Credit: UCLA Athletics

Kris Wilkes Draft Profile

Breaking down the NBA potential of Kris Wilkes

Soph. UCLA 6’8″ 215 Small Forward 20 Yrs. Old
17.4 ppg 4.8 rpg 1.7 apg FG: 43.3% 3 PT: 33.7%

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Recruiting Profile

Wingspan: 6’11” 

Vertical Leap: 35.5 in. 

NBA Comparison: Harrison Barnes

Strengths: Pure scorer, NBA measurements, Guard skills with good size, Athleticism

Weaknesses: Shooting efficiency, Impacting the game in ways other than scoring

Wilkes is a 6’8″ small forward who has a slender frame, but has put on weight since arriving at UCLA. He began his college career after being a McDonald’s All American and a top 20 recruit in high school. His improvement has been solid while Wilkes was somewhat learning on the job, after starting 65 of the last 66 games UCLA has played. The sophomore possesses high level athleticism with the agility that is solid for a player at 6’8″. Although he can slash to the basket with efficiency, he also likes to shoot spot up jumpers after being set up by a teammate. This is a skill that he will be required to improve percentages wise, continuing the improve his outside shot and make defenders play up on him because of that threat. Ball handling is not an issue for Wilkes, and when he uses that ability with his size he can get to the basket by going by defenders as well as pulling up for a jumper. The mechanics of his shot are strong, but shooting the ball at under 70% from the free throw line is a small concern. His shooting analytics are solid enough when you consider his athleticism and other skills with room for improvement.

Given his size, wingspan, and athleticism, he projects as a player with good coaching who can become a high level perimeter defender. Wilkes will need to add bulk to deal with bigger small forwards in the league, but many wings that he will have to guard are in the same weight range that he will be entering the league. Fast break opportunities, whether it be sliding to the corner to hit an open three from a pass, or taking the ball from end to end and finishing at the rim is something that he will be able to do right from the start of his professional career. It is somewhat of a red flag that his teams did not have much success in his two seasons at UCLA, especially given the amount of talent on the roster, but that can’t all be laid at Wilkes feet obviously. He has the size and skills necessary to get his shot off, for the most part, whenever he wants to and as with any young player he can improve on shot selection.

Here is a game winner he hit against Notre Dame, and a big dunk against Detroit-Mercy:

The small forward currently projects as a first round prospect, who we have going #27 in our mock draft. His combination of his size/wingspan, athleticism, and shot creating/making abilities make him a prototypical wing player for the modern day NBA game. Teams are going to want him to add some muscle, and continue to improve his outside shot, but they are intrigued with his potential at the next level. If a team falls in love with his game, it would not be a total shock to see him go as high as the middle of the first round given his upside. His ceiling is a starter level player in the league, who could put up solid numbers offensively with his worst case scenario being a bench player that can come into the game and put points on the board. His improvement on the defensive side of the ball will be key for his career as well, because if he can put it all together, he has the potential to make a positive impact for a franchise. Below are his highlights, with one interesting moment from his time at UCLA thrown in, where Wilkes was asked to take over the huddle by their coach during a timeout. 

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