Jayhawk Breakdown: NBA scout sizes up Quentin Grimes’ pro prospects

photo by: AJ Mast/AP Photo

Kansas guard Quentin Grimes (5) goes around Michigan State guard Matt McQuaid (20) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Indianapolis. Kansas won. 92-87.

It’s officially May, and that means it’s draft season for the folks in the NBA and dozens of draft hopefuls who will spend the next several weeks working to impress that one NBA scout, coach or GM just enough to get a shot at a pro career.

It won’t happen for all of them, of course. And several of them will return to college next season, a move that has become even easier to make under new rules that allow players to test the waters with help from an agent while maintaining their college eligibility.

With the NBA’s pre-draft combine slated for May 14-19 in Chicago, and a new G League prospect combine on the books for May 12-14 in The Windy City, the next few weeks will be key for all kinds of college players hoping to turn pro.

Included on that list, of course, are four Jayhawks — Dedric Lawson, Quentin Grimes, Devon Dotson and Silvio De Sousa — and several other notable names.

With that in mind, I recently caught up with an NBA scout who works for a team in the Eastern Conference to discuss his franchise’s breakdown of those four Jayhawks and their chances in the June 20 draft in New York City.

The scout shared the information on the condition that neither he nor the team would be identified so he could provide a thorough look at strengths, weaknesses, areas each player needs to work on most and their outlook for the next couple of months.

Former Kansas guard Lagerald Vick was in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday, participating in a pre-draft workout with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. And in Part I of this series we took a look at the scout’s breakdown of All-American junior Dedric Lawson.

Today, we move on to one of the more polarizing players to come through KU in a while, freshman guard Quentin Grimes.

At the time Grimes committed to Kansas, he was a projected lottery pick and a Top 10 talent. Had he been able to jump directly to the NBA out of high school — a move that may soon be an option again if the NBA elects to get rid of the one-and-done rule — Grimes’ life as he knows it may be very different than it is today.

Instead, the 6-foot-5 guard with NBA size and a variety of skills finds himself in the position of having to prove that he belongs.

Although he was not exactly sure when or whether his franchise would take him, the scout believes Grimes will be drafted in June if he stays in the draft and added that he “could see a team that has patience take him in a heartbeat.”

First, the good stuff.

Offensive strengths:

• Quick trigger with a shot that looks like a laser.

• Can finish through contact in transition.

• Unselfish. Make the right plays and makes good passes, with good handles for someone his size. Has the ability to become a reliable secondary ball handler.

Defensive strengths:

• Grimes has really good size and feet and contains other guards at his size/position really well.

Now let’s move to the areas that have led some to wonder whether Grimes will get drafted.

Offensive weaknesses:

• Has shown struggles to make plays for himself inside the arc.

• When he isn’t making shots from distance, how does he affect the game?

Defensive weaknesses:

• Because of his focus on being ready to slide and move his feet to defend, he can fail to close out to shooters with his hands up.

Grimes is still young and it’s clear that his game has a lot of potential and room for growth. KU coach Bill Self, at the team’s season-ending banquet last month, said he believed Grimes had his best basketball ahead of him and encouraged the power guard from The Woodlands, Texas, to go prove that he belongs in the NBA.

The scout does not believe that’s a reach.

“His rotation, lift and arch all check out,” he said.

Now, it’s up to Grimes to show NBA personnel that he can do more than knock down jumpers with good form.

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