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Buzzworthy picks 2022: Andrew Nembhard

The Hornets need some point guard depth.

2022 NBA Draft Combine Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/NBAE via Getty Images

The Charlotte Hornets are set at the point guard position long term with the presence of LaMelo Ball. Last year they filled his backup minutes with some veteran signings, but there’s no young depth at the position. That means there’s been a dearth of NBA caliber point guard play for the Swarm in a couple of seasons. The Hornets have a second round pick they can use to change that.

Andrew Nembhard played four seasons of college basketball, two with Florida and two with Gonzaga. He was named to the All WCC team twice and won conference MVP. He was the floor general for a Gonzaga team that’s been one of the best in the country for the last couple of seasons.

Measurements

Height: 6’3” w/o shoes, 6’4.5” with shoes
Weight: 196 pounds
Wingspan: 6’5.75”
Standing reach: 8’3”
Vertical: 26.5” standing, 35” max

Strengths

Passing ability, pick and roll savvy, positional size

Andrew Nembhard is the prototypical play making point guard. He ran a ton of pick and rolls at Gonzaga and displayed a full repertoire of ways to attack out of it. He hits the roll man with terrific timing and can hit the weakside skip pass if the defense sags to help.

The NBA is heavy on the pick and roll, especially in late clock situations, so Nembhard’s ability to manage this part of the game should help adapt quickly at the professional level. He’s got some creativity to his passing too.

He showed out at the NBA Draft Combine scrimmages as well, dropping 11 assists to go along with 26 points while playing with players he has essentially no experience with. His 2.97 assist to turnover ratio as a junior is a stellar mark and is exactly what you’d want to see in a backup point guard.

He’s a decent threat to score out of the pick and roll as well. He improved his shooting from the beyond the arc to make him a threat against drop coverages. He has a strong floater and pull up game in the mid range.

He probably measured a little shorter than expected after being listed at 6’5” at Gonzaga, but he still has very good size for a point guard at 6’4.5” in shoes with a 6’5.75” wingspan. That size helps him overcome some athletic limitations and stay with quicker guards. He does a decent job moving his feet and should at the very least be passable on that end at the NBA level.

Weaknesses

Athleticism, scoring ability

Nembhard’s lack of burst is pretty obvious from the moment you start watching him. He’s a maestro in the pick and roll, but he kind of needs a screen to get space to operate. He doesn’t show the burst or agility to get by defenders from a standstill or create looks out of isolation. He doesn’t get great lift in traffic and is generally better served stopping short for floaters than attacking defenders at the rim. His lack of pop showed in his 26.5” standing vertical leap.

That athleticism is part of why Nembhard doesn’t project as much of a scorer at the NBA level. He can create some space with step backs, but you probably don’t want a whole lot of your offense to be dependent on him shooting 20-foot step backs. He doesn’t have a lot of wiggle with the ball and isn’t a dynamic shot maker. His shooting numbers were very good for Gonzaga last season—38.3% from three and 87.3% from the free throw line—but he has a very low release that may get bothered more by NBA defenders. He averaged just 11.8 points per game as a senior and scored in single digits in half of the team’s contests. He had some scoring outbursts (like he showed in the combine scrimmage) but he was too often a nonfactor offensively.

Overview

Nembhard is not a super dynamic off-the-dribble scorer, but he’s very in the crafty the pick and roll and makes very good reads as a passer. He has shown the ability to shoot the ball well enough to be a threat in that area even if the release is unorthodox. His athleticism might hold him back some, but every team would love a backup point guard that makes smart plays and keeps the offense humming with the second unit on the floor.