NBA Mock Draft: could the Wizards draft this former high school star?

Emoni Bates of the Eastern Michigan Eagles handles the rock against the Detroit Mercy Titans (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Emoni Bates of the Eastern Michigan Eagles handles the rock against the Detroit Mercy Titans (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

With the season coming to an end for Eastern Michigan on Friday, so ends the collegiate career of Emoni Bates. A player we have all seen on high school highlight reels as he was supposed to be the next big thing in basketball but fizzled out before breaking out in his second season.

He averaged 19,2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists while leading the Eastern Michigan Eagles to three wins on the season. While these aren’t great numbers for a player on a bad team, it’s good enough for many to believe he could go early in the second round of the upcoming NBA draft.

The Washington Wizards have the Chicago Bulls second round pick this year which should land in the 35-40 range if nothing huge changes in the final stretch of the season. This sets them up to possibly draft the high school legend.

How could Emoni Bates help the Washington Wizards going forward?

To start off, Bates has an insanely high ceiling. He is six-foot nine with the ability to stretch the floor and has a high-quality handle. The only reason he isn’t going higher is the fact that his floor is low due to his thin frame. He is only 190 pounds despite his height. This may cause teams to look at other, safer options.

However, this risk is exactly what makes the Wizards the perfect location for the national phenom. They can afford to take risks late in the draft and are in desperate need of a big hit in the draft. This seems like the perfect prospect for the team.

If the Wizards decide to draft Bates and his thin frame holds him back from ever having an impact on an NBA team, they aren’t hurt by the selection. However, if he is a huge hit and taps into the potential that many saw in him during his time in high school, then it can take the team over the top. It’s the perfect low risk, high reward move for a middling team.

What can Emoni Bates do on a basketball court?

Bates isn’t the most athletic and features a negative wingspan, despite this, he is able to get to the bucket and finish at the rim. He is capable of contorting his body to hit shots around defenders or rise up and just dunk it over them.

He is also a great shooter as he can pull up over defenders with ease. In fact, that’s where most of his jumpers come from. This explains why his percentages are so much lower than one might expect from a scorer like him. It will be interesting to see what he can do if given more open shots.

Another good explanation for his efficiency is his lack of quickness and strength. While he is great at pushing his weight around, bigger defenders can give him problems. This causes him to have trouble getting good lanes at times which leads to settling for tough jump shots.

There isn’t much to note about his defense. Since he has yet to play at the professional level, it can be incredibly difficult to judge how he will look on that end of the floor. With limited quickness and a negative wingspan, it’s possible that his output on that end becomes limited.

The key areas that the Wizards would need to focus on with Bates if they were to draft him are his playmaking, strength, and decision making. Those are the only areas where he has shown any true weakness on offense. If they can develop those so that he can make the right play 85% of the time while bringing him up to 220 pounds, he could be a scary matchup for opposing defenses.

If the Washington Wizards decide to select Emoni Bates using the Chicago Bulls’ second round pick they would be given a high ceiling player while taking little to no risk. It is the perfect move for the franchise and could be the key to winning a championship in the future.

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