clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2019 NBA Draft - Community Draft Board: Versatile VA Tech Hokie Nickeil Alexander-Walker Takes 20

New, comments

The guard flashed a promising skillset in his two seasons

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Virginia Tech vs Duke Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Following Romeo Langford’s pedigree and tools taking him off the board at 19, we’re left with just 11 spots left to claim. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, a sophomore guard out of Virginia Tech, took the 20th slot in the last poll.

Now here is a prospect I was almost entirely unfamiliar with heading into this draft board ranking. A rangy guard at 6’5” and a half with a 6’9” wingspan to boot, he’s got the mold of a guy who can swing through several positions defensively. He sports some solid dribbling skills for a guy his size, likely honed from his time as a primary creator/scorer for the Virginia Tech Hokie squad.

The Canadian product spent just two years at VA Tech, but was a 38.3% shooter on just a tick over 300 3-point attempts, hitting 76.3% of his 207 charity stripe trips too. Another good sign is that he nearly doubled his 2-point attempts from his freshman year, yet shot an even higher percentage from that area. All those offensive skills mean he should be comfortable working from several different roles within the shooter archetype in the NBA. Whirling off screens, potentially getting defenders off-kilter with some dribble moves, sticking on the perimeter ready to catch-and-shoot. One drawback is that he’s not a great off-the-dribble shooter, but that’s a tough skill for anyone to exceed at regardless in the NBA. There are plenty of ways prominent teams can use a capable shooter with some potential as a low-rate bench playmaker.

What stood out most to me the more I watched was his savvy passing ability. I don’t think the Bucks can ever have enough guys with court vision and the chops to make crisp, smart passes when needed. Alexander-Walker certainly fits the pass-dribble-shoot ethos Bud installed were he to fall that far. In several different instances, you could see him making the right read whether he was penetrating and kicking to the opposite corner, working from the elbow as a post-up facilitator or passing back to a big on a pick-and-pop. His pick-and-roll success might not translate to the NBA, but it could be a very useful thing to pull out in a pinch if bench-heavy units are gasping for offensive playmaking. He has excellent spatial awareness and seemed to make on-point passes even while racing in transition.

As for his defense, that’s something this excellent Stepien article really harped upon, hypothsizing that he would transform into merely an Aaron Afflalo type, offensive skills with unfulfilled defensive potential. Were he to fall to 30, you bet I’m taking that as an outcome, but his slight frame could be holding him back from becoming the dogged defender his measurables point to. There were a few highlights of him making blocks from behind and jumping passing lanes, but nothing out of the ordinary for a college guard with his long arms.

Will his size prevent him from shifting all positions defensively? Probably. He doesn’t have the weight of a guy like Sterling Brown who isn’t as easy to knock off his spot. He’ll need to fill out his frame still, particularly since Nickeil isn’t a hyper-athlete. However, I like almost all the measurables and his passing has sold me on him beyond the obvious shooting potential. Out of all the guys we’ve covered thus far in this exercise, I’d be most excited if NAW fell to 30 for Milwaukee. He seems like an obvious fit, particularly if Brogdon were to leave in the offseason and the Bucks needed some extra juice at guard. He wouldn’t fill probably even half of Brogdon’s shoes, but there’s room to grow into the role as he matures.

Okay, let’s move onto the next spot on our big board and pick 21.

Poll

My pick for the #21 spot on the community draft board is...

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Cameron Johnson - PF, UNC
    (12 votes)
  • 21%
    Grant Williams - PF, Tennessee
    (7 votes)
  • 12%
    Keldon Johnson - SF, Kentucky
    (4 votes)
  • 9%
    Matisse Thybulle - SF, Washington
    (3 votes)
  • 9%
    Ty Jerome - SG, Virginia
    (3 votes)
  • 6%
    Dylan Windler - SF, Belmont
    (2 votes)
  • 6%
    Talen Horton-Tucker - SF, Iowa State
    (2 votes)
33 votes total Vote Now

Brew Hoop Draft Board Rankings

  1. Zion Williamson - PF, Duke
  2. Ja Morant - PG, Murray State
  3. Jarrett Culver - SG, Texas Tech
  4. R.J. Barrett - SG, Duke
  5. Darius Garland - PG, Vanderbilt
  6. Coby White - SG, UNC
  7. De’Andre Hunter - SF, Virginia
  8. Cam Reddish - SF, Duke
  9. Sekou Doumbouya - PF, Limoges CSP, France
  10. Nassir Little - SF, UNC
  11. Jaxson Hayes - C, Texas
  12. Rui Hachimura - PF, Gonzaga
  13. Brandon Clarke - PF, Gonzaga
  14. Goga Bitadze - C, Mega Bemax, Adriatic Basketball Association
  15. P.J. Washington - PF, Kentucky
  16. Kevin Porter Jr. - SG, USC
  17. Bol Bol - PF, Oregon
  18. Tyler Herro - SG, Kentucky
  19. Romeo Langford - SG, Indiana
  20. Nickeil Alexander-Walker - SG, Virginia Tech