Draft profiles: Andrew Nicholson, 6'9, 220 lbs, PF, St. Bonaventure, Senior

Draft profiles: Andrew Nicholson, 6'9, 220 lbs, PF, St. Bonaventure, Senior

Starting out a hidden secret, Andrew Nicholson is your prototypical stretch four who's become somewhat of a household name in this year’s college basketball circles and an intriguing pick at 29.

Athletic Ability

Nicholson presents average athletic ability for a 6'9 power forward.  He has above average speed, decent lateral quickness, average hops, and a large wing-span.  While note an elite athlete, he runs the floor well for a big man and has good hands to catch the ball on the move.

Size

At 6’9 and 220lbs, he is slightly undersized for the position and is strictly a stretch four.   While he tries hard, at 220lbs, he struggles defending physical players and tends to fade to the perimeter giving up his post game against them.  Defending the post will be difficult for Andrew as he does not have the leg base to keep them from getting good position. 

Despite rebounding generally translating to the next level and posting solid rebounding numbers at the college level, I have my concerns about him at the pro level. He hustles and stays after it on the glass, but he also tends to get shoved around, a problem which will be exacerbated against even bigger players.

Off-Court Issues

While doing research, it was hard to find any incidents, Andrew was involved with.   His personality seems to be laid-back, but hard-working.  From videos, he seems to be mild-mannered and very intelligent.

Basketball IQ and want it factor

Andrew is a very skilled offensive player. As a stretch four, he does a nice job finding his spots on the floor depending on the matchup.  However, while doing so, he showed very little in terms of passing to the right outlet (is that because his team was not real skilled offensively or because he is a black-hole?).   He does battle to get low-post position when the opportunity arises.

While slender, Andrew was an above average rebounder.  This portrays that he is able to find the right seams and play with the right effort level to hit the glass.   With his long-arms and solid vertical, I feel he should have been more of a factor protecting the rim.

Defensively, Nicholson really struggled in terms of playing the low-post and hedging screens.  Though he has solid lateral quickness, at times he seemed somewhat disinterested in putting in maximum effort.

Nicholson seems like a bright player based on his interviews and success as a student at St. Bonaventure.   He seems to understand his limitations and where to picks his spots offensively.   Overall, Andrew possesses above average basketball IQ and can deliver on offense while somewhat of a defensive liability.

Skill

While undersized, Nicholson has great footwork down low and can finish with either hand.  In this sense, he reminds me a little of Taj in the post with quality footwork and wiry strength.  However, Nicholson has great up-and-under moves, a jump hook, and a turn-around jumper.  While highly skilled, he has to battle for position which will become a struggle in the pros where he may get pushed around due to his size.

Nicholson can take his game to the perimeter though, and his calling card at the next level is likely as a stretch four. He was always a solid mid-range shooter, but this year added a three point shot to his game in which he knocked down at 43%.   For Andrew to make it to the next level, he needs to continue to establish his identity as a pick-and-pop player where he can shoot or shot fake into a dribble drive pull up jumper.

Overall, he has a nice offensive package and displayed clutch ability at pivotal times at the college level.

Overall

Overall, Andrew reminds me of a prospect similar to Justin Harper of last year’s draft, slightly less athletic, but a little more skilled and with a little higher basketball IQ.  I think he can have a long career if he catches on the right team can use him as a niche player in a stretch four role.  He will need to focus his game around honing his mid-range game and 3-point shot while improving his defensive flaws and playing with a higher motor.   If he hits his peak, he reminds me of a prime Tim Thomas.

How does he fit with the Bulls?

Nicholson fits very well and if the Bulls keep pick 29 as Chicago could use some more offensive minded big men and a stretch four to play along side Derrick Rose in the long run.

Stating all this, I have higher priorities if I am drafting for the Bulls.  While he could be useful for Chicago, there have been whispers that Nikola Mirotic will be coming next year (not this year).  If we keep Taj, taking Andrew would be a very short-term solution and I doubt Thibs would play him enough to justify that.  Without being a defensive-type player, I don’t see Thibs playing him much in one year.

If sticking at pick 29, I would rather draft a player such as a John Jenkins, Darius Miller, Doron Lamb, or such.  To me, these type of players fit needs and I feel will have a longer lasting impact.  I am not opposed to drafting Nicholson and do feel he will make a living in the NBA for a while.

