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NBA Draft Scouting Report: Emoni Bates

The Eastern Michigan forward is full of raw potential and averaged 19 PPG this past season.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Emoni Bates was the third highest scorer in the MAC and a top-40 scorer in the nation during the 2022-23 season.

Coming out of high school as one of the most highly recruited players in the nation, Emoni Bates struggled to meet expectations in year one while battling injuries at Memphis. A move to Eastern Michigan for his sophomore campaign would see the Ypsilanti, Michigan, native finally emerge, albeit, for an 8-23 Eagles team.

Here, Bates averaged 19.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 1.5 APG, shooting a highly effective 41% from the field and 33% from deep while he showed signs of development and the potential collegiate scouts once saw. With Eastern Michigan putting together a lackluster season despite Bates beginning to grow into those illustrious expectations, a return to college was always unlikely. While Bates talent is still relatively raw, what he offers at the NBA level is loads of that potential, and a project that NBA teams might be hard pressed to pass up.


Height: 6 feet, 8 inches

Weight: 225 pounds

Wingspan: 6 feet, 9 inches


Shooting, Scoring Ability, Rebounding

One of Bates attributes that scouts gushed over in high school was his natural and smooth jumper from almost anywhere on the floor and that’s something he’s continued to showcase in both college and at the NBA Combine. Scout’s at the combine, of course, had high praise for his offensive skill set

“Bates is a shot maker, he has consistent form and release at each level of the floor,” Jamie Shaw wrote.

Furthermore, he’s a proven scorer and his lanky frame allows him to penetrate the paint and contribute on the boards despite his primary ball handler duties at EMU. There’s a lot to be developed, but you just can’t deny the overwhelming offensive output and his silky smooth jumpshot.

Areas to improve

Athleticism, Physicality, Defense

Bates offers a ton offensively, but he’s not the most athletic or explosive guy on the floor, which I think you can see in the above combine clips. He might just out-score and out-shoot everybody, but he’s not going to win one-on-one with quickness or really dominate physically at the NBA level like he did in the MAC.

Ultimately, this translates to Bates’ defensive game as well and his low block numbers despite being 6-foot-8. He’s not going to run anybody off the floor especially with such a lack of physical play. I think any team that gets its hands on Bates is definitely going to look to add some weight.

Projected Draft Range: Early second round

It would be fair to say that after such an extravagant high school career, and well-reported off-the-court happenings, Bates collegiate stint has been an interesting ride. However, he certainly has the intangibles and the raw talent to formulate into an NBA contributor and an NBA franchise will definitely take a chance on him in the second round.