Corey Kispert NBA Scouting Report

Corey Kispert has risen up draft boards by a substantial margin from a year ago considering he was widely viewed as a late-2nd round pick at best before returning for his senior season, and now he is regarded as a lottery pick based on intel boards/mocks. He is one of the best shooters in the country and should be able to carve out a role as a plug-and-play wing in the NBA immediately.

Corey Kispert: Wing, 6’7″, 6’8″ Wingspan, 220 lbs.

Gonzaga, Senior (22 years old)


Offensive role: Floor Spacer
Defensive role: Wing defender + Team Defender
NBA projected role: Rotation player, 5th starter
Swing factor: Self Creation
ESPN 2021 Big Board: 10th

Additional Statistics (via Barttorvik.com): 


Shooting 

This is Kispert’s golden ticket to the NBA. The release is quick and the mechanics are effortless as he’s shown us time and time again during his 4-year stint at Gonzaga. He has some of the best shot prep I’ve seen from a prospect in quite some time as well. There are some knocks I’ve seen on Kispert being too one-dimensional as “just a shooter” which couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Yes, his greatest strength is his three-point jumper and the potential gravity he could pull on the basketball court if he hits a high-end shooting outcome. No, it’s not all he brings to the table, which we’ll get into more detail on below. For now, we’ll focus on his most intriguing skill: the jump shot. 

Other than mechanics, when looking at a shooting prospect there are three pillars you watch for: Volume, Versatility, and Range. 

  • Volume? 52.4 3-point rate, 10.9 attempts per-100 possessions, 6.5 attempts per game. Check.
  • Versatility? Movement shooting. Spot-ups. Elite balance, footwork, and shot prep. Check.
  • Range? Just watch the tape. Check.

Here’s a 35+ second compilation I put together of Kispert shooting it from deep in a variety of ways:


Passing 

By no means would I consider Kispert a playmaker or passing savant, but you know what you’re going to get on a nightly basis from him. He is a competent decision-maker that rarely turns it over and uses his excellent processing speed to make quick reads. 

Here’s an example of some of that quick decision-making from Kispert that opens up the offense:

 

There’s nothing flashy when it comes to passing from the Gonzaga wing, but he is a reliable ball mover and played in the perfect offensive system for him to showcase that consistently. 


Self Creation: Attacking Close-outs + Finishing

It’s mandatory for shooters to have counters in order to survive in the NBA whether it’s attacking close-outs, driving, finishing, or utilizing side-steps or step-backs. He has improved significantly in this area during his time in Spokane. He isn’t a change of direction athlete, but his use of manipulation and angles helps offset some of the athletic concerns. 

He also thrives in transition, where he’s shown us some occasional poster dunks or even in transition defense where he gets up to block a shot. When he has a running start he is an underrated leaper that can catch some folks off guard. 

Here a couple of examples of the types of counters he’ll have to make in order to not get run off the three-point line in the NBA.


On-Ball Defense 

The National Championship game raised some concerns over how Baylor hunted Drew Timme and Corey Kispert off pick and rolls. While it was mainly Timme that got exposed, there were moments where Kispert struggled to stay in front of Baylor’s lightning-quick backcourt.

There are some valid concerns that were highlighted in the championship game on this side of the floor, but at the same time, they were exaggerated about as much as a college team could make them by Baylor’s NBA caliber backcourt of Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell. I do not think that showing should be ignored, but I also do not believe it should create some of the knee-jerk reactions we got that night and the following days after.

Here he gets cooked by Butler’s nasty 1-2 dribble move that creates space for the flash. He had trouble closing out on Butler a few times in this game, but it’s important to note that Butler probably has the best handle in this draft class.

There are positives on this end too, and like I’ve already stated I believe some of the defensive concerns are a bit overblown. Here are a few clips taken from this very well done 2020 NBA Draft scouting report by Adam Spinella. I wanted to use old film to convey the fact that he’s always been underrated both as an athlete and defender in my opinion. 

Positive on-ball defensive possessions: 


Off-Ball Defense 

This is where being a high-IQ player kicks into gear for Corey, and why I believe he’ll be closer to a neutral or slightly below average defender rather than a terrible one like some tend to believe. Two major factors that are directly related to being a competent defender are: being in the right place and effort. Do the physical tools limit him a bit? Sure. I believe his effort and intelligence will be able to offset or aid some of his deficiencies on this end.  


NBA Pathway/Role/Team Fits

He has quite a simple path to finding immediate NBA minutes through his shooting gravity and high feel for the game. As a plug-and-play floor-spacing wing there will be value extracted almost immediately. The question is, how does he develop in the other phases of his game? What shooting threshold can he hit? 

Below I will list some NBA teams I’d love to see him on. You’ll probably notice a trend of me sticking to one of two “types” of teams: contenders and teams that already have their building blocks in place.

  • New Orleans Pelicans 
  • New York Knicks 
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (Miami pick)
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Denver Nuggets 
  • Phoenix Suns

Make sure you read Zach Milner’s terrific piece on the Stepien where he goes in-depth on the case for Corey Kispert.

Check out our NBA Draft Zone for our full slate of in-depth NBA Draft coverage for 2021 and 2022.

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