|Freshman||6’6″ 220||Small Forward||UNC||DOB: 2/11/2000|
|9.8 ppg||4.6 rpg||0.7 apg||FG: 48%||3 PT: 26.9%|
NBA Comparison: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Strengths: Length, Athleticism, Perimeter Defense
Weaknesses: Lack of playing time, Outside Shooting
Little arrived on campus as a top ten recruit who with plenty of highlights from his high school and AAU days. What transpired over his freshman season was not what many expected, but he showed flashes of his potential at the professional level. He averaged 9.8 points to with 4.6 rebounds while playing 18.2 minutes per game. As you can see in the highlight videos below his athleticism is at the top end of his peers, being able to throw down a dunk with flash. It is not just his vertical ability, he runs the floor well and has shown that he can get the basket off of the dribble. He is not the quickest player on the wing, however Little uses solid basketball intelligence to make back door cuts or find a path to basket. Once he is by a defender it is very difficult to prevent him from throwing it down, which was seen many times over his lone season in college. His potential was on full display in games like his 20 points and 7 rebounds against Washington in the NCAA tournament, as well as putting up 23 points and 6 rebounds against Virginia Tech. With a 7’2″ wingspan and his athleticism, his perimeter defense was impressive. Little has the potential to be a lock down defender on the wing at the next level, especially being able to use his length if a defender does get past him to block shots. Fast break situations are where Little should thrive as a professional, giving him plenty of open shots and dunk opportunities, as well as blocked shot opportunities when defending a fast break.
The fact that he played less than 20 minutes per game as a freshman means NBA teams have less tape on him than many of the other potential draft picks. This could be attributed to the talent level on the North Carolina roster, or it could be seen that he was unable to impress in practice and games enough to earn more playing time. We believe it is not only about the talent that North Carolina puts on the floor, but just simply a mistake by Roy Williams to limit Little to that amount of playing time. While he definitely should have gotten more minutes, to be fair to Williams, North Carolina prefers to utilize the three point shot, which is something that Little has struggled with. Whether or not he can become an efficient shooter from the outside is a question mark after shooting three pointers at 26.9% as a freshman. He only attempted 1.4 per game, so again it is a very small sample size, and the mechanics of his shot does not display any major flaws but he will need improve on his shooting as a whole. Standing only at 6’6″ is something that else that will concern teams with Little mostly fitting in as a small forward, however with his athleticism and length he will be able to play much larger than his listed height.
This play shows off how his length allows him to block a shot:
This clip gives you an idea of just how athletic he is:
Little is viewed as a first round pick, with the potential to go in the top fifteen picks. Despite the lack of playing time and not putting up big numbers, many teams are intrigued with his potential as a scorer on the wing and the ability to defend on the wing at a high level. His ceiling as a professional is a starter level small forward, who can be the best perimeter defender on a team, while being able to score at an above average rate. The worst case scenario for Little is that is unable to shoot the ball efficiently enough to impact the game on the offensive end of the floor, leading him to come off the bench in limited role playing solid defense.