% body fat. His physical profile is complemented by his terrific athleticism. He finished in the top five in lane agility (1st), shuttle run (4th), 3⁄4 court sprint (1st), and standing vertical (2nd) tests among players listed at power forward.
His physical tools give him the potential to be a plus defender at the NBA level. He averaged an impressive 2.4 blocks and 1.6 steals per-40 minutes in his final collegiate season. He should be able to reasonably guard positions 2 through 4 pretty quickly and could maybe guard some centers once he adds some more strength to his frame.
Offensively, Roby has a good complementary skill set. He makes the extra pass and makes good outlet passes in transition. He had a near 1:1 assist to turnover ratio as a junior, an impressive feat for a player listed as a power forward. His shooting efficiency took a dip as a junior, but his mechanics are repeatable enough that he could turn into a respectable 3-point shooter with more reps.
Question marks: Offensive creation, jump shot, defensive discipline
Roby will probably be limited to a role player off the bench because of his inability to manufacture any offense for himself or others. He has a balanced skill set, but he doesn’t have any offensive trait that stands out. He’s limited to straight line drives with the ball and doesn’t have much wiggle. While he’s unselfish and finds open teammates, he doesn’t have particularly advanced play making skills. His jump shot off the dribble is slow and uncomfortable-looking.
Roby’s jump shot will probably decide whether or not he sticks in the league long term. As a sophomore, he hit 40.5% of his 42 3-point attempts and 72.4% of his 98 free throw attempts. Both of those percentages dropped significantly in his junior year- 33.3% on his 3-pointers and 67.7% on his free throws. His release looks good, but he tends to pause for a moment before going into his shot when he can. He’ll probably have to speed up his release to get his shot off against NBA defenses. Will it hold up under additional pressure?
While Roby’s defense is mostly good, it does come with some lapses. His effort occasionally wanes and he can get pushed around a little bit by bigger covers. He averaged 4.1 fouls per 40 minutes as a junior. That’s an improvement over his first two seasons, but still a higher number than you’d like.
Isaiah Roby could add more energy and athleticism to the Hornets front line. His defensive potential and athleticism could earn him some early court time. If his jump shot proves to be reliable, he could quickly cement himself as a rotational piece.