A breakout sophomore combo guard, Kobe Bufkin lived up to his top 40 recruit status in 2021 as a sophomore, earning All-Big 10 honors. As a sophomore, Bufkin averaged 14 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.7 BPG, and 1.9 TOPG on splits of 48/35.5/85. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Kobe Bufkin
Wingspan/ standing reach: 6’8/8’6.5
Hand size: 9.25
Position: Combo guard
Pre-Draft team: Michigan
Tools: Shooting, defense, intangibles
- Quick first step
- Good finisher at the rim
- Good nose for the ball as a rebounder, especially offensively
- High motor
- Capable defender with excellent footspeed & good timing on contests
- Good shooter with strong indicators and clean, repeatable mechanics
- Strong feel for the game
- Good vision and capable of making no-look & flashy passes to throw off defenses
- Needs to add strength
- A bit inconsistent as a shooter off the dribble
- Mild playmaker; needs to brush up PG skills
- Point guard skills taking a jump
Kobe Bufkin is an ideal combo guard as a shooter, defender, and ability to play multiple roles with any game.
In games Kobe Bufkin wasn’t scoring, or wasn’t scoring efficiently (both rare instances) he still found ways to impact the game on both ends of the floor. With a high motor, outstanding instincts, and the ability to make his teammates better both offensively and defensively, Kobe Bufkin has a supremely high floor in the NBA.
Defensively, Bufkin’s effort, timing on contests, and ability to defend any spot and any play on the court make him stand out as a combo guard. He isn’t afraid to challenge bigger players without fouling, and can stay in front of anyone with his lateral quickness with great recovery ability against players that can stop on a dime. His motor will help him go a long way as a defender, which makes it hard to project him as anything less than an average defender at his position.
Offensively, while the tools are present, consistency as a point guard is the next jump to make. As a new point guard this year, Bufkin adapted as the season progressed, but still showed signs of learning the role that should get better with time. While his point guard abilities should naturally improve, going to the right spot will be key for Bufkin in fully hitting his playmaking upside. Bufkin had barely run point guard before this season, which gives him a likely high ceiling as he still is learning how to run an offense.
As Bufkin adds strength and muscle to his frame, he should become an even better finisher at the rim, and he should be able to guard up in lineups to more small forwards. With an elite floor for a non-consensus lottery prospect, Bufkin also possesses a high ceiling, making him one of the best sleeper prospects to have an outstanding ROI relative to his draft position. Bufkin won’t turn 20 years old until training camp in late September.
Similar to: 2020-21 Shake Milton, Devin Harris, Immanuel Quickley
Projected draft range: 11-18
Expected role: Complete two-way combo guard with multiple ways to impact the game, with or without scoring.
Unplayable if: Extremely improbable that Bufkin becomes unplayable, but a worst case scenario for him is that he never improves as an off the dribble scorer.
Exceeds expectations if: Point guard skills develop simultaneously alongside off-the-dribble scoring abilities developing, making him a complete two-way guard.
Miscellaneous Synergy Stats:
Catch & shoot 3s: 29/79 (36.7%)
Off the dribble 3s: 10/32 (31.3%)