How high will the Connecticut star Tristen Newton’s NBA Draft stock go?

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For Tristen Newton, the recent trend of experienced college players transitioning successfully to the NBA could bring a stroke of good luck. As he concludes his remarkable NCAA journey, which encompasses three seasons at East Carolina followed by consecutive appearances in the NCAA final with the Huskies, it’s crucial for teams to recognize his maturity, refined skills, and leadership qualities rather than solely focusing on his age of 23 and his continued collegiate status.

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Tristen Newton (left) of Connecticut has shaky NBA draft stock.

Traditionally, NBA franchises prefer drafting younger prospects who are in the 19-20 age bracket, as they are seen as having more potential for growth and development.

Given Newton’s age, convincing NBA teams of his value can be challenging. However, there have been instances in the past two years where seasoned seniors have successfully integrated into playoff-caliber teams, providing Newton with some encouragement for the upcoming June NBA draft.

“One Western Conference coach noted that while Tristen Newton may have his limitations as a shooter and athlete, he remains an engaging player to watch due to his compelling backstory and likable demeanor. Unlike some prodigies who gain attention from a young age, Newton’s journey to where he is today required dedication and hard work. Given recent draft trends, there may be an opportunity for players like him.

While it’s improbable for Newton to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft, he stands as a strong contender for a second-round pick. His contributions to Connecticut’s winning culture have not gone unnoticed, and NBA teams increasingly value players with such backgrounds.

In a draft year like 2024, characterized by a lack of standout talent, this could hold particularly true. Despite Newton’s career-high scoring average of 14.9 points per game for the top-ranked Huskies, his shooting percentages, including 41.3% from the field and 31.9% from beyond the arc, remain a concern. These shooting struggles are not new, as Newton has maintained a shooting percentage of 40.1% from the field and 32.7% from three-point range over his five college seasons.”

Newton is capable of being a first-round pick. He just might not get there.

Jacquez Ellis Offer Inspiration for Seniors

Newton’s impressive averages of 6.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists this season have caught the attention of scouts, showcasing his ability to contribute in subtle yet impactful ways. A General Manager interviewed by Heavy likened him to Keon Ellis of the Kings and Jaime Jacquez Jr. of the Heat, not necessarily because they play similar styles to Newton, but because they, like him, entered the NBA as seasoned seniors and quickly made meaningful contributions to their teams’ success.

“He may not dazzle with athleticism or extraordinary scoring prowess or shooting,” explained an Eastern Conference GM to Heavy Sports. “However, with enough observation of Newton, you can’t help but recognize his potential to contribute to winning. That’s his niche. Convincing a team to select a player like him, who excels in the little things but lacks a standout skill, can be challenging. Many teams tend to shy away from such players. However, the successes of Ellis and Jacquez have left a lasting impression on other front offices. We’re witnessing this trend in Sacramento and Miami. Sometimes, the best decision is to choose the player available who can immediately impact the team’s success. Yet, teams are often surprised by the effectiveness of this approach.”

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