SF/PF – 6’8, 205lbs – Born 23rd September 1995
In Zach Smith’s profile two pages ago, I mentioned that he plays some technically precise defence. I stand by it. But no one plays as technically precise of defence on this Swarm team as Wilkins does.
Raised in the endlessly disciplined defence of the Virginia Cavaliers’ Pack Line, Dominique’s nephew is a testament to the value of advanced statistics. Were you to look at his rebounding numbers and his stocks totals, you would not know him to be as good of a defender as he is. This is only true inside the arc, to be fair – when called upon to come out to the perimeter, Wilkins does not seem to have the ability to change direction quickly enough to stay with the play, and thus all his technical understanding is a bit meaningless if he is not fast enough to apply it. Yet on the interior, he makes good plays on the ball and reads the play very well, fuelled by an excellent hustle and some sneaky athleticism.
Wilkins is built like a small forward and plays like a centre, which makes him something of a power forward by default. He left the Cavaliers, though, needing to be able to expand his perimeter game. Be it as a small forward or a face-up four, his future at this size is out there. Wilkins rarely shot from outside with the Cavaliers, and when he did, he did not do so well. Offensively, he was mostly a cutter and bit-part scrapper with no go-to areas of the court. In his season with the Swarm, Wilkins has sought to prove that he can become an outside shooter, and there have been some early results – 35.1% shooting on a much-higher volume than ever before is progress on the 17% from three he shot as a senior. There is however a lot more work to do in this area, especially considering that Wilkins does not have the quickest release nor the experience in how to get open off the ball out there.
If he can improve his perimeter defence and keep making strides in his shooting, Wilkins could be a three-and-D combo forward at the top level. Even if he doesn’t, he should be a good G-Leaguer for a while, if he wants to be.
– 20th June, 2019
– View tons more player profiles like this from the Manifesto here.