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Big Gradey Dick Energy
Kansas Jayhawks freshman Gradey Dick will be viewed as a shooting specialist. But the film will tell you the versatility is just starting to be unlocked
The three-point shot has become one of the sexiest things in modern-day basketball. After decades of watching teams live in the post, the NBA has started foaming at the mouth when it comes to the idea of the long ball.
The wise old tale of “shooters shoot” has become a rallying cry for hoops around the world. NBA franchises are constantly looking for shooters. If you have the potential to unload clips at a high percentage, scouts are going to be flocking. But it’s the ones that have the shooting ability paired with other aspects of their game that will find themselves hunted by NBA franchises.
Shooting from beyond the perimeter can be a gift. Being able to accomplish that feat while maintaining a high percentage, though, is an art. If a player can keep that effectiveness while turning up the attempts per game, then we can find ourselves cooking with gas.
But what if a “sniper” offers more than just shooting? What if they understand how to use their lethal weapon to create better looks from inside the perimeter as well? What if they project more than this idea of being “just a shooter” out there?
That’s exactly what Kansas freshman Gradey Dick is here to show you. Coming into the 2022-23 NCAA season, Gradey Dick was ranked as the 14th best high school basketball player by ESPN and 22nd by 247Sports. Listed at 6’8” and 205 pounds, Gradey has the ideal size for a perimeter darling who can get NBA Jam-mode hot from outside.
If you watched Gradey Dick in high school, there were plenty of flashes when it came to his talent for accumulating buckets from different zip codes. Gradey was named Gatorade National Player of the Year during his senior year and was named to the McDonald’s All-American game.
Coming into his freshman year, there was some intrigue with Dick as a prospect. Some viewed Dick as a player who could hit the ground running in his first year. Others wondered if he could be a “multi-year” player who blossomed as a sophomore. But it didn’t take long before Gradey Dick put that debate to rest.
Gradey Dick first 8 games:
31.3 MIN, 15.4 PTS, 4.1 REB, 1.4 AST, 1.1 STL
48.4 FG%, 46.0 3P%, 71.4 FT%
11.6 FGA, 6.3 3PA, 1.8 FTA
Gradey Dick Last 8 Games:
31.4 MIN, 13.1 PTS, 6.4 REB, 2.4 AST, 1.9 STL
43.6 FG%, 48.7 3P%, 90.0 FT%
9.8 FGA, 4.9 3PA, 2.5 FTA
31.4 MIN, 14.3 PTS, 5.3 REB, 1.9 AST, 1.5 STL
46.2 FG%, 47.2 3P%, 82.4 FT%
10.7 FGA, 5.6 3PA, 2.1 FTA
When you start to look at the numbers, it’s been remarkable the type of consistent production Gradey Dick has had throughout his first half of the 2022-23 NCAA season. What’s been the most impressive has been his efficiency throughout the year. Dick has finished with double-digit scoring nights on 12 of his 16 outings. He’s attempted more than 12 field goals in a game just twice this year. In both of those games, Dick averaged 21.5 points with splits of 45.2/30.8/83.3.
Shooting has always been a fascinating development when it comes to a player’s stock in the NBA Draft. Although a number of prospects have proven to be able to shoot at a high rate, that doesn’t automatically translate into a high selection in a class. With the game continuing to develop toward a desire for floor spacing specialists, we’ve seen front offices start to hunt for the “Weapon X” on a roster.
Barttorvik has become a wonderful wormhole to travel down for many, so I decided to have some fun with a curious search. Given his impressive production, especially from downtown, I wanted to see who Gradey Dick compared with given his current numbers.
To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement.
If you take a look at some of the names, you’ll notice that Gradey Dick is on pace to be in pretty good company.
So here’s what I want to do first. I’ll number them off so it’s as easy as possible.
I’m going to list out players since the 2013 NBA Draft.
We are focusing on players that have shot 40% and up while also attempting more than 5.0 three-point attempts per game.
Players drafted in the first round only.
After observing the list, I’m going to show you my specific search that brings forth some fascinating results.
