Sleeper Deep Dives: Dereon Seabron
Dereon Seabron had a breakout season for NC State this past season; his exceptional driving ability and scoring punch around the basket make him a fascinating second-round sleeper candidate.
Dereon Seabron is one of the most distinctive players in the 2022 NBA Draft class. After receiving minimal playing time during his first season for the North Carolina State Wolfpack, Seabron burst onto the scene during his sophomore season. He averaged 17.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 3.2 APG, and 1.4 SPG in his 32 games for NC State; those numbers were good enough for second in the ACC in rebounding and fifth in points per game. Seabron ended the season by winning the ACC Most Improved Player Award and making it to the All-ACC Second Team.
At 6’7” and 180 pounds, Seabron’s slender frame is somewhat reminiscent of his college teammate Terquavion Smith. However, their games are far from the same. As my colleague Alex (Draft Film School) discussed earlier this season, Seabron is a rim pressure GOD. His great handle, serious craftiness around the basket, elite athleticism, and absolute relentlessness in attacking the rim combine to make him an absolute menace whenever he gets going towards the paint.
Seabron and NC State started the season strong, with the team winning six of their first seven games and Seabron mauling teams early—especially in a 39-point, 19-rebound masterpiece in 4OT against Nebraska in the Wolfpack’s seventh game of the season.
Seabron and the team faded a bit down the stretch, leading to him falling off the draft radar for many after an excellent start to the season. While his struggles down the stretch should not be ignored, they should also not overshadow the clear skills that he displayed throughout the season. He might be a bit of an under-the-radar prospect right now, but any team in need of a guard with wing size who can put pressure on the basket should be looking at Dereon Seabron as a potential steal late in the second round. So…let’s dive deep!
Offense: Rim Pressure and Transition Dominance
Dereon Seabron will earn a spot in an NBA rotation if he can continue to do what he did in his sophomore year at the next level—namely, barrel his way through everyone in front of him and score around the basket. He pairs his top-flight athleticism with his excellent handle; he keeps the ball low to the ground and on a string. That combination of athleticism and ball-handling ability, along with his size, allows him to generate a ton of space on his crossovers and to freeze defenders with his hesitation dribbles.
Seabron averaged 11.4 attempts per game from two-point range last season, with the vast majority of those shots coming from around the basket. He gets to the bucket almost at will in transition and in the halfcourt, using his handle and his quick first step to dart past defenders on his way to the rim:
Seabron isn’t just a threat to score when he gets an open lane to the basket. Even when he is more tightly guarded, he uses his craft around the rim to finish in traffic:
Seabron ranked in the 74th percentile offensively overall, per Synergy. He graded out in the 58th percentile in the halfcourt, which is pretty decent given the nature of his offensive game, and in the 87th percentile in transition. His athleticism and prowess at finishing around the basket make him even more dangerous when he gets the opportunity to push the pace in those transition settings:
Seabron isn’t just a pure scorer, though—he can be relied upon to make good decisions with the ball in his hands. His AST/TO ratio of 1.33 doesn’t jump off the page, but Seabron is a solid passer who makes the right read most of the time. He usually takes advantage of when defenses collapse on him in the paint and kicks the ball out to shooters beyond the arc:
Some of his passes showcase his excellent decision-making and ability to read defenses on the fly. He knows how to wait until he’s drawn an opposing defender’s attention and then dish off to an open teammate once the defender gets caught ball-watching:
Seabron’s offensive rankings jump up when breaking down his possessions plus assists; he jumps to the 81st percentile overall, the 92nd percentile in transition, and the 64th percentile in the halfcourt in comparison to just his scoring numbers. He isn’t a primary point guard, but he does a good job of taking advantage of his scoring gravity to make his teammates better.
Now, let’s get to the elephant in the room with Seabron’s offensive game: his jump shot. Seabron shot just 25.6% from three-point range this past season, on just over one attempt per game. Despite his great handle, he was even more disastrous at shooting off the dribble; he shot an atrocious 19.2% (5-of-26) on off-the-dribble jumpers per Synergy, putting him in the 12th percentile on those looks.
