Virginia Tech’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker is looking to join his cousin Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the NBA. The shooting guard has been really impressive this year as a sophomore. While Alexander-Walker was once projected a Top-10 pick, the buzz died down and some other players emerged in the NCAA to push him down the draft a bit. Still, the versatile guard could be picked up in the lottery of the 2019 NBA Draft.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker strips Cam Reddish and gives the extra effort on the loose ball. Love this pic.twitter.com/eajFmE9xjW
— Gabe (@AllDaySportTalk) May 31, 2019
Size and Defensive Effort
Nickeil Alexander-Walker has developed himself into a pretty good defender. A long, slender frame, Alexander-Walker is able to poke balls away and block shots unexpectedly. This season he averaged 1.9 steals a game. He weighed 205 pounds, stood 6’5.5″ and touted a great, 6’9.5″ wingspan at the NBA Draft Combine. His measurables are all on par with prototypical NBA two guards. He also has the added bonus of being a ball carrier at times during his college career and even had to play the four position at one point against Wake Forest this season. His effort and versatility are going to help him thrive in the NBA.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s length also allows him to score over taller defenders. Much like his cousin Shai, Alexander-Walker often gets points sneaking into the paint for a runner or awkward layup. In his sophomroe season with the Hokies, he averaged 16.2 points a game on 47.4% shooting from the field. His three-point shot falls at a clip of 37.4% as well. He has great form and a very quick release on his shot and scores from in close, mid-range, and from deep.
From the limited amount of time that media saw him this morning, Nickeil Alexander-Walker can shoot the ball really well pic.twitter.com/zIr3eM50Ub
— Jason Huber (@_JasonHuber) May 31, 2019
Physically, the only things Alexander-Walker has an issue with are his wide shoulders and skinny frame. Adding muscle is going to be important at the next level. While he has the ability to score over taller defenders, he has issues finishing with contact and making his way to the free throw line. His athleticism is a concern as well as his turnovers, averaging almost three turnovers a game. Making his body more NBA ready while also cutting down on giveaways is going to be important at the next level for the young guard.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker NBA Comparison: Spencer Dinwiddie
Entering the league as a Second Round Pick, Spencer Dinwiddie stood 6’6″ and weighed 205 pounds so the physical build similarities between these players is there on top of also playing alike. Both are versatile on offense, able to score on all levels, and they’re both able to defend well at the guard positions. There were also issues with Dinwiddie’s assertiveness coming into the league, which is a knock on Nickeil Alexander-Walker as he enters the 2019 NBA Draft. A lot of players get knocked for lack of assertiveness when they play calm and collected, and I think this may be the issue with Alexander-Walker. But having a comparison to one of the NBA’s most improved players that also excels in a role off the bench isn’t a bad thing for the lottery hopeful.
Of course, he isn’t the most aggressive, but a guy who averages almost two steals a game has shown some flashes of aggressiveness on the defensive end. I believe Alexander-Walker will develop faster than Dinwiddie did, and that will be an awesome thing for whoever drafts him.