2022 NBA Draft Profile



Round 120
Drafted By:San Antonio Spurs
6-5 / 195 lbs
Ohio State
United States
Draft 2022

Get to Know Malaki Branham

Ohio State's Malaki Branham could hear his name called in the lottery this year and Andy Katz caught up with Branham to discuss who he patterns his game after and what he’s like on the floor.

Prospect Overview

Fluid three-level scorer with prototypical size for a shooting guard who kept getting better as his freshman season wore on but never seemed overwhelmed by his rapidly expanding role.

About Malaki Branham

Malaki Branham is a poised scoring guard with budding ability as a threat from all three levels who showed significant improvement over the course of his freshman year at Ohio State.  Widely regarded as one of the top-35 prospects in the high school class of 2021 following his senior season at St. Vincent-St.Mary High School (OH), the Columbus native opted to stay close to home and join a veteran Buckeye roster. 

Starting all but the season opener, the 19-year-old guard saw steady action throughout the season under Head Coach Chris Holtmann, but saw his role grow as the year wore on.  Responding with a string of increasingly productive, efficient performances across a grueling slate of games to close Big Ten play, Branham finished the year averaging 13.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2 assists over 29.6 minutes per game and 20.2 points per game over his last 10 appearances to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors. 

• Measured standing 6’5.5 in shoes with a 6’10 wingspan and a 195-pound frame at the 2022 NBA Draft Combine, Branham has nice size for a shooting guard but still has room to continue to get stronger as his frame matures.  Though he will play above the rim in space, he is more smooth than especially explosive with the ball.

Making shots consistently from all three levels, Branham got more plays called for him to create his own shot as the year wore on highlighting his consistency in midrange spots.  A capable set shooter who can rise into his pull-up on a dime or use his long strides to get the rim, he scored from all over the floor as a freshman showing unwavering confidence when looking for his own shot.  Making the simple play as a passer and taking what defenses gave him at the rim, Branham has a strong framework of tools to work with offensively and even if he has room to become a more regular threat from beyond the arc and become a more polished ball handler, his trajectory as a freshman was very encouraging. While his role spiked down the stretch against a tough conference slate, his efficiency rose as the year went on too as he never seemed rattled by the moment or the highs and lows of his freshman campaign.

• Competing steadily on the defensive end but holding his own more consistently as the year wore on, Branham has good length and solid quickness but some natural room to improve as he gains experience and gets stronger as well.

Advanced Stats

• Playing primarily off the ball early in the year but getting more plays called for him and opportunities to create his own shot as the year wore on.  Went from being a complementary scorer and x-factor to effectively the Buckeyes’ first-option by the end of the year.

• Getting shots up in a variety of ways, Branham’s shots were split between catch and shoot jumpers, pull-ups, and finishing opportunities.  Scoring 0.89 points per dribble jump shot [71st percentile], and 0.95 points per floater [79th percentile], his touch and fluidity inside the arc stood out all season and allowed him to rely more on his ability to make reads rather than break down opposing defenders off the dribble.   

• Scoring 1.26 points per catch and shoot jump shot in the half court [89th percentile], Branham was very opportunistic off the ball, but still has room to become a more prolific three-point shooter.  He never shied away from open shots and made clear strides with his jumper mid-season, but only 40% of his jump shots came from beyond the arc last season.  

• Taking what opposing defenders gave him around the rim, he scored 1.23 points per shot around the rim [70th percentile] as his long strides, length, and ability to finish in space helped him capitalize on defenders playing him for his pull-up jumper.  He did a better job seeking out contact as the year wore on adjusting to the physicality of the college game.

• Looking to score assertively on a team that needed his production, Branham has some natural room to grow as a passer and ball-handler as his role evolves at the next level.

Defensive Analysis

• Making an effort on the defensive end, Branham had some positive moments guarding one-on-one and bothering shooters with his length, but was still learning how to be in the right spots consistently as his freshman season wore on.

• His ability to get stronger to deal with more physical swingmen is a point of interest as he makes the leap to the next level.

— Profile by Synergy Sports