Small Forward, 6’9, 219 lbs. Junior, University of Wisconsin, 21 years old
2014-15 college stats:
31 minutes, 13.9 points, 52.5 FG%, 33.1 3P%, 70.8 FT%, 1.2 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, 25.5 PER.
Sam Dekker, the small forward out of Wisconsin, has been projected to go anywhere from 12-20. The Hawks, however, are one of his likely landing destinations. The 6’-9 forward can bring a lot of versatility to whichever team picks him on June 25. His size allows him the ability to play both the small forward and power forward positions, especially given the way the NBA has gone towards smaller lineups, as showcased in these NBA Finals. Dekker has the height, athleticism, and post game to play power forward in the NBA; however, he should add some more muscle to his 220 pound frame. He shot about 64% on 2-pointers, which is only two percent lower than Jahlil Okafor, who many say was the best offensive big man in the country.
Dekker is also a very good offensive rebounder for his position. In his last season as a Badger, Dekker averaged 1.9 offensive rebounds per game. He also averaged a total of 5.5 rebounds for the season, but that was down from 6.1 his sophomore year.
The junior can also be effective on defense at both positions. He’s not going to be a lockdown defender like Jimmy Butler or Kawhi Leonard, but Dekker is a smart player and can stay in front of players. Again, if he adds some size, it would help him play defense at the four, but he could play there when other teams go small for sure.
Lastly, Dekker is incredibly confident in his game. This can really bode well for him because he can shoot the ball, and when his shot isn’t falling, he will still believe that he can knock anything down.
One thing Sam Dekker really needs to work on is his consistency with his 3-point shooting. He shot 39% his freshman year, but fell to 32% his sophomore year, and 33% his junior year. In the NCAA Tournament, Dekker shot 5-for-6 from downtown against the Arizona Wildcats, but then shot 0-for-6 a week later in the championship game against the Duke Blue Devils. If Dekker can become more consistent with his outside shot, he could turn into a very good role player.
Another thing is that Dekker never averaged more than 1.4 assists for a season. With a usage rate of 23%, he’s going to really bring that up, especially if he wants to be like Gordon Hayward or Chandler Parsons.
Fit with the Atlanta Hawks:
The Hawks would draft Sam Dekker as insurance if DeMarre Carroll leaves in free agency. Dekker can play off the ball, is a good cutter, is a smart player, and if he can hit a 3 more consistently, he could be a very useful player in Mike Budenholzer’s system. He won’t have to create his own shot with guys like Al Horford and Jeff Teague on the floor, so he can just cut, and run off of screens for 3. The Hawks could certainly do worse here, but there might be more upside in drafting someone like Bobby Portis or Kelly Oubre.