10 Things to Know about Rashad Vaughn

For the first time since they picked Collis Jones in 1971, the Bucks have drafted a player at #17 overall in the draft. Here are some other things to know.

1. Precisely zero of the 50 mock drafts that I surveyed over the past few weeks predicted Rashad Vaughn to the Bucks at #17.

So even more than usual, we need a quick catch-up. Let us hop to it.

2. He was the second youngest player in the draft.

Vaughn was born in 1996. Apparently that type of thing now makes you 18 (or 19) years old. He played just one season at shooting guard for UNLV, and is young for his class. He was four years old when the Bucks went to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001. He is now the youngest player on the Bucks.

3. He was a McDonald’s All-American and consensus top 20 recruit coming out of high school.

While not a household name during the college basketball season to the casual fan, or even in the early summer leading up to the draft among draft enthusiasts, Vaughn certainly did not come out of nowhere. He played in both the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic during his final year of high school. And based on the recruiting rankings noted in his Draft Express profile (which you should probably read/watch in its entirety), he was a top 20 prospect coming out of high school according to ESPN, Scout, and Rivals… and was “labeled as one of the best prospects in high school basketball from a very early age.” If you like pedigree, you could like Vaughn.

4. He is roughly the same height and weight as Bradley Beal was coming out of college.

Just to give you an idea of Vaughn’s stature (which is solid and pretty average for a two guard in the NBA). At the combine, Vaughn measured 6-5 (in shoes) and 199 pounds, with a 6-7 wingspan. Back in 2012, Beal, a pure two guard, measured 6-4.75 and 202 pounds, with a 6-8 wingspan. Beal was also a couple years older. Coincidentally, Vaughn also told the media after he was picked that he has watched a lot of Beal.

5. He is projected to play shooting guard (as opposed to point guard and shooting guard).

Positionless basketball is a trendy phrase of late, particularly in light of the Finals, when the Warriors benched old friend Andrew Bogut in the decisive games to close out the series. And the Bucks have a few prominent players (namely Giannis Antetokounmpo) who can fill in at different positions, both offensively, and as John Hammond recently stressed to me, even more importantly, defensively. Vaughn, by most indications is a straight shooting guard. Of course, at just 18 years old, he could certainly develop into a combo guard, and he has always had the ball in his hands a lot, but most projections slot him clearly at the two for now.

6. He only played 23 games in college for UNLV.

We are working with a pretty small college sample size with Vaughn, who played 23 games for UNLV before missing the rest of the season with a knee injury. But there are no lingering concerns about his knee following a strong series of pre-draft workouts, and he still managed to win Freshman of the Year honors in the Mountain West despite his abbreviated season.

7. He had a big (though very imperfect) game in an upset win over Arizona.

‘Tis the season to watch Draft Express videos, like this one, where they go into detail about his game against the toughest opponent of his life (so far, and not for long). Vaughn put up 21 points, five rebounds, and three assists in the win over the Wildcats (a championship contender that came up just a bit short, as Wisconsin fans may recall). He only turned the ball over twice, but it took him 21 shots (9-21 from the field) to get the 21 points, as Arizona keyed on Vaughn defensively (noted defensive specialist and fellow first round draft pick Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who spent some time on Vaughn, fouled out of the game). Drawing too much from one game is a very bad idea, and his role will change vastly in the NBA, but if you are going to watch college highlights, this one is worthwhile.

8. He is (and always has been) a scorer.

Vaughn made his name in high school foremost as a shot-maker and scorer. More of the same at UNLV, where he was the second-leading freshman scorer in the country. As noted by Draft Express, he “averaged over 22 points per-40 minutes at the age of 18, which is something only 29 players in the last 15 years of college basketball can boast.” Though he scored slightly more points per minute as a freshman than Frank Kaminsky did as a senior, Vaughn’s shooting efficiency numbers do not stack up so favorably. But for an 18 year-old with a high usage, that 38.4 percent mark on threes is encouraging, and you have to hope that specializing in his role (rather than being the star of the team) in the NBA will bring up his efficiency.

9. He has an aesthetically-pleasing jumper.

Some things just look nice (see: video below).

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10. He has lots of room (and time) for improvement.

Vaughn is a naturally gifted basketball player (almost no awkwardness in his game, by the first look) who has been near the top of his age class for most of life. We are not talking about a project here. But he might be the second-youngest player in the NBA next season, so even if this works, it will take time. In particular, he must improve his shot selection, passing, and defense (these are major things). Based on the way players played for Jason Kidd last season though, that feels possible.

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