Heralded as one of the top defensive prospects to ever come out of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Cason Wallace lived up to the hype at Kentucky as a one & done guard. The younger brother of the Clippers’ two-way wing Keaton Wallace, who played at UTSA, he shares similar traits of being a defensive hound with a good work ethic. As part of the SEC’s All-Freshman team, Cason Wallace averaged 11.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 4.3 APG, 2 SPG, 0.5 BPG, and 2.1 TOPG on splits of 45/35/76. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Cason Wallace
Wingspan/ standing reach: 6’8 ½/8’5
Hand size: 9 ¼
Pre-Draft team: Kentucky
Tools: Defense, playmaking
- Projectable overall jump shot form/release
- Great at forcing turnovers defensively; racks up steals with ease
- Quick first step
- Comfortable finishing with both hands
- Good defensive footwork against drives
- Capable passer off of drives and out of screens
- Good finisher at the rim
- Excellent at forcing turnovers
- Long arms and good frame
- Simple handle; needs to develop his ball-handling more
- Needs to become more consistent as a shooter
- Should develop his runner/floater to become more consistent
- Can force right hand finishes at the rim too much instead of finishing left after going left
- Off-hand’s thumb can get in the way of his shot at times
Cason Wallace is a defensive stopper with potential three level scoring ability and high-level pick & roll orchestration.
Defensively, Cason Wallace can force turnovers and bad decisions, as well as making it hard for ball-handlers to get to their spot. As a pesky defender, Wallace should be an instant positive and a contender for All-Defense in the NBA during his rookie contract. With a motor that never stops, he should be able to thrive both on-ball and off-ball, especially as he develops his body by adding weight, and getting more reps on-ball defensively against the best players in the world.
As a ball-handler, Cason Wallace uses his quick first step to get to his spots with ease, making him a good drive and kick threat, as well as being able to see the floor at a high level out of screens. At Kentucky, he had minimal off-ball threats, and no consistent stretch big which will open up the court for him in the NBA. He also needs to add more to his bag by using more creative counters to make him more unpredictable when driving to the rim. While he can get by with his simple handle right now, in order to take the next step in his game he will need to add more go-to moves against the top defenders in the league.
Developing his handle will also allow him to become a better finisher at the rim with both hands. He has a tendency to rely heavily on his right hand on finishes, and as he becomes more comfortable to be 50/50 with either hand his already good finishing will turn into a key strength.
Wallace will also need to improve shooting consistency, particularly off of the dribble, he still can always find ways to impact the game offensively. Wallace had mediocre shooting numbers overall from 3, both off the dribble and spotting up; improving those numbers with more reps and fine-tuning the form will allow for him to take another jump as both an on-ball and off-ball guard.
Overall, Cason Wallace could be another Kentucky guard that has hidden elements to his game. Lacking a true pick & pop big, his spacing & off-ball threats at Kentucky were significantly worse than what his likely NBA personnel will be. This screams that his hidden Kentucky value will be how much better he can make his shooters, and how much his offense as a pick & roll ball-handler will open up with floor-spacers all around him. With strong P&R ability, a good drive & kick game, and a growing jump shot with plus defense, Cason Wallace has one of the highest floors in the draft with a good ceiling to fall in line with someone like Jrue Holiday or Derrick White, both players every title contender needs.
Similar to: Jrue Holiday, Patrick Beverley, Derrick White
Projected draft range: 6-14
Best fits: Washington (8), Utah (9), Toronto (13)
Expected role: Defensive stopper with high-level playmaking and ability to play both guard slots offensively
Unplayable if: Almost impossible given his consistent defense, as well as an easy path to impacting offense.
Exceeds expectations if: Jump shooting develops further to be able to successfully play both guard slots, as well as his handle developing to become a more unpredictable slasher.
Miscellaneous Synergy Stats:
Catch & shoot 3s: 35-100 (35%; 59th percentile)
Off the dribble 3s: 9-27 (33%)
Off the dribble 2 point jumpers: 26-58 (44.8%)
Half-court at the rim: 36-60 (60%)