This season’s Mountain West Player of the Year is not your standard star. He’s a 6’5” 255 lbs. former state champion in the discus who starred as a quarterback for his high school football team. He rejected offers to play college football, instead choosing to focus on basketball full time. He’s tearing apart college hoops and playing every position on the floor for a strong Colorado State squad. His name is David Roddy.
Roddy is someone I touched upon briefly in my pre-season “Hidden Gems” article, but after the dominant season he’s had, it seems appropriate to dive deeper into what makes him such a fascinating NBA prospect.
— Will Morris (@w_a_morris) February 8, 2022
*All Stats as of 3-7-22
|Field Goal Attempts||12.7|
|3-Point Attempts||3.2 (6.3 3PA/100)|
|Free Throw Attempts||4.8 (.380 FTr)|
*Via Sports Reference
Shooting Splits by Area
- 27.6% Assisted Rim
- 22.6% Unassisted Mid-Range
- 22.1% Unassisted Rim
- 16.1% Assisted Threes
- 6.5% Assisted Mid-Range
- 5.0% Unassisted Threes
|Play-type||Possessions||Points per Possession||Percentile Rank|
|PnR Roll Man||38||1.263||83rd|
*via Synergy Sports
What should stand out about the Synergy Chart above is how diverse a role Roddy is currently playing for the Rams. He has gotten reps executing most every offensive play-type, and as evidenced by his points-per-possession marks, has been quite effective in this do-it-all role.
Let’s start with Roddy’s post-game, his most frequently used mode of generating offense. Roddy is one of the most well-refined post scorers in the entire country and boasts exceptional footwork. He loves stationing himself on the left block and spinning back inside to his right…
…or he can face-up and explode baseline.
He can hit one-legged fadeaways…
…or running hooks…
…or finish up-and-unders with his left hand.
Roddy is a true bulldozer in the paint, and oftentimes after misses he’ll grab his own put-back.
Roddy is more than just a great post-scorer, however. He’s also a high-level playmaker with his back to the basket. He does an excellent job slinging cross-court passes to open shooters on the perimeter and laying down dimes to cutters.
This is one of my favorite Roddy assists. The double comes and Roddy responds with a jumping behind the head pass just before the defender helping the helper rotates down.
I must address the elephant in the room. Roddy averages ~4.5 post-up possessions per game. Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, and Jusuf Nurkic are the only current NBA players who receive more touches. To put it simply, Roddy won’t be given the post opportunities that he currently receives in the pros.
What’s encouraging is that even excluding post-ups, Roddy has been an incredibly productive offensive player. It all starts with his ability to get downhill off the bounce. Roddy is finishing a ridiculous 72.1% of his non-post rim attempts. He has a quick first step for someone his size, and after gaining momentum, he’s difficult to stop. Roddy embraces contact and is strong and well-balanced enough to finish through rim-protectors and get to the foul line.
Remember that spin move that he loves utilizing from the left block? Here’s a similar move attacking from the perimeter, spinning the opposite direction.
David Roddy's first step off the catch is exceptionally quick for someone his size, and he makes good use of his 252 lbs. frame to draw contact at the rim. pic.twitter.com/ngav5eeHOy
— Will Morris (@w_a_morris) August 10, 2021
But what good is a closeout attacker that can’t draw closeouts? Roddy’s long-range jumper was the primary hole in his offensive game coming into the season. He shot just 20% from three as a Freshman and 29% as a Sophomore. I don’t think that anyone could have foreseen the shooting rise that Roddy has taken. On 6.3 threes/100, Roddy is shooting 46.2%.
Yes, you read that right. A sub-30’s three-point shooter is now hitting in the mid 40’s. It’s fine to look at his shooting transformation with skepticism. After all, Roddy spent two full seasons as a below-average shooter, and while his efficiency has obviously made an incredible leap, he’s only taking 1.6 threes more per 100 possessions than he did last year.
But this doesn’t just seem like an older college player merely getting hot for a season. His touch on shots inside the arc and solid free-throw numbers (73.9% as Fr., 78.9% as So., 71.1% as Jr.) have always been positive indicators for future shooting improvement. Furthermore, it’s impossible to deny the versatility with which Roddy has been getting his shot off this year. Much of his shot diet consists of standstill catch-and-shoot attempts, but he’s also flashed the ability to let if fly off of semi-movement, staggers, and off the pop.
Roddy has the handling juice to get to his spots and knock down jumpers from both long-range and mid-range off the bounce. Pull-ups over ball screens, mid-range jumpers out of isolations, side-steps and step-backs while attacking off the catch, spin-moves into fadeaways – this is a truly versatile shooter.
And the numbers? 1.451 points per possession on catch-and-shoot jumpers (97th percentile) and 1.091 points per possession on dribble jumpers (93rd percentile, via synergy).
Roddy’s passing has also shone outside of post-ups. He has a knack for picking out cutters from a standstill, and he also can make decisions on the move. He isn’t someone who manipulates defenders with his eyes or sees windows before they appear, but he’s a sound reactive passer who takes what the defense gives him. That isn’t to say that he doesn’t have flair. Check out this slick cross-body dump-off to Adam Thistlewood.
