Gonzaga’s Drew Timme has been one of the best players in college basketball for the past two seasons. The mustachioed gentleman has an almost unstoppable postgame with an arsenal of moves and footwork that make him look like Boston Celtics legend Kevin McHale.
But a player who operates almost entirely on the block like Timme does is hard to call a pro.
He certainly has enough skill in that spot on the floor to carve out a niche for himself – but with the way today’s league operates, how will someone with Timme’s skill set translate to the NBA?
Gonzaga’s Drew Timme is one of college basketball’s most productive players
The 6-foot-10, 235-pound junior is scoring 18.2 points per game in 31 starts this season. He also averages 6.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists on 59.2% shooting.
Timme is shooting 61.4 percent of his two-point shots, which is actually down from his first two college seasons.
In 63 starts during his second and junior campaigns, the Richardson, Texas native is averaging 18.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists on 62.2 percent shooting and 68.3 % shots from the free throw line on 5.6 attempts per night.
This is the definition of consistency.
Timme is already a two-time All-American, a two-time All-West Coast Conference team selection, this year’s WCC Player of the Year and an NCAA All-Tournament team member.
He will likely add another of these latter prizes after the race in March this year.
In short: The 21-year-old is nearly automatic up close and has been the most productive player on one of college basketball’s most successful teams for the past two years.
But where does that put him in terms of the NBA draft?
How will the Zags big man’s play translate to today’s NBA?
Someone with the footwork and post moves that Timme has will always have a place in any league at any level.
But the NBA is a long, long way from the days of teams tossing the ball to a big man on the block and letting him go to work.
The question is, are Timme’s skills in this area so good that they will cover his obvious weaknesses?
The Bulldogs frontman is an average athlete who won’t be able to transition to faster wings or guards at the NBA level. He should be enough to keep bigger players down, but other than that his defensive abilities are significantly limited.
He’s also not a great rebounder – a good rebounder, but not great. It will likely be overtaken by taller and longer NBA centers.
It’s not a great outside shooter either. He’s averaging a career-high 0.9 three-point attempts this year and hitting 29.6% of them. His 66.6% career free throws aren’t promising either.
But the eye test shows good form on Timme’s sweater. With more work – which he didn’t need in college but will surely need in the pros – he could become an average shooter. He will have to improve on that to thrive in the NBA.
But the strengths of the great man outweigh his weaknesses:
- It will not be overtaken or pushed around by anyone
- He is smart, knows where to be and how to put himself in the right positions
- He is an above average cutter who is able to find open spots on the ground where his guards can find him.
- He is the leader of one of the best basketball teams in the country
- He has a good size and an incredible skill at the bottom
- Even with top five picks like Chet Holmgren and Jalen Suggs around him, Timme was the Bulldogs’ leading scorer.
He won’t be a first-round pick, but he’s 100% worth a second-round flier. Players with Timme’s attributes have long NBA careers, even if they don’t become superstars.
Not all of his play will translate, but enough for the Gonzaga legend to carve out a rotational role in the league.
Timme still has time to complete his Gonzaga game
If he decides, Timme could return for his senior season in Spokane. He’s proven himself enough to land a spot on an NBA roster, but there are still parts of his game to show if he’s to make a possible leap into the first round.
Age will work against him, as it always does for college seniors. That’s the downside of playing another year with the Bulldogs.
But if the best mustache in the sport (and the player behind him) can improve his jumper and show at least some semblance of three-point shooting, that unlocks another part of Timme’s potential entirely.
As it stands, the old-man-YMCA game is good enough to earn a role in the NBA. But any development in his outside shooting and Timme has a legitimate shot at becoming a first-round pick.
All stats courtesy of Sports Reference.
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