5. Dylan Windler, SF, Belmont
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 195 | Age: 22
Draft range: 25-36
There’s no better place to begin than with one of the best shooters in the entire 2019 NBA Draft class, Belmont’s Dylan Windler. Luckily for basketball fans who ignore the college game until March rolls around, Belmont was able to secure an at-large bid after running into the buzzsaw that was the Ja Morant-led Murray State Racers in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.
After taking a backseat in a thorough and collective victory over Temple in the First Four, Windler stepped into his rightful place among NBA fans with a mesmerizing performance against a Maryland team that featured two legit future NBA frontcourt players in Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith. Windler dropped 35 points on 11-of-23 shooting — featuring a stellar 7-of-14 from 3 — to go along with 11 rebounds.
Despite Belmont falling short in that game, Windler verified exactly why he was on the periphery of the All-American conversation all season. For the 2018-19 NCAA season, his senior year, Windler averaged 21.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game on shooting splits of .540/.429/.847.
Even more encouragingly, Windler’s high basketball IQ is evident from both watching him and looking at his stats; this shot profile fits in perfectly with the modern NBA:
Windler is not even an average NBA athlete, which is the reason he isn’t a lock to go in the first round on June 20, but his smarts, shooting and size will keep him in the league. At the NBA Draft Combine in May, Windler measured 6’7.5” in shoes with an 8’8.5” standing reach and a 6’10” wingspan — extraordinarily similar to Zion Williamson’s measurements.
Scouts have worried about him needing to run after opposing small forwards in the NBA, but Windler, per NBC Philadelphia’s Noah Levick, has put on some weight in an attempt to get stronger:
If Windler can guard power forwards at the next level, it will all the easier to hide him on defense, either letting him hold his own against 4s or disrupt smaller perimeter players with his size.
Offensively is where Windler will stick. Besides being a knockdown shooter, he has always been a heady player who moves well without the ball. Here’s ESPN draft guru Mike Schmitz breaking down Windler’s skill-set:
Windler won’t be asked to create much at the next level, as he lacks the vision similar players like Joe Ingles have, but between his shooting, cutting and ability to make the simple pass, he can step into a playoff-caliber NBA offense and contribute. If all goes well, he could replicate the kind of success Kevin Huerter had this season.