Roddy throws passes that could be classified as “too risky” at times, leading to some high turnover games. On the topic of turnovers, Roddy also occasionally loses control of his handle or gets the ball poked from his grasp by a dig. That being said, 14.7% is certainly a non-disastrous turnover rate for a 29% usage player.
Roddy has also done lots of damage as a cutter this season. Many of Roddy’s cuts come from pre-designed actions, but I love his feel for moving to open space. Below, he notices his defender’s eyes elsewhere and seizes on the opportunity to go backdoor.
Let’s start with the positives. Roddy is a sturdy interior defender and hard-nosed rebounder. While not blessed with the height that many of his peers possess, Roddy’s strong base helps him hold his ground down low. In the two clips below, he walls up against both 6’9” 20 PPG scorer Graham Ike and the 6’10” Mladen Armus. He surprisingly has done a good job keeping his arms vertical and avoiding hacking in these situations, averaging just 2.6 personal fouls per game.
Roddy’s height limits him as a post defender. Even with a supposed 6’11” wingspan and a bowling-ball frame, there are times when Roddy is simply too small to hold up. Still, he manages to win plenty of possessions with his strength, or by forcing turnovers with his quick hands and willingness to take charges.
Roddy’s competence on rim rotations has been noteworthy as well. This is an excellent play, cutting off the initial drive, swiftly rotating back to the dunker spot, and denying the rim attempt.
Roddy’s ability to sniff out dump-off passes is impressive. In the clip below, Kenan Blackshear beats Isaiah Stevens off the bounce and Roddy begins to rotate from the weak side. However, he notices that Blackshear is staring down a cutting Daniel Foster. Rather than rotating to cut off the drive, Roddy stays home and picks up an easy interception.
Here’s another one showing off his active hands. Roddy rotates down to help on AJ Walker, leaving his man an open cutting lane. When the pass comes, Roddy extends his left arm and deflects the ball.
Roddy’s side-to-side lateral agility is decent for a player of his weight. Trey Pulliam is not a high-level interior scorer, but this is still a 6’3” 180 lbs guard that Roddy is sliding with. And did I mention his hands yet? Roddy does a great job poking at ball-handlers when containing on switches or in drop. His length allows him to even block the occasional pull-up jumper.
But while passable sliding in a straight line, Roddy’s change-of-direction is well below average. This will make him susceptible to getting beat off the bounce by NBA perimeter players. Merely basic crossovers from college guards leave Roddy stumbling.
But much more concerning than his straight on-ball defense is his ground coverage. Roddy closeouts are not going to fly against professionals. Lacking the ability to quickly decelerate, players have oftentimes already blown by him as he’s stopping his momentum. When Roddy is caught over-helping, he has essentially no chance of recovering back to the perimeter effectively.
It isn’t all doom and gloom, however. Watch here as he tags the roller, closes back out to the perimeter with choppy, momentum-slowing steps, slides with the drive, and alters the rim attempt.
And here cutting off a driver, closing out effectively once again (though he doesn’t have to cover much ground), and forcing a turnover.
Evaluating Roddy’s defense is difficult. On one hand, his strength, smarts, and hands should serve him well. 2.1% and 4.2% steal and block rates are respectable marks for a Wingy-Forward. On the other hand, Roddy’s physical limitations may be damning. It’s also worth noting that Roddy is listed at 255 lbs. That’s in the same neighborhood as bigs like Tristan Thompson, Greg Monroe, Isaiah Stewart, and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Players in this weight range aren’t typically chasing smaller players on the perimeter. But what if Roddy slims down to 230 or 235? That’s still massive for a 6’5” player, but would it help his mobility on the perimeter?
Questioning how Roddy’s game will translate to the next level is reasonable. He isn’t going to receive many (if any) low-post or mid-post touches. He won’t carry a high usage rate. Roddy projects as a complementary player whose two biggest questions surround how real the shooting spike is and what his ideal defensive role will be.
At the same time, Roddy does a lot of things that good complimentary players should be able to do. He has solid feel as a cutter, can attack the rim or pull-up against closeouts, get to the foul line, pass off of movement, and while I have serious concerns about his defense, there could (maybe?) be a path to neutrality with some work on his body.
I think Roddy will need to make a transition similar to another burly 6’6” post-player who heard his name called in the First Round of the 2019 Draft: Grant Williams. After a somewhat rocky start to his career, Williams has become a premier role player for a Celtics team that’s only two games out of second place in the East.
A post-dominant Forward with a 26.5% usage rate in college, Williams has converted himself into an off-ball shooter who sets screens and makes sound decisions attacking closeouts. Some of his fantastic post-passing and face-up scoring hasn’t necessarily been utilized, but Williams has still found a way to leave an imprint on the game. It’ll take some buy-in from Roddy to adjust to this reduced role, but the size and skills are there.
I don’t bring Grant up to make a one-to-one comparison. Williams was much more mobile coming out of Tennessee (and would scoff at some of Roddy’s closeouts), but he also never had a shooting season comparable to the one that Roddy is having now in terms of volume, versatility, or efficiency. I only mention Grant to illustrate what an idealized version of Roddy may look similar to.
The general pitch here is big bodies that can dribble, pass, and shoot aren’t that common. Roddy is a massive dude that has a realistic chance to do all three of those things at the next level. Even with his defensive warts, this is a player worth looking at late in the first round.