Nickeil Alexander-Walker – Virginia Tech – Guard – 6’5 205 Pounds
Nickeil Alexander-Walker is seen as top 20 guy in this draft so we could potentially take him at 12 or trade down and grab him. Taking him at 12 may be considered a reach but I like his game nonetheless. After a pretty good freshman year showing, Alexander-Walker turned it up this past year and averaged 16 points, four rebounds, and four assists a game while shooting 47% from the field, 37% from three, and 78% from the line. Alexander-Walker was really good on the advanced side of things as well with a true-shooting percentage of 58.6%, assist percentage of 24.6%, and positive win shares and box plus/minus on both sides of the floor. Alexander-Walker is a pretty safe pick that will no doubt help a team.
Here’s his highlight tape:
Nickeil Alexander-Walker is a high IQ guy that just knows where to be on offense. He handled the ball a lot more this year and flashed a lot of on ball creativity that can be useful on offense. He’s not a primary creator but he has a good enough handle and passing ability to be able to be a secondary or tertiary creator. He was a career 38% three point shooter at Virginia Tech on over 300 attempts. In addition, he was a career 76% free throw shooter as well. Because of that, I am confident that he’ll be able to be a good shooter in the league. This shooting ability paired with his ball-handling and passing ability paint him out to be a very intriguing offensive option. He won’t be the star but he’ll be able to play off of stars very well.
Alexander-Walker is 6-5 with a reported 6-9 wingspan so this body type projects him as able to guard both of the guard spots. His high IQ extends to the defensive end and he was able to average two steals a game with a steal percentage of 3.4%. Alexander-Walker probably won’t be a defensive stopper but he won’t hurt you either. He’ll be in the right place at the right time and his long arms will allow him to make things happen.
Alexander-Walker isn’t the most athletic guy and that caps his potential. Because of this lack of explosiveness, he isn’t seen as a primary option. In addition, he’s on the smaller side in terms of weight as he is around 200 pounds. Bigger guards may be able to overpower him on the block or when driving. He can handle the ball some but he’s not going to be shaking high level NBA defenders. He’ll be used more as a guy who attacks closeouts instead.
Alexander-Walker doesn’t have any damning weaknesses and will definitely be a solid player in the league for years to come. He’s very similar to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (funny because they’re cousins) in terms of the pace that they play with and their high IQ. Alexander-Walker isn’t the athlete that Shai is but they’re cut from the same cloth.
Alexander-Walker is an interesting guard to pair with a high-level scoring guard that is your primary initiator. He’d be a nice fit with Kemba Walker if he decides to re-sign in free agency. However, I think the Hornets need more of an infusion of talent and so I’d rather them look at someone with more star potential. Alexander-Walker is good though and will help any team that decides to take him.