Dwight Powell, 6-foot-10 power forward, Stanford
2013-14 stats: 14.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 46.2 FG%, 1.3 steals
A native of Toronto who finished his prep career in Florida, Powell was one of the most versatile big men in college basketball. Leading Stanford in assists, Powell has an intriguing, polished inside-outside game to go with good size for his position. Still, while he’s found a niche as an all-around player, questions remain about whether Powell’s finesse style of play will be as effective in the NBA.
Career highlights: The Canadian made an immediate impact as a freshman, averaging 8.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game to earn Pac-12 all-freshman team honors, before a down year as a sophomore saw him post averages of 5.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, as Stanford won the NIT championship. Powell bounced back in a major way as a junior, averaging 14.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 blocks per game, while shooting 45.5 percent from three-point range and 79.6 percent from the foul line, earning first team all-conference and most improved player recognition along the way. His senior year, Powell’s per-game averages of 14 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals helped lead the Cardinal to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, again winning first team all-league accolades, as well as the conference’s scholar-athlete of the year award.
[NBA DRAFT PROFILE: Connecticut's Shabazz Napier]
Strengths: Equipped with uncanny ball skills for his size, the offense often ran through Powell, who possesses excellent court vision and ballhandling skills for a big man. He’s also a solid athlete with good fluidity, the ability to run the floor in transition and knock down mid-range jumpers. Powell’s footwork and soft touch enables him to score in the post and he’s capable of being a presence on the boards.
Weaknesses: As skilled as his finesse game is, Powell isn’t the most physical player and has a tendency to not finish strong around the basket or hit the glass to the best of his ability. Susceptible to being pushed around on the block, he falls victim to settling for low-percentage perimeter shots on occasion. Given his talent, understanding of the game and athleticism, Powell was an inconsistent scorer and was sometimes prone to foul trouble as a defender.
Draft projection: A second-round prospect, Powell will likely be targeted by a team that views his unique skill set as being compatible with its system, giving him a specific role to fill. Not quite a stretch four, Powell’s passing ability will continue to be his trademark, but he must add strength, become a more consistent outside threat and prove that he can hold his own on the defensive end of the court in order to be considered a reliable contributor. It might take some seasoning in the D-League if he ends up on a loaded roster, but assuming Powell lands in the right spot to utilize his talents, he could eventually emerge as a valuable long-term rotation player, unless he doesn’t display the necessary assertiveness to seize an opportunity at receiving meaningful playing time.