I’m very comfortable at this point labeling UCF’s Taylor Hendricks as this class’ top non-center rim protector, having averaged 1.7 blocks per game in his freshman season. But beyond that, he’s also one of the most polished and versatile defenders in his class. At roughly 6’9” to 6’10”, Hendricks moves very well for his size, making him switchable on the perimeter and able to defend at least four positions on a regular basis. His feel for the game on that end of the floor is comparable with the class’ best defenders.
What could push a front office to take him in the top half of the lottery, however, is this defensive ability in combination with his three-point shooting, as he knocked down 39% of his threes on 4.6 attempts per game. In this way, I find myself having similar feelings toward Hendricks as I did Jabari Smith Jr. from this past draft cycle. While Hendricks may not quite have the one or two-dribble pull-up arsenal that Smith brings to the table, a big, switchable defender that can knock down spot-up threes will almost always be held in very high regard.
With that in mind, how early he’s taken in the draft will largely depend on how much a team is willing to invest in Hendricks’ upside as a pull-up shooter. If a team believes that he can tighten his handles over time and become more of an isolation scoring threat, he could be taken even higher than this.