Draft Profile: Shabazz Napier

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Combine Measurements


Why You Might Know Him

Shabazz Napier became a national celebrity this season as he pulled off his own version of Kemba Walker magic. The senior point guard put the UConn Huskies on his back and carried them all the way to a national championship as a seventh seed. Napier was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after averaging 21.2 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game and 4.5 assists per game.

Scouting Report

What Napier lacks in size, he makes up with heart. This kid is a fighter and gives it all every second he’s on the floor. He’s a leader, he has an incredible will, and he has the ‘it’ factor. Napier is a big-shot kind of guy. If the game is on the line, you want the ball in his hand. That has a lot to do with the fact that he’s an excellent isolation player. He has a killer crossover and is incredibly shifty. He can make plays both for himself and for his teammates off of the dribble. Napier has a ton of experience running the pick-and-roll, as that was by far the most common play he ran at UConn. He has very good patience coming off of screens. He took a ton of shots in these situations as a senior, but that’s because his role called for such. He can and will pass the ball well at the NBA level when his role changes. Napier is as confident a kid as they come. Usually that’s a good thing, but at times it can get him in trouble. He believes he can make every play but he’s been known to force both shots and passes. That confidence, coupled with a short stature, reminds me a little bit of Phil Pressey. When you look at Napier’s offensive game, you have to take the good with the bad. He’ll make some mistakes, but the good far outweighs the bad. Defensively, Napier is a menace. The kid has some of the quickest hands I’ve ever seen. It’s incredible to see how many times he gets his hand on the ball without committing a foul. Continuing that trend will be difficult in the NBA once Napier begins to face faster, stronger guards, but those hands should continue to bring him success. Napier also has very good recovery speed and gets over screens well. He also seems to have great lower body strength for his size. If Napier was 6-foot-3 instead of 5-foot-11 (without shoes), we’d almost certainly be hearing his name mentioned as a lottery pick. That’s how good his intangibles are.


Napier is about as local to Boston as it gets when it comes to NBA players, as he was born just outside of the city on July 14, 1991 in Roxbury, Mass. He grew up in Roxbury and eventually made his way to Charlestown High School in Charlestown, Mass. That’s where he played his first two years of high school ball. He then transferred to Lawrence Academy in Groton, Mass., where he finished out his high school career. His team won the New England Prep Class C title during his junior season and Napier was named the MVP of the tournament. The guard also played for the Metro Boston AAU team. Napier was not a highly-touted recruit coming out of prep school. In fact, only one major program recruited him. Luckily for both sides, that program was nearby UConn, where Napier would sign on to play on April 27, 2010. Napier was a reserve on the 2011 Huskies national championship team before gaining a larger role over his final three seasons. He averaged at least 35 minutes per game in each of those three seasons and scored 17.1 PPG as a junior and 18.0 PPG as a senior. Napier almost single-handedly pushed UConn to the national title with a phenomenal tournament this year. He was named Most Outstanding Player in the tournament and also earned Consensus first team All-American honors.