Lakers Nation NBA Draft Profiles: D.J. Wilson, Michigan

Lakers Nation NBA Draft Profiles: D.J. Wilson, Michigan

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D.J. Wilson

Height: 6’11
Weight: 234 pounds
Wingspan: 7’3
School: Michigan
Position: Power Forward
Class: Sophomore

Strengths

D.J. Wilson is beginning to rise up some draft boards as he has all of the tools of a modern day NBA big man.

Offensively, Wilson has a very interesting skill set as he plays more like a guard than a traditional big. He has legit three-point range and is a very good ball-handler for his size which makes him difficult for normal bigs to keep up with.

Defensively is very versatile, showing the ability to keep up with guards on the perimeter, but is also a solid rim protector averaging 2.0 blocks per-40 minutes last season. Not only will he play power forward, but he should be able to thrive as a small-ball center who can stretch the floor and protect the rim.

He works hard on the glass and his length and athleticism allow him to come down with some rebounds and he plays with a high motor on both ends of the floor, but he will definitely need to improve as a rebounder overall.

Weaknesses

The main concern for D.J. Wilson involves his toughness in the paint. He has a perimeter based game and struggles in the paint on both ends. Physical players will give him troubles and push him around at times.

Wilson just isn’t good with contact down low and settles for fadeaways and floaters as opposed to attacking aggressively, even with smaller players on him.

His awareness on the defensive end can wane at times and he loses focus. This especially occurs when playing defense off-the-ball as he can lose track of his man or be out of position when trying to play help defense.

Wilson could also stand to improve his passing and playmaking overall. For someone who can put the ball on the floor as good as he can, he should be better able to create for others. His decision making can be hit or miss at times.

Player Comparison: Lamar Odom

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Lamar Odom Lakers
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Eventually as he got older, Lamar Odom was able to improve on traditional big man things like rebounding, but for the most part he was basically a seven-foot guard. Odom was far better handling the ball on the perimeter than battling down low on the block.

Wilson has some of the same concerns as someone who is more comfortable on the perimeter than the paint. Odom was a better passer, while Wilson projects as a better shooter, but both could cause major match-up problems on the offensive end.

The biggest thing for Wilson will be improving his playmaking ability. At his size with his ball-handling, he will be very difficult to deal with for the average big man, just like Odom was at his best.

Fit with the Lakers

A big man who can handle the ball, stretch the floor out to three-point range, and protect the rim? Someone like Wilson can fit on just about any team, but he would be outstanding for the Lakers.

Luke Walton likes his bigs to be able to grab rebounds and push the break, something Julius Randle was excellent at last season and Larry Nance Jr. is improving on as well. Wilson will be able to do that, but also projects as a better rim protector than either Randle or Nance.

If he develops the way a coach would hope, Wilson would give the Lakers the ability to go ‘small’ on offense and be able to spread the floor, but without sacrificing ideal size and rim protection on defense. The toughness is a concern, but there are some excellent tools there to work with.