SEC Basketball 2023 NBA Draft Preview: Kentucky Guard Cason Wallace

Kentucky’s Cason Wallace is one of the most well-rounded guards heading into the 2023 NBA Draft.

Coming into the 2022 season, Wallace was a consensus 5-star recruit that was looking to make an immediate impact for the Wildcats.

And he did just that as he became the only freshman in the nation to average 11+ points, 4+ assists, and 2+ steals per game.

Now, with the 2023 NBA Draft about a month away, Wallace looks to join an impressive list of successful Kentucky guards at the next level which includes the likes of Jamal Murray, Devin Booker, De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Maxey, and Tyler Herro.

SEC Basketball 2023 NBA Draft Preview: Kentucky G Cason Wallace


1. Defense

Wallace is a special defender. And it’s why he is drawing interest from plenty of teams in the lottery. Last season he averaged 2 steals per game (4th in the SEC) and half a block per game while routinely taking on the best perimeter threat from the other team.

He was an excellent team defender, didn’t show any struggle switching, and had great awareness when playing passing lanes. As shown by recording 8 steals in a game (tied for Kentucky’s record). His defensive tenacity, 195 pound frame, and feel for the game will allow him to guard both backcourt positions seamlessly as well as small forwards at certain times.

It will be his calling card in the NBA, and teams will want to pair him with a backcourt mate who could use the help on that end of the floor; think Klay Thompson helping Steph Curry on defense.

Defense is a lot of effort, along with just the right amount of athleticism, and Wallace possesses both which also explains why he rebounds well for a guard. At Kentucky, he was able to snag just under 4 boards per game. And that was alongside teammate, and certified rebound collector, Oscar Tshiebwe, who has led the NCAA in rebounds for the last two years.

So if there was any concern about motor… not with Wallace.

2. Off ball shooting

Being a combo guard is intriguing because he can fit in with a lot of teams and could possibly produce earlier to a team in contention.

Wallace thrived off of catch and shoot opportunities by shooting 35% on those chances from 3-point land. In fact, 100 of his 127 three point attempts came off of the catch and shoot. So it’s safe to say that was his bread and butter.

In total, he shot 34.6% (44/127) on the season from beyond the arc and during the first 20 games of the year, he shot 40.8% (40/98) from three.

That is exactly the kind of production NBA scouts are looking for in a combo guard.

3. Passing and finishing

There’s been so much talk, and rightfully so, about Wallace’s off-ball ability that his on-ball ability, including his passing and finishing skills, are being overlooked.

And that’s a shame because passing is probably the most underrated part of his game. For Kentucky, he led the team in assists with 4.3 per game on the season. And during postseason play, the Wildcats leaned on his distributing even more.

In the SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament, Wallace averaged 5.4 assists per game. By season’s end he had become more of a floor general which is something NBA teams will definitely take notice of.

Wallace also excelled at finishing in the paint. He shot 64.2% (52/81) and 60% (36/60) on those same shots in the half court. For all of the talk there had been about him struggling to get to the basket, a high conversion rate is still a promising sight.


As said before, Wallace is a very well rounded player. He doesn’t have holes in his game but there are a few areas he’ll need to improve on to reach his full potential in the NBA.

One being his struggle shooting off the dribble.

When creating, he usually found space in the pick and roll but couldn’t get the shots to fall when his drive was cut off.

He shot just 39.5% (96/243) on short and midrange jump-shots for the year and made just 34.8% (16/46) of his floaters.

But those numbers are far from awful, and if his efficiency from deep can translate to the NBA, he’ll have plenty of time to clean it up.

NBA Projection:

Player Comparisons: Wallace most closely compares to Jrue Holiday and Marcus Smart. Both players are very active on the defense end and had similar statistics when they were in college.

2023 NBA Draft Position: Wallace is high-floor player because of his ability to defend and fit into multiple offensive schemes.

That is an enticing pick for a lot of teams but high-floor players usually have a ceiling to where they are drafted. And for some apparent reason it seems more and more common with every passing year that a Kentucky guard slips in the draft.

Wallace is being mocked as high as the Wizards (presumably to fit alongside Bradley Beal) with the 8th overall pick to as low as the Raptors who are just outside of the lottery with the 15th pick. It’s probably safe to say he’ll go in that range to a team like the Jazz (9th) or the Thunder (12th).