NBA Pre-Draft Tour: Christian Watford Workout
The Indiana forward is hopeful for a spot in the League.
IU is back. It wasn’t always that way, though. Tom Crean has turned the program around and brought the Hoosiers back into National Championship contention, but many forget about the bumps that Indiana took during his initial campaign. Christian Watford does not.
“I was definitely one of those guys who endured the hard times here. It was just a constant grind,” Watford told SLAMonline of his 10-21 freshman campaign. “The main thing was that we had a lot of guys here who wanted to get better and we weren’t going to stay complacent. When we started to get a little success, we stayed hungry and that only got us better and better.”
Watford’s role varied for the talented crimson and white. He spent time some years starting on the wing, and others with his back to the basket in the post. It’s hard for any player to find a rhythm moving all around the court, but the Birmingham native found a way to make it work, averaging at least 12 points per game every season in his career.
“We’ve got a lot of guys around us who have gotten better over the years, so I don’t have to do too much,” Watford explained. “Before, I had to do a bit more scoring and shooting the ball. These guys did a great job of getting me open and now I’ve been able to knock down the three ball consistently.”
Knocking down the three ball consistently was an understatement. As a senior, Watford flat out shot the lights out. Improving from 31 percent to 48 percent from three over his four years in Bloomington, it was evident that he was in the lab putting in work. In fact, Christian admits that it was his biggest area of growth during his college years, along with his D.
“My defense and my shooting [improved the most],” Christian said. “My entire skill set has gotten a whole lot better though, and I feel that I can do a lot more in terms of putting the ball on the court.”
In his workout with Indiana GA Seth Cooper, we couldn’t quite see his defense, but we could most definitely see the way that he shot the lights out of the ball. Cooper, who previously worked with the Clippers for a number of years, put the 6-8 forward through a number of shooting drills that simulated the spots that he’d be loading up for at the NBA level. Placing added emphasis on the corners, he showcased Watford’s potential as a stretch power forward. Shooting 33-50 from the NBA line, we could easily see why he has drawn so much interest from NBA teams.
Aside from shooting the lights out with his feet set, Watford showed off a great frame at nearly 230 pounds with the size of an NBA 4-man. He also showed that he could put the ball on the deck a couple of times and pull-up, is a better athlete than people give him credit for, and can post smaller defenders. While it’s clear that Watford’s chances of hearing his name called in next month’s Draft will rely upon how well he shoots the pill during workouts, he feels that he’ll provide whatever team takes his service with a few added bonuses.
“I think that I’m going to surprise teams with my athleticism and the way that I can guard on the defensive end,” Christian confidently said. “I’m going to be able to be a stretch 4 or a 3 at the next level and the way that the game has evolved, they’re practically the same thing.”