The city of Philadelphia has a rich sports history filled with success (City of Champions), and one of the teams that has added to that history is the Villanova Wildcats. Whether or not you believe they are actually a part of Philadelphia sports based on their Main Line location, they have done some incredible things, especially over the last few years. One of the players that has helped Villanova become a national hoops powerhouse is ready to take the next step in his career by joining the professional ranks. Eric Paschall may not be a first-round talent, but one team is going to gain a true competitor in the second round.
Eric Paschall has never been the most threatening player on offense, but he always finds a way to make a difference. You will never confuse him with the likes of LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but Paschall has the looks of the classic glue guy that every team needs. In his three years at Villanova, he was one of the team’s most reliable players, consistently making the smartest play in order to put his team in the best position. This past season, after the bulk of the 2017-18 title team had left for the NBA, Paschall took his play to the next level, setting career-highs in both points (16.5 per game) and rebounds (6.1 per game), while being the calming force on the court that brought the Wildcats so much success.
Paschall is a strong power forward that should have the ability to move over to the small forward position because of his outside shot, something that could be very important at the next level. His 3-point shot isn’t a finished product, in large part due to his slow release, but he has had some success, shooting 35 percent this past year. While he can shoot from the outside, Paschall makes a living on the inside with the physicality he brings.
Often times fighting against bigger defenders, Paschall uses his broad shoulders to create separation and either go up with the ball or kick a pass out. He knows he can make shots from several different spots on the court, yet you will often see Paschall passing up a shot to find a better option elsewhere.
The clip above shows many of the reasons why Paschall should carve out a role in the NBA. Sticking with his man on defense, Paschall is able to get a hand on the ball, eventually tracking it down in transition. Realizing he won’t be able to get a good shot off because of his location and the surrounding defenders, Paschall then passes out for a wide-open 3-pointer that is a much better look than the contested layup would have been.
Paschall won’t be the player that wins you games night in and night out on offense in the NBA, but he does the right thing and can fill up the stat sheet when he gets hot.
Just like on offense, defensively, Paschall is going to be one of the smartest players on the court. Couple the IQ he possesses with a frame that allows him to compete at all three levels on defense, and you are looking at a true difference maker on that side of the court.
There are a lot of power forwards in this draft class that like to play outside a little too much, but Paschall knows when it is his time to come outside and when he should be down low on the block. Only averaging two fouls per game, Paschall does the most with what he is given and doesn’t allow the opposition to take advantage of his mistakes.
In the clip above, Paschall shows the physicality that he is going to bring to an NBA defense next season. One of the most underrated aspects of his game is his ability to box out. Paschall goes against a much taller center and is able to use his strength to get in position and allow a teammate to grab the board. Throughout the playoffs, the Sixers had a big problem with allowing offensive rebounds to the opponent. If Paschall is added to the roster, they will have one more player that they can feel confident is going to play mean down low and fight for every rebound.
Eric Paschall is a bit of a “tweener” because of his size. Standing at 6-foot-7.25 and 254 pounds, his height is normal for a small forward, while his weight fits more in the power forward category. Because of the physical nature of his play, as well as the explosiveness he brings on both ends of the court, Paschall should be able to play both small forward and power forward. The Sixers need playable wings and strength down low on their bench, so adding Paschall to their roster should help alleviate both problems.
Not on the radar as a first-round pick, Eric Paschall is going to be drafted at some point in the