The “40+ & 5” Club
CJ McCollum | Lehigh | Senior | 10th Pick
51.6 3p% | 5.3 3PA
(*only played 12 games due to injury)
Reggie Bullock | North Carolina | Junior | 25th Pick
43.6 3P% | 5.8 3PA
Doug McDermott | Creighton | Senior | 11th Pick
44.9 3P% | 6.1 3PA
Nik Stauskas | Michigan | Sophomore | 8th Pick
44.2 3P% | 5.8 3PA
Shabazz Napier | UConn | Senior | 24th Pick
40.5 3P% | 5.4 3PA
D’Angelo Russell | Ohio State | Freshman | 2nd Pick
41.1 3P% | 6.6 3PA
Brandon Ingram | Duke | Freshman | 2nd Pick
41.0 3P% | 5.4 3PA
Buddy Hield | Oklahoma | Senior | 6th Pick
45.7 3P% | 8.7 3PA
Jamal Murray | Kentucky | Freshman | 7th Pick
40.8 3P% | 7.7 3PA
Denzel Valentine | Michigan St | Senior | 14th Pick
44.4 3P% | 7.5 3PA
Markelle Fultz | Washington | Freshman | 1st Pick
41.3 3P% | 5.0 3PA
Lonzo Ball | UCLA | Freshman | 2nd Pick
41.2 3P% | 5.4 3PA
Luke Kennard | Duke | Sophomore | 12th Pick
43.8 3P% | 5.4 3PA
Josh Hart | Villanova | Senior | 30th Pick
40.4 3P% | 5.1 3PA
Mikal Bridges | Villanova | Junior | 10th Pick
43.5 3P% | 6.0 3PA
Jerome Robinson | Boston College | Junior | 13th Pick
40.9 3P% | 5.7 3PA
Donte DiVincenzo | Junior | Villanova | 17th Pick
40.1 3P% | 5.3 3PA
Kevin Huerter | Sophomore | Maryland | 19th Pick
41.7 3P% | 5.5 3PA
Landry Shamet | Wichita State | 26th Pick
44.2 3P% | 5.9 3PA
Cameron Johnson | North Carolina | Senior | 11th Pick
45.7 3P% | 5.8 3PA
Dylan Windler | Belmont | Senior | 26th Pick
42.9 3P% | 7.1 3PA
Tyrese Haliburton | Iowa St. | Sophomore | 12th Pick
41.9 3P% | 5.6 3PA
Aaron Nesmith | Vanderbilt | Sophomore | 14th Pick
52.2 3P% | 8.2 3PA
(*only played 14 games due to injury)
Saddiq Bey | Villanova | Sophomore | 19th Pick
45.1 3P% | 5.6 3PA
Payton Pritchard | Oregon | Senior | 26th Pick
41.5 3P% | 6.8 3PA
Desmond Bane | TCU | Senior | 30th Pick
44.2 3P% | 6.5 3PA
Cade Cunningham | Oklahoma St. | Freshman | 1st Pick
40.0 3P% | 5.7 3PA
Chris Duarte | Oregon | Sophomore | 13th Pick
42.4 3P% | 5.5 3PA
Corey Kispert | Gonzaga | Senior | 15th Pick
44.0 3P% | 6.5 3PA
Quentin Grimes | Houston | Junior | 25th Pick
40.3 3P% | 8.3 3PA
Jabari Smith Jr. | Auburn | Freshman | 3rd Pick
42.0 3P% | 5.5 3PA
Ochai Agbaji | Kansas | Senior | 14th Pick
40.7 3P% | 6.5 3PA
There are A LOT of impressive names on that list, especially when you realize how long some of those players have been around in the NBA, going back to the 2013 class. While not all of them offered superstar upside, a lot of them have carved out extended careers on the hardwood while also earning multiple contracts.
Now, this is where it gets a little fun. Originally, I wanted to just focus on three-point shooters that have shot over 44.0% from three while still attempting north of 5.0 attempts per game.
Both Aaron Nesmith and CJ McCollum were mentioned above, but due to their short season from injuries, I’m going to leave them out of this second part.
Watch how quickly that list goes down.
Gradey Dick as of 1/10/23:
48.2 3P% | 5.7 3PA
Your first thought while looking at that list might involve you questioning the upside for Dick to be a potential star at the next level. But what you should focus on is throughout all of those names listed in those two sections…a large majority of them continue to hang around the NBA.
If shooting was the only thing that Gradey Dick could offer, I’d be cutting this piece short. But honestly, my friends, it’s just the beginning of the intrigue with the talented freshman. Gradey Dick knows he can shoot the cover off the basketball. However, he also knows how to give opposing defenders fits the moment he steps inside those lines.
When you’re a talented floor spacer, you’re going to be called upon to do just that. There are spot-up shooters that can get an extended cup of coffee in the league if they can be lethal catch-and-shoot assets. Then there’s adding a wrinkle to that. Say you have the ability to catch on the move. Suddenly, you become versatile. You can find yourself running off screens and various actions in order to give yourself just enough of a window to get your shot off.
Then there are the off-ball movers. Imagine getting the worst headache of your life. No matter what you do, there’s nothing to get rid of it. That’s what a lethal off-the-ball mover can do to a defender. He can present a headache for an entire game, running off screens, using their hesitations to work away from the ball, and constantly keeping their defender guessing. Just when a defender gets comfortable, that’s when a cobra strikes for a vicious backdoor cut.
Coming into the 2022-23 season, I expected Gradey Dick to be a potential spot-up weapon as a freshman. After a lengthy film review, I found myself falling in love with the off-ball movement. Let’s get into the tape.
Moving Without the Ball
One of my favorite developments when watching Gradey Dick on film is just how relentless he can be off the ball. Dick knows where he wants to get on the court. He also understands how to use body fakes to get defenders to bite.
Three different clips here, but I absolutely love the first one against Indiana. Notice how much of a window Gradey Dick creates just by hitting his defender with a couple of hesitations. Footwork can be a dangerous weapon for a lethal shooter. That doesn’t just mean when you’re squaring up to launch from deep. If you understand how to create ideal positioning with your feet, you can make any defender wish they could say uncle.
