NBA Draft Bio: Aaron Nesmith

Road to the Draft 

A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Nesmith was named the State’s Gatorade Player of the Year in his Senior Year at Porter-Gaud School. Despite the recognition, and leading Porter-Gaud to three straight Class 3A State Championships, he was lightly recruited by high profile NCAA programs. Choosing to go to Vanderbilt, he had a very successful, albeit brief, collegiate career. One of the more dynamic scorers in the NCAA as a Sophomore, Nesmith averaged an SEC-leading 23.0 ppg and 4.9 rpg, shooting 52.2% from three-point land, on 8.2 attempts per game, as well as knocking down 82.5% of free throws. By all accounts, Nesmith has a good head on his shoulders and already has a plan for what comes after his basketball career.


Nesmith’s biggest strength is that he is a pure shooter, with excellent range. He showed the ability to not only extend past the college 3, but to get out to NBA-range too. His shooting motion is clean and he can get his shot off quickly as long as his feet are set. He places a premium on off-ball movement and can catch-and-shoot better than any other players in this year’s draft. He has shown improvement in the ability to create a shot for himself, mixing in a variety of jab steps, ball fakes and good handles. While an outstanding shooter, he also shows decent touch around the rim, where his 6'10" wingspan allows him to finish through contact and over defenders. Understanding his own strengths and weaknesses, Nesmith plays within himself and doesn’t try to do too much – he’s coachable, doesn’t have a huge ego and has a will to win. At 6'6", 215 lbs. he should be able to handle the rigors of an NBA season.  

Areas of Improvement

Unfortunately, Nesmith sustained a stress fracture in his right foot in January, and could not play the rest of they year for the Commodores. Stress fractures are difficult to recover from and can occur repeatedly – NBA teams are wary of the injury. Regardless of his injury, Nesmith was already somewhat limited athletically – he’s not an explosive jumper and finisher. Weak competition may have inflated his numbers, as Vanderbilt only played one game against a top-25 opponent (Auburn) before going down with injury. He hasn’t shown ability as a playmaker, and has difficulty getting teammates involved, as his poor assist/turnover ratio indicates. While his ball handling improvements have helped him get his shot off, he still doesn’t have a great handle when attacking the rim in traffic.

Overall Outlook 

Given the NBA’s shift towards the versatile, 3&D-type player, Nesmith projects to go late in the lottery – perhaps even falling to into the 18-20 slot. The further he falls, the less he’ll be relied upon which should help his development. Making the transition to the pros can be a difficult task, but if he can improve his dribbling skills and playmaking ability, he has a shot at being a difference maker to a championship-contending team. 

Photo Credit: Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire