3 best NBA landing spots for Reed Sheppard to excel in the league

Reed Sheppard isn't coming back to Lexington to play for Mark Pope, and for him to succeed in the NBA, he'll need to land in the right spot with the right teammates.
Kentucky Wildcats guard Reed Sheppard (15)
Kentucky Wildcats guard Reed Sheppard (15) / Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
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. . 2. Raptors. Key players: Scottie Barnes, R.J. Barrett. team. 81. . . 2023-24: 25-57

The Toronto Raptors have prioritized length and athleticism for such a long time, so on the surface, it would seem like Masai Ujiri is straying from his philosophy to select a 6-foot-3 point guard in the early lottery. However, Sheppard may be the piece to take Scottie Barnes over the top as an elite player in the NBA. 

The Raptors averaged the most transition possessions per game at 23.1 last season and Sheppard could supercharge that attack in two ways. He averaged 2.5 steals at Kentucky and is elite as a free safety on defense, constantly jumping passing lanes to kickstart fast breaks. 

He’ll give Toronto even more opportunities to get out in transition, and he’ll make those possessions more efficient. Sheppard is a quality decision-maker, even as a young player, who will find the open man and keep the ball moving, but eventually, somebody needs to knock down an open shot and Toronto doesn’t have enough of those players. 

The Raptors finished 2023-24 22nd in three-point attempts per game and 27th in three-point percentage. Sheppard not only solves Toronto’s biggest problems, but he also enhances its biggest strengths.