Ashton Hagans and Nick Richards don’t generate the same amount of buzz as fellow Kentucky draft hopefuls Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley, but both were listed as potential second-round sleepers in a recent article by Yahoo Sports’ Krysten Peek. Peek singled Hagans and Richards out as two of five players she believes could have boosted their draft stock in the postseason but didn’t get that chance due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Peek praised Hagans’ defense and distribution, and said if he shows progress with his outside shot, he could be a steal.
“Hagans is excellent in iso situations, making 63 percent of his shots off the dribble in one-on-one matchups. He prefers playing downhill and likes to get to the rim or dish to a teammate. In catch-and-shoot situations, he only made nine of 33 attempts. Hagans is a true point guard who is athletic and can facilitate an offense, but in a point guard-heavy draft, he could fall. If Hagans can develop his outside shot, he might end up being one of the best players to come out of this draft.”
As for Richards, Peek notes that he struggled to get on the court his first two seasons, but the improvement he showed in year three should be incentive enough for a team to draft him in October.
“Even though Richards is already 22 years old, there is still room for growth. This past season, according to Synergy Sports, Richards ranked in the 98th percentile offensively, scoring 431 points on 367 shooting possessions. Seventy-eight percent of his points came in the paint in post-ups, and the 6-foot-11 prospect shot 75.2 percent from the free-throw line. The modern-day NBA game caters to guards and playmakers, but teams still need bigs. The improvement Richards showed his junior year could be a springboard to his NBA potential.”
With the draft now scheduled for October, get ready for a long summer of speculation.