Nick Weiler-Babb is a 6’5” combo guard for the Iowa State Cyclones. Over the past two seasons, Weiler-Babb has proven to be a versatile, plug-and-play guard that adds value and contributes to winning on both ends. He moved from more of an on-ball role as a junior to an off-ball secondary creator as a senior and continued to add value as the glue that held the Cyclones together. Weiler-Babb’s positional size, multifaceted skill set, and ability/willingness to mold his playing style to fit his team’s needs are appealing to professional scouts and will give him a chance to stick at the next level.
Tale of the Tape
Leading the Break
The Iowa State Cyclones really like to get out in transition, whether that be on a make or a miss. They look to get the ball up the floor with the pass or the dribble to get into an initial set quickly.
Weiler-Babb fits that role seamlessly. Being 6’5’’, he uses quick-twitched athleticism and the length of his strides to push the ball up the floor. He is able to survey the floor and see what is going on over defenders due to that height. He accelerates in the back court and slows down when he gets to the front court, making reads all along the way.
Weiler-Babb thrives at leading the break for the Cyclones to either create his own scoring opportunity or set up teammates for high percentage looks. Weiler-Babb ranks in the 99th percentile by converting at a 1.806 PP (P+A) clip on transition possessions (inclusive of assists). He only turns it over 6.4% of such transition possessions and boasts a 6.3 AST/TO ratio.
A faster-paced NBA with a shorter shot clock will provide Weiler-Babb ample opportunity to shine as leader of the break.
In the clip below, we highlight Weiler-Babb’s ability to lead the break, whether it be finding teammates or scoring the ball himself.
Weiler-Babb does a nice job of positioning his body parallel to the sideline to receive an outlet or inbound pass and seamlessly pick up his momentum at the outset of a transition possession. These fundamentals and natural feel, in conjunction with his positional size, make him a versatile pace-pusher. Babb is a plus-rebounding guard, so he’s able to snag defensive boards and immediately initiate a transition opportunity. His height also serves him well as a transition facilitator. Weiler-Babb consistently keeps his head up and possesses size that enables him to see over the top, advance the ball, and identify ideal passing angles on the break.
Attacking with a Runway
Weiler-Babb is not a high usage score-first guard. His strength lies in his versatility and natural ability to fit seamlessly into a lineup alongside other talented scoring threats. His on-court presence helps make his teammates better.
When Weiler-Babb does look to score, he is most effective and opportunistic in transition (as outlined above) and in isolation. He particularly excels at pushing switching bigs out on the perimeter. Weiler-Babb identifies the mismatch, takes a back-dribble or two to create some separation, then turns it into gear and gets a runway going downhill to the rim.
Despite appearing fairly upright not the most explosive quick-twitch athlete, Weiler-Babb is still a functional athlete. He does a nice job of getting his defender shifting in one direction and attacking the defender’s opposite hip with long, purposeful strides. His combination of size and shiftiness gives defenders fits, whether it be a mismatch with a smaller guard or a slower big.
Weiler-Babb ranks as an 84th percentile isolation scorer this season by converting at a 1.0 PPP clip. Though this isn’t over a particularly large sample size, it’s certainly an efficient output in the context of his offensive role.
In the clip below, we highlight Weiler-Babb’s isolation scoring acumen.
When facing switch-heavy defensive schemes at the next level, Weiler-Babb should still be capable of burning slower bigs in isolation. He’ll likely initiate pick-and-rolls as a secondary creator and will be able to identify the switch, drag out the big, create space to gain momentum, and get to the rim.
If the upward trajectory of his shooting efficiency clips (year-over-year increases from sophomore through senior seasons in 3P% and FT%), he will become even more difficult to defend in space on the perimeter.
While Weiler-Babb doesn’t appear on many draft boards at the moment, it seems likely that he’ll rise a bit as underclassmen opt to return to school. He may not be a volume scorer or an eye-popping athlete on film, but he has the chance to add value at the next level with his versatility, intellect, and willingness to do the little things that contribute to winning.
While being drafted is unlikely, Weiler-Babb seems a likely Exhibit-10 contract recipient and could very well find himself in consideration for a two-way deal if he impresses in workouts and wins teams over throughout the pre-draft process.
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