Name: Nassir Little
Height (w/ shoes): 6’6″
Weight: 220 pounds
Position: Small Forward
School: University of North Carolina
STATISTICS (36 GAMES)
9.8 points (47.8/26.9/77.0) and 4.6 rebounds.
Little was a major impact player for North Carolina’s Sweet 16 run and while his stats don’t look very enticing, it’s important to remember that he came off the bench in every game and played just 18.2 minutes a game.
Little is a true energy and glue player and his athleticism truly speaks for itself. His wingspan is nearly eight inches longer than his height, an extremely rare feat that allows him to be a defensive pest. Defense is by far Little’s greatest strength as he could positively contribute to any NBA defense today — despite being just 19 years old.
His age is another major plus for his game. At 19, his game obviously needs work, but he should have no issues learning the ropes as his commitment to the game is something that was instantly apparent in college. His upside alone is very enticing, simply because he already has the tools to be elite on one end of the floor.
On offense, his speed and size allow him to easily drive by defenders and is easily his best offensive skill. And while the numbers on his jumper don’t look great, his form was solid, showing that there may be room for improvement.
Almost all of Little’s weaknesses come on the offensive side of the floor. At 19, he obviously still has time to learn everything, but there’s a long way to go before he can be a positive contributor to an NBA team.
Little’s jump shot was wildly inconsistent at North Carolina and he showed little to nothing as a playmaker, making his athleticism and size almost ineffective on the offensive end. As stated before, his form does provide a glimmer of hope but for now, teams looking to draft him will have to bank on that glimmer becoming consistent and tangible.
What Little does bring to the table offensively is a solid set of back-to-the-basket moves, including a pretty solid turnaround five-footer and floaters in the lane. However, as one is seeing with somebody like Ben Simmons, it’s extremely easy to guard someone in the halfcourt when they only have a pre-determined set of three or four moves. Little will need to add more if he wants a real shot at NBA success.
FIT WITH LAKERS
In complete honesty and with all due respect to Little’s game, he would be a truly negative fit for the team the Los Angeles Lakers are trying to build. Think of Little as a very unpolished Gerald Wallace and then try to imagine Wallace on the current Los Angeles team. While he’d be nice to have, there really wouldn’t be a consistent place for him on the court.
Little is also not slated to get picked until the end of the lottery, meaning the Lakers would have absolutely no business selecting him with the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. This means the only way the Lakers would even look at him seriously is if they had plans on trading back. Even then, the odds of him becoming a Laker on June 20 are wildly low.
Little has the upside to be a truly great defensive menace and offensive glue player at the small forward position in this league. But at such a young age, he’s a long ways away, and the Lakers simply cannot afford to draft a project. Whether Little becomes a starting-caliber player or not is very up in the air, and the Lakers must remain grounded.