Pacers' Draft Possibilities: Justin Harper

DENVER, CO - MARCH 19: Justin Harper #32 of the Richmond Spiders dunks the ball against Ty Proffitt #13 of the Morehead State Eagles during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Pepsi Center on March 19, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

With the Draft Lottery complete, the Early Entry List set, and the NBA Draft fast approaching, it's time to examine more in depth some of the players who could be available for the Pacers. Over the next few weeks I'll be trying to put together as many profiles as possible. Instead of identifying players as specific targets for either Pacers' pick, I'm just going to cover a pool of players I think are possibilities. You'll find some players who the Pacers would likely have to trade up or down for. I've also expressed my opinion that the Pacers need to be focused on talent as much as fit so players at all five positions will be included.

These profiles are not intended to advocate for one player over another, just examine their strengths and weaknesses, and discuss in some detail what they have to offer. For each profile I provided Ten Important Statistics to guide the discussion. Today we'll be looking at:

Justin Harper - PF - 6'8.75"  228 lbs. - University of Richmond

Ten Important Stats - Justin Harper

Pts/40

Reb/40

Ast/40

Blk/40

2PT%

3PT%

FT%

FTA/40

TO/40

USG%

23.6

9.1

1.5

1.6

58.5%

44.8%

79.7%

4.2

2.0

21.1

Current DraftExpress Projection: Round 1, Pick #30

Strengths:

  • Very efficient scorer, one of the best jumpshooters in the nation, has legitimate three-point range, can face up and create a shot for himself with the dribble
  • Excellent court awareness, makes good decisions with the basketball, taking high percentage shots and rarely turning the ball over
  • Solid athleticism

Weaknesses:

  • Has a solid post game, but lack of strength will limit him initially
  • Not an aggressive rebounder or defender, can get lost defending off the ball
  • Displayed inconsisent intensity during his senior season

Impressions:

Though he does not get much elevation on his shot, he has a lightning quick release and a consistent, fluid shooting motion. His range extends well past the NBA three-point line, as well, and he shows very good potential as a pick-and-pop threat. Clearly this will be his calling card as an NBA prospect. His scoring abilities around the basket have improved, as well, where he displays improving footwork and a developing arsenal of moves. Though he likely lacks the strength to carve out position at the next level, his touch around the basket is solid and he has become more comfortable attacking the rim as a senior. Harper shows a solid basketball IQ, and clearly knows his role as a senior. Even though he's averaging slightly less touches than he did as a junior, he is putting up career highs in almost every category, and is doing so in an efficient manner at that. Players with his size, athleticism skill-set are difficult to come by, and if he can finish the season as strongly as he started, and ride that momentum into the pre-draft process, he'll definitely have a chance to hear his name called on draft night.
- Kyle Nelson, DraftExpress.com
Comparables:

How he can help the Pacers:

Harper was among the most efficient scorers in the nation last season, and with his size, could give the Pacers’ front-court a much needed offensive boost. With where he currently projects as a defender and rebounder, playing alongside Roy Hibbert would probably not be an ideal role. However, coming off the bench, potentially next to Jeff Foster, could be a great fit. Against some matchups, his ability to face-up or score in the post will be real factors. Against almost any opponent, his acumen as a spot-up shooter or pick-and-pop threat will be a positive contribution. Like many of the other players we’ve looked at, being forced to watch and compete against Tyler Hansbrough and Foster in practice seems like a great recipe to solve problems with aggressiveness and intensity. Harper is as offensively skilled as any big man available in this draft, and would give the Pacers a lot more flexibility and potency at that end of the floor.

Video:

More Information:

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