How to Bet on This Year’s Mystery Man

Shaedon Sharpe NBA draft profile

To classify
Upper/lower draft

The 2022 NBA Draft is barely a week away, so let’s keep digging into this year’s top prospects and looking for betting value.

Today we take a look at this year’s international mystery man, Shaedon Sharpe. The Canadian prospect just turned 19 at the end of May, and he could be the most upside-down winger in a draft that is sorely lacking in high-end options.

Sharpe is an elite athlete with huge potential, but it remains a mystery as he hasn’t played organized ball in almost a full year. Let’s take a look at Shaedon Sharpe and be sure to check out our draft profiles for other potential top 10 prospects:

International Grand Mystery Man of 2022

Sharpe was a relative unknown a few years ago before exploding onto the scene last July at the Nike EYBL and Peach Jam tournaments, ranking No. 1 on the early 2023 boards. Sharpe then reclassified a year and s Enrolled at the University of Kentucky but never played for the Wildcats (NCAA!), so we haven’t seen him play organized ball in a full year.

Sharpe is 6ft 6in with a wingspan of nearly 7ft, an elite athlete with an outrageous vertical. Sharpe has a reel of incredible dunks and silky shots. He projects like an electric wing striker if everything falls into place.

The question, of course, is whether it all will ever come together – and how many have already in the past year.

Main forces

Tantalizing athleticism and size profile

Almost everything about Shaedon Sharpe is unknown or speculative, including a rumored 49-inch vertical. Sharpe didn’t jump at the Combine, but that would have broken the record held by a certain Michael Jordan. Anything even close is amazing pop, especially when charging on two feet.

Sharpe has a huge frame. He is two inches taller and three inches taller than Anthony Edwards or Jalen Green, closer in height to someone like Hamidou Diallo. That length and athleticism give him enormous defensive potential.

The combination of that big, solid frame with a quick first step gives Sharpe great potential as an NBA scorer. He’s shown a good ability to finish on contact, and he’s a good ball cutter and an explosive dunker with huge hands. Sharpe is probably more of a 98th percentile athlete than a 99.9 (like Ant), but the size and athletic package are enticing.

Unknown and untapped advantages

It’s not the most exciting draft. The big three at the top are popular, but the project lacks high-end fenders and guards. It’s what drives Jaden Ivey’s athletic explosion into the top 5, and it’s what makes Sharpe so intriguing. His athletic profile stands out in a class that is sorely lacking.

The unknown is scary, but it’s also what makes Sharpe so interesting when lottery knowns are more like B-plus prospects. Don’t forget that Sharpe just turned 19, so he’s one of the youngest prospects in the class. Youth is equal upside down.

For one thing, we haven’t seen Sharpe play organized ball in almost a year. On the other hand, we already know how far Sharpe has come from 2020 to 2021, going from radar to No. 1 in his class. If he can do it in a year, what could he have done for a recall in the past 11 months?

All it takes is a team to fall in love with the youth, athletic profile and advantage at the league’s most coveted position.

Notable weaknesses

Unknown offensive package

Of course, the unknowns go both ways.

We know Sharpe can score – he led those July tournaments in scoring last summer – but the rest of the attacking package remains a real question mark. He’s had flashes as a playmaker and passer, but he still has a long way to go. The shot looks good with the NBA lineup but hasn’t been tested against top competition, and the shot selection is… questionable.

Sharpe has a good dribble with tight crossover and backing mechanics. This grip also remains untested against high-level defenders. These kinds of questions are inevitable when you only played in high school.

Is Sharpe more than just an athlete with a burst and a wet jumper? He could be a long-term project spending a lot of time in the G-League before we know it.

Doubtful intangibles

But wait! There are more… questions, that is.

Does Sharpe elevate his teammates? How does he play in a team setting? Can he share the ball? Does he have value off the ball? Can Sharpe be coached? Is he a boss? How do intangibles stack up? Will he even try defense?

There are questions about Sharpe’s engine and effort. He received mixed reviews at Kentucky practices, although he played well on his own on a team with Team Canada. Maybe Sharpe answers those questions positively with a year at Kentucky — or maybe he doesn’t and is slipping on the drawing boards.

Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Shaedon Sharpe #21 of the Kentucky Wildcats.

This is the danger of the unknown. Every year, there are high-scoring high school applicants who disappoint in college. Jaden Hardy entered this year as a highly rated and likely top-5 wing scorer, but is now a marginal first-round pick after a disappointing year at G-League Ignite.

What if Sharpe had been in Hardy’s place? Would he have slipped too, or would he have impressed and locked in his draft position like Jalen Green a year before? It’s impossible to know.

Overall draft outlook and NBA projection

In interviews, Sharpe compares himself to Bradley Beal and Devin Booker. And why not pit yourself against two of the best defenders in the league? I also saw Anthony Edwards and Zach LaVine. I see DeMar DeRozan a bit more – more rounded, relying on strength and polish to make the score.

Remember, Sharpe may not be that 99.9 percentile athlete, but his strength and frame could make him smaller forward than the time-shot guard. This size versatility is a bonus. It should be noted, however, that this type of player usually takes a long time to develop – if ever.

Maybe Sharpe isn’t Beal or Booker, Ant or Zach, or DeRozan. Maybe it’s JR Smith. Or maybe he’s Gerald Green or Xavier Henry or one of the hundreds of other athletic wings whose game never focused on athleticism and frame.

How to bet on Shaedon Sharpe’s draft position

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that it only takes one team to fall in love with Sharpe’s unique set of athleticism, size, and advantage.

That’s why I play the under 7.5 on Shaedon Sharpe at -115.

Look, the teams that pick near the top of the draft are there for a reason – they lack star talent. The NBA has always been a star-driven league, and the 2022 draft is dangerously devoid of a rising superstar past the top 3.

Players like Keegan Murray, Dyson Daniels and Johnny Davis project themselves as safer, higher-tier types. But at the top of the draft, teams typically push for upside swings. They swing for home runs, not singles.

Sharpe is one of the few true homers in the 2022 draft. For a team looking to start over like the Pacers at No. 6, Sharpe is a chance to walk away with the best player in the draft. Ditto the Pistons at No. 5, who tanked all year for the top pick only to drop four spots.

The Kings at No. 4 and the Blazers at No. 7 don’t seem like solid fits, as both appear to be in win-now mode. But that could lead to either or both of them trading their picks for veteran help, and a team that trades veterans is likely looking to get young with an upside game like Sharpe.

In my lottery night simulation draft, I projected Sharpe to the Pacers at No. 6. His upside gives him as much chance as anyone in the draft of being taken at No. 4, 5, 6 or 7. It’s +155 to go top 5 at PointsBet, and it’s +600 to go fourth or +225 to go fifth at DraftKings.

Want to go crazy? Oklahoma City picks No. 2 and Sam Presti always does things a little differently. What if Presti’s favorite big man is gone and he wants to get into athletics? Sharpe would sit well alongside Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He is 60 to 1 to finish second overall at DraftKings.

With Sharpe’s tantalizing benefits and potential, anything seems possible.

There are always one or two players who get major buzz the week before the draft and shoot big boards and mock drafts. Sharpe has the potential to be that guy this year. I’m going to take his under 7.5 and bet on the potential.