Spurs Prospect Watch: Bennie Boatwright

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The San Antonio Spurs have to be feeling pretty good after notching a win against the East-leading Milwaukee Bucks Sunday night. They’re in the playoffs right now with a 38-29 record and look to be jockeying for the 7th seed with the Clippers. However, we’re going to take a look to June and what the Spurs might do in the NBA Draft.

Our prospect to watch this week is USC big man Bennie Boatwright. The 6-foot-10, 235-pound senior was teammates with current Spur Chimezie Metu so it’s likely that he put in a good word for his buddy. Of course, we still have to do our research and that’s undoubtedly why you’re here reading about him. Here are some of his stats from this past season:

  • 18.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.6 BPG
  • 47.4 FG%, 42.9 3P%, 70.2 FT%
  • 23.2 PER, 120.5 ORtg, 102.5 DRtg

Boatwright is a good shooter at his size and has a smooth shooting motion to complement his abilities. Boatwright and USC will not be making a tournament appearance, which will affect March Madness betting and getting some extra looks at him, but if you watch him play, his movement and style might remind you of Orlando big man Nikola Vucevic. Even his shot looks similar to the one-time All-Star. However, he also has some of Vucevic’s defensive tendencies from early in his career. He doesn’t have the foot speed to keep up on the perimeter with the quicker power forwards in the league and does not protect the rim as well as teams might like. But he makes up for a lot of that with his offensive game.

The Trojan will post up, but he doesn’t ever bully his way to the rim and often settles for jump shots. He does tend to make those shots, but the toughness you like to see in a big man isn’t quite there. However, he can play a couple of positions thanks to his size and could be a small-ball center at the NBA level. He’s great at facing up and he’s got good enough handles to take bigger and slower guys off the dribble. He can handle the ball in the open court as well as make a couple of moves to get by non-guard defenders.

Despite his free throw percentage this season, Boatwright is a good free throw shooter, so he will be able to stay in games late when they’re close and not be a liability. He will likely need to gain some strength as well as shore up his post game. Both should be doable with some time spent in Austin. He can also work on his defense there as he doesn’t garner enough blocks or collect enough rebounds to really be considered a rim protector or defensive stopper.

The Spurs should look to grab Boatwright in the second round if he is still available by then as he would be a bit of a steal where they are expected to pick. He would likely not be able to help the team immediately but would be a good project to have fleshed out in two or three years’ time.

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