Rakeem Christmas (Senior, Syracuse, @R_Xmas25)
Power Forward/6’9/245/Age: 23
Product of…Academy of the New Church via Philadelphia, PA
17.5 points/game, 9.1 rebounds/game, 1.5 assists/game
Absolutely NO ONE helped their stock more than Syracuse forward Rakeem Christmas at last week’s combine. He legitimately raised his stock from second round-undrafted to a potential late-first round pick after defiantly outplaying the competition. As an active, mobile big, Christmas got out in transition, battled for some tough boards down low, and showcased a sweet touch near the rim.
During interviews, Christmas said he studies Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson for inspiration and we’ve noticed a couple of similarities (active rebounders, great work ethic, commitment to defense) between the two. Christmas still needs to add range on his jumper but now projects as a future role-player in the league. The Combine was not a fluke performance…there is always a place in the NBA for active bigs that buy into playing their role.
-Hard-working big who never gives up on plays; slides feet well on defense; effective rebounder on both sides
-Very improved midrange shooter out to about 17 feet (quick release, good base); comfortable finishing off plays in P&R; rolls hard and invites contact at the rim
-Great combination of strength and quickness; should be able to get by slower bigs when driving to the cup
-Lacks three-point range; though outside shooting is not exactly his forte, the next step is to keep defenses honest from the perimeter
-Sometimes forces the action too much on the block; gets out of control
-Unpolished back to the basket scorer; limited to basic hooks and occasional turnarounds
D.O.G. Status: Christmas’s draft range is anywhere from 25-40. His motor and infectious effort makes him a potential steal.
NBA Comparison: Taj Gibson