Wayne Selden arrived at Kansas as part of their highly touted 2013 recruiting class, joining Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid to create an extremely talented, if inexperienced, team for Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks.
Kansas started that year off strong, sprinting out to a 22-6 record before an injury to Embiid all but removed them from title contention. Selden played his part well, sliding into an important role alongside those two aforementioned focal points, chipping in 9.7 points and 2.5 assists per contest, while hitting the occasional, albeit inconsistent, three-point shot.
After a disappointing sophomore campaign, which saw Selden shoot just 39.5% from the floor and fail to make the jump many expected, Selden bounced back this year. He averaged a career-best 17.9 points per 40 minutes, pace adjusted, easily besting the 13.3 he averaged as a freshman, while shooting 46.9% from the field and a career-best 38.3% from three-point range.
That continued improvement from three-point range is key for Selden's draft stock, as the intrigue surrounding him begins with his potential as a three-and-D wing. Selden stands 6'5, with a borderline freakish 6'10 wingspan and a strong upper body, a combination which gives him quite a bit of defensive versatility.
The form on Selden's jumper looks more or less the same as it did in previous seasons, albeit perhaps with a touch more arc underneath it, but it's clear he's put in the work to make it a more consistent part of his game. The results can still have a little more variance than you would prefer, with bad misses cropping up from time to time, but the progress Selden has made to force defenders to pay attention to him out to the three-point line has increased his value considerably.
Selden's also shown some improvement shooting off the dribble, although it's a relatively small portion of his game, and he doesn't likely project as a player who would be creating off the dribble all too frequently anyway. Still, for a player who is going to make his living spotting up on the perimeter, being able to attack a closeout with one or two dribbles and effectively hit a pull-up jump shot is a key addition to his game.
Selden has also continued to make incremental progress in his ability to utilize screens to his advantage, showing improved footwork and balance when curling off of a screen and rising up for a quick jump shot. Once again, for a player who is likely to spend the majority of his career off the ball, this is a welcomed addition to his game, which should help him be more than just a one trick player offensively.
The rest of Selden's game is still a work in progress. He doesn't have the quickness or advanced ball handling moves to really create off the dribble with any real consistency, especially with his left hand, which remains under-developed and a real hindrance to any kind of reliable dribble-drive game. Even when he does get into the paint, he's not the greatest finisher, with just average explosive ability around the hoop, especially when elevating in traffic. To make matters worse, Selden can get caught out of control at times, taking wild shots that he has little chance of converting, and frequently putting his head down and becoming a black hole when driving to the hoop.
Another area where Selden can improve is in his recognition. While he shows an ability to make strong cuts off, and does a better job of showcasing his athletic ability when he's not burdened by having to maintain control of the basketball, Selden far too frequently relegates himself to standing in the corner, missing opportunities to utilize screens or cutting lanes to the basket. On the one hand, this is frustrating for a player who is going to be utilized in an off the ball role, but it does suggest that he may have some more potential if he can improve his offensive awareness and recognition.
Finally, scouts have always questioned just how tough Selden is on and off the floor. While he sports a chiseled frame, he doesn't always quite know how to use it, as it's not rare to see him shy away from contact around the basket.
That trend of having intriguing role player potential, but not yet fully realizing it continues on the defensive end, where Selden's always had more physical tools than he did realized production. Part of the problem is that while Selden has elite length for his position, his lateral mobility is only average. To compound matters Selden possesses just average defensive fundamentals, with inconsistent attention off the ball, frequently being in a poor defensive stance even when engaged, and struggling at times to recognize, and navigate, screens off the ball. The potential is there, and the effort typically is as well, so this is hopefully an area where he can make progress going forward, but it's still an area where he hasn't quite made the progress many would have hoped for.
That all combines to create a player who is a little bit of an enigma. The role player potential Selden has is still readily evident, with an improving three-point shot and a frame that should make him a plus contributor defensively. But the ability to harness that into an effective role player at the next level is still in question. Selden made steps in accomplishing that this year, with the improved three-point shooting playing a key role in his development as a prospect, but realizing his defensive potential, cutting better off the ball, and making better decisions with the basketball are still areas in need of improvement to fully unlock his potential as a role player.