Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Pac-12, Part 7: Prospects #15-20 |
September 8, 2014
Tyrone Wallace flashed an intriguing skill set during his freshman season at California, where he averaged 10 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per 40 minutes pace adjusted. While his rebounding, defense, and passing abilities allowed the freshman to stay on the court and contribute for the Golden Bears, his offensive efficiency limited his overall effectiveness, as he shot just 34.2% from the field and 22.4% from the three point line.
After an offseason spent focused on improving his jump shot, Wallace showed substantial improvement in year two at Berkeley. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Wallace generated 0.986 points per possession on jump shots during his sophomore season, a drastic improvement from the 0.679 he was at during his freshman season, turning what was a huge hole in his game into an above-average level of efficiency. The improvement was across the board, including catch and shoot possessions (0.98 points/possession, from 0.667), off the dribble (1.182, from 0.652), and from three point range, where he improved to 32.1% on 3.8 attempts per game, up from 22.4% during his freshman campaign.
Beyond the numbers, the form on his jump shot has been far more consistent, with less flare on his shooting elbow than he exhibited during his freshman season. Wallace can still battle through bouts of inconsistency, but projecting continued improvement is far more reasonable at this point.
A smooth athlete with a good change of pace, Wallace is a confident ball handler who is able to get into the paint. Once there, though, he struggles finishing around the hoop, shooting just 46.5% around the basket, per Synergy. Wallace generally has good touch around the rim with either hand, but he isn't all that explosive in traffic, and struggles at times finishing over length. He combats this by taking a good amount of floaters and runners in the lane, which he shows the ability to hit, but which also helps keep his free throw rate down.
Wallace's other main contribution on the offensive end comes from his passing. He has averaged 3.4 and 3.7 assists per 40 minutes pace adjusted during his freshman and sophomore seasons, respectively, despite sharing the backcourt with upper classman Justin Cobbs. Wallace sported a 1.73/1 assist to turnover ratio and a 0.71 pure passer rating, both solid marks for a shooting guard. Wallace shows good instincts as a playmaker and has a good feel for the game, and he makes good, quick reads with the ball in his hands. With the loss of Cobbs to graduation, it will be interesting to see how Wallace's role on the team changes as he now becomes the veteran presence in the perimeter rotation.
Wallace also moves well off the ball, doing a good job running off screens, using that space to either set-up a jumper or to use the screen to get into the paint. He doesn't have the quickest release on his jump shot, but is able to elevate and get off a clean look in these situations. Again, his continued development into a reliable jump shooter could open up this avenue of his game for increased usage.
The defensive side of the ball is where Wallace initially made his contributions, and is still a strength of his game. He has solid foot speed and, while only being listed at 6'4”, has good length, which he uses well when denying penetration and challenging shots. His combination of length, foot speed on the perimeter, ability to change direction defensively, and his contributions on the defensive glass allows Wallace to effectively guard three positions at the NCAA level.
Wallace's role on the changing California team will be an interesting one to watch. With some young talent on the wings, Wallace could see some time at the power forward spot in a small-ball lineup, but he could also be asked to take on a bigger role in facilitating the half-court offense than he has in years past, a role which he has some tools to succeed in. When Wallace came to California, his defensive versatility and effort level kept him in the lineup despite an offensive game that was very much a work in progress. The massive strides he made in his offensive game last year, along with a role that could showcase his versatility, could combine to make Wallace an interesting player to watch in the Pac-12 this season.
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