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2021 Buzzworthy Picks: Corey Kispert

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Kispert has arguably the most clearly defined role among this year’s class, and it’s a role the Hornets need.

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The Charlotte Hornets (and every team for that matter) need more shooting, especially on the wing. Malik Monk brought that off the bench last season, but it’s far from a guarantee that he’s on the roster again next season. That leaves the Martin twins as the Hornets wing depth, and that duo combined to connect on 47 of 183 (25.7%) of their 3-point attempts in the 2020-21 season.

If they’re looking for shooting, there are few better places to look than former Gonzaga wing Corey Kispert. The reigning WCC Player of the Year is arguably the draft’s best shooter and comes to the NBA with a clearly defined role. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling in this draft by any means, but there’s value in a player with an obvious NBA skill, especially with how coveted that skill is.

Upside

Kispert is arguably the best shooter in this draft class. He connected on 44.0% 3-point attempts and 87.8% of this free throws as a senior while flirting with a 50/40/90 campaign. He has a picturesque release that’s very quick and reliable regardless of the time and space he has. He does a terrific job of relocating and making himself available in drive and kick situations. He’s also adept as a pull up shooter when trailing in transition.

While Kispert’s main avenue for scoring will come from behind the arc, he does have an underrated game inside. He’s a very savvy cutter and has decent bounce to finish when he has space. He can attack scrambling defenses in a straight line and has good touch around the basket, though his lack of length figures to limit him in this regard at the NBA level.

He’s athletically limited, but Kispert competes defensively. He stays in a stance and works hard, even though he tends to struggle to stay in front of quicker ball handlers. He’s a smart and aggressive team defender that figures to be passable on that end at the very least.

Downside

Kispert’s biggest downside is his lack of upside. He’s already 22 years old, and players drafted at the age rarely take huge strides in their game once they make it to the NBA. He’s a self-made player, which speaks well to his work ethic, but also illustrates how limited his natural talent is compared to younger prospects projected to go in the same draft range.

On the court, Kipsert is very limited as a ball handler and play maker, which will prevent him from functioning as anything more than a role player. He can be loose with his handle and can quickly run out of idea if he’s run off the 3-point line and isn’t given a straight path to the rim. He’s a smart ball mover and will make the extra pass, but he’s not creative enough to label that a huge strength of his.

Kispert will also struggle to be a plus defender at the NBA level. While he competes hard, he’s easy to create space against, and he doesn’t have the length to make up for it. Even when he positions himself well, opponents tend to finish over him, especially around the basket. He wasn’t much of a play maker on that end of the floor in college, averaging just 1.0 steal and 0.5 blocks per 40 minutes over the course of his college career. His competitiveness and smarts will keep him from being a total liability on this end, but his lack of foot speed and relative length will severely limit him.

Overview

Kispert profiles extremely similarly to Doug McDermott coming out of Creighton. McDermott had a much bigger role on a less talented team, which led to a higher usage and more scoring, but their scoring efficiency and advanced metrics are nearly identical. A career like McDermott or Joe Harris is very easy to envision for Kispert. He’ll knock down 3-pointers and cut his way to easy buckets, but he’s going to need a strong team around him to create those looks and fully utilize his strong outside shooting.