Nah’Shon Hyland is a dynamic scorer who attended Virginia Commonwealth University. He had a productive two-year stint in college. In his freshman season, Hyland shot 43 percent from three and made the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team. His sophomore season is when he shined. He led the Atlantic 10 in scoring with 19.5 points per game; made First-team All-Atlantic 10; and won the Atlantic 10 Player of the year award.
Hyland led VCU to an NCAA Tournament berth with a 19-7 record. In the NCAA Tournament, He would have had the chance to perform on the national stage, unfortunately, VCU had a Covid outbreak and forfeited the game. He missed out on the chance to gain national recognition but still earned an invitation to the NBA combine. At the combine, Hyland boosted his draft stock by impressing scouts in both the scrimmages and during the interview process.
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Name: Nah’Shon Hyland
Position: Shooting Guard
School: Virginia Commonwealth
Weight: 169 lbs
Prototype: Sixth Man
Hyland is electric with the ball in his hands. He has a unique style, putting together a multitude of crossover moves when attacking his defender. Breaks the defense down off the dribble with ease. He puts defenders on skates and gets into the teeth of the defense. In isolations, he uses his handle to create separation and keep the defense guessing. He is lethal as a pick and roll ball-handler, he can get whatever spot he wants to with his handle. When bigs switch on to him, he has his way with them by either breaking them down off the dribble or creating space and pulling up for a step-back three. Hyland’s handle gets a bit high at times, something to monitor at the next level. He also tends to overdribble when trying to shake his man.
Hyland is a great shot-creator. He has never seen a shot he did not like. A fearless competitor who will attack any defender in isos. He works all three levels as a scorer and is a knockdown shooter. His quick first step combined with his elite handle and shooting gives makes him a load for defenders. Dribble pullups, stepback threes, threes off the dribble from 27 feet, acrobatic finishes around the rim with either hand, Hyland has everything in his toolbox. He does not need much space to get his shot off, pulls up from the logo off the dribble if defenders don’t respect his range. He’s a threat to score from anywhere on the court. Brilliant at creating shots out of the pick and roll. Comfortably steps into mid-range jumpers off of screens. Hyland is one of the most complete scorers in this class.
Hyland has incredible range as a shooter. He made 36 percent of his threes from 27 feet and beyond, an amazing feat. To maintain that accuracy at that distance is rare and it’s a skill that will immediately translate to the NBA. He shot only 37.1 percent from three as a sophomore but he was forced to take a lot of difficult shots due to the lack of surrounding talent at VCU. Shooting off the dribble is Hyland’s best asset as a shooter. Hyland will pull up off the dribble 30 feet away from the rim. In transition, Hyland likes to stop and pop from three. Defenders have to pick him immediately because he is a threat to pull up from anywhere.
Hyland also utilizes the mid-range area. He pulls up off the dribble regularly when coming off screens. Hyland has one of the purest shooting strokes in this class. As good as Hyland is at shooting off the dribble, he is equally effective in catch-and-shoot scenarios. He moves well without the ball and gets to the open spots on the floor. Sprints to the corners in transition when he isn’t’ leading the break, Hyland has it all as a shooter. Becoming a more efficient shooter from both the mid-range and the three are two things that he needs to improve on but overall, he is one of the best shooters in this class.
Hyland is only 169 pounds but he was an excellent finisher at college. He does not have great athleticism but he gets into the lane at will due to his elite handle. Can finish at the rim with either hand with the occasional dunk. With a 6’9.25” wingspan, Hyland has the length to finish around defenders in the lane. Does not shy away from contact despite his size. Hyland will not see the same success finishing around the rim in college due to his lack of size, strength, and explosive athleticism. Needs to add more weight if he wants to reach his full potential as a finisher. Hyland has the crafty moves and acrobatic finishes to be effective when attacking the rim so with a little more muscle he’ll find more success as a finisher.
Court Vision (5/10)
This is an area that Hyland is lacking. Hyland has the size of a point guard but he does not have a great vision which is why he is viewed as a shooting guard. He can serve as a combo guard but he is best as a pure scorer. Hyland misses open teammates at times because he is focused on creating his shot. Makes good passes when running the pick and roll but he is not consistent with it. Even as the primary ball-handler at VCU, Hyland only averaged 2.1 assists per game as a sophomore. He can grow in this area but Hyland has a scorer’s mentality so it’s going to take some time. Improving in this area could be the difference between Hyland becoming a starting guard or a career sixth man.
Hyland showed flashes of passing at a high level but he was never able to do so regularly. He gets a little reckless with his passes at times but the potential is there. Hyland will sometimes make the right passes in the pick and roll but he can be late with his reads, resulting in an errant pass. Hyland averaged 3.1 turnovers per game this season, more than his assist average. For his career, Hyland averaged 1.9 assists per game and two turnovers per game. He has some work to do when it comes to distributing the basketball. Cutting down on the turnovers will also be pivotal for Hyland. The ability is there for Hyland, he just has to hone it in.
