With Louisville being surrounded by scandal in 2017-18, Louisville was put in a tricky situation for both the team and its players. Raymond Spalding was the best NBA prospect on the roster, along with Deng Adel. Spalding played 27.7 minutes per game. His per 40 stats were as follows:
17.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 2.2 SPG, 2.5 BPG, and just 2.4 TOPG on shooting splits of 54/26/64.
Here is the full scouting report on Spalding:
College/ country: Louisville
- Long arms
- Excellent shot blocker
- Excels in the P&R
- Decent form and range to free throw line
- Has improved as a ball handler
- Able to defend guards on the perimeter
- Plus athlete. Runs the floor well and plays above the rim
- Sometimes goes for flashy play instead of simple play (one handed plays/flashy passes/gambling in passing lanes)
- Somewhat poor instincts on defense. Waits for defender to come to him and uses hands too much too often
- Inconsistent defensively- sometimes doesn’t get in stance
- Needs to add strength
- Free throw mechanics need improvement
Ray Spalding is still raw overall and may not contribute right away. He has all the tools for a modern PF, but his decision making comes and goes. He needs to get stronger and work on slowing the game down. He won’t be an immediate impact player, but with the right staff, he could thrive as a productive bench player. The biggest strength of Spalding is that he’s improved as a ball handler and a shooter, which bodes well for him in the NBA. He has potential to be a solid perimeter defender for a PF, but his decision making limits his impact on the perimeter.
NBA Comparison: Brandan Wright
Projected draft range: 28-40
Fit with Mavericks:
Spalding would add to an already currently deep crop of power forwards on the Mavericks roster. Spalding fills the athleticism need that the Mavericks have improved upon in the 2017-18 season. He’s also a good rebounder, so depending on who the Mavericks take with their first pick, Spalding could be a great complimentary piece. If Spalding hits his ceiling, he could be an athletic P&R guy similar to Brandan Wright. While I doubt Spalding could ever match Wright’s efficiency, he could be close in terms of effectiveness off the bench. With more coaching on ball handling and shooting, areas that Spalding has improved in over the last year, Spalding could become a hidden gem.
Two scenarios that could determine if Spalding is taken by Dallas are as follows:
- Marvin Bagley is taken by the Mavericks. If this happens, Spalding’s skillset is too similar and overlapping, thus making Spalding an unlikely pick.
- The Mavericks take one of Jaren Jackson Jr/Mo Bamba/ Luka Doncic (if they are lucky). Under this circumstance, Raymond Spalding would be a solid fit. He could compliment whichever player is selected due to his upside on both ends of the floor. If the Mavericks take Spalding in this situation, it would allow for a year of focusing on development for Spalding while the marquee rookie plays significant minutes early on.
Spalding has all the raw tools and P&R skill to thrive in the NBA. Having Rick Carlisle maximize those skills would go a long way for both sides. While Spalding has some poor defensive tendencies and still isn’t a finished product as a junior, the gamble on the upside is worth the 34th pick in the draft. Taking Spalding would be a long term move and should barely impact the current roster construction.