Grant Nelson Prospect Watch: Second Round Star


The San Antonio Spurs are in the same spot that they were before the All-Star break. That is to say, they are near the bottom of the league and while that guarantees them a rather high draft pick, they still have a second-round pick to consider. With that pick, one player to consider is North Dakota State junior Grant Nelson.

The 6-foot-11, 235-pound Bison is fun to watch and dominates at times at the Summit League level. He’s athletic and loves to finish above the rim when possible, but still has a few things he can work on when he does get to the next level. He needs to clean up his handle a bit, work on his decision-making, and speed up his shot. But these are all things that can be mitigated by him not being the go-to scorer at the next level. Through 25 games on the season, here are his stats.

  • 17.6 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.7 BPG
  • 52.8 FG%, 25.3 3P%, 70.4 FT%
  • 28.1 PER, 112.0 ORtg, 99.3 DRtg

Grant Nelson Breakdown

Nelson is fun in that he can handle fairly well for a big man, although he is a bit loose with it at times. He can take defenders off the dribble, he loves to finish at the rim and get going downhill. He’s pretty nice in the post, but he loves to go over his left shoulder and if you cut him off from doing that, he can struggle. He shoots it fairly inside the arc but is not necessarily a great catch-and-shoot player yet.

Nelson will have to get quicker and has to become a better on-ball defender. He gets blown by way too often by forwards and doesn’t recover well. He’s better as a help/off-ball defender right now and that’s what has helped him rack up his block numbers. He doesn’t sit down in a stance as well as he should right now, but he gets up and contests well with his length and explosiveness.

Nelson is solidly in the second-round discussion right now thanks to his athleticism and some hype from the social media machine. However, he plays in the Summit League, which is definitely lesser competition. He doesn’t dominate as much as you might like to see for someone who could play at the NBA level, but he could still add some depth to the Spurs’ frontcourt if they decide they won’t make moves in free agency.



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