Men's Basketball

NBA Draft: The case against picking Andrew White

Jacob Greenfeld | Staff Photographer

Andrew White set Syracuse's record for single-season 3-pointers this year, but what he did otherwise may not be enough to convince an NBA team to gamble at the 2017 draft.

UPDATED: June 20, 2017 at 10:58 a.m.

The case against drafting Andrew White starts with his age, 24, and ends with question marks on scouting reports surrounding his defense and ability to score after defenders run him off the 3-point line.

But the sweet-shooting swingman out of Syracuse hopes his marksmanship from the arc sways a team to pick him in the NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Most projections have White, who this year set the single-season record for 3-pointers at Syracuse (112), going in the late-second round. This spring, White trained with Tyler Relph of Dr1ven Training every day he was in Dallas for an hour to an hour-and-a-half.

The Daily Orange builds a case here against NBA teams drafting White:

Age

White transferred twice, sat out a year and is now one of the oldest prospects available in the NBA Draft. Fair or not, the fact that he’s 24 years old hurts his draft stock because teams see a shorter timeframe to develop a player like White.

“He’s still underdeveloped at age 24,” Kevin O’Connor wrote on The Ringer. “So teams better be certain he’s willing to stick around in the G-League.”

Question marks off the 3-point line

When teams inevitably counter White’s perimeter game by not sagging off him as much or playing more physical, White has shown inconsistency diversifying his attack.

While White excelled pulling up after driving left or right — he finished in the 81st percentile in pull-up jump-shooting percentage last season, according to DraftExpress.com — the main worry is that White may not have done that enough to fully convince NBA teams those skills will translate quickly at the next level.

Only about a third of White’s shot attempts last season were 2s and he endured three shooting slumps of varying severity last season when facing added defensive attention. Other than exploding for 40 points in Syracuse’s second Georgia Tech matchup (up from 17 in the two team’s first contest), White scored the same or fewer points in four other second games against ACC teams.

“We play him as if he has no dribble,” Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said in late February, after White scored a conference-play-worst seven points in his second game against UofL. “We get up, we sit on his right hand. And that’s what probably a lot of teams are doing to him right now.”

Relph and White have worked on handling the ball and making White comfortable dribbling side to side quickly, so that once White up-fakes, he’ll have the handles to dribble once or twice to a spot and pull up.

“It’s giving him a couple moves and go-tos off the bounce,” Relph said. “It’s using his shot as his thing to get him in the lane and floaters or pull ups.”

But an NBA franchise could see a significant risk in affording White time to further develop a game when run off the arc.

‘Overall feel’

White’s career 0.5 assist-to-turnover ratio (63 to 127) and 5.4 assist percentage shows, to Julian Applebome of DraftExpress, that his “overall feel for the game is a question mark.”

That criticism has been echoed by multiple mock draft experts and it extends beyond his court vision or passing. The Ringer called White’s passing “subpar” and said he struggled to deliver the ball with accuracy. Furthermore, White scouting reports have jabbed at his reliance on spot-up shooting, lack of creating as a playmaker and year removed from playing man-to-man defense.

While White’s strength and 6-foot-7, 210-pound frame lends itself to defending NBA shooting guards or small forwards, he hasn’t played man-to-man regularly since he left Nebraska.

“If White can show consistency from NBA range, think the game at a higher level and prove he can impact the game as a perimeter defender during the pre-draft process,” Applebome wrote, “he might have a chance.”

That could be too big a jump for some NBA teams to take a chance on.

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, the start time for the NBA Draft was misstated. The draft begins at 7 p.m. EST. The Daily Orange regrets this error.

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