Scotty Pippen Jr. has NBA Hall of Fame bloodlines. He was a two-time all-conference selection at Vanderbilt and the SEC’s first player in 25 years to average 20 points in back-to-back seasons. But one of the top players in the SEC is not listed in most mock drafts ahead of the 2022 NBA Draft on June 23.
Pippen impressed scouts at the NBA Combine with his performance in drills, showcasing his basketball IQ that comes from being around the game. Despite that, it’s still a long shot to get drafted. Here are Pippen’s limitations from a professional standpoint:
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Despite being listed at 6-foot-3 at Vanderbilt, Pippen measured at 6-1 at the combine. It’s not impossible for players that small to succeed in the NBA, but they generally either have to be uncommonly athletic or have an elite skill in one specific area (like Steph Curry’s shooting). Pippen lacks the general athleticism needed at his size and while he is good at a lot of things, he isn’t elite in any one area.
Pippen was a point guard at Vanderbilt. But there are questions about his ability to play that position professionally given defensive limitations and a high turnover rate. It’s possible Pippen’s ball-handling could improve with more talent around him when he is not relied upon to be such a high-volume shooter, but defense is still a question. Pippen also lacks the prototypical size to play shooting guard and had a middling 3-point percentage at 34%. Like the ball-handling, Pippen’s shooting could improve; he attempted many high-difficulty shots at Vanderbilt due to his high usage and had a strong career free-throw percentage of 76%, which correlates better to NBA 3-point shooting than college 3-point percentage does.
Though he’s unlikely to be drafted, Pippen still has a professional outlook. The most likely outcome is a two-way contract. Players on two-way deals spend most of their time in the G League but can be “called up” to the NBA roster. Some players who have started on two-way undrafted free agent deals have still nevertheless made a mark in the NBA, such as the Heat’s Duncan Robinson and the Thunder’s Lu Dort.
Aria Gerson covers Vanderbilt athletics for The Tennessean. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter @aria_gerson.