My opinion

He compares to Craig Brackens, but seems to possess a little better basketball IQ and a better three point shot.  I think his game will translate, but he might take a couple of years.  I personally would not draft him at pick 29 if others are available as I question his overall toughness.  Usually, I like two types of players in toughness and talent.  For this Bulls team in general, I think we needs some feistiness and while sometimes he battles for position in the post, he also drifts away sometimes when being pushed all game.

Comments

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  • Excellent review Kevin. If you see this, just curious, do you do any work for DraftExpress or any of the NBA draft mock sites?

    At first glance, second glance etc(due to his phenomenal numbers) Andrew Nicholson was a write off due to the fact that I simply couldn't watch his games; and some discouraging warnings. "Inconsistent motor, tends to take off parts of games especially later in the game." Borko Popic, NBADraft.net. Usually death sentence, end of story summations. But despite playing for a mid major at St. Bonaventure(recovering from a program crushing academic scandal), Nicholson does garner multiple scouting sources respect for a dynamic offensive package that if not immediately within a year or two could well translate to the NBA.

    An amature draft geek, I admit it, I still take it seriously simply because I love the pursuit of NBA talent for whatever reason. I won't make a pick unless I've seen a guy play multiple times preferably five or more games. Unfortunately, I did not get to see Andrew play. So I can not in good conscience reccomend drafting him. But..

    When I hear Craig Brackens, I understand people are referring to his game or style of play. Yet Brackens only put up stud numbers for one season at Iowa State. When you look at double digit scoring and not exceptional, but outstanding field goal percentages even for a big all four years(16, 20, and 18ppg on 56, 57, and 57 percent from the field) that's not something you see too often.

    Looking at past dissapointments like Jason Smith for example who scored 16ppg twice at 51 and 57 percent while also playing for a mid major, you see this stat profile as in all others is no guarantee. Yet even Smith in his fourth season in 40 games with New Orleans is averaging 10ppg on .520 shooting.

    If you go to YouTube, and check out the highlight package that starts with the St. Bonaventure logo, I mean you just can not base decisions on highlight footage, but nonetheless it's worth looking at.(Nice sound too).

    The guy has a 7'3 wing span which makes him taller then 6'9. He's too thin, but not wear he needs to hide it with one of those under jersey t-shirts. I watched his interviews, there's a good one with a school media student after which she throws a lob dunk to Andrew for laughs. I mean he seems a bit laid back yes, but a likable guy with what appears to be a solid personality..? Good sense of humor, self-assured at any rate.

    I agree with Kevin that very likely he wouldn't get burn from Tom due to his immediate ability to defend PF's being lacking. Though he has acceptable boards and blocks for a big with some defensive tools.

    Bottom line: If I was a fan of a developing or rebuilding stages franchise, I'd have to be excited about drafting Andrew Nicholson. Due to his really exceptional offensive numbers and unique skill set in that regard. I don't see the Bulls drafting him. However, I would respect the pick seeing that they are going all out for offensive firepower which is what Andrew Nicholson's game points too emphatically really. I mean there's a reason he's risen this quickly to the early 20's in the draft on highly respected boards like NBADraft.net.

  • Thank you for the detailed post. I like the kid and think he will be a better player than, say Craig Brackens; just similar playing style.

    However, with where we are at and the glut at PF and one coming in next year in Mirotic, I just don't see the true purpose as this is a deep draft and he will take time to develop.

    I do not work for any other draft sites; someday if I am lucky, I might be able too!

    I always enjoy your detailed posts!

    Kevin

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    Yeah if Mirotic really is only a year away like everyone expects drafting a stretch 4 makes no sense.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Regardless of the timing of Mirotic's arrival, PF and center are not our most pressing needs.

    We clearly need a guard, point, combo or pure 2 who can create off the dribble, knock down 3's and play legitimate NBA defense.

    While it is not likely that anybody who can do all those things is falling to #29, we should focus on evaluating players that fit that bill, and maybe finding a way to move up to get one of them.

    Not sure where the info about Mirotic is coming from, but knowing that he could be a Bull for the start of the 2013 season would sure make getting through next season a lot more tolerable.

  • Thanks. I don't know if there will be much buzz about this guy here simply because you don't get to watch him play, and there's no pub playing at St. Bonaventure. Will Barton, Marcus Denmon, D.J. Odom, and Jae Crowder while not first round guys all are rising on mocks to high 2nd. Those are my short list along with Lamb and Jeff Taylor who again will likely be gone as will Nicholson.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    There will be some buzz once the workouts start. However, for scouts, they always know of where the players are; regardless of where they go to school. I like some of the other players you mentioned; not all, but some!

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