Reed Sheppard: Taking A Closer Look At The Skill Sets Of A Promising 2024 NBA Draft Prospect

Reed Sheppard, 2024 NBA Draft Prospect

Reed Sheppard was raised in a religious environment. His family, church and community played a major role in his upbringing. As a result he’s a believer, a man of faith.

As faith would have it, Reed Sheppard would attend the same university as his parents, Kentucky basketball legends Jeff and Stacey Sheppard, and wear the same number, 15 as his dad. Is it safe to say “It’s in his blood”?

The Kentucky Wildcats would go on to win 23 games and lose 10 during the 2023-24 season. Cool fact: They were 11-0 when Reed Sheppard committed less than 2 turnovers.

However his blessings didn’t stop there. As one of the top players in the country, his NBA Draft prospect rankings continued to rise. Sheppard is currently projected as a Top-3 pick. He’s a prospect that has long successful career ahead of him. Sheppard will add the following to an NBA roster:

  • Heady player
  • Combo guard
  • Offensive efficiency
  • Lights out shooter
  • Three level scorer
  • Excellent defensive hands
  • Playmaking

Next, let’s take a look at 6 things that you will find on the scouting report for one of the top 2024 NBA Draft prospects.

6 Things You’ll Find On Reed Sheppard’s Scouting Report

#1. Efficient Offensive Firepower: Scores At Three Levels

Sheppard is an offensively efficient combo guard. One that scores at all three levels. Most of his points are tallied from behind the three-point line, then at the rim, midrange and lastly the charity stripe, where he’s a reliable shooter.

At this stage of his career three point shooting accounts for more than half of his offensive output. Scoring at the rim accounts for 18%, midrange 14% and free throws 13%.

#2. A Lights Out Shooter That Breads His Butter From Behind The Three Point Line

In the half court and transition Sheppard is an excellent shooter. A shooter that can catch & shoot, pull up off the dribble or shoot after receiving a handoff. Long distance is his bread & butter but he also cooks from the midrange. However, not as efficiently as he does from three point territory. Nonetheless still effective.

In his first and likely only season as a Kentucky Wildcat, Sheppard showed the world that he’s an excellent long range shooter with NBA range. The accuracy and consistency at which he knocked down threes reached rare territory as he shot a blistering 52% for the 2023-24 season.

Sheppard stays ready to shoot, especially in catch & shoot situations. He poses a serious threat to half court and transition defenses. He runs opponents off screens with clean off ball movement. His catch & shoot mechanics are fluid. Plus, a high shot release combined with a quick trigger off the catch leaves a small window of time for defenders to react and contest.

The majority of Sheppard’s three point makes are assisted but he also proved to be more than capable of creating and hitting shots off the dribble. He can get his shot with or without a screen.

Sheppard is a skilled shot creator that creates separation with crossovers, hesitations and step backs. At the same time he gets defenders off their feet with shot fakes and buries shots when attacking around screens or pulling up in transition.

Midrange pull ups are executed smoothly. Sheppard is solid at attacking past rotating defenders to the foul line, elbow and short corner areas when pulling up. Adept at drawing fouls on his learners and jumpers.

#3. Attacking And Scoring At The Basket Is His Second Most Potent Offensive Weapon

His jump shot is lights out. Defenders have to respect it and Sheppard knows this. As a result he freezes defenders with fakes and beats them off the dribble attacking baseline, into the paint and to the basket. This is Sheppard’s second most potent method of scoring.

While Sheppard may not be the fastest with the ball in his hands he’s one of the quickest to spot and act on an opportunity to attack an opening. As a result he attacks well in both directions with or without screens, against closeout or rotating defenders, in one on one situations and against mismatches. His deliberate straight line attacks, change of pace and direction with hesitations, crossovers, going behind the back and the use of angles gets him to his spots.

From close range Reed is a solid finisher. For the most part he’s a beneath the rim guard in the half court and when contested. Yet when uncontested and in the open court he shows off his bounce when finishing above the rim with athletic dunks. Plus he surprisingly has some hang time, absorbs contact while finishing layups with both hands and high arching floaters. Although he’s a good finisher on some occasions he looks like a little kid being rejected when his shots are sent back at the rim.

#4. Sheppard Can Run An Offense Effectively, Distribute And Make Plays For Others

Sheppard is a good distributor. He swings the ball, finds cutters and shooters coming off of screens. When leading the break, Sheppard finds teammates. In pick & roll action he has the vision and passing skills to hit rollers, find dunkers and shooters. Also, opportunities for teammates are created off the dribble without screens.

His ability to drive and find others has a slight resemblance to Steve Nash at times. Especially during the occasional moments he keeps his dribble alive under the basket after attacking through the paint and along the baseline. Like with any player Sheppard has his moments of making bad passes that get deflected or stolen. Plus he leaves his feet to make passes on occasions.

Still, at the next level Sheppard is a combo guard that’s best suited to play primarily at the point guard slot. Due to his ability to effectively run the offense, distribute and make plays for others. That’s in addition to him being best suited to guard the one.

#5. Best Suited To Defend Point Guards At The Next Level

On the defensive end Sheppard is undersized at the shooting guard slot. However, he has some similarities to John Stockton. For starters, despite not looking the part both are/were surprisingly good defenders. Even with a lack of physically imposing statures their defensive presence is/was felt. Both relentless often getting their hands on the ball for steals and deflections.

Possessions are never safe in Sheppard’s presence. His hands are active as he’s constantly swiping under control while defending on ball, providing help defense or getting into passing lanes. Whether chasing his man from behind through screens to defending on the wing etc, Sheppard’s anticipation to read and get into passing lanes is excellent.

He turns defense into offense and hustles back on defense to prevent easy offense. Sheppard’s excellent combination of end to end foot speed, hustle and quick hands often saves baskets by stripping those attacking the rim on the way up from behind.

Although agile, at the next level Sheppard is likely to struggle staying in front of his man and getting through screens early in his career and often. Plus bigger two guards will shoot over the top of him. Sheppard’s on ball defensive strategy is to be a tiring presence who won’t go away or give up on plays. He has a nose for the ball and when least expected pockets will be picked.

With his 32.5 inch standing vertical and 42 inch max vertical, jump shots will be contested under control or occasionally blocked with finger tips when defending straight up, rotating or closing out. Sheppard Averaged slightly under 1 block per game at the collegiate level. Which is decent for a player of his size. Interesting fact: The Wildcats were 20-3 when Sheppard committed less than 3 fouls.

#6. Rebounds In His Area On The Defensive End

Sheppard isn’t much of an offensive rebounder. Outside off securing missed shots that take a favorable bounce off the rim and into his area don’t expect him to crash the glass in order to hunt down offensive boards. Not to say he’s incapable, especially with a 42 inch max vertical. It’s just not part of his game at this stage of his career. Plus that role typically isn’t required of point guards.

On the defensive end Reed Sheppard is a bit more active and productive. Often leaving his man at the three point line, dropping down into painted area in order to secure the rebounds that come off the rim into his area. Sheppard rebounds are typically long misses and weak side boards.

Profile: #15 Kentucky Wildcats

Listed Height: 6’ 1.75” (without shoes)

Weight: 181.6 LBS

Wingspan: 6′ 3.25″

Standing Reach: 7′ 9.5″

Position: Point Guard/Combo Guard

Class: Freshman

Hometown: London, Kentucky

DOB: 6/24/2004 (19 yrs old)

2 Minutes Of Sheppard Highlights

R. Sheppard: 2023-24 NCAA Season Stats Per Game


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