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#pounditSaturday, December 5, 2020

Report: Denzel Valentine has cartilage damage in both knees

Denzel Valentine

[NBA front office executives read Denzel Valentine’s scouting report in Draft War Room]

“AP Player of the Year? Check! First-Team All American? Check! Flirted with averaging a triple-double in his senior year? Check! Potentially chronic knee condition? Ummmm…”

According to a report by NBADraft.net on Saturday, there is some cause for concern with Michigan State forward Denzel Valentine heading into next week’s draft as Valentine is said to have cartilage damage in both of his knees, similar to the condition of former Blazers guard Brandon Roy, whose NBA career was cut way short due to degenerative knee injuries. The report goes on to state that Valentine’s right knee is worse but that NBA teams are aware of the situation, and it still likely won’t knock him out of a selection in the teens.

The 22-year-old Valentine enjoyed a magnificent senior season for the Spartans, averaging 19.2 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game, and 7.8 assists per game and taking home multiple major awards at year’s end.

Valentine holds a significant amount of allure for NBA teams, not only as a Swiss Army knife talent with a high basketball IQ, but also for his leadership qualities that allow him to take over the offensive load himself down the stretch of games or make highlight-reel plays for teammates. But his upside is ultimately limited by a glaring lack of size, foot speed, and athleticism, preventing him for being considered a lottery-worthy draft choice, health notwithstanding.

This medical red flag could damage Valentine’s stock further, especially given how risk-averse NBA teams tend to be on Draft Day. But with this year’s talent pool really thinning out after the top 15 to 20 prospects, it’s hard to imagine this development being a damning one for Valentine.

H/T Rotoworld

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