clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Buzzworthy picks 2022: AJ Griffin

There’s a slight chance the former Duke wing slips and falls into the Hornets lap.

Cal State Fullerton v Duke Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It seems like the leadup to the 2022 NBA Draft has had more player movement than we normally see. Players are rising and falling pretty significantly, and there seems to be more variance in mocks now compared to the spring, which is the opposite of what we normally see. In all the shuffle, there has been the occasional mock that has AJ Griffin out of Duke falling to the Charlotte Hornets at 13.

Measurements

Height: 6’6” (reported)
Weight: 220 pounds (reported)
Wingspan: 7’0” (reported)

Strengths

Shooting ability, shot creation potential, physical profile

AJ Griffin’s clear NBA skill is his jump shot. He shot 44.7% from three on 4.1 attempts per game. He has a somewhat unique shot with a wide base, but it’s clean, quick, and repeatable.

He didn’t do a lot of it at Duke, but Griffin showed a lot of flashes as a creator for himself off the dribble. He creates a lot of space with his step back and is real quick on his pickup to release off the dribble.

It’s easy to envision a future where Griffin generates a lot of his own looks on offense. He’s not super quick or explosive at this point, but he has a lot of wiggle with the ball and has a somewhat unorthodox method of changing speeds and directions that creates space for himself to get his jumper off. He was a very good shooter off the dribble both from three and the mid range, and there’s a lot to build on in that regard.

To go with his shooting prowess, Griffin boasts an imposing frame for an NBA wing. He’s a chiseled 6’6” with a reported 7’0” wingspan. He plays very strong and is able to bully his way to the basket against smaller covers. He struggles a bit to move his feet on the perimeter at this stage, but he’s a wall in the post. His length makes him disruptive and allows him to reach steals and blocks that you wouldn’t expect him to be able to get to. His strength and length and athletic potential should make him a positive defender in time. He was coming off a couple of injuries late in his high school career, and he had more explosiveness to his game before those injuries, so it’s possible there’s quite a bit of athletic potential left to be unlocked.

All of that said, Griffin is still 18 years old (he’ll turn 19 in August). His frame and shooting ability are a rare combination as is, and even more so when you factor in that he’s one of the youngest players in this draft class.

Weaknesses

Perimeter defense, quickness

These two weaknesses go hand in hand. Griffin looked slow and heavy footed guarding the perimeter at times during his lone season at Duke. Guards were able to completely get past him so that he wasn’t even a factor in recovery situations. He has moments where he sits down, moves his feet, and uses his strength to wall of attackers, but he wasn’t consistent in that regard.

Offensively, he doesn’t have a lot of burst to get by defenders in space. Most of his scoring opportunities are jumpers. He relies on his strength to bump defenders off him and power to the basket, but he doesn’t create a lot of space for himself. His .179 free throw rate is a result of that, as he doesn’t get enough of advantage on defenders to earn himself trips to the line.

Again, Griffin dealt with a series of lower body injuries from the end of high school through the start of his time at Duke. There’s a real chance that he was still bouncing back from those injuries during his lone season at Duke. More separation from those injuries and an NBA strength and conditioning program can turn that around.

Overview

This scouting report is kind of brief, but Griffin’s pros and cons are pretty cut and dry. He’s can shoot the lights out and do so with the prototype frame for an NBA wing. You’re buying that with the hope that he can build off his flashes of off-the-dribble creation. His shortcomings are largely on the other side of the ball, where his slow feet hurt him as a perimeter defender. There’s a ton of room for growth given Griffin’s age and the stop-and-start nature of the end of his high school career due to injuries. He’ll probably go in the top 10, but there’s a chance he slips through the cracks and is available at 13.