clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

KU Draft Profile: Malik Newman

New, 3 comments

A look at how Newman may fare on draft night

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Villanova vs Kansas Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

When Malik Newman got to Kansas, the understanding was that the McDonald's All-American transfer from Mississippi State would play only one year in Lawrence. While that proved to be true, that one year didn't turn out quite as anyone expected.

After being up and down (and occasionally sluggish) through most of the season, Newman caught fire in March, scorching the nets for 72 points (24 ppg) in the Big 12 Tournament, followed by 108 points (21.6 ppg) in the Big Dance. During that time, he shot 30-56 (53.6%) from beyond the three point line. Not a bad impression to make as he goes to a league that values shooting above all else.

At 6'3, Newman needs to prove to the NBA's decision makers that he can consistently impress beyond the arc. He shot a fantastic 41.5% from three in his lone season at Kansas, but was sitting at just 36.9% through regular season play. If he showed scouts in workouts that March Malik is the real Malik, he could have some teams eager to grab him, most likely in the second round.

His height will be a bit of a detriment in the NBA, as 6'3 shooting guards generally need a broad skill set to survive. Newman played solid on-ball perimeter defense last year, but like his teammates, he had a tendency to over-help and allow open three point looks. He certainly didn't showcase anything that would lead you to assume he'll be a plus defender against taller, more athletic competition at the next level.

Fortunately, there is precedent in the modern NBA for an offense-heavy guard and no abundance of size. Lou Williams carved a niche in Los Angeles as a 6'1 sparkplug who came in off the bench and scored in bunches. Given what Newman contributed in the postseason at Kansas, he may find a way to develop into a similar player. It would help if he could handle the point, but it's worth noting that Bill Self didn't like him enough in that role to even shift him over for a few minutes to let Devonte Graham catch his breath.

Most mocks seem to have Newman getting drafted in the bottom half of the second round. There's likely some question as to whether his scoring will translate to the next level, given that neither his size or height are anything to write home about, and 6'3 three point specialists just aren't that hard to find.