Rashad Vaughn is a scorer. The reason he’s a one-and-done prospect is due to his ability to create and make his own shot.
Vaughn, who won’t turn 19 until August 16, finished up a freshman campaign at UNLV where he scored 17.8 points per game on 48 percent shooting from two and 38 percent shooting from three. He had an efficient season for a freshman that had the third highest usage percentage in the Mountain West at 30.8 percent.
Vaughn is going to make his money from spot up situations. UNLV head coach Dave Rice drew up quite a few plays for Vaughn to catch coming off screens from all over the perimeter. But Vaughn was not a catch-and-shoot player despite the opportunities. Instead he likes to size up the defender.
Vaughn proved to be a great option from beyond the arc for UNLV as he shot over 6 threes per game at 38 percent. He also liked to go off the bounce when he caught on the perimeter and didn’t get all the space that San Jose State gave him in the above clip.
Overall Vaughn was in the top 15 percentile in college hoops on spot up efficiency per Synergy Sports; he scored 1.12 points per spot up possession. He was also in the top 15 percentile on isolation plays (0.98 PPP on 62 possessions) and the top 11 percentile as the ball handler on pick and rolls (.95 PPP on 61 possessions).
Vaughn could get into the lane whenever he wanted, even against a Utah double team. The Utes finished sixth in the country in defensive efficiency and held Vaughn to 16 points on 6 of 16 shooting.
But two negatives arise from Vaughn’s driving capabilities. The first is that he exclusively goes left. He’s a right-handed shooter, but regardless of where he caught the ball, he tried to drive left. It’s not a problem that is difficult to fix, but Vaughn certainly has a comfort level with his left hand.
The more pressing issue is that Vaughn doesn’t get all the way to the rim on a lot of his drives.
Vaughn hit a tough shot when he wasn't able to beat his defender off the dribble. This is part of the intrigue with Vaughn and why he took more than 14 shots per game. Even against a good defensive possession, he can put points on the board.
However pulling up for a floater or a long layup became a habit. The positive of that trait is rarely getting a shot blocked. Typically Vaughn could beat his defender and put up a shot before the help defense could get there.
On the negative side, Vaughn’s efficiency dips because he is less likely to make the floater than a layup, and he rarely drew fouls when driving. Vaughn ranked 1,773rd among Division I players by shooting free throws on just 12.1 percent of his possessions.
Vaughn got to the free throw line 4.3 times per game and shot just 69.4 percent from the stripe. He shot 98 free throws last season, not a tiny sample size, but certainly not one big enough to say he’ll be a 70 percent free throw shooter in the NBA.
One of the best aspects of Vaughn’s game was his lack of turnovers. He had the lowest turnover percentage for UNLV at 11.9 percent. Of the 12 Mountain West players that had a usage percentage of 25 percent or more, Vaughn had the third lowest turnover percentage. Only Mountain West Player of the Year Derrick Marks and the best freshman post player in the conference David Collette had lower turnover numbers. He was a high usage freshman that simply didn’t turn the ball over.
On the flip side of the turnovers, Vaughn did not create for his teammates as much as he could have. His assist percentage ranked 44th in the Mountain West, as Vaughn getting into the paint resulted in a Vaughn field goal attempt nearly every time.
Vaughn isn’t going to make his money on the defensive end of the floor. He struggled to stay in front of defenders – as did the entire UNLV team – which led Dave Rice to playing the most zone defense in his tenure as head coach.
He stands 6-foot-5 (with shoes) and has a 6-foot-7 wingspan. Those numbers don’t make him a lengthy defender, but they make him capable of being a small net positive on the defensive end. He has the explosiveness to stay in front of guys one on one, he just hasn’t proven he can do it over and over again.
A plus on the defensive end was Vaughn’s rebounding. In the nonconference, UNLV struggled keeping opponents off the offensive glass. With two of the top shot blockers in the country down low, UNLV’s bigs were often out of position for rebounds when they missed a rejection. Vaughn was the only guard that responded.
In Mountain West play, Vaughn became a great defensive rebounder crashing back to clean up for missed shot blocks. His defensive rebounding percentage of 15.9 percent (conference games only) was seventh best among Mountain West perimeter players.
Vaughn didn’t show any signs of ever being a great defender at the NBA level, but he’s got the tools to be a quality defender that can hold his own with some development.
The biggest concern for Vaughn is his injury history. Before the season, Vaughn missed a chunk of training camp with a right knee injury. Then he went down with a torn meniscus in his left knee during the season. Vaughn missed the last seven games of the regular season and both of the Rebels' games in the Mountain West Tournament. He also left the Rebels game against Arizona State in December due to a minor back injury.
He missed the next game though it was more precautionary than necessary, as the Rebels were playing non-division I St. Katherine’s, who they beat 113-53.
Vaughn has the project label attached to him due to his age and shot selection. As far as next year, he could easily find himself in an NBA rotation as a scorer on a second unit, but could also struggle to get minutes and find himself in the NBA D-League.