by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Duke Athletics.
At Draft Nation, the NBA draft talk never ends. We will get you ready for the 2024 draft with player profiles and mock drafts so you can see who your favorite team may add to their roster.
Today’s Spotlight - Duke, Center/Power Forward, Kyle Filipowski
Name- Kyle Filipowski
Pos- Center/Power Forward
HT/WT- 7’0” 248 lbs.
Home – Middletown, NY
Kyle Filipowski is a 5-star center out of Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts. He was ranked as high as the #10 overall player and the #2 center in the 2022 class. He averaged 19.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.4 blocks per game, while being named to the Naismith National High School Boys Basketball All-America first team during his senior year. He also played baseball and water polo and held a 4.02 cumulative grade point average during high school. He committed to Duke over offers from Ohio State and Syracuse amongst others.
Filipowski did not waste time to make his presence felt at Duke. He started all 36 games and led the Blue Devils in scoring (15.1) and rebounds (8.9). He posted 16 double-doubles, which led all Division one freshmen in the country. His historic season was only the 4th time in conference history that a player was named ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Tournament MVP in the same season. A decision on his future needed to be made after the season and at the time, Filipowski was considered a potential late first round pick. Eventually, he decided to come back to Durham for his sophomore season to improve his draft stock.
Filipowski entered the 2023-2024 as the ACC Preseason Player of the Year, AP Preseason All-American, and the ACC Preseason First Team All-ACC. Through 15 games in the 2023-2024 season, Filipowski is averaging 17.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. He is shooting 53% from the field so far this season, including 37% from 3-point range. He appears to have helped his draft stock and is now being considered a lottery pick.
Filipowski is another 7’0” big man who has the versatility that the NBA seeks nowadays. He has the combination of skill and size and he can score from all over the court. He is strong enough to do some damage in the paint and has a shooter's stroke from outside the arc. He is able to grab a rebound and start a fastbreak and is a fantastic facilitator.
On offense, the youngster is used for a little bit of everything. He sets screens and makes himself an available option each time down the court. On offense, he is a weapon with his cutting ability and an NBA team will enjoy taking advantage of this skill. When a shot goes up, Filipowski does an effective job of finding a body to box out.
However, his outside shooting is still a work in progress. If he keeps improving his outside shot and range, it will open up his ability to drive to the net. He needs to improve his strength to match up against the bigger, faster NBA players and he is a much better shooter when standing still and will need to improve his release while taking the ball on the run. He has moments where he is careless with his handle in the open floor and will turn the ball over, and he can also get too aggressive with some of his passes. He tries to fit the ball into the tightest windows, causing unnecessary turnovers. He lacks the rim protection skills of the other 7 footers and does not have the best feel for shot blocking in the paint. He commits too fast on jump shots, leaving his feet early on.
A player who Filipowski reminds Draft Nation of is 6 '11" center Moritz Wagner. Wagner was the 25th overall pick in the 2018 draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Both players have the ability to lead a fast break and can shoot from outside the paint. Filipowski and Wagner are two excellent players who bring versatility to an offense. Neither should not be expected to lead a team in scoring, but they both can be a big part of the cohesiveness to a good offense.
Size and skill
Cutting to the hoop
Consistency with shooting
Over aggressive with passes
Kyle Filipowski appears to have made the correct choice playing another season at Duke. He has gone from a late first round pick, to a probable lottery pick. He is a player who will make your team better with his versatility. He may not start right away but will be an able body in a rotation from day 1.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - Lottery Pick