2020 NBA Draft Profile: Nick Richards
7’0 | C | 20.6 | Kentucky | JR
Nick Richards is a physical presence at the center position who emerged as one of the most improved players in all of college basketball as a junior at Kentucky. Born in Jamaica, Richards emerged as a prospect early in his career capping his senior year at The Patrick School (NJ) with appearances at the McDonald’s All-American Game, Jordan Brand Classic, and Nike Hoop Summit. Widely regarded as one of the top-20 prospects in the high school class of 2017, Richards was a key piece of a recruiting class that also featured Kevin Knox, PJ Washington, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Starting much of his freshman season under Head Coach John Calipari, he spent his sophomore season coming off the bench averaging 4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Turning the corner as a junior, Richards averaged 14 points and 7.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game to earn All-SEC 1st Team honors as he emerged as a difference maker on both ends.
- Possessing dimensions like few players in the NBA, Richards has elite size at 7’0.5 with a strong 247-pound frame and a 7’5 wingspan to go along with good explosiveness and mobility.
- Competing with dramatically improved confidence and consistency, Richards solidified himself as a lob threat, impactful rebounder, and even a serviceable back to the basket weapon as a junior. Doing much of his scoring diving to the rim, he did a far better job using his size than he did during the first two years of his career. Stilling fighting through some ups and downs, his performance in SEC play was encouraging.
- Doing a dramatically better job staying out of foul trouble some nights than others, Richards is still figuring out how to maximize his tools defensively, but nonetheless made an impact as a rim protector and showed impressive mobility sliding his feet on the perimeter for his size.
- A massive target who moves well and plays above the rim effortlessly, Richards shot a gaudy percentage from the field this season and finished among the most prolific dunkers in college basketball. With most of his touches coming on catch and finish opportunities, he also flashed some budding ability to score outside of the paint tossing in several hook shots and jumpers.
- Ranking among the top finishers in the country this season, Richards forced some shots up from difficult angles and has room to improve his left hand, but scored 1.64 points per shot around the rim in the half court [99th percentile]. He is an easy target for lobs and emerged as a prolific scorer in the restricted area when he was being aggressive.
- Getting nearly a third of his post touches in the post, Richards found some success making basic moves decisively, but was more aggressive looking to use his size in some spots than others as his feel remains a work in progress. Scoring 0.86 points per post up possession [60th percentile], he lacks a degree of polish and is heavily reliant on his right hand, but would sporadically find the touch on his hook shot, deliver passes back out to the perimeter, and look far more solid for some stretches than others.
- The same is generally true of his jump shot as he scored 0.91 points per catch and shoot jump shot in the half court [39th percentile] surprising defenders with his relatively sound mechanics in midrange spots, but lacking a degree of consistency with his shot prep. Even if he is still early in his development as a shooter and decision-maker away from the paint, his touch at the foul line is a plus for a player his size.
|Put Back||Roll Man|
- Ranked 1st in the Big XII in post up scoring (6.3 ppg)
- Ranked 3rd in the Big XII in put back scoring (2.2 ppg)
- With all the tools to be a difference maker inside, Richards made some strides on the defensive end as a junior. He is still very aggressive chasing blocks but showed more timing and ability to use verticality this season. Foul trouble remains an issue for him, but not nearly to the extent it was in years past.
- Allowing 0.59 points per post up possession [87th percentile] and 0.47 points per isolation possession [85th percentile], some of his most impressive moments came as an individual defender where his size is a constant factor and he shows the unique ability to get low and move his feet for a true 7-footer. His instincts and fundamentals remain a work in progress, but he has some unique building blocks—even among players that share his massive dimensions.