Bennie Boatwright is a 6’9 ½” senior forward for the USC Trojans. Though USC has had an up and down season, Boatwright has shined in his final collegiate campaign in Los Angeles. His sharp shooting from deep has landed him in the school and conference record books, and helped solidify his professional archetype as a stretch forward. Fresh off a record setting 10 3PM performance against conference rival Cal, Boatwright will look to provide leadership, stability, and volume scoring for the Trojans throughout their last five games of the season to build some momentum going into a seemingly unpredictable PAC-12 tournament. Boatwright has been on the radar of NBA scouts since his strong sophomore campaign, and is making his final push to prove that he has what it takes to make it at the next level.
Tale of the Tape
Smooth Shooting Mechanics
Standing at nearly 6’10”, Boatwright uses his size to his advantage as a perimeter shooter. He consistently puts the ball in an elevated shooting pocket, well away from the defense, and smoothly rises up over his defender to get off clean looks from deep.
The combination of Boatwright’s size and shooting mechanics functionally manifests itself as a guarded catch-and-shoot threat. Despite the presence of high-hand closeouts, Boatwright converts these looks at a rate of 1.25 PPP, ranking him in the 86th percentile.
Boatwright has established himself as one of the most effective stretch forward shooting threats in the 2019 NBA Draft class. He is shooting a scorching 42.8% from downtown on six attempts a game this season. In USC’s most recent outing at Cal, Boatwright went 10-for-13 from three. This career night served as a microcosm of Boatwright’s potential as a floor stretching forward at the next level. The gravity necessitated by Boatwright’s shooting acumen from deep also provides value beyond his own three-point makes, often pulling potential helpside defenders away from the rim and freeing up driving lanes for his teammates.
In the clip below, we highlight Boatwright’s ability utilize his size and fluid mechanics to get off shots off over closeouts.
Boatwright has shown improvement as a post-up threat this season. He has added a variety of post-moves and finishing techniques to his offensive repertoire, helping to solidify him as more than just a jump shooting specialist. Boatwright is converting at a rate of 1.051 PPP on post-ups this season, ranking in the 88th percentile. This has helped increase his 2P% from 48.8% last season (a relatively low mark for a player his size) to 53.5% this season, making Boatwright a more efficient overall scorer.
Although Boatwright will likely spend most of his time on the perimeter at the next level, having this post-up ability will be useful in exploiting mismatches against switching defenses. Boatwright has been quite effective against undersized switch defenders in the post this season, and the ability to punish mismatches will be a key secondary element to Boatwright’s derivation of offensive value as a pro.
Though not overly physical, Boatwright is soundly built at just over 230 pounds. He has made strides at making functional use of this size to leverage position and create scoring angles in the post against smaller defenders.
In the clip below, we highlight Boatwright’s post-scoring acumen.
Boatwright could stand to improve his effectiveness as a pick-and-roll roll man to take advantage of post mismatches against switching defenses. He will likely never have roll gravity as a vertical lob threat, but could create some high quality scoring opportunities by rolling, sealing off the smaller defender on the block, creating a passing angle for the pick-and-roll handler, and demanding a touch down low against the mismatch.
The combination of Boatwright’s size and the purity of his shooting stroke put him on the radar as a potential stretch four at the professional level. Boatwright’s lack of elite length (minus 0.5” wingspan-height differential) and explosive athleticism somewhat cloud his defensive projectability and slot him in the four/five positional tweener bucket, which makes his draft candidacy relatively unlikely. Even if he goes undrafted, we believe Boatwright to be a smooth, polished, stretch forward prospect with the ability to really stretch out the defense and provide value in a professional basketball setting. Boatwright likely slots as a high caliber offense-oriented forward in the G League or in Europe, though a shot at the NBA is certainly not outside the realm of possibility.
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