More than ever, three-point shooting is becoming a pivotal part of basketball. In 2011, Dorell Wright led the NBA in three-pointers made, with a total of 194, a lackluster score to Stephen Curry’s 337 this past season. This is also the year that the Houston Rockets would set a new franchise record for most three-pointers made in a game. With that being said, the demand for sharpshooting specialists is only increasing over time.
When looking for a player with the optimal size and excellent shooting accuracy, Joe Wieskamp may be the top steal of this year’s NBA Draft. The 6’7” wing is currently projected anywhere from the late first round to late second round. There are two plausible ways the Rockets can acquire the Iowa native, by either selecting Wieskamp in the first round or trading for him later on in the draft.
For those unfamiliar with the draft prospect, here is what there is to know. During his final year at Iowa, Wieskamp averaged 14.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists, with a 49.1 percent field goal percentage and 46.2 percent three-point percentage. He best resembles the likes of Duncan Robinson, Kevin Huerter, Joe Harris, Doug McDermott, and Pat Connaughton.
The wing’s momentum skyrocketed after an impressive performance at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. During one scrimmage, Wieskamp scored a team-high 26 points on 6-for-7 three-point shooting, along with grabbing 10 rebounds. Additionally, he recorded the fourth-highest max vertical leap and finished fourth in the lane agility drill. Keep in the mind, the combine was attended by more than 50 of the draft’s top prospects.
Wieskamp spent his college days at Iowa, playing alongside the undisputed NCAA National Player of the Year, Luka Garza. The dynamic duo are both enlisted in this year’s draft, following a second round exit from the annual NCAA tournament. The majority of scouts feel that Wieskamp’s talents will better transfer over to the NBA, especially after his dominance at the draft combine. Here’s what Wieskamp had to say about playing with Luka Garza.
“He’s a really hard worker… He wants to go out there and compete. Every possession, he’s going to work as hard as he can to help his team win. To play with a guy like that, that you know when you pass him the ball he’s going to go get a bucket, it’s a lot of fun. On the flip side, if teams come and double him, he’ll kick it out to me and I can knock down the shot. So I thought we did a good job of playing off each other. He’s a great teammate and I wish him all the best throughout this draft process and in the future”
What sticks out about Wieskamp is his selflessness on the court and value of team success. Instead of focusing on individual accolades, such as being named a Jerry West Award Finalist, he’s more interested in winning a championship. Don’t mistake this for a lack of leadership; as evident from his time at the combine, Wieskamp has the ability to take over a game. Rather, Wieskamp understands the reality of entering a professional system, especially in his rookie year. Here is what he has to say about playing in the NBA.
“I want to come in and contribute right away… Obviously, there are guys that are more ball-dominant and they’re going to make plays off the dribble. That’s probably not going to be my role at the beginning. My role is being a guy that can space out the floor, knock down the open three, make hustle plays, get rebounds, and do whatever I can to help my team win.”
Overall, Wieskamp has the size, deep-range accuracy, and potential to fit well on any NBA team’s roster. The Iowa product isn’t a speculative choice, but an underrated one. With the NBA Draft on Thursday, the Rockets will want to consider adding the sharpshooting wing to their watch list.