Taylor Hendricks NBA Draft Analysis

May 8, 2023, 5:26 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2023, 3:26 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 Central Florida forward Taylor Hendricks.

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 Taylor Hendricks performed in his lone season at Central Florida.

Taylor Hendricks Strengths

Averages: 15.1 ppg | 7.0 RPG | 1.4 APG | 47 FG% | 39 3Pt % | 78 FT%

Before even watching Hendricks it’s easy to recognize that the Knights freshman has one of the most impressive statistical profiles in all of college basketball as a scorer, rebounder, and shooter.

Standings 6-foot-9 with a 210 lbs frame, Hendricks has prototypical size for a modern big man and could potentially see time on the floor at all three frontcourt positions.

From day one in the NBA, Hendricks will be a floor spacer who punishes defenses that sag off of him in the corners, while finishing above the rim as a backdoor cutter and in transition.

His smooth shooting stroke, mixed with his size will be a strong combo to keep him in the NBA well beyond his rookie contract.

Though it wasn’t his primary role in college, Hendricks showed rare flashes as a face-up threat taking his man off the dribble and finishing at the rim. With further development and improved NBA spacing, he could become more of a shot-creator than he was in college.

While he averaged only 1.4 assists per game, Hendricks has a knack for making quick passes near the rim to teammates cutting to the basket. There’s a strong likelihood that the lack of talent around him at UCF hurt his assist numbers.

Defensively, Hendricks offers excellent length, especially near the rim where he showed strong instincts as a shot-blocker swatting 1.7 shots per game. The Florida native gets off the floor quickly to challenge shots at the rim and does so with excellent verticality.

Due to his length and athleticism, Hendricks projects as a potentially high-level switch defender on the perimeter, something every team in the NBA is looking for.

Taylor Hendricks Weaknesses

While Hendricks’s numbers jump off the stat sheet, as does his physical profile when he’s on the court, there are clear warts in his came the more you watch him.

Hendricks has regular lapses in focus on both ends of the floor. On offense, it’s not unusual to see him play carelessly with the ball in his hand either bringing it too low in the paint or lacking awareness of help defenders around him on the perimeter.

Defensively, there are occasional late reactions that push him out of positions where he doesn’t have the elite recovery speed to get back into the play, despite his terrific length. Hendricks doesn’t have the cleanest defensive footwork among lottery bigs.

If he doesn’t develop as a face-up scorer, he’ll be almost totally reliant on those around him to create shots for him, requiring strong passers to feed him the ball. That’s not a fatal flaw, but it would significantly limit his star potential.

Unlike some of the more intuitive players in the lottery, Hendricks can’t be described as a “right place at the right time” prospect consistently. Few players in the top half of the draft can rival Hendricks statistically, but others may make a bigger impact on a play-to-play basis.

Though he has good touch as a shooter, Hendricks doesn’t have elite hands, fumbling passes and rebounds more frequently than one would expect.

Taylor Hendricks Overall

Overall, there are so few players on the planet with Hendricks combination of size, shooting, and production on both ends of the floor that he’s a safe bet to live up to his lottery billing and produce at a high level in the NBA.

Hendricks was one of the biggest risers in the draft after entering his freshman season as the 46th-ranked recruit in the country hinting at significant untapped potential at the next level.

With more talented teammates in the NBA, Hendricks strengths as a shooter and defender could truly shine on the right roster.

However, without elite skills as a shot creator, so-so hands, and average instincts, Hendricks overall star potential may not be as high as his averages and highlights tapes would imply.

Teams looking for a true number-one option won’t find that in Hendricks, but he’s a relatively safe bet to be a high-impact NBA player for a number of years.

Where Will Taylor Hendricks Get Drafted?

Due to his excellent combination of size, athleticism, shot blocking, and three-point shooting, Hendricks has a draft range as early as pick five to the Detroit Pistons to as low as pick 10 with the Dallas Mavericks.

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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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Taylor Hendricks NBA Draft Analysis