Rasheed Sulaimon had a pretty fascinating, if rocky, college basketball career. He was a consensus five-star freshman for Duke in 2012, and he contributed a good bit for the Blue Devils over his first two years. He had a mediocre start to his junior season, and then, during that year, he became the first player Mike Krzyzewski ever kicked out of his program. A report later surfaced in Duke’s student newspaper that he’d been accused of sexual assault, although no formal charges were ever filed anywhere.
When Sulaimon transferred as a graduate student from Duke to Maryland, questions about his character swirled. But Sulaimon was, by virtually every account, a good citizen during his lone year at Maryland. Now he’s trying to cut it as a professional, after he averaged 11.3 mostly efficient points per game with the Terrapins.
Despite his considerable natural talent and solid results with Maryland (those 11.3 points, 3.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 42.5 percent three-point shooting), Sulaimon is not showing up in the most popular mock drafts. If he’s picked, it’ll be a surprise. The likelier outcome is that he signs somewhere as an undrafted free agent.
Here’s the book on Sulaimon as an NBA prospect:
Height without shoes: 6'4
Weight: 190 pounds
Sulaimon did not receive an invitation to the NBA Draft Combine, so his profile lacks the precise measurements attached to other Maryland prospects.
Sulaimon is a jack of just about every trade. He makes his three-pointers, a critical thing for an NBA shooting guard. He’s uber-athletic and can beat a lot of players in sprints down the court. He’s got terrific ball-handling skill. He can drive toward the basket, and he can either finish or pass. He’s a strong perimeter defender, and he almost never fouls (he did so 1.8 times per 40 minutes at Maryland). He can play a bunch of minutes without apparently getting all that tired.
Nothing in his game, really.
Sulaimon is an extraordinarily solid basketball player, and the guess here is that he’ll find a spot in the NBA somehow or someway. But three things have likely hurt his stock.
First, his ending at Duke was not good, and reputations follow people. NBA teams might view him, rightly or wrongly, as a risk. Second, he’s not elite at anything in particular, which prevents him from being an obvious role-filler right away. You can find better defenders, or better shooters or better passers, even if there aren’t a lot of guards who can do as much of all of them as Sulaimon can.
Third, he hasn’t gotten that much better statistically since his freshman year at Duke, and teams might worry that there’s not a lot of room left to grow. That’s possible.
Who’s a decent NBA comparison?
This is a really hard one. Maybe Kentavious Caldwell-Pope? Both are 40-ish-percent guys from beyond the arc, 75-ish-percent guys from the foul line, 6’4 or 6’5 and pretty athletic. Neither is bad at very much, but neither sets the world ablaze very often.