Coming into the season, many fans had an idea about which players would likely be a one-and-done.
However, I don’t think anyone thought that Reed Sheppard would be playing at the level we have seen from him this early in his career.
Sheppard is currently averaging 10.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3.2 steals, and one block per game through six games.
On top of that, he is number one in the country in plus/minus at +127 on the year, with zero games in the negative.
Kentucky Wildcats fans are not the only ones buying the Reed Sheppard stock after his outstanding start to the season.
“Box plus-minus is arguably the most useful of the catchall stats. Four of the players ranked No. 1 over the past five seasons — Trayce Jackson-Davis (2023), Keegan Murray (2022), Evan Mobley (2021), Obi Toppin (2020) and Zion Williamson (2019) — were top-10 draft picks, with Jackson-Davis being the exception. The player ranked No. 1 this season, Reed Sheppard, might surprise some, making him worthy of a deeper look,” Givony wrote.
He continued, “Even against lower-level competition (and in limited minutes versus Kansas), it’s easy to see how good Sheppard is and why he has been arguably Kentucky’s most productive player, averaging 18.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 5.3 steals and 1.7 blocks per 40 minutes while shooting 67% from both inside and outside the arc.”
We have all seen what Sheppard does well for the Cats when he is on the floor. But NBA Draft analyst Givony broke down what he sees in the freshman.
“Sheppard uses and rejects ball screens effectively to get into the paint off crossovers and hesitation moves, reading the floor with poise and patience and making the game easy for teammates by whipping the ball all over the court with outlet passes, finding cutters and rollers over the top, and with skip passes for open 3s,” he wrote. “He also is an outstanding shooter with deep range with his feet set and pulling up off the dribble, showing no hesitation getting into his jumper with a quick release and impressive confidence.”
He continued, “Defensively, he generates turnovers instinctually with timely digs, traps and post-doubles, shooting the gap for steals, intercepting entry passes, flying around off the ball, and wreaking havoc with smart rotations to protect the rim. He’s got quick hands, and an even quicker mind, helping him compensate for his lack of physical tools, which show up at times with the way bigger players can shoot over the top of his limited length or overpower him one-on-one.”
Givony adds that it is still too early to tell if Sheppard can be a one-and-done and will need to see how he plays as we get into SEC play.
You can check out everything Givony had to say here.