Height/Weight: 6’9, 235 lbs
Trendon Watford has the prototypical build of a common NBA power forward standing at 6’9 with a muscular build and long arms. At first glance, he passes the eye test of looking like an NBA caliber player. His straight line speed in the open floor is pretty impressive for a forward. He can finish as well as make some pretty great defensive plays as when I saw him live he had an impressive chase down block after committing a turnover.
When we dive deeper into the way he plays the game we see the appeal that NBA teams are attracted to. On the offensive end, Watford’s skill set allows for him to be versatile on that end. To kick things off Watford is an adept ball handler for a forward. This allows him to be effective out on the perimeter where he will occasionally take the open three. His ability to effectively use a cross over dribble paired with his size and length makes it tough for other bigs to stay in front of him making a threat to drive from the mid-range and beyond.
He also has a quick spin move to get around defenders as he swings his feet around the defender. His frame encourages him to drive as he absorbs and adjusts to contact well enough to finish. One thing I noticed about his drives is how he really pushes his elbow to shield himself on his layups. When Watford gets defended from smaller players he actively looks to use his size to bully opponents. Watford can also finish with both hands around the basket.
This all makes him a threat on dribble handoffs and in the pick and roll. Watford has decent vision for a forward and his ability to hit some passes in tighter windows makes the possibility of using him as the handler in pick situations very realistic as well.
The last major strength in Watford’s game is his rebounding prowess. This is another place where his physicals have really been a gift to him. His wide frame allows for fundamental box out technique that makes it tough for opposing players to get around and gain position. This coupled with his long wingspan allows for him to be an above average rebounder.
The first weakness I saw from Trendon Watford comes in the form of his motor and conditioning. I said earlier that I saw Watford commit a turnover and then immediately began sprinting down the court and eventually chasing down a block which was a great hustle play after a mistake. The only issue with it was this was a moment where I was like where was this the rest of the game. There were about five other moments where the game was ahead of him and he could’ve ran back to help with transition defense.
Watford likes to shoot outside, but historically his numbers haven’t been all that impressive. This includes both his 3PT% and FT%. If he can’t begin to knock down the three point jumper than it may cause defenses to begin to sag off of him. His jumper looks inconsistent as well. He could also look to add a mid range shot to his arsenal as well.
For the most part he is a rather passive player who looks to build off of others, but he needs to begin to look to create for himself more often than not on the offensive end. He looks for a mid range post up, a drive, or the three point shot. I would like to see more from him coming from the low post or mid range face ups to apply to his strengths.
On the defensive end, Trendon Watford has some awareness concerns that need to be brought to light. There are multiple instances where he will lose his man and have to try and recover back to his man. Some of this may be a result of miscommunication with teammates but there are also moments where he is caught ball watching. LSU has used Watford in a variety of ways including up top in their press but in the NBA, Watford looks to be less versatile. He doesn’t move well laterally and while his physicals may be enough for him to guard smaller players at the college level he may not be able to at the next level.
Trendon Watford is an impressive physical player who could offer some offensive versatility in the NBA. His ability to attack defenses while using his physical frame to absorb contact and finish will excite teams. There are some defensive weaknesses and possible motor/conditioning issues that teams are going to want to look at. If teams buy his offensive game then it could drive him up draft boards a little, but for now he looks to be selected anywhere from the early to mid second round if he decides to enter his name in the 2020 NBA Draft following this season.
@LSUBasketball Forward Trendon Watford is currently averaging 13.1 PPG and 6.7 RPG. Reps from 5 NBA teams are in attendance to watch Watford, Skylar Mays and Javonte Smart pic.twitter.com/A8L7Wbuqel
— TJ (@TJOxley1) January 19, 2020