A member of the PAC-12 All-Freshman team, Amari Bailey had a unique role on a prominent UCLA team. As a top 10 recruit and one-and-done freshman, Bailey averaged 11.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG, and 2.4 TOPG on splits of 49.5/38.9/69.8. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Amari Bailey
Wingspan/ standing reach: 6’7/ 8’7 ½
Hand size: 9.25
Pre-Draft team: UCLA
Tools: Microwave scoring, defense
- Good passer on the move
- Good shooter off moving mid range
- Intelligent defender that can defend P&Rs both on & off-ball
- Good finisher at the rim
- Good in transition
- Potentially good runner, but needs more volume
- Quick first step and overall good athlete
- Has a good pinoy step as well as Euro step
- Decision making/shot selection; can be indecisive at times after ball pickup
- Negative assist:turnover ratio
- Needs to get better at playmaking in the halfcourt
- Must get better going and finishing right
- Passing consistency
- Decision making off the dribble
- Shooting consistency
- Half-court efficiency
Amari Bailey was a top recruit in 2022, but had a lesser role at UCLA than may have been expected. He did well for himself at the NBA Draft Combine, dominating defenses that allowed for even a little bit of room for him to go left.
As a passer, Bailey loves the flashy plays, and will likely make several Sportscenter Top 10 Plays with his passing early in his career. However, one element from a functional perspective with his passing is that he does most of his damage passing in transition. Some numbers from Synergy that put this in perspective:
Bailey will have to prove to NBA teams that his passing and overall decision-making can be positive when the court shrinks and the game slows down; how he does this in the pre-draft process will determine where he gets drafted.
Like his passing, Bailey’s shooting is a bit of a mixed bag that the surface level stats don’t tell the whole story on. While he shot 38.9% from 3 on the year, the 69.8% free throw percentage leaves a lot to be desired. Additionally, while he shot 37.8% on catch & shoot 3s on 17-45 shooting, he shot 13-27 on open 3s and 4-18 on contested 3s.
Another area with a large discrepancy between transition efficiency and halfcourt efficiency is scoring at the rim. In transition, Bailey shot 34-46 (74%) at the rim including 13 dunks. In the halfcourt, however, he shot 35-68 (51.5%) which is a below-average number for guards at the rim. On top of that, his above-the-rim finishing went down to just 3 dunk attempts, so scoring above traffic will need to improve in the NBA.
Defensively, Bailey is intelligent defensively, particularly in the pick & roll, knowing where to be in terms of rotations against screens, and quickly realizing and acknowledging the next step in the play. As Bailey gets stronger, he can become more proficient in this area. With multi-faceted defensive abilities, combined with long arms and an ability to steer ball-handlers to the direction he wants, he can control plays defensively like few other guards in the draft can.
Overall, Amari Bailey has upside as a scorer on offense, but has conflicting stats across the board, making his projection as a scorer and overall ability to scale down into halfcourt offense difficult. Defensively, he will be able to hang his hat on good defense, both off-ball and on-ball and in the most important play in basketball: pick & roll defending. Bailey is worth a second round gamble, but may have a short leash if teams feel the collegiate numbers are misleading.
Similar to: Kevin Porter Jr, Rodney Hood, Malik Beasley
Projected draft range: 29-50
Expected role: Bench scorer with defensive capabilities
Unplayable if: Offensive numbers turn out to be fluff
Exceeds expectations if:
Miscellaneous Synergy Stats:
Catch & shoot 3s: 17/45 (37.8%)
Off the dribble 3s: 4/9 (44.4%)
Off the dribble 2s: 28-73 (38.4%)