While those numbers are certainly scary, there are also reasons to be encouraged about Seabron as a shooting threat long-term. For starters, his mechanics look decent and are pretty consistent; while he does have a bit of an elbow flair sometimes (especially on shots from the corners), his jump shot is far from broken:
Even on his misses, Seabron does not look out of place when he takes catch-and-shoot attempts. His off-the-dribble game as a shooter is far from ready, but there is plenty of reason for hope around his open spot-up looks:
Seabron graded out in the 58th percentile on spot-ups this past season, per Synergy, a far better-looking number than his raw percentage from downtown. He also showed dramatic improvements as a free-throw shooter; Seabron averaged 6.3 free-throw attempts per game this past season and knocked down 71.3% of those looks—well above his troubling 57.6% mark (although admittedly with a much smaller sample size) during his first college season.
Dereon Seabron might not be a three-point threat early on in his NBA career. However, his development as a free-throw shooter in college and his solid mark on spot-ups both show that he’s not a complete non-shooter. There’s certainly work for him to do on that front, but he might be able to hit open looks from deep much sooner than the raw numbers might indicate.
Defense: Perimeter Potential and Rebounding
Dereon Seabron’s NBA future is rooted in his offensive gifts, but he also has the potential to be a plus defender at the next level. While his defensive growth might take more time than his offensive development, he has the tools to contribute on the defensive end sooner rather than later.
Seabron has the size at 6’7” to defend guards and wings, even though his 180-pound frame might limit his success against bigger forwards early on in his NBA career. While he should be able to add muscle at the professional level, he won’t be able to defend power forwards at first, if ever. He is somewhat position-locked on the wing for now, which will make it harder to mitigate any potential spacing concerns.
Although his ability to defend down low might be in question, Seabron is far from being a negative defensively. His athleticism shines through on the defensive end as well as on offense; when he’s defending on-ball, he shows flashes of potential as a serious defensive weapon. He makes quick closeouts, and he is difficult to shake in on-ball situations:
Seabron ranked in the 48th percentile as a defender this past season, per Synergy. That ranking is a far cry from some of his more impressive offensive numbers, but it backs up his better moments on tape and further confirms that his defense is not going to be a severe hole in his game.
The other reason for hope for Seabron’s defensive development lies in the way that he can use his defense to be his best self—namely, as an absolutely destructive force in transition. Despite his skinny frame, Seabron is a spectacular rebounder for a wing and a ridiculous rebounder for a guard.
In addition to finishing second in the ACC in rebounds per game, Seabron finished fifth in offensive rebounds and ninth in defensive rebounds. His offensive rebounding helps his scoring game (especially since he graded out in the 81st percentile on putbacks, per Synergy), but his defensive rebounding is arguably even more important given how it can kickstart his team’s transition attack. Few prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft class are as adept at grab-and-go plays as Dereon Seabron:
In addition to his defensive rebounding ability, Seabron is also good at generating steals to kickstart transition plays. He averaged 1.4 SPG last season, and he showed prowess at jumping passing lanes in addition to snaring on-ball steals. Once he took the ball away and got out in transition, there was very little that anyone could do to stop him:
Dereon Seabron’s NBA stock might not be predicated on his defense, but he is far from being a weak point on that end of the floor. He showed flashes of exceptional on-ball defense, and his rebounds and steals feed well into his offensive game. There is still room for him to grow into his frame and his defensive game overall, but there are positive signs for his potential to develop into a really solid perimeter defender at the NBA level.
Dereon Seabron decided to keep his name in for the 2022 NBA Draft after the June 1st withdrawal deadline. Hopefully, that decision means that he has reasons to believe that he will end up on an NBA roster in some form or fashion by the time Summer League rolls around.
Although the stretch run of the season didn’t exactly go according to plan for either Seabron or the NC State Wolfpack, looking only at the end of the season does a disservice to Seabron’s stellar start. He still put together an incredible sophomore season, even if the numbers by the end of the year weren’t as exceptional as they were through the first half of the season.
In a 2022 class that is relatively light on ball-handlers who put pressure on the rim, Dereon Seabron stands out as a legitimate scoring threat around the basket in both halfcourt and transition settings. In addition to his offensive game, he also has a decent defensive baseline and the potential to develop into a real threat on that end of the floor as well. If his spot-up shooting and defense pan out, Seabron could easily be one of the biggest steals in the second round of the upcoming NBA Draft.