Omari Spellman, PF/C, Villanova, FR(RS)
6’9/255 pounds/7’2 wingspan/20.6 years old
~ Omari Spellman reminds me of Mikal Bridges his freshmen season. Both were redshirted, had NBA potential, raw, nice size, a budding skill set and overall interesting pro prospects. Fast forward three years and Mikal Bridges is on path for a lottery selection come this June. Bridges developed his three point shot, his footwork, his handle and passing ability on top of having elite defense. If Spellman puts the proper work in like Bridges did than becoming a first round selection is totally within reach.
Even though I list Spellman as a PF/C he really is more of a center than a power forward at the next level. His size at 6’9 with a 7’2 wingspan and 255 pounds is capable of playing both front court positions but his athleticism is what’s hindering him of thriving at either front court spot. He’s not a bad athlete but NBA power forwards are getting quicker and faster by the year and Spellman has good enough athleticism to deal with centers primarily. His conditioning and body need to improve for that to even be a discussion. Back in his high school days he was pushing 300 pounds and was noticeably out of shape. He has done an admirable job of losing weight but he clearly needs to add muscle, lose fat and stay in game shape. Maybe if he does that than playing either front court position would be a possibility.
With that said Spellman has deceptively quick feet and it’s very apparent on defense. Spellman has a nice defensive stance; constantly low, butt down, feet sliding, hands at ball and man with a steady balance. He uses his wide frame to shut down air space than he uses his agile feet to cut of driving angles. At the next level, if he gets in better shape, with his quick feet and defensive stance there’s 1 thru 5 switch ability potential. He can bang down low on the block, dig in and contest post shots or guard perimeter players thinking they have the advantage than with nowhere to go forced into a mid-range jump shot. Spellman has to do a better job of recovering after pushing shooters of their spots, not to over help and to box out consistently. In general Spellman has solid upside on defense.
His best skill to date is without a doubt his jump shot. Short compact loading pocket, with a dead eye set point and an up follow thru with a high release point; it’s very balanced and just looks pretty. As a spot up jump shooter Spellman is a 1.458 PPP (points per possession) which ranks 99th percentile. Off catch-and-shoot attempts Spellman is a 1.301 PPP which ranks 88th percentile. Either shooting from the pick-and-pop, pull-up, spot up or catch-and-shoot Spellman has good form and fine footwork turning into a variety of shots. He needs to improve his ball handling as Spellman is typically a one dribble, pass or shoot type of player. Since he plays with four other shooters on the court at all times he gets good looks regardless but in the NBA he’s going to have to put the ball on the floor from time to time. Spellman can pump fake, jab step than take one dribble or side-step into a shot but he needs to show he can get to the rim and finish off the bounce.
Villanova plays a four-out one-in motion styled offense where Spellman sets a bunch of pin-downs or rub screens. The offense doesn’t call for many traditional ball-screens so his ability to rim-run is seldomly used. He has a board frame so he can set capable screens but rarely do we see him roll. Spellman plays mostly spot up, pick-and-pop and post up. His post-up game isn’t bad but it isn’t great. He can face up, drop step, turn the shoulder or hook shot but since he’s not an amazing athlete his explosion off those shots are lacking; could have trouble getting shots off versus NBA length/athleticism.
Spellman should be at least a three year man at Villanova. If he keeps on adding a skill every year to his repertoire like Mikal Bridges did then maybe we’ll see Spellman climb up mock draft boards too. For now Spellman is a ball of potential that’s ripe for the modern day NBA game.
* All stats provided by Synergy Sports Technology *