Kobe Bufkin Prospect Watch: He’s on the Rise

Kobe Bufkin
Photo: Paul Sancya | AP

The Michigan Wolverines and San Antonio Spurs have something in common. Both had pretty disappointing seasons, but the Spurs were expected not to be very good. Michigan should have been much better. They looked to turn the corner near mid-season, which was right around the time guard Kobe Bufkin started heating up on the court and on draft boards.

The 6-foot-4, 195-pound sophomore finally figured out his role and everything just started clicking for him. He was shooting better, passing better, and making better decisions, and made coach Juwan Howard’s decision to keep him as a starter look smart. The tweener guard had some draft experts projecting him to go in the lottery with his play and there are quite a few people who are high on his upside. Here are his stats from last season in his 33 games.

  • 14.0 PPG, 1.9 TOPG, 2.9 APG, 4.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG
  • 48.2 FG%, 35.5 3P%, 84.9 FT%
  • 19.2 PER, 112.8 ORtg, 101.6 DRtg

Kobe Bufkin Breakdown

What will make teams salivate over Bufkin is his age. Despite being a sophomore, he was actually the youngest player on the Michigan roster. Knowing that and what he’s capable of currently, makes projecting what he could become quite fun and surely will intrigue NBA teams. He’s what baseball guys call a “five-tool player” in that there is no one thing he is exceptional at, but there are several areas of his game that are quite good. And just to demonstrate how important he was for Michigan, here are some pretty telling stats:

He’s a solid defender who can likely guard both backcourt positions in the NBA. He’s not going to lock down guys. However, he’s not going to easily get beat off the dribble or lose awareness often. Bufkin is a solid rebounder at his position, which coaches always love to see since he should be a player with the ball in his hands at times. If Bufkin can prove himself to be consistent in workouts at all three levels when it comes to scoring, then he should see himself getting some serious lottery looks.

The former Michigan man may find that his biggest weakness is actually that he’s not elite at one particular skill. He is also a bit undersized if he is going to be playing off the ball as a guard. If he can improve shot-creating for others as well, then that would be a huge boon to his draft stock.


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