Although he didn’t hear his name called during the NBA Draft, Kyle Wiltjer still has a path for a future in the NBA after he signed a reported three-year deal with the Houston Rockets late Thursday night.
That basically silences any idea of what Wiltjer plans to do in the future. At the moment, his path doesn’t involve Europe or Asia. His plan involves the NBA Summer League and hopefully an opportunity to demonstrate his abilities there.
Wiltjer averaged 20.4 points and 6.3 rebounds in his final season with Gonzaga, all the while shooting 49.1 percent from the floor and 43.7 percent from beyond the arc. Wiltjer’s shooting touch is one of the best in the Class of 2016, but his defense and overall athleticism leave a bit to be desired when it comes to the NBA.
And in the end, that is why he didn’t get drafted. Teams are much more excited to go for high-risk/high-reward players in the NBA Draft. However, if you are a five-year college graduate and are much closer to your ceiling than a raw 19-year-old, it is a much harder sell to NBA teams.
Which by no means is to say Wiltjer won’t be able to find a place in the NBA. If he can shore up his defensive abilities and not be such a liability on that end of the floor, his offensive prowess means he deserves a spot. We will see how that works out for Wiltjer over the summer.