A top 20 recruit and FIBA U16 member in 2019 prior to injuries, AJ Griffin had a slow start to his freshman season at Duke, while progressively getting better. On the year, Griffin averaged 10.4 PPG, 4 RPG, 1 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.6 BPG, and 0.6 TOPG on shooting splits of 49/45/79. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: AJ Griffin
Wingspan/ standing reach: 7’0; N/A
Hand size: N/A
Pre-Draft team: Duke
Tools: NBA ready body, shooting
- Explosive athlete
- Quick first step
- High defensive upside if health returns
- Excellent defensive recovery ability
- NBA ready body with long arms
- Good passer on the move
- Can attack closeouts and handle the ball on quick drives
- Decently tight handle with room to grow
- Comfortable with both hands
- Doesn’t turn the ball over much; had more games without a turnover than with one
- Injury history that limited his start to the season
- Needs to speed up jumper, especially release
- Awkward wide base on jumper
- Defense is behind the curve, largely due to injuries
- Must get more comfortable finishing with his left hand
- Can be a straight line driver exclusively at times
AJ Griffin’s selling points come out of spot-up situations, whether it be catch & shoot or catch & drive. Griffin was an elite shooter this season, shooting 47% from 3 before the NCAA tournament. With a wide base, there may be some questions about his shot translating, but the stats suggest there should be a clean translation up to the NBA. Griffin has shown some ability to create his own perimeter shot with nice dribble moves, but will need to do so more consistently. As a slasher, Griffin lacks much wiggle or change of direction, being a nearly pure straight-line driver towards the basket. In order to unlock his full offensive upside, Griffin will have to become a better self-creator from the top of the key as an on-ball initiator.
Defensively, AJ Griffin has the tools to be a good defender: strength, athleticism, and size/length. However, Griffin’s injury still appears to be lingering over that end of the floor for him, preventing strong recovery ability, and getting beat off both strong first steps and against extensions on layups. He also can lack discipline at times, biting for fakes too often. While these are flags for what Griffin brings in his early career, being a coach’s son and having a general strong feel for the game gives reason for optimism on the defensive side of the floor.
Similar to: Khris Middleton, Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre
Projected draft range: 4-12
Expected role: Sharpshooting wing that can attack closeouts and create offense off spot-up opportunities.
Unplayable if: Injury history keeps him off the floor and limits his game from translating. Additionally, if he becomes a liability defensively with only average shooting, his upside is significantly reduced.
Exceeds expectations if: Elite shooting ability translates, and as he gets healthier, his defense progresses towards the tools he has to use on that end, while developing as a creator.