2020 NBA Draft Profile: Cassius Winston
6’1 | PG | 22.2 | Michigan State | SR
Cassius Winston is a crafty lead guard who played the best basketball of his career over the last few months of his senior season and ranks as arguably the most battle tested player in the 2020 NBA Draft. Widely regarded as one of the top-35 prospects in the high school class of 2016, Winston shined at the Jordan Brand Classic before carving out a rotation role off the bench for Head Coach Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans as a true freshman. Emerging as a starter as a sophomore but breaking out in a major way as a junior when he averaged 18.8 points and 7.5 assists per game to earn Consensus All-American 2nd Team honors, Winston lead the Spartans once again as a senior, albeit surrounded by a lot of new contributors. Averaging 18.6 points and 5.9 assists per game, Winston fought through significant adversity early, but was tremendous down the stretch earning Consensus All-American 2nd Team honors once again.
- Standing 6’1 with a 200-pound frame and a 6’5 wingspan, Winston has decent size for a point guard to go along with a knack for playing at different speeds and the craftiness to regularly make something out of nothing off the dribble.
- A savvy, competitive player, Winston has carried the Spartans for long stretches of the last two seasons with his ability to create for others, put pressure on the defense with his advanced floor game, and run hot from beyond the arc. An unselfish, talented floor general, few guards in recent memory have created as much offense for themselves and others with deception, footwork, and vision as the senior. He regularly picked opposing defenses apart as an upperclassman.
- Holding his own defensively more consistently than he did as a junior, Winston has good instincts and considerable big-game experience, but gives up quickness in some matchups.
- Playing a crucial role for the Spartans, Winston had the ball in his hands constantly as the engine behind much of what his team was able to accomplish this season. Creating for himself and others extensively in the pick and roll, looking to push the ball aggressively, and relishing opportunities to slide off the ball, he established himself as one of the country’s premier lead guards.
- Spending nearly two-thirds of the possessions he was involved in operating out of ball screens, Winston scored a tremendous 0.91 points per pick and roll possession [84th percentile] while breaking Mateen Cleaves’ Big Ten assist record this season. An excellent pull-up jump shooter with soft touch on his floater and a knack for weaving his way to the rim and putting defenders in jail, he is also a creative passer with great vision.
- Looking to push the pace, Winston had some bouts of inconsistency in the open floor. Scoring 0.86 points per transition possession [25th percentile] he drilled some deep pull-up jumpers with no hesitation but was more effective as a passer than a finisher.
- In the half court, Winston scored a third of his points on set shots despite how much time he spent operating with the ball in his hands. Scoring 1.40 points per catch and shoot jump shot in the half court [97th percentile], he was also the target of some of the actions the Spartans ran off the ball showing impressive consistency as a shooter on the move and deep range.
- More crafty than explosive as a finisher, Winston had some impressive moments faking interior defenders out of position to score this season, but averaged 1.06 points per shot around the rim in the half court [40th percentile] as his creativity helps him in some spots more than others.
|Pick & Roll||Transition|
|Spot Up||Off Screen|
- Ranked 2nd in the Big Ten in off screen scoring (2.4 ppg)
- Ranked 3rd in the Big Ten in pick and roll scoring (5.0 ppg)
- Ranked 3rd in the Big Ten in hand off scoring (1,2 ppg)
- Ranked 4th in the Big Ten in points created by passes out of the pick and roll (8.4 ppg)
- Ranked 5th in the Big Ten in transition scoring (3.8 ppg)
- Ranked 5th in the Big Ten in isolation scoring (1.8 ppg)
- Possessing good length and instincts, Winston’s experience shows defensively. Able to make some heady plays getting in the passing lanes and rotating to close out shooters, he held his own quite consistently as a senior.
- At a quickness disadvantage in some matchups, Winston has managed those instances well to this point in his career.