Two games into his senior season, David Padgett
suffered another in a long line of knee injuries, this time breaking his knee cap, which many believed would be the end to his season and his college career. As he has done in the past, though, Padgett recovered, and defied the odds to come back just a month and a half later, allowing him to play a solid 26 games on the season. His many knee injuries certainly havent helped his athleticism, as hes not a very quick or explosive player, but he is both mobile and coordinated, while having enough overall athleticism to get by, especially at his size.
Despite shooting 60% from the field last season, Padgett somehow found a way to increase his efficiency from the floor even further, shooting 67% this season on slightly more scoring output. When he was out early in the year, Louisville wasnt really living up to expectations, but once Padgett came back and quickly got re-adjusted to the game, things turned around, and his highly efficient post game and superb basketball IQ certainly had a lot to do with that.
In the post, Padgett has a very large array of moves, and has for quite some time. His go-to move is still his right-handed hook shot, which he can convert with in a variety of ways, but he mixes in dropsteps, turnaround jumpers, up-and-unders, and other moves as well. One of the things Padgett is best with is faking a spin off one shoulder, selling it very well, and then turning back off his other shoulder, putting up a hook shot, which hes capable of doing with either hand. Padgett has always used an extensive series of fakes to get off his moves, but hes been more decisive with them this year, and quicker with his execution in general, which has certainly helped his efficiency, and is a critical stride he needed to make for his game to convert to the next level. Padgetts post sense is still outstanding, as he takes what the defense gives him incredibly well and rarely forces ill-advised shots, opting to reset the possession if he doesnt like whats there. Padgett has had problems scoring over longer, more athletic defenders in the past, which is something hes sure to see more of at the next level, and while he definitely still doesnt look completely comfortable in these situations, he had very efficient games in his matchups against Roy Hibbert
and Hasheem Thabeet
this season, scoring 18, 12, and 12 in the three games against them, all above his season average, while shooting over 60% in all of them. While Padgetts athleticism is definitely not ideal, his excellent coordination, mobility, and footwork help make up for that in the post, and he does show the athleticism to pull off moves such as drop-stepping from one side of the paint to finish with a reverse lay-up on the other side of the rim.
An area we suggested Padgett needed to improve on in our previous progress report of him was his mid-range jumper, which he rarely goes to, even though he shows good form and is fairly successful with it when he uses it. His 82% free-throw shooting in his past two seasons definitely left us encouraged about his potential there, though he inexplicably dropped to 66% from the line this year, which is puzzling to say the least. Regardless, its tough to fault someone for not showing a staple of their game more consistently when theyre as efficient as Padgett is, and this is something hell just need to adjust with at the next level, as hell definitely need to be more reliant on his mid-range jumper if he plays in the NBA.
As for the rest of his offense, you cant understate Padgetts ability to do the little things and how he applies his basketball IQ in all areas of the game. Lousiville ran a lot of their offense through Padgett in the high-post, as he shows good passing ability, hitting cutters and shooters alike. Even many of his turnovers were actually passes that went off the hands of his teammates. Hes also an excellent cutter without the ball, specifically in pick-and-rolls, where he reads the defense very well. Its also quite the common occasion to see Padgett moving around the perimeter setting screens, and directing his teammates to their spots on the floor.
On the defensive end, Padgetts great basketball IQ stands out as well, as he plays a very fundamentally sound game while showing great awareness, always making the right rotations. These rotations in combination with his size and timing allow him to block some shots, but hes not very dynamic here due to athletic limitations. In man-to-man defense in the post, Padgett shows great footwork and always keeps his hands up, forcing his man into tough shots, while also doing a good job not getting beat laterally. He can be pushed around by players with a strength advantage and shot over by players with a length and athleticism advantage, but he still makes them work for it. As for the rest of his defense, its clear that the multiple injuries in his career have taken a toll on him physically, as he really struggles defending the pick-and-roll and closing out on shooters, just not having the quickness to consistently make the plays. While he isnt forced to defend face-up players on the perimeter often, his lateral quickness there is also a concern. Padgetts rebounding is also a concern, as despite his size, hes never really excelled on the boards, especially on the defensive end. He did excel on the offensive glass last year, but hes fallen off there as well, and this year didnt even manage 5 rebounds per game total, though he did play 23.5 minutes per game. Of all centers in our database, Padgett ranks fifth from last in rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted.
Padgett is someone who has a good chance of attending the Portsmouth pre-draft camp, and if not that, he should get into the Orlando pre-draft camp as well. Hes not a lock to get drafted, and any chance of that will depend on how NBA teams feel about him after putting him through extensive physical examinations. Regardless, with his incredible feel for the game and high basketball IQ, he should get plenty of chances to make an NBA team, even with some of his limitations. If not, he should have a very successful career overseas, as long as he can manage to stay healthy.