POSITION: Point Guard
WEIGHT: 190 lbs
SCHOOL/ TEAM: Western Michigan
Scoring Ability - Scored an efficient 19 ppg on 46% FG and 44% from 3
Good size - Ideal size and strength for a point guard
Ball handling - Advanced and creative with the dribble, can break defenses down off the bounce
Pick & Roll - Very patient and poised using ball screens, Adept at snaking the pick & roll and keeping the defender on his back or hip
Shooting - Deadly outside shoot in catch & shoot situations Had a ridiculous 83% aFG when left unguarded
Footwork - Very quick feet, stops & starts and changes directions
Attack mode - Always looking to attack and racks up free throw attempts. Averaged 6 FTA per game as a junior
Playmaking - Not his greatest strength, but is a capable passer with solid court vision
Finishing at rim - Average finisher the rim in traffic
Shot selection - Occasionally takes bad shots and becomes zoned in on scoring
Balance - Takes (and makes) a lot of tough off balance leaning shots that will be altered vs NBA length
Western Michigan senior point guard Thomas Wilder opted to return to school after a standout junior season where he averaged 19.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Playing under the radar and outside the national spotlight, Wilder had strong games vs top their competition including scoring 19 points in a 76-65 loss to No. 3 Villanova and 22 points in an 82-68 loss to No. 2 UCLA. He also posted 14 points and 10 assists in a 92-86 loss to Washington in a matchup vs #1 pick Markelle Fultz.
Wilder is in an interesting situation going into his senior season simply because he'll be expected to improve on his already efficient numbers. He shot 45.8% from the field and an impressive 44.4% from behind the arc. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Wilder ranked in the top 91 percentile in all of college basketball and averaged 1.055 points per possession.
As an NBA prospect, Wilder possesses good size for a point guard at 6'3 and has a frame that can add more muscle without impacting his game. He plays with a great pace, has a tight, shifty handle, excellent feet and has a smoothness to his game that coaches and scouts love to see from a lead guard. While he's a capable playmaker and good passer, Wilder's strength is in his ability to put the ball in the basket. He is a scorer first who scores on all 3 levels (at the rim, mid range and from 3) and uses an array of unorthodox floaters and lean in jumpers to get his points. Wilder excels in the pick & roll where he's never in a hurry and has perfected snaking and putting the defender in jail which leads to a shot for himself, a dump off to teammates or to draw a foul when attacking the basket.
I like Wilder's game a lot, but it will be interesting to see how his age (23 on draft date) will impact his draft status. We live in a world where a 23 year old college senior is considered old and having limited upside. This has caused quite a few players to slide down or off draft boards, 2016-17 NBA Rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon is a classic example of a players who's age overshadowed his production on the floor.
As far as areas of concern, Wilder's low release and tendency to shoot awkward, and leaning off balance shots could be an issue on the NBA level. Despite being very efficient, sometimes his shot selection is shaky. But that is usually the case when you have an uber confident scorer who feels he can get a bucket at will. Wilder is fast in the open court and possesses a quick first step, but lacks great burst and explosiveness at the rim which could cause him to struggle finishing in traffic vs NBA rim protectors. However, he makes up for his lack of burst by using his body to create contact to draw fouls at a high rate (6.0 and 7.4 FTA per game the last 2 seasons) where he shoots over 83% from the charity stripe.
RAFAEL BARLOWE - SEPTEMBER 24, 2017
Here is a breakdown of Wilder's possessions over the 2016-17 season