Ben Sheppard 2023 NBA Draft Profile for the Cleveland Cavaliers

Ben Sheppard, Belmont Bruins. (Photo by Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports)
Ben Sheppard, Belmont Bruins. (Photo by Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports) /
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NBA Draft
Ben Sheppard (#22, left), Belmont Bruins. (Photo by Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports) /

Ben Sheppard’s defensive skill set

An All-Conference Defensive Team selection suggests that Sheppard was more than capable of holding his own on that end of the court. He showed plenty of flashes of textbook perimeter defense and is great at moving his feet. Sheppard’s advanced basketball IQ continues to show on this end of the floor, as he is adept at using his length to get in the passing lanes and make winning plays.

Sheppard’s good length, IQ, and quick feet make him an ideal wing defender. However, he lacks strength and gets easily bullied by stronger defenders. Playing a true wing position in the NBA will expose him to many big, physical wings to guard. If Sheppard wants to survive and make a positive impact on that end of the floor, he needs to get stronger.

As it stands right now, he’s likely not quick enough to keep up with NBA-level guards and will get pushed around by numerous NBA wings. The technique and other physical tools are there for his defense to translate, but some work in the weight room will truly define his role on the court.

For his multifaceted play, though, the hype continues to rise for Ben Sheppard, and additional visits along with the combine will likely propel him higher up the draft boards. If the Cavs believe he is the right fit for their team, Koby Altman shouldn’t hesitate to explore options for moving up and selecting him. Cleveland is rumored to be considered trading up, too, for what it’s worth, and they have to improve their shooting and wing outlook.

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Sheppard’s main weakness lies in his strength, but it wouldn’t be surprising to witness him gain muscle and develop into a legitimate rotation player in the league.