MALIK NEWMAN 2018 NBA Draft Scouting Report
WEIGHT: 190 POUNDS
POSITION: SHOOTING GUARD
PROJECTED DRAFT POSITION: LATE FIRST TO PICK NUMBER 40 IN THE SECOND ROUND
There was once a time that Malik Newman had the opportunity to play for the University of Kansas Jayhawks, and responded to said opportunity by saying: “no thanks.”
Fate works in mysterious ways, sometimes.
After originally committing to Mississippi State University and remain in his home state to play for head coach Ben Howland, Newman could never quite get on the same page as his well-known coach. One of the most prolific scorers in state history, who was nicknamed “The Machine” because of his ability to score in so many ways, Newman found himself buried on the team’s bench, and trying to get out of Starkville as soon as possible.
Newman’s wish to leave Starkville was eventually granted by the NCAA and Mississippi State, but not without the requisite year where he had to sit out, by rule. Once again, fate tends to work in mysterious ways.
In the eyes of NBA scouts, who watched Newman help guide the University of Jayhawks (the team on which he eventually ended up) to the Final Four, the year away from the game actually helped Newman’s game grow by leaps and bounds.
As opposed to being viewed as an entitled prep star who pouted his way out of a bad situation, scouts now see a polished player who shows a level of sophistication in his shooting, footwork, ball handling, and defense. After the Jayhawks opening round win of the NCAA tournament, Newman averaged over 24 points per game, including an enormous 32-point performance in Kansas’ win over a Duke University team that most people believed would end up as the national champions.
As mentioned, Newman is uniquely gifted with the ability to put the ball through the hoop. He’s a fearless shooter from the outside, with a deadly first step that allows him to drive into the paint at will. When he does drive, he’s strong enough to absorb contact and still finish around the hoop. As a shooter, he knows how to alter his trajectory, or use a combination of head fakes, to get his shot off. Otherwise, he’s very comfortable with the step-back and turnaround jumper as well.
The questions around Newman are very familiar for a player with his skill-set. We can label him a “combo guard,” but we specifically don’t know what he’ll be in the NBA. Right now, he measures between 6’3 and 6’4, which is definitely on the lower end of ideal height for a shooting guard. He’s not someone whom you want to run the offense through, as he’s not someone that shows the balance between scoring and play-making on every occasion down the floor.
Similarly, while he’s a gifted shooter, he’s also prone to streaks of going cold from the field (like any shooter). Given the fact that he’s a “shoot first and ask questions later”-type of player, that can just as much work to a team’s detriment. Plus, with his lack of size, he’s something of a defensive liability as well (he’s already prone to bouts of inconsistency on this end of the floor).
The former 5-star prep star reminds of of NBA veteran Lou Williams. Newman made a great decision transferring to Kansas from Mississippi State. He should now get rewarded by getting drafted among the top 40 picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. We project him to eventually become a very solid back-up at both guard spots who can provide an instant spark with his ability to score the basketball.
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SNIPPET OF MALIK NEWMAN’S 2016 NBA DRAFT SCOUTING REPORT
NOTE: Newman played at Mississippi State as a freshman in 2016. He transferred to Kansas and sat out 1 year before playing for the Jayhawks this past season.
“Newman has had an uneven freshmen year. At his best, Newman is an explosive athlete who looks to score. He is a very tough defender and solid rebounder for his height. Newman possesses a solid-mid range game that he should use more often then he does.
Howland started Newman at the PG position early in the season, and the results were mixed. I don’t believe he can play PG at the NBA level, which dramatically drops his stock. I believe he is strictly a SG, an and undersized one at that. He needs the ball in his hands to be at his most effective and by not playing PG well enough hinders that. He does have the talent to play in the NBA, although he should definitely return to Starksville for another season.”