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2021 NBA Draft scouting report: James Bouknight

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As the Huskies’ leading scorer and someone excellent at drawing fouls, Bouknight gave the announcers plenty of opportunity to posit that his style of play – featuring an advanced handle that often left defenders looking silly and a flashy layup package – is a product of where he’s from:

The comparison between Bouknight and the archetypal New York City guard – a relentless, creative slasher known more for breaking ankles than playmaking – hasn’t been lost on draft scouts, either: “He just brings that New York mindset, that playground mindset, to the game in terms of the way he’s able to break down defenders,” Sam Vecenie, the draft guru for The Athletic, said about Bouknight. Like Beal, Bouknight is adept at both timing his cuts and using his explosiveness and length to finish at the rim:

Bouknight is often compared to Jordan Clarkson, and it’s easy to see Bouknight being used as the same sort of 6th-man microwave scorer, at least early in his career. As a volume scorer on an otherwise bad offensive team, Bouknight has inspired some critics to express concern about his scalability, but those concerns will be moot if Bouknight can maintain his prowess as a cutter and regain the off-ball shooting of his freshman year, when he averaged 1.25 ppp on catch-and-shoot possessions. Then Villanova switched to a zone defense and UConn’s offense stalled, so Bouknight returned to the game, despite still being visibly affected by the reinjury, and he finished the game just one for 10.

As his freshman stats suggest, Bouknight is more than likely a better shooter than what he appeared to be this season, when he was often asked to bail out his teammates by making something happen with the ball.

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