Theo Pinson’s draft prospects, and how he can be a successful NBA player

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 29: Theo Pinson /

It was announced this week that Theo Pinson had been invited to the NBA Draft combine. What are his chances at the next level, and what can he do to be a successful NBA player?

After initially being a notable snub, former UNC wing Theo Pinson received an invitation to the NBA Draft Combine earlier this week. The combine kicked off yesterday in Chicago, and will conclude this Sunday.

Pinson has been a standout for the past four years at North Carolina, and particularly this past season, in which he averaged 10.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and was arguably UNC’s most important player by the end of the year.

The 6-foot-6 point/forward certainly possesses the natural athleticism, versatility, and play-making abilities to be successful at the next level, which he will get a chance to show off to NBA scouts this week. However, most are currently projecting Pinson to go undrafted. In order to change that perception, he will need to improve in several phases of his game.

Three Point Shooting

Throughout the 2017-18 season, Theo Pinson dramatically improved his jump shot, specifically from behind the three-point line. Pinson began throwing up threes at a high rate, but hitting them at a low one. The Greensboro, North Carolina native began the season shooting a dismal 2-for-19 from behind the arc.

Later in the season, though, Pinson started to shoot the three-ball at a better rate, and became a formidable threat from downtown. Pinson shot 35 percent from downtown in ACC Play compared to just 9.5 percent in non-conference play. While he will need to improve even more to be successful in today’s NBA, what he did this past season is a good start. On Thursday, Pinson was seen knocking down some jumpers prior to a 5-on-5 game at the NBA Combine. 

Consistent Defense

Theo Pinson has the physical tools to be a great defender in the NBA, and he has the athleticism and versatility to guard multiple positions at the next level. In an interview with Inside Carolina,  UNC head coach Roy Williams claimed that Pinson has yet to reach his full defensive potential.

"‘If he would buy into it like Jackie Manuel, five years from now, if I was still alive and kicking, I’d be talking about Theo being the best perimeter defender I’ve ever coached,” Williams said. But he hasn’t bought into it that much.”"

If Pinson can “buy in” by the time he reaches the NBA, he will find a home somewhere in the league. His physical tools and ability to guard multiple positions, combined with a high defensive motor, would simply be too much for NBA executives to pass up on.

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If Pinson can show off the potential strides he has made as both a shooter and a defender, he could see his draft stock go through the roof by the time the combine has concluded. Either way, he will get a real shot in the NBA, and it will be exciting to see what he does with it.