The San Antonio Spurs await the NBA Draft lottery in the coming weeks. While they don’t know where they’re picking in the draft yet, they do have some options later in the draft if they want to trade back. One of those options may be Duke freshman forward Dariq Whitehead who is expected to go later in the first round.
The 6-foot-7, 220-pound wingman came into the season heralded as a superb athlete and slasher. However, he suffered some injuries and was not terribly consistent throughout the season. Despite losing some of his athleticism, Whitehead found ways to make up for it, mostly with his shooting and defensive upside. Here are his stats from the season in the 28 games he played.
- 8.3 PPG, 0.8 SPG, 1.0 APG, 2.4 RPG
- 42.1 FG%, 42.9 3P%, 79.3 FT%
- 14.1 PER, 104.1 ORtg, 99.7 DRtg
Dariq Whitehead Breakdown
YESSIR RIQ @dariq_whitehead
📺 ESPN pic.twitter.com/MXfF7jBzPY
— Duke Men’s Basketball (@DukeMBB) December 7, 2022
Whitehead should get major credit for fighting back from injuries and still making an impact on a team that found itself in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament. He became a pretty dead eye shooter and had some big moments throughout the season. Should his athleticism return to its full status, he is going to be a huge steal late in the first or early in the second round.
The shooting is going to be crucial for teams taking a look at him. As well as his continuing improvement with mobility and getting his athleticism back. He is a high-IQ defender. However, his ceiling will only truly be reached if he can get back to his pre-foot injury status. He will have to prove he can move his feet well and stay in front of faster wings, but he has the strength and wingspan to handle most of them right now.
Dariq Whitehead yesterday:
3-3 3PT pic.twitter.com/kWzpYlb9Gr
— Blue Devils (@BlueDevils) March 17, 2023
The former Duke Blue Devil can struggle to score in traffic and he is not super great inside the arc. However, the three-point shooting and the free throw shooting portend some potential to get that fixed at the next level. He’s shown that he is a smart player on offense. However, he can be a bit turnover and his shot decisions are not superb right now. Whitehead is getting drafted on potential and the hope he returns to his old form. That alone will get him drafted in the 20s.