Scouting Report of Devin Vassell. Finding his potential fit on the Atlanta Hawks.
With a load of young talent already on the roster, the Atlanta Hawks should be targeting plug-and-play rookies who can contribute right off the bat.
There are a few players set to go in the lottery that fit that bill, including Obi Toppin, Tyrese Haliburton, Isaac Okoro, and Devin Vassell. Here, we’ll be focusing on Vassell, giving a full scouting report on the Florida State sophomore
Vassell is an astounding defender at just 19-years-old, with all the tools, IQ and motor needed to have a long NBA career on his defense alone. He’s a true hustle player and never takes a play off. He locks down passing lanes like an NFL cornerback when off the ball and is just as dangerous when on.
He averaged 2.4 stocks (blocks + steals) in less than 30 minutes per game in Tallahassee and seemed to attempt more swipes after already recording a steal or two, like a defensive version of a heat-check.
Vassell can be a true defensive playmaker at the next level, where he could easily guard positions one through four with his 6’10 wingspan.
Model 3-and-D wing
We already covered the “D” of Vassell’s 3-and-D game, with the sophomore also sporting a consistent three-point shot. He uses the aforementioned wingspan to release shots high with a nice arch, allowing him to get off shots without needing to be wide open.
He made 41 percent of his 3.5 deep attempts per game, peaking in early February by going 7-7 from three against Virginia Tech. He’s a spot-up shooter that rotates well and seems to always be in the right spot.
Vassell doesn’t have the handle to truly qualify as a combo guard but is a very smart passer that knows how to move the rock. He’ll likely never put up high assist numbers in the league but coaching staffs will love and trust his natural instincts.
I touched on this a bit in all the above strengths, but his elite feel for the game can’t go unnoticed. Vassell plays like a ten-year veteran at the age of 19, playing mistake-free ball on both ends of the court. He also plays foul-free defense, averaging less than two personals per game as a sophomore.
The IQ is why he’s likely going to be a lottery pick and it’s why he’ll continue to be tabbed as a truly pro-ready prospect.
Vassell has enough burst to handle himself on defense, but his lack of athleticism shows up in transition and on offense. Unless he pulls off a hard pump-fake to send his opponent flying, he’s not getting to the rim often.
He lacks the true open-floor speed that lottery picks usually have, which could be more of a detriment in the NBA than it was in college.
As mentioned, Vassell isn’t getting to the rim much, which might actually be a good thing, given his limited talent as an interior scorer. Vassell definitely shied away from contact in the lane, contorting his body for awkward looking attempts rather than looking to go to the line. He shot just 93 free throws in over 1,200 minutes played for Florida State.
A below-average ball-handler which limits his ability to create looks for himself and others. He’s usually unlikely to drive out of triple threat, making his game much less diverse.
- Watch from 9:42-9:50 Vassel (#24) ready to pounce in passing lanes before showing a lighting-fast closeout on a seemingly open man in the corner.
- 21:13: smart, no risk help defense that results in a turnover.
- 22:40-23:04: a near-perfect possession on D for Vassel who switches three times seamlessly, never taking his eye off the ball.
- At 27:26, Vassell ends up not being a part of the play but watch him fight through the screen like it’s nothing.
- 35:31: A great example of Vassell’s instincts and length creating a turnover. Nearly gets another steal on the next possession.
- From 38:25-38:44 we get another full possession of Vassell’s D, this time trapping the opposing guard by himself and forcing a screen all the way out at halfcourt.
- 39:20: a quick stop-and-pop deep two wherein he uses his high-release point to shoot over defenders.
- 48:05: a semi-stiff yet effective spin jumper for Vassell, getting the shot up over the 6’7 Jordan Nwora.
- Incredibly quick catch-and-fire for three in a big spot at 51:44. Rotated their from the top of the key after recognizing his teammate needed help.
- Vassell’s pure intimidation factor on defense forces a ten-second backcourt violation at 1:15:05.
- Vassell playing center field for an easy turnover early on in the contest (0:39)
- Showcases smart offensive movement and near logo range at 1:23.
- He crashes the boards on nearly every single possession but is not rewarded too often. His effort pays off with a slam putback at 2:05.
- 2:24 – watch Vassell leave his man at exactly the right time to prevent an open look.
- 2:39 – quick hips and patient hands lead to an easy miss.
- A dagger three with under a minute to go – showed poise and clutch (3:44).
Fit With Atlanta Hawks:
Vassell can play either the two or three, where the Atlanta Hawks have a lot of young talent already. De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish were selected in last year’s draft to serve as 3-and-D wings, with both looking very promising at times in their respective rookie seasons.
That is not to say there wouldn’t be room for the Florida State product on the roster, and a grouping of Vassell, Hunter, Reddish, and Kevin Huerter would create a dynamic four-headed-monster for coach Lloyd Pierce to play with.
As a rookie, he’d have a chance to be the Hawks’ best three-point shooter not named Trae Young, something the Hawks desperately need. Adding another shooter to hang around the 40 percent mark from three would be a huge help.
It’s also no secret the Atlanta Hawks need as much help as they can get defensively, and given Vassell’s ability to play the two, he could be an ideal backcourt mate next to Young, as Vassell can switch and guard the bigger points like Ben Simmons, Luka Doncic and Malcolm Brogdon.
The Bottom Line:
Vassell is a classic case of a high floor, low ceiling player that likely will never be considered the best player in the class, but will have a long NBA career regardless. His ability to guard the perimeter in a league dominated by spacing makes him an elite prospect, and as long as his shot translates, Vassell should worth a lottery pick.
Should the Atlanta Hawks draft Devin Vassell?