We’ve talked about it on a here a lot. The Charlotte Hornets have a problem at the center spot. It’s highly likely that a new center will be in the rotation next year, and the second round of this draft is rife with big man talent. The fan favorite of those options- Tacko Fall
Height: 7’5.25” without shoes, 7’7” in shoes
Standing reach: 10’2.5”
Weight: 288 pounds
Vertical: 22” standing, 26.5” maximum
Strengths: Size, rim protection
Tacko Fall is a massive human being, and that accounts for 100% of his appeal as a prospect. No player in NBA history is taller than Fall. He’d be only the third player in league history to measure in at 7’7”, and the first to play in an NBA game since Gheorghe Muresan.
Fall’s extraordinary size makes him a nightmare around the rim on both ends of the floor. He barely has to leave the floor to dunk and can snatch offensive rebounds away from defenders. He’s not athletic by any means, but his shear size makes him difficult to finish around when he’s protecting the rim.
Question marks: Athleticism, offensive skill, potential for growth
Part of being a large human is being unable to move nimbly. Fall posted the lowest standing vertical, 3⁄4 sprint, and lane agility scores. He posted the second worst maximum vertical and the fourth worst shuttle run time. His lack of mobility was easy to hide in the college game with worse spacing, but it’ll be exposed in the NBA. If he’s on the floor, teams will repeatedly use his cover to set screens and make Fall guard on the perimeter. He isn’t quick enough to stay in front of guards or quickly recover to rollers. He’ll struggle to rotate from the weak side quick enough to make a difference. His team will have to hope he can overwhelm the opposition with his shear size.
His lack of athleticism will slow down his team, which goes against the direction the NBA is heading. He’s slow to transition from one side of the court to the other, at times not even making it into the play before a shot goes up. He tires quickly and doesn’t move much when he’s on the floor.
Offensively, Fall has an extremely limited skill set. His shooting form is atrocious and his free throw percentage got worse every season, bottoming out at 36.2% as a senior. The vast majority of his offense comes from being bigger than his opponents. He catches and dunks with little movement or finesse.
Fall is already 23 1⁄2 years old. He’ll be 24 less than two months into his rookie season. On top of that, Fall showed very little growth in his four seasons at UCF. His per-40 and advanced stats are very similar from his freshman to his senior year, likely a result of his lack of skill and dependence on his size to be an effective player.
Tacko Fall is a physically imposing player, which is where almost all of his appeal is. However, he doesn’t have the skill or athleticism of a typical NBA player. Any team that picks him up will hope that he can overwhelm the opposition with his size, but that’s a lot harder to do in the NBA than in college.