This past season was a big one for mid-major guards. Ja Morant will be a top pick in the NBA Draft, Chris Clemons averaged 30 points per game, and leagues across the country saw talented freshmen enter their ranks.
One player that missed out on some national exposure is Hofstra’s Justin Wright-Foreman. Finishing just behind Clemons for the national scoring title, the two-time CAA Player of the Year is a lethal scorer who has been on NBA scouts’ radars since his breakout sophomore season.
Wright-Foreman carried the Pride to the best record in the conference as a senior, and finished his collegiate career on an absurd 88-game double-digit scoring streak. Despite leading the league in minutes (37.8 per game) and shouldering the offensive load, Wright-Foreman was both electric and efficient as a scorer. That talent should translate to the NBA. The questions he will have to answer between now and draft night revolve around the other side of the ball, and if he can develop a knack for facilitating to balance his game.
Here is how Wright-Foreman stacks up against a few players he has been compared to leading up to the draft.
In a word, scoring. Wright-Foreman is exceptional from all three levels, off his dribble. The left-hander gets many of his points off his pull-up, and despite the sheer volume of shots and minutes he carried for Hofstra, he maintained a tidy 64.3 percent true shooting percentage. He attempted over seven threes per game, which was actually fewer than the year before, but raised his efficiency by hitting 42.5 percent of them.
Despite seeing every type of defense in the CAA, Wright-Foreman honed his bag of tricks — most notably a spin move and a crossover — to create space and get his shot off against longer or stronger defenders. He has tight handles, and uses that skill to get around defenders that he can’t body physically. Athletes at the next level will be better equipped to handle Wright-Foreman’s moves, but his shot is quick enough to be released in tight space despite an imperfect technique.
Wright-Foreman is also a very good athlete for his size. He surprised a few high-major teams in his career with his ability to get above the rim when he gets by a defender, or finish around or through contact. During the 3x3 tournament in Las Vegas this spring, Wright-Foreman was quick to point out how he got to play in more space than ever before in his collegiate career. With that type of freedom, he made quick work of the competition en route to an MVP and championship performance.
Wherever Wright-Foreman’s basketball career takes him, he’s going to carve out a nice niche for himself as a potent scorer.
Like many mid-major scoring guards, the concerns around Wright-Foreman’s translatability begin with his size. At just over 6’1, teams will likely be hesitant to match him defensively against wing players, so it will help his cause to develop his point guard skills. He has certainly shown he can find his pick and roll partners, and when he is swarmed by defenders he can make the right pass.
While Wright-Foreman had a talented backcourt mate in Desure Buie to take on more traditional point guard duties, NBA scouts might take pause in Wright-Forman’s assist numbers staying pretty consistent the past two seasons. While he can make the right play when he dishes, the skip passes and corner assists we see from other players who suck in a defense weren’t a regular occurrence at Hofstra. He also has the turnover stats of someone who has the ball in their hands a ton.
Defensively, Wright-Foreman has some progress to make. Hofstra was one of the surprise teams of the first half of the season behind a renewed defensive spirit, but regressed down the stretch. Wright-Foreman was not helping matters on that side of the ball, and he’ll need to be much more locked in as a pro. He actually has pretty long arms for his size, which will help, but his instincts and awareness will need to improve.
The team that drafts Wright-Foreman would love if he could turn into a poor man’s Lou Williams. The two-time Sixth Man of the Year came into the league as a second-round pick out of high school, spent time in the D-League early in his career, and has carved out his niche as a fearless scoring machine off the bench.
While Williams is not a lefty like Wright-Foreman, you can see flashes of the similarities between the two 6’1 scoring guards, especially when it comes to navigating into some space to pull up for a jumper. Watch highlights of Wright-Foreman dropping 40-plus on Northeastern or William & Mary, and it’s easy to envision him doing the same off the bench in the NBA.
Both players have also heard questions about their defensive and passing abilities. Williams has averaged over five assists per game since joining the Clippers. If Wright-Foreman can bring that level of facilitation to the NBA, his stock goes up.
Most mock drafts project Wright-Foreman to be a late-second-round pick, ranked somewhere in the 50-80 range on the big board. He had the eye of NBA scouts throughout his senior season, and helped his stock with a dominant showing at the 3x3U Tournament. Wright-Foreman had received enough positive feedback to skip events like the Portsmouth Invitational and Reese’s All Star game, and was later rewarded with an invite to the NBA G League Elite Camp. While he wasn’t one of the players called up to the combine a few days later, it’s safe to assume he at least makes a training camp roster.
If a team falls in love with Wright-Foreman and spends a pick on him, he projects as a bench contributor who could be thrown into the fire early, but could also use some grooming in the G League. If he gets scooped up as an un-drafted free agent, I’d expect him to play well in the Summer League and contend for a two-way deal or late roster spot.
Worth noting is that Wright-Foreman doesn’t turn 22 until the beginning of next season. He still has room to grow, and the appeal of a certified bucket-getter will be enticing for a lot of teams.