Despite his small frame, Hyland is a good defender. His instincts stand out when playing off-ball defense. He has a good understanding of when to jump the passing lanes and get steals; averaged 1.9 steals per game this season. Plays aggressive on-ball defense. Uses his long wingspan and quick hands to make the ball-handler uncomfortable. Hyland rotates well and plays good help defense. Bigger guards tried to take advantage of Hyland’s size but his length and defensive IQ made him a steady defender. He was a productive defender in college but NBA teams will still worry about him in the switch-heavy NBA defensive schemes because he lacks both size and athleticism. But Hyland plays with tenacity and smarts, even with a more slight frame he can be a solid NBA defender.
Hyland is not an above-the-rim player by any stretch of the imagination but he does have formidable athleticism. He has a very quick first step that he uses to blow by defenders off the dribble. However, he does not have great vertical athleticism and this could impact his finishing abilities. While Hyland has a quick first step on offense, that quickness does not show up when he is on defense. He sometimes looks a little stiff in the hips when defending quicker guards and his lack of strength makes him susceptible to stronger guards. Hyland is not a great athlete but he is a good enough athlete to succeed in the NBA.
Basketball IQ (3/5)
Like most young players, Hyland is still learning the game. He is a deadly shot-creator so he takes a few questionable shots per game. Even though he can knock these shots down, he should still look for easier looks to improve his efficiency. His IQ is lacking as a playmaker, Hyland hunts for his shot so he misses teammates and he does not see the floor well. Defensively is where Hyland has a great understanding of the game. He is a highly instinctual defensive player. Plays team defense better than most of the prospects in this draft and he reads passing lanes extremely well.
With NBA teams scoring points at an all-time high, having shot-creators like Hyland coming off your bench is a weapon every team needs. Hyland plays with extreme confidence and he has an infectious competitive demeanor. He is the kind of player who will come off the bench and ignite the team. He trash talks, pulls up in defenders face off the dribble, breaks guys down off the dribble with a wide variety of crossover moves, Hyland has the kind of the game and attitude that teammates gravitate towards. Hyland is a showman who backs it up on the court. He believes that he is the best player on the court at all times. In a shooting league, Hyland is arguably the best shooter in this class. His ability to shoot it effectively from anywhere on the floor, in any situation is a skill that immediately translates to the NBA.
Teams have questions about his size. His nickname is “Bones” because he’s so skinny. Hyland was a fantastic finisher at VCU but NBA players will likely be strong enough to knock him off balance when driving. Adding 10-12 pounds will make him a much more effective scorer. Since he is coming from a Mid-Major, teams will also wonder about the level of competition he faced. VCU only played one ranked team in the 2020-2021 season. They played against the West Virginia Mountaineers and lost the game. Hyland struggled to score only 13 points and going 5-16 from the field. One game won’t sway teams but it is something to consider.
Hyland is far from a finished product but his elite shot-creating and shooting ability make him an immediate plug-and-play guy. He can make an instant impact as a sixth man off the bench. It has not been a widely discussed subject, but the NBA is has a shortage of high-level sixth men. Hyland could stand out immediately. Hyland makes some outrageous shots from outrageous range and he has the ball on a string. With NBA spacing he will become even more dangerous as a scorer. Hyland is projected to be drafted in either the bottom of the first round or early second round. In this range, Hyland is a steal. He is a good fit with multiple teams picking in those ranges.
The Denver Nuggets have the 26th pick in the first and Hyland would be a nice fit and an immediate upgrade to their second unit. The Nuggets had little depth at the guard position after Jamal Murray suffered a torn ACL. Their offense struggled to score in their second-round matchup with the Phoenix Suns. Monte Morris and Facundo Campazzo are the reserve guards, both facilitating point guards. Hyland would be the scoring punch the Nuggets are lacking on their second unit. Hyland could also play next to Murray in certain lineups giving the Nuggets two snipers in the backcourt.
Another team that Hyland fits with is the Phoenix Suns with the 29th pick. One thing the Suns were lacking in the playoffs was another player who could score in spurts when Chris Paul and Devin Booker were on the bench. Drafting Hyland would give the Suns a true sixth man and in two-guard lineups with Paul, he would be able to utilize his off-ball ability. Having the chance to learn from Paul would be big for Hyland’s development as a playmaker. Cameron Payne is a free agent so if he decides to leave in free agency then Hyland would have an even bigger role off the bench. There’s also the possibility that Paul leaves in free agency so drafting Hyland would give the Suns some insurance at the guard position.
If Hyland makes it out of the first round, the Milwaukee Bucks at pick 31 would be an amazing fit. The Bucks have been great at developing talent and getting the most out of their players. They are thin at the guard position. The only shot creators the Bucks have at the guard position are Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton. Adding Hyland to their roster would be a smart move for the present and the future. If Hyland can fine-tune his playmaking skills then he could develop into a future starter for the Bucks. Having a player with his scoring ability coming off the bench would make the Bucks’ high-powered offense even better. He could stretch the floor for Giannis Antetokounmpo when Holiday and Middleton are on the bench.
Hyland is a streaky shooter who can hit five or six threes when he gets hot. NBA defenders are bigger and more athletic than what he faced in the Atlantic 10 but he will be up for the challenge. His combination of handles, shooting, and finishing ability is similar to players like Ben Gordon and Jamal Crawford. Two of the best sixth men in NBA history. Hyland could become an eventual starter with the proper adjustments to his game.
Final Grade (72/100): Late-First, Early Second Round Pick
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