After a season a wonderful season that bolstered playoff expectations with the help of veteran Paul Pierce, the Washington Wizards entered the draft room simply looking to add younger pieces to their already promising core of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. Owning the 49th selection, Washington had a multitude of different options for their late second rounder and decided to draft the accomplished Aaron White.
White, who turns 23 later this year, joins a frenzy of other seniors in this year’s draft having spent four years under Fran McCaffery at Iowa. It’s apparent that he impressed the Wizards’ scouting staff, having been given consistent minutes since his freshman year. He’s steadily improved since his first year of playing in the Big Ten Conference and graduated with averages of 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds.
Graphic via isportsweb
The -9 combo forward has always had a smooth feel for the game, as anyone who has watched him will tell you, he never forces anything on the court and lets the game come to him. This high basketball IQ translates to other aspects of his game, as the 2015 First Team All-Big Ten pick is a good rebounder due to his positioning rather than athleticism. He was also a reliable passer, as the Hawkeyes often ran their sets relying on White’s facilitation out of the high post. He can be a good do-it-all role player in this league as he can be an above average contributor on the boards and has an improving jump shot with NBA range. While shooting 52% from the field in his senior year, the springy forward’s free throw percentage leaped to 81% and spiked in his 3-Point percentage from 25.8% to 36%.
However at , he is currently much too weak to play the forward position at the elite level. As long as he maintains his current body type, he will get bullied in the paint, which was exposed in college when matched up with a physical specimen. On the other side of the court, scouts highly doubt whether his poor defense has potential to improve to average at the NBA level, which stems from his awkward tweener forward position. There won’t be any ideal matchups for him at this level.
It will be a while before he is ready to efficiently contribute to an NBA team. The Wizards have recognized this and are actively looking to stash White with a European team to give another couple of years to develop further. White, who looks to join John Wall and company at some point down the road, is still young and will benefit greatly from Washington’s faith in him.
Graphic via espn