Versatile Shot-Maker Reeves Bolsters Pelicans Bench

With their lone second-round pick, the Pelicans selected Kentucky guard Antonio Reeves with the hopes of adding more shooting and offensive talent to the backcourt. The 6’5 senior guard immediately adds shooting and off-ball play to a Pelicans backcourt needy for both of those traits.

Shooting is Reeves’s main strength, as he shot the lights out across all four of his college seasons at Kentucky and Illinois State. Across his college career, Reeves shot 38.4% on 777 total three-point attempts, 80% from the line, and 44.2% on 606 mid-range attempts. There are zero questions about whether or not Reeves will hit shots at the next level.

He passes the NBA shooter smell test, firing from all over the floor as he exhibits pro-level shot versatility. Reeves scores from all over with his jumper, sprinting off of movement, pulling up off of the dribble, and hitting catch and shoots from well beyond NBA range. Reeves can park in the corner and space the floor, though running him off-screens will help New Orleans derive the most from his offensive talents.

To add to his shooting repertoire, Reeves’s floater touch is stellar. He nailed 45.9% of his runners in college, contorting his body to finish softly no matter the angle or momentum carrying him. He’ll struggle right at the rim, as Reeves’s lack of vertical explosion and strength will limit his ability to score at the hoop, leading him to learn on the runner.

Reeves’s size and strength deficits will limit him defensively. Attackers can outmuscle Reeves en route to the rim and he struggles to navigate screens without great strength, physicality, or lateral footspeed. He’s not much of a defensive playmaker, posting a low 1.2% steal rate and 0.9% block rate throughout his career, despite an impressive 6’8 wingspan.

Given his status as a second-round pick, the Pelicans likely won’t expect much out of Reeves, at least in year one. Offensively, he can spell CJ McCollum as a secondary/off-guard, shooting the lights out and making solid decisions off of the bounce. New Orleans’ stash of long, defensive wings should help insulate Reeves on that end of the floor. 

Over the past few seasons, the Pelicans lacked reliable offensive guard play outside of their starters. Reeves’s ability to shoot the lights out combined with solid driving and mid-range scoring will always provide some value, regardless of his other weaknesses. 

Analysis by Ben Pfeifer.

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