The Houston Rockets have selected junior forward Sam Dekker with the 18th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. By taking Dekker, the Rockets attempt to replace the recently departed Chandler Parsons with a versatile forward who can do many things well.
Dekker was one of the hottest names and biggest risers among prospects in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, as he showcased his versatility and shooting ability in leading Wisconsin to Indianapolis before losing to Duke in the title game.
Dekker’s ability to play inside and out is what’s most intriguing about his potential. If he can extend his range and become a knockdown shooter, he has enough size to play as a stretch 4 at times. The forward was inconsistent from three during his first three seasons, shooting 39.1 percent as a freshman, 32.6 percent as a sophomore and 33.1 percent as a junior.
Defensively, Dekker’s lateral quickness might be an issue guarding small forwards, and he lacks the size and length to defend the post full-time at only 6-9, 220 pounds with a 6-11.5 wingspan. His handle needs to be improved to play on the perimeter, and he’ll need an in-between game to round out his overall skill set.
Overall, Dekker has the tools to be a mismatch offensively if he can prove to be a knockdown shooter from three. He’ll struggle initially defending more athletic wings in the NBA, so there will be an adjustment on that end. But he’s a fundamentally sound player who has potential to be a solid starter in the league down the line.
NBA comparison: Chandler Parsons
2014-15 stats: 13.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.2 apg (52.5 FG%, 33.1 3P%, 70.8 FT%)