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Draft Prospect Spotlight: UCLA's Amari Bailey

UCLA guard Amari Bailey is a first-round talent, but isn't getting the top-30 recognition he deserves.
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The 2023 NBA Draft is less than two weeks away, as each team around the league continues to refine their respective boards. There's always a handful of college players who don't get as much credit as they deserve, but are incredible players that could make an impact at the next level.

One player who is still being undervalued as a prospect relative to consensus is UCLA guard Amari Bailey, who has legitimate NBA talent.

Amari Bailey (Guard | UCLA Bruins) 

6'4” | 190 lbs

Season Stats: 11.2 PPG | 3.8 RPG | 2.2 APG | 38.9% 3PT

Amari Bailey, UCLA Bruins

Notable Accolades

Coming into his freshman season at UCLA, Bailey was a big recruit with high expectations. He met those, performing like a clear one-and-done on his way to making the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team. The 6-foot-5 guard shined brightest when it mattered most on the big stage, producing 17.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in the Bruins' six postseason contests.

Bailey's performance in his lone college season earned him a 7.4 C-RAM from Cerebro Sports, including a 73 DSI. While he's a quality offensive engine, the defensive side of the ball was also very impressive for the young guard. At the next level, he should be able to impact the game on both ends.

NBA Upside 

The former Sierra Canyon guard has played high level competition for quite some time now. While there is an adjustment period for every rookie that makes the jump to the NBA, it's safe to say that Bailey could have an easier time than many in this class with how quickly he ramped up at the college level. 

Although he still needs to become a better decision maker, Bailey has gotten a lot better in that regard. Furthermore, a big question this time last year was whether or not he could score efficiently. He proved he could do just that at UCLA last season, converting on 56.1% of his field goal attempts, which is very impressive for a guard with his shot diet. He also made nearly 39% of his regular season 3-point attempts, followed by going 4-for-6 from deep in the postseason. 

Bailey checks a lot of the boxes that NBA teams look for in guards during the pre-draft process. While he isn't getting as much praise as some of the top guards in his class, there's no doubt he could end up being one of the best at that position from this draft when it's all said and done. With the ability to play either guard spot, Bailey is productive on and off the ball.

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