Louisville shooting guard Asia Durr has long been considered a lottery-level talent in the 2019 WNBA draft class. Her junior campaign lived up to that billing from start to finish. In the second game of the season, she dropped 47 on then-No. 5 ranked Ohio State via 16-of-29 shooting, then led the Cardinals to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a Final Four appearance.
We’ll be publishing individual scouting reports on all of our top 2019 draft prospects as well as a big board ranking the best 40-to-50 draft-eligible prospects. Those reports will be updated throughout the 2018-19 college season as we break down the performance of these prospects in feature matchups. Unless otherwise noted, stats are obtained via Her Hoop Stats and Basketball-Reference.
High Volume 3-Point Shooting
Durr has been one of the country’s premier 3-point shooters, shooting over 40 percent on 8.2 and 7.3 attempts per game during her sophomore and junior campaigns, respectively. Nearly half of her shot attempts have been triples in both. If Durr is able to someday approach last season’s true shooting percentage (58.5) at the next level with a similar shot profile, she’d be right on par with that of Allie Quigley. Chicago’s All-Star shooting guard shot 43 percent from deep on 5.8 attempts per game in 2017 and 42 percent on 5.2 attempts in 2018.
Versatile 3-Point Shooting
You have to do more than spot up or occasionally run off of screens to be seen as one of the best shooters in today’s game. Louisville head coach Jeff Walz does a nice job of springing Durr for open threes on the move, even when opponents sit in a zone. Durr has shown a propensity to hit shots after running around an array of picks. Most teams will be able to switch that to erase Durr’s head start. Some of her most impressive triples have come in hand-off situations where she’s in a full sprint, stops, then turns the gas back on to open up a sliver of daylight to launch.
Durr also hunts for 3s off the bounce. Opponents are toast if they duck under a screen, hoping to get back around in time to alter the shot. Durr’s release is very difficult to contest without fouling when she’s going to her left.
Jump Shooting off the Dribble in Either Direction
Durr does most of her damage inside the arc from the midrange. Evaluating the rest of her game is complicated.
The floor is not as spread as it will be at the next level. Durr will see additional opportunities to kick it out to more willing shooters, but will also be funneled into a center waiting for her at the basket.
There is still immense value to midrange artistry. The players that rely on it just need to be the absolute best at it.
Courtney Williams of the Connecticut Sun has attempted just 90 3-pointers in her last 64 games. The midrange is her bread and butter: She canned 44 percent of 230 attempts from 11-to-21 feet last season per Swanny’s Stats. Seimone Augustus shot 49 percent on 203 shots from the same range last season, her 13th. Durr will need to approach that level to be a big-time scorer at the next level. She isn’t the fastest player in a straight line, but one of her bigger strengths is an ability to make a quick dribble move and get right into her shooting motion.
Floater touch with either hand
Though Durr shoots left-handed, she is right hand dominant in most situations. That will come in handy from close range.
A floater isn’t a silver bullet, but it could become enough of a weapon that Durr can pull bigs out one more step from under the rim. That would open up better angles to get all the way to the rim and extend for crafty scoop finishes or earn trips to the line.
You’d like for Durr’s free throw rate the past two seasons—20.3 and 19.0—to be higher. WNBA rotation guards with a similar rate in the 2018 season include Jasmine Thomas, Erica Wheeler, Tanisha Wright.
Left to Right Crossover
This is the Durr staple.
Staying with her on the first bounce to her dominant hand isn’t good enough. She can pull it right back, get on balance and splash in a triple. Her next frontier—one that could pave the way to dramatically boost her free throw rate—is to size up bigger players and leverage her 3-point shooting ability as much as possible.
Per Synergy Sports, Durr used just 24 possessions (a mere 3.6 percent of her total offense) in isolation during 2017-18. Louisville often has two traditional bigs or at least one reluctant shooter on the floor. College opponents have had relatively easy choices to make if sending or shading extra help Durr’s way. She is already so effective getting up 3-pointers bolting around screens. When teams inevitably switch a big early in her career, bet the whole league will be watching to see whether she hurts them.
Lack of Size and Strength in the Paint
Durr is a high-level prospect because of her scoring. If she can beat slower players 1-on-1 and score efficiently, there’s an easy path to becoming at least a number two option on a really good team. Her effort and competitive nature have never been an issue, but she doesn’t have long arms and will struggle to give much resistance when bigger guards get her into the paint.
Explosion to the Rim
The only significant concern: What does your offense look like three years from now with Durr? Do you end up needing a point guard to do the majority of the ball handling? Does Durr become a lead guard, bringing the ball up and freeing you to pursue more of a spot-up option like Briann January to tackle the toughest assignments on the other end?
The best teams will always have somebody that can put pressure on the rim in some form. Durr’s shooting will open a lot of doors. But without absolute top line quickness or a bigger frame to absorb contact, getting to the rim and finishing over length with regularity will be the biggest area of concern.
A Kelsey Mitchell analog
The 2018 No. 2 overall pick makes for an interesting analog with Durr. Their 2017-18 usage rate, true shooting percentage, free throw rate and 3-point shooting numbers are nearly identical. Mitchell is faster in a straight line. Durr has more shiftiness to put one move on a defender and get right into a jumper. Mitchell posted an assist rate of 21 in her final college season; Durr’s career best is 13.7.
Mitchell’s shooting (and playing time) tailed off some during her rookie season with the Fever. But the shooting was a visible game-changer from the jump. Her assist (20.6) and turnover (12.7) rates were very similar to what she posted in college even as she had one of the highest usage rates (28.4) in the entire WNBA, trailing only Liz Cambage, Angel McCoughtry, Tina Charles, A’ja Wilson, Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi.
Durr will be one of the WNBA’s best shooters from day one. There’s more to her game for her future team to weaponize beyond the traditional shooting guard mold. But is she a lead ball handler five years from now? Is she running 25 pick-and-rolls every game as the focal piece of an offense? A’ja Wilson was the consensus number one pick during the 2018 draft from the moment the Las Vegas Aces were put on the clock. That sentiment isn’t there (yet) with the 2019 class.
With that said, the only remaining question for teams considering Durr at the top of the draft: Is there a potential go-to scorer elsewhere in this class that they are missing?
Games to watch in 2018-19
November 23 vs. Arizona State
January 10 at Notre Dame, ESPN
January 31 vs. UConn, ESPN
Predicted draft range: Lottery
New York desperately needs scoring punch from the outside, and they need it now to get back into contention as Tina Charles enters her age-30 season. If Durr doesn’t go sooner, it’d be surprising to see her fall past the Liberty at No. 3.
Ben Dull covers the WNBA, the WNBA Draft and women’s college basketball. His year-round coverage can be found at High Post Hoops, BBall Index, and The Basketball Writers. He is a San Diego native and recent alum of Concordia University Irvine’s Master’s of Coaching and Athletic Administration (MCAA) program.