Kris Wilkes returned to UCLA after withdrawing from the 2018 NBA Draft. In his sophomore year, he averaged 17.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.7 APG, and 1.9 TOPG on shooting splits of 43/34/67. Here is his full scouting report:
Name: Kris Wilkes
Height/Weight: 6’8/ 209
Wingspan/ standing reach: 6’11/ 8’7
Hand size: 9.5
College/ country: UCLA
Tools: Athleticism, frame
- Good shooter from a standstill
- Good frame
- Above average athlete
- Moves well laterally
- Excellent in transition
- Feel for the game is weak- often has poor shot selection
- Somewhat awkward shooting mechanics and inconsistency
Overall: Kris Wilkes is one of the most enigmatic players in the draft. His best moments came from quick offense, which gives hope to NBA teams that he can quickly adjust to the NBA tempo. Wilkes has an ideal frame for a wing combined with great open floor athleticism. However, he needs to learn to use his athleticism in the half court better in order to reach his full upside. Playing at a significantly faster pace should help him to use his athleticism in game more often. The two areas that Wilkes needs to improve upon are: understanding of the game and jump shooting. While Wilkes was decent as a standstill shooter, his shooting off the dribble and shooting mechanics must become more consistent. Against hard closeouts, he has a problem that plagued Jaren Jackson Jr at Michigan State, where his legs spread wide against hard contests. That is a discouraging habit that whichever team drafts him will have to work on.
Wilkes’ upside lies in athleticism, frame, and leaving a dysfunctional UCLA program to a faster paced NBA.
NBA Comparison: Stanley Johnson
Projected draft range: 40- undrafted
Fit with Mavericks: Wilkes would be an awkward fit as a Maverick due to his decision making, feel for the game, and poor jump shooting. While I do argue that the UCLA team held him back, I don’t believe the Mavericks are the right team to take a chance on Wilkes. Wilkes is a project that doesn’t have an immediate fit, and would struggle to earn playing time in the near future. Despite the need for a wing, the Mavs must be strategic in who they target. Wilkes could be a good defender, but I worry about the chances of him hitting his upside and developing in Dallas. The Mavs haven’t had a successful track record of developing players with natural talent, yet little NBA-ready skill, which worries me about Wilkes’ chances in Dallas. At best, he could be a two-way player if he is willing to spend a majority of the season in the G-League. A team that plans to focus on player development with a need at wing would be better suited to take a chance on Wilkes in the 2nd round or in undrafted free agency. Three realistic teams to watch in pursuit of Wilkes include: Charlotte, Washington, and New Orleans. Washington would have to either buy a pick or sign Wilkes as an undrafted free agent to acquire him.