2019 NBA Draft Profile: Nassir Little
Nassir Little is a long, athletic forward who flashed intriguing potential in spurts coming off the bench for North Carolina this season. Long considered one of the top prospects in the high school class of 2018, Little had a stellar senior season leading Orlando Christian Prep to a state championship before earning Most Valuable Player honors at both the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic standing out among a group of players that included over a half dozen players likely to be selected in the 2019 NBA Draft. The consensus top-5 recruit carved out a bench role on Roy Williams’s senior-laden North Carolina team as a freshman, finishing the season averaging 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while putting together several impressive performances - providing a glimpse into the player he could grow into down the road.
- Possesses an impressive blend of size, length, and athleticism that give him the potential to play both forward spots at the next level. Measured standing 6’6 with a 7’1.25 wingspan and a 224-pound frame at the NBA Draft Combine. Very good athlete with prototypical speed and explosiveness.
- Was the first player off the bench for North Carolina many nights this season having his biggest impact contributing with his athleticism in the Tar Heels’ faced-paced offense. Did a little bit of everything in the half court playing both forward positions and flashing some potential as a jump shooter. Proved to be an x-factor when he could find ways to make plays inside with his athleticism and energy.
- Used his athleticism well in the open floor last season. 25% of his possessions came in Transition where he scored 1.143 points per Transition possession [71st percentile], as his speed and leaping ability off of two-feet shined at times last season. Had some impressive moments taking the ball coast-to-coast after getting in the passing lanes, but did the majority of his scoring filling lanes on the wings.
- Energy translated in spurts in the half court. Got half of his shots in finishing situations inside, generating opportunities with his effort on the offensive glass and attacking the rim off the dribble in one-on-one situations. Has a strong first step and uses rangy strides to make straight-line drives to the rim. Scored 1.160 points per shot around the rim in the half court [58th percentile]. Plays above the rim when he has any space to gather inside and flashes some touch on short range floaters, but is still learning how to pick and choose his spots when defenders beat him to scoring angles.
- Flashes upside as a jump shooter, but lacks consistency under duress. Scored 0.774 points per catch and shoot jump shot [20th percentile], but made open shots at a well above average rate looking very capable when given time and space.
- Flashes some ability to create separation with step backs, but is still evolving as a shot maker and decision maker in the half court away from the rim.
- Has great potential defensively as a versatile, inside-outside presence on the defensive end. Has the length and strength to play power forward for spurts and the foot speed to defend wings on the perimeter.
- Allowed only 0.545 points per Isolation possession [82nd percentile] faring well on the ball at the point of attack. Still maturing as an interior defender against more polished big men but makes some athletic plays blocking shots and pursuing rebounds. Has a lot of room to grow in terms of consistency—especially off the ball, but had some nice moments this season when he was dialed in.