Shaedon Sharpe is the most enigmatic prospect in the 2023 NBA Draft due to his unusual path to the Association.
Sharpe grew up in Canada and played his freshman season of high school for H.B. Beal Secondary School in Ontario before migrating to the states to focus more heavily on ball. His prep career landed him at Sunrise Christian in Bel Aire, Kansas, one of the top prep programs in the nation.
He didn’t see much time there as a sophomore, so he transferred to Dream City Christian in Glendale, Arizona for his junior season. He also won a silver medal for Team Canada in 2019 at the FIBA U16 Americas tournament in Brazil, where he averaged 13 points (68% from the field), 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals in 21.6 minutes.
Thanks in part to an extraordinary summer in 2021 for UPlay Canada in EYBL, Sharpe shot up rankings boards from outside the top 100 to #1 in a short time. Over that summer, he averaged 22.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in his 28.3 minutes per contest.
Shortly after his strong summer, Sharpe reclassified to 2022 and enrolled at Kentucky for the early spring semester. After a very muddy semester when many hoped he’d eventually make an appearance for Coach Calipari’s squad, Sharpe declared for the draft (while maintaining college eligibility) having never played a collegiate game.
The aspects about Sharpe that appeal to NBA squads are pretty easy to point out. He’ll be just barely 19 years old when he’s drafted (May 30, 2003 birthday), he’s a well-above-average athlete, and he has a body that’s already primed to be a 2-3 in the modern NBA; listed at 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds by Kentucky’s site with a reported 7-foot wingspan. He also really passes the eye test when going through the tape at each of his stops.
Sharpe is exceptionally smooth getting to his shot off the dribble and is well ahead of schedule in terms of footwork and overall shot prep. Comparing him with other guards at the top of the draft, he’s much more measured and in control than someone like Jaden Ivey.
Even for stretches as effective as his time with UPlay (36.4%), Sharpe’s yet to show elite efficiency from the three-point line, but the form is clean enough to buy in fully. One would think he got tons and tons of reps up during his redshirt season at Kentucky as well, so I’m in on Sharpe being a plus-shooter both on the ball and away from it.
But even with how promising the offensive game is, I’m more intrigued with the defensive side.
Sharpe will likely be a plus-defender in the NBA before he’s a plus-offensive player, given his ready-made body that’s long had solid strength and length, as well as his effort on that end. Really does a good job of getting into a stance and fighting against screens.
One of the biggest things I try to do when scouting is understand how the player fits into both coaches’ gameplans.
For example, in the game against Wasatch Academy that I’m showing clips from, Sharpe is out on an island against elite scoring threat Richard Isaacs Jr. (incoming freshman for Texas Tech) for most of the game. This defensive assignment shows a lot of confidence in Sharpe from his coach.
On the other side of things, Isaacs Jr. often looked to move the actions away from Sharpe, trying things like screens. This shows a reluctance from Wasatch to attack Sharpe. Both sides point to Sharpe being a tough obstacle defensively.
One of the only issues I’ve noticed in Shape’s defensive approach is a tendency to play a little too far off at times both on and off the ball. He’ll overhelp in the paint and simply set up too low against strong shooters. I think this could be an overreliance on his athleticism, which while elite, can only help you so much, especially when he gets to the NBA.
Going back to the comparative side of things, this is where Sharpe really sets himself apart from Ivey, making Sharpe really the most appealing guard prospect in this class to me.
I have trouble putting him ahead of each of the frontcourt guys in the top three on my overall board, but some teams would certainly be right in talking themselves into Sharpe being the top pick, depending on roster fit and how he works out during the draft process.
Some of the teams in the lottery that would make the most sense for Sharpe are Orlando, Portland, New Orleans, and Oklahoma City. Each already have an established primary engine with a need for secondary two-way help on the perimeter, and Sharpe has the chance to grow into much more than that very quickly, as well.
Categories: NBA Draft