Cason Wallace NBA Draft Analysis

May 2, 2023, 3:59 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz own three first-round selections in the 2023 NBA draft, and one of the players they’ll consider in June is Kentucky guard Cason Wallace.

With a top 10 pick, the 16th pick, and the 28th pick in the first round, the Jazz will work out an enormous swath of players projected to be selected throughout the draft.

Let’s look at how likely lottery pick Cason Wallace performed in his lone season at Kentucky, and how he’d fit with the Jazz.

Cason Wallace Strengths

Averages: 11.7 ppg | 3.7 RPG | 4.3 APG | 44 FG% | 34 3Pt % | 75 FT%

The most celebrated aspect of Wallace’s game is on the defensive end where the freshman has a high basketball IQ, great instincts, and terrific hands.

Wallace averaged 2.0 steals per game, and was a uniquely good shot blocker against jump shooters in his first season with the Wildcats.

Unlike some overly aggressive defenders, Wallace found himself in foul trouble only seven times in his 32 games at Kentucky and fouled out just once in the final game of his college career.

Offensively, Wallace is a comfortable creator who can make the required passes to initiate an offense both in the half-court and in transition.

The guard is a crafty finisher near the rim which is where he does most of his damage as a scorer, but is likely a better three-point shooter than his 34 percent completion rate would suggest.

Wallace knocked down multiple threes in 14 outings for Kentucky this season, including two games when he knocked down five deep balls, showing that his three-point ability could improve in time at the next level.

Despite playing in a difficult offensive system at Kentucky that heavily favored dumping the ball into Oscar Tshiebwe, Wallace would take over games for short stretches creating fast break opportunities with his defense, or flashing his range as a three-point shooter.

Cason Wallace Weaknesses

Unlike some of the recent guards from Kentucky to succeed in the NBA (John Wall, Tyrese Maxey, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Immanuel Quickley) Wallace doesn’t have the explosive speed or athleticism that would allow him to create a lot of offense for himself.

Despite generating a lot of steals and deflections on defense, Wallace was not the one-man fastbreak that other defensive-minded guards have turned into a calling card.

In the halfcourt, Wallace didn’t show the elite first step to get by his defender nor the ball-handling skills or footwork to create space as a three-point shooter.

While he can dominate stretches of games on both ends, he also tends to float for long stretches, especially on the offensive end. Again, some of that may be due to Kentucky’s post-heavy attack, but there were times when Kentucky needed a guard to carry a larger load, and Wallace wasn’t the obvious answer.

Though he averaged a healthy 4.3 assists per game, he doesn’t have elite vision nor an advanced feel as a playmaker. Wallace will be better served as a secondary ball handler early in his career as the rest of his game fills out.

If Wallace does prove to be a better shooter in the NBA than he was in college his dribble-drive game will likely improve, but if not, he could struggle to score at the next level.

Cason Wallace Overall

As a top 10 player coming out of high school and the Texas Player of the Year, Wallace didn’t disappoint in his only season at Kentucky, but didn’t fully solidify himself as a guaranteed top 10 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Kentucky has a history of guards underwhelming in college, only to outperform their draft position in the NBA, which could be the case for Wallace, but he lacks some of the athleticism and shooting that allowed those players to break through.

Wallace is a relatively safe bet to stick in the NBA due to his 6-foot-4 frame, defensive impact, and steady offensive game, but he will need to grow considerably on the offensive end to be considered a high-end scorer or playmaker at the next level.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Cason Wallace NBA Draft Analysis