Today’s NBA is all about the three-point shot, and that is the number-one thing that you will get from Corey Kispert, a career 41-percent shooter from deep. Kispert lit it up from the three-point line in his senior year for the Gonzaga Bulldogs, shooting at a 44-percent clip (3P%), a number far higher than most prospects in this year’s draft class. In addition to the three, Kispert made a high percentage of his shots from the field (53 FG%), leading to an average of 18.6 points per game (PPG). In terms of points per possession (PPP), few were better, as he ranked at the 99th percentile as an overall scorer. His superb numbers earned him several accolades, including a spot on the Consensus All-American First Team, the Western Coast Conference (WCC) Player of the Year, a Wooden All-American Team selection and the Julius Erving Award.
|Position||Small Forward||Team/Class||Gonzaga (Sr.)|
|Wingspan||6’7”||Vertical||30’’ standing, 37.5’’ max|
|Shot Hand||Right||Stats||Click Here|
The way Kispert finds his open looks is mostly off the ball; spot-ups, off-screen plays, hand-offs, and cuts accounted for nearly 54 percent of his possessions, while isolation plays were less than one percent. He can use screens to get open from downtown, fade off a pick and roll to an open three, or simply space the floor and make opponents pay when they sag off to help. Spot-ups accounted for most of his possessions (28.8 percent), and he ranked at the 95th percentile in this category. He also proved to be a terrific cutter to the rim; he didn’t do it often (7.2 percent of his possessions), but he did make 71 percent of those shots.
While being a floor spacer can make a prospect a key role player in the pros, the one thing that may prevent Kispert from being a star is his ball handling. The senior isolated or ran the pick and roll as a ball handler a combined 9.4 percent of the time (possessions). Over the past two seasons, he took only seven isolation shots (43 FG%). His lack of quickness and creativity with the ball in his hands limited Kispert to simple drives, such as attacking closeouts, making it easier for opponents to crowd him on the perimeter. This was noticeable in the 2021 NCAA tournament; vs. tougher and better defenses, his field-goal percentage dropped to 42, and his overall points per possession (PPP) ranked at the 79th percentile. He will need to find one or two go-to moves that he can use to create space when NBA defenders look to stay tight on him.
Kispert showed promise as a team defender during the regular season. However, his stats may have been inflated, considering his strength of schedule was a lot weaker than other prospects who did not play in the WCC. Simply put, he was exposed during March Madness. In the regular season, he ranked at the 48th percentile in overall defense (PPP allowed). That mark fell to the 10th percentile in the tourney. He doesn’t have the standing vertical, quickness, or wingspan to be a highly successful defender. He also does not have the greatest defensive awareness, as his slow reaction time, combined with his tendency to give too much space on and off the ball, were very noticeable in the tournament.
For much of the season, Kispert played at the four spot for the Bulldogs, which wasn’t ideal for the 6-foot-7 senior who averaged just 0.4 blocks per game. As a result, he struggled to guard players posting up, allowing opponents to make 52 percent of their shots. As a sagging defender, he did well vs. drivers and cutters, but at the same time, Kispert labored with closeouts all season, allowing spot-up shooters to average 1.033 PPP (27th percentile).
For a forward, Kispert is a below-average rebounder, averaging 4.97 rebounds per game this season, with most of these boards coming on the defensive side (4 per game.). His numbers should be higher, especially for someone playing in a weaker conference. That being said, he does make an effort to bang down low.
Kispert had a super-efficient season, but relying on jumpers 62 percent of the time in the halfcourt can lead to cold streaks from time to time. What matters is how a shooter responds to his cold streaks. The greatest example of how well the senior reacted was in the WCC Championship. BYU started hot that game, leading 53-41 at the end of the first half. Kispert was the opposite, missing four of the five threes that he took in the entire half. However, he came out of the gates blazing in the second, hitting three threes in a row in just two minutes. When shooters are off at times, it is important to keep shooting, and there is no doubt Kispert is always ready to let it fly.
- Elite Marksman from the perimeter, making better than 43 percent of his 3-point attempts for two straight seasons.
- Highly efficient overall scorer, ranking above the 95th percentile for points per possession for two consecutive seasons.
- Very effective moving without the ball:
- Ranked above the 87th percentile for PPP as a spot-up shooter for two straight seasons
- Ranked above the 90th percentile as a cutter for two consecutive seasons
- Ranked above the 75th percentile on hand-offs for two straight seasons
- Ranked at the 69th percentile with off-screen shots this season
- Very efficient in the paint — this season, ranked at the 86th percentile for PPP with runners and floaters, and on all other half-court shots around the basket, ranked at the 80th percentile.
- Confident and always ready to shoot the ball; despite any cold streaks, isn’t shy to keep letting it fly when he’s open.
- Excellent shot selection and ball security — turnover rate of 8 percent (per possession) ranked at the 97th percentile among players with at least 100 possessions this season.
- Solid all-around athlete, who tested very well at the NBA Combine.
- Handle is ordinary, not very quick with the ball in his hands, and does not have a go-to move that he can use to create space.
- Nearly all of his offense is derived — took just seven shots in isolation over the past two seasons, making three.
- Just average off the catch when guarded, as his release is not the quickest and is somewhat low; ranked at the 87th percentile of PPP on unguarded catch-and shoot attempts, compared to the 52nd percentile when guarded.
- An average defender at best — tends to sag, reacts slowly, and doesn’t contribute many impact plays:
- Ranked at the 48th percentile as an overall defender this season, allowing 0.85 PPP.
- Averaged less than one steal and one block per game, and just 1.7 combined per 40 minutes.
- Posted a career-high defensive rebound percentage of 13.9 this season, which ranked sixth on his own team.
- Not a playmaker — his assist percentage of 9.0 was tied for sixth best on his team, and as a pick-and-roll passer, ranked at the 43rd percentile for PPP with just 39 percent of these looks resulting in scores.
With a stronger set of moves off the dribble, Kispert has the chance to be an elite scorer in the league. At his lowest, he will serve as a tremendous role player, being able to knock down spot-up threes from anywhere on the court. To be a complete player, he also has to significantly improve as a defender.
Kispert reminds me so much of Kyle Korver, with his ability to move without the ball and fire up a quick shot off the catch. There is no reason that the Gonzaga senior won’t be able to provide his high-level shooting abilities for the Wizards this year. Washington knew that drafting him would help bolster its perimeter scoring, which is sorely needed after finishing last season at the bottom 10 in three-point percentage (35%). Additionally, Kispert also serves as great competition for last year’s underwhelming first-round selection Deni Avdija, as the two will fight for minutes at the forward spot.
Sources, Credits, and Acknowledgements
Stats used in our scouting reports come from Synergy Sports Technology, RealGM.com, and Sports-Reference.com. Other outside sources are noted with links to the source. Click here to see the statistical abbreviation key.