The second and third clips just show how dangerous Gradey can be off the ball when it comes to cutting. Not only does Gradey have the understanding of how to sell his defenders, but he can also use his athleticism to finish in traffic.
Warning: Sniper in the Area
Coming into the season, the shooting form of Gradey Dick had me curious. You’ll see on a number of occasions he can look to have a bit of a “slow” gather. Then you turn on the tape, and you see various examples of times in which Gradey Dick can hit turbo when getting his shot off.
One of the best examples is in this first clip. Gradey is going to get a pass in transition from Jalen Wilson. Notice the lack of gather in his shot. Dick gets off a rapid release, and it’s nothing but net. If you watch that game against West Virginia, Dick also has a sequence where he shoots an absolute rainbow three from the corner on a closing defender.
The second clip showcases that Dick can be a threat from a standstill. He has a high release that is consistent. Not only is it consistent from a standstill, but Dick also showcases great balance and footwork when on the move as well.
Find Your Spots
When you find yourself evaluating a respected outside shooter, you want to go through the checkboxes. Some shooting specialists can have their bread and butter be as a spot-up threat. When you find a player that isn’t afraid to shoot on the move or put the ball on the ground, that’s when you can find a dangerous floor spacer.
In the first clip, we get a look at Gradey showing some footwork upside. I love the rest of these sequences and couldn’t help myself by including the offensive rebound. Dick launches a corner three and follows his own shot before dribbling out and turning around to hit his man with a quick pump fake.
There’s smoothness to Gradey Dick’s offensive arsenal. It isn’t just as a catch-and-shoot guy. He’s not afraid to let you fly by on a closeout before stepping in calmly and hitting a balanced jumper.
LOVE this sequence here in these two clips. Gradey Dick is basically going to get a pair of flare screens in both of these sequences. The result is two different field goal attempts. In the first one, we see how Gradey Dick can attack and finish with finesse around the basket.
The second, Gradey simply toys with his defender. They know he just went baseline a couple of possessions ago, and even though they are attempting to force him there again, Dick hits them with a quick hesitation before stepping back for a three-ball.
White Men CAN Jump
There’s been plenty of questions about the athleticism when it comes to the 6’8” wing. Hopefully, these clips can calm that down. Gradey Dick has the leaping ability to finish around the basket with creativity. We saw a great example of it earlier in the season when the Jayhawks took on the Duke Blue Devils.
Gradey cuts backdoor for a dump-off before a beautiful finish away from shot-blocking big man Dereck Lively II. The next two clips just show that White Men CAN Jump.
Pick and Roll Asset
So what about the rest of the offensive versatility? I mean, sooner or later, defenses are going to try to get the ball out of his hands, right? Well, that’s just fine with Gradey. A number of times on tape, Gradey shows some fantastic floor awareness. I came away intrigued with his vision and playmaking ability out of the pick and roll. That’s an area that can make him even more dangerous when it comes to being a threat from outside.
Gradey’s feel for the game has stood out in a big way for a kid that just turned 19 in November. He allows the defense to collapse on him and will pick them apart with timely passes to his rolling teammates.
The floor awareness by Gradey Dick cannot be overlooked. It’s simply outstanding on a number of occasions. Defenses will attempt to run Gradey off the three-point line, and that’s where the freshman can go to work.
There’s poise and an overall understanding of demonstrating patience to allow the defense to create an opening. That’s shown perfectly in the first clip. Dick is going to step up after a shot fake that gets the defense to bite. Gradey sees two things here. One, the secondary defender collapses on him at the elbow. He also reads when the help defender on the baseline takes a step toward his teammate by the basket. The moment that last defender bites, Gradey knows exactly where to go with the ball.
The rest of the clips feature Gradey showcasing some strong understanding of where the ball needs to go. He will attack the basket on numerous occasions before throwing a bullet pass out to a wide-open teammate.
We Love Hustle
Felt wrong not to include a gorgeous hustle clip from the Jayhawks freshman. Gradey crashes the glass and battles for an offensive rebound before quickly getting his head up and throwing a bullet pass for an assist.
What about the defense?
There’s still going to be plenty of work when it comes to Gradey Dick as an on-the-ball defender. That’s expected, but I found myself impressed with the flashes away from the ball. It makes sense, given the floor awareness that Gradey can show on the offensive side of the ball.
Gradey will battle defensively, and he’s got promising vision away from the ball. He understands where offenses are trying to go with the ball and puts himself in a position to react. He’s also willing to collapse and jump passing lanes when it’s the last line of defense.
Gradey Dick is going to get this tag of being a potential floor spacer at the next level. If you find yourself doing an extended film dive, you can find that there’s much more to the game that should excite NBA organizations. With NBA teams consistently looking for floor spacers, Gradey Dick should be one of the best in the entire class. The difference with Gradey is that the versatility on the basketball court is really starting to come alive. If Gradey continues to produce at this type of efficiency, he’s going to see his stock continue to trend upward in draft circles.