Following the sweet stroke of Tyler Herro leaving the draft board at 18, we shift to a player whose shot remains unquestionably a question mark. Romeo Langford, the freshman guard out of Indiana who was a top-ten recruit in his class, takes the 19th spot over the likes of Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Grant Williams.
Despite Indiana failing to reach the NCAA tournament, this Hoosier wing carries a vaunted pedigree into the draft process. A homegrown Indiana talent, the fifth-ranked prospect in the 2018 class put together 16.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and nearly a block and steal each during his freshman campaign. On the surface, his 27.2% 3-point percentage on 125 attempts appears putrid. But unlike some of the other candidates within our countdown, he actually does have a higher volume of free throws that could reflect a more capable shooter, as he went 72.2% from the charity stripe. Impressively, he averaged just a tick over six free throw attempts per game on 12 field goal attempts. That sort of savviness could serve him well if his jump shot remains an iffy proposition.
Standing 6’6” with a 6’11” wingspan, he slots right into the prime measuables for a modern-day wing. His 26.1% usage rate at Indiana meant he was a massive hub of their entire outfit too. The Ringer posits that he could be a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope type, who has had his fair share of success against the Bucks in season’s past. That makes me think of a quick-twitch shooter with the defensive potential that never quite gets applied to its maximum effect on the court.
Unfortunately, there also had to be a reason why he couldn’t elevate Indiana to the upper echelons of the Big Ten standings. Plenty of that was probably due to his inferior teammates, but his heavy share of possessions means he takes plenty of blame too. For someone who drove the Hoosier’s ship, he apparently isn’t as functional as an off-ball player, not capitalizing on potential cutting lanes and stuffing up the court with his poor shooting. He looks more than comfortable with the ball in his hands and creating his own shot, but it’s the shot afterwards that worries me.
His release looks a little hitchy, with a longer wind-up that didn’t harm him in college when he was able to get to a stepback jumper with ease. Pulling up in traffic in the NBA will prove a far tougher proposition for him. The athletes in college obviously pale in comparison to the Big Leagues. However, he showed some decent flashes of being able to finish over longer rim defenders and through contact at the rim. He’s built well for his size, and some craft around the rim will be needed. I’m not sure he shows a lot of feel as a passer from the clips I saw.
Defensively, he translates as a prototypical wing with the strength to switch through positions if he puts it all together. Occasionally that side of the ball can wane in the transition to the next level, and as someone who has a rep as not the most locked-in defender from his time at Indiana, that mentality will not help him see any minutes at the next level.
If he fell to Milwaukee, even with the potential shooting woes, I feel like his pure measurables and defensive potential hold enough intrigue that he’s worth taking a shot on at 30. With his ability to drive and finish through contact, he could be a possible guy to groom for Eric Bledsoe’s aging curve. He doesn’t have nearly the same point guard instincts as Bled, but he seems to have the bowling ball mentality. The shot will be what ultimately decides whether he lives up to his billing or not, but I like the rough outlines of what’s there.
Let’s move onto the next slot on our draft board as we continue to make our way up to number 30.
My pick for the #20 spot on the community draft board is...
This poll is closed
Nickeil Alexander-Walker - SG, Va. Tech
Cameron Johnson - PF, UNC
Grant Williams - PF, Tennessee
Keldon Johnson - SF, Kentucky
Matisse Thybulle - SF, Washington
Ty Jerome - SG, Virginia
Dylan Windler - SF, Belmont
Brew Hoop Draft Board Rankings
- Zion Williamson - PF, Duke
- Ja Morant - PG, Murray State
- Jarrett Culver - SG, Texas Tech
- R.J. Barrett - SG, Duke
- Darius Garland - PG, Vanderbilt
- Coby White - SG, UNC
- De’Andre Hunter - SF, Virginia
- Cam Reddish - SF, Duke
- Sekou Doumbouya - PF, Limoges CSP, France
- Nassir Little - SF, UNC
- Jaxson Hayes - C, Texas
- Rui Hachimura - PF, Gonzaga
- Brandon Clarke - PF, Gonzaga
- Goga Bitadze - C, Mega Bemax, Adriatic Basketball Association
- P.J. Washington - PF, Kentucky
- Kevin Porter Jr. - SG, USC
- Bol Bol - PF, Oregon
- Tyler Herro - SG, Kentucky
- Romeo Langford - SG, Indiana