2020 NBA Draft Profile: Nico Mannion
6’3 | PG | 19.1 | Arizona | FR
Nico Mannion is a talented all-around guard whose vision, promising shot-making ability, and strong feel for the game allowed him to make an instant impact in the Pac-12 at Arizona. A second-generation pro, Nico’s father, Pace, was the 43rd overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft and played 6 seasons in the NBA before spending nearly a decade in Italy, where his son was born. Gaining a following very early in his career, Mannion returned to his roots averaging 19.9 points and 4 assists per game for Italy at the 2017 FIBA U16 European Championship. Making his senior national team debut in July of the following year, the Siena native carried that momentum into appearances at the McDonald’s All-American game and Nike Hoop Summit following his senior year at Pinnacle High School (AZ). Widely regarded as one of the top-10 prospects in the high school class of 2019 after reclassifying from 2020, Mannion faced steep expectations at Arizona. Emerging as a focal point for Sean Miller’s Wildcats, Mannion averaged 14 points and 5.3 assists per game to earn All-Pac-12 2nd Team honors and put his team in position to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.
- Standing 6’3 with a developed 190-pound frame that has come a long way in recent years and a 6’2.5 wingspan, Mannion has average size for a point guard to go along with good leaping ability and quickness.
- An instinctual playmaker who operated extensively out of the pick and roll as a freshman, Mannion makes shots from all three levels, has excellent footwork, delivers some creative passes on the move, and limits his mistakes off the dribble. Scoring more easily some nights than others, he was aggressive pushing tempo, but proved most reliable taking advantage of opportunities off the ball in part because Arizona faced as much zone as nearly any team in the country.
- A competitive defender, Mannion was generally solid last season doing a nice job reeling in his desire to be aggressive in the passing lanes. He gave up very few open shots but was not always able to effect shooters.
- Serving as the primary shot creator for the Wildcats, Mannion not only operated extensively out of ball screen actions in the half court but was also tasked with setting the pace as Arizona looked to play fast on the offensive end. A polished ball handler who changes speeds and creates separation in a variety of ways, Mannion is a skilled guard who can make shots with range, toss in floaters, and find the open man impressively on the move.
- Getting 40% of his own possessions from pick and rolls or isolations, Mannion created more points with his passes out of those situations than he scored. Even so, he scored 0.81 points per pick and roll possession [67th percentile] doing a nice job using his versatility as a shot maker to take what the defense gave him off the dribble.
- Finding mixed results with his pull-up over the course of the season, Mannion scored 0.78 points per dribble jump shot in the half court [54th percentile], but has been a more reliable threat historically and scored a more representative 1.08 points per catch and shoot jump shot in the half court [69th percentile]. Shooting the ball with sound mechanics both off the catch and on the move, Mannion had several extended stretches where he shot up to his potential over the course of the year. Able to get to his jump shot in a variety of ways, his ability to dial in his pull-up figures to be key to his efficiency at the next level.
- Flashing an advanced floor game, Mannion converted in floaters with deft touch, made some tremendous drop passes probing the lane, and scored 1.00 points per shot around the rim in the half court [29th percentile]. He showed the ability to play above the rim in space but was still acclimating to the length and physicality of the college game as a finisher. That was also true in transition where he was assertive setting tempo but did much of his best work creating for others.
|Pick & Roll||Transition|
|Spot Up||Off Screen|
- Showing good anticipation defensively, Mannion held his own for stretches last season. Making an effort to close out and stay engaged off the ball, he will nonetheless need to learn to get to spots earlier to make up for his lack of length.
- Hunting rebounds to create opportunities to push the pace, Mannion showed some toughness in spurts, but has room to get stronger to better challenge opposing guards on the ball.