NBA Draft 2020 Profile: Isaiah Stewart’s old school game could boost Nuggets

by Alex Labidou
Nuggets.com Staff Writer
@LabidouA

With the NBA Draft a little less than a week out, Nuggets.com takes a look at 10 prospects who have been heavily-linked to the team through various mock drafts.

Who says low-post scoring is dead?

Isaiah Stewart was a dominant force in his sole season at Washington in the low blocks, earning All-first-team Pac-12 honors as a result. The key is whether or not his game can translate into the modern NBA? With the Huskies, he was able to thrive at center, scoring 1.10 points per post possession. But at 6-foot-9, NBA teams will likely view him as a power forward. However, the Nuggets could be a potentially great fit for Stewart based on their own needs.

The team has several free agents in the frontcourt heading into the offseason, including Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee. If anyone of those players departs, it opens a door for a player such as Stewart to serve as an understudy and fine-tune his game to add more range. Even if all those players stay, the Nuggets have prided themselves on their depth and Stewart would be a great addition.

 

Here is more about Stewart:

Age: 20
School:  Washington
Grade: Freshman
Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-9
Weight: 250 pounds

 

2019-20 Stats: 

PPG: 17.0

RPG: 8.8

BPG: 2.1

FG: 57.0

3PT: 25.0

NBA Comparison: Antonio Davis/Young Al Horford

PROFILE: Stewart should be able to come into the NBA and make an immediate impact in the low-post, it’s the other areas of the court that he will need to improve to cement a place in the league. He has shown the ability to hit some long-range shots but that isn’t his comfort zone. He also struggles to defend in the midrange and when a defender isn’t directly in front of him.

Still, with an impressive 7-foot-4 wingspan, he has the length to become a strong defender in the NBA and has already proven to be an effective shot blocker. At just 20 years old, there is still plenty of time to improve those other areas of his game. When Al Horford first entered the league, there were similar concerns about his range and the center worked on it and eventually became a five-time All-Star and someone who has hit at a respectable 36.6 percent of his attempts from downtown. The potential is there.

What they’re saying:

Positives: 

“Strength and energy level allow for him to dominate on the glass … Has the ability to take mid-range jumpers out of the post upon entry … Dominated all season long in the post with jump ball entry passes and pinning his defenders for easy layups … Has a solid shooting motion, just needs to gain confidence over time.”

-  NBADraft.net  

Negatives:

He allowed 0.825 points per post up possession [49th percentile] but did a better job contesting shots inside one-on-one than those marks indicate.

Not especially agile guarding away from the rim, Stewart was able to play to his strengths more often than not in Washington’s zone.

- Synergy, NBA.com 

Here are highlights from Stewart in Washington's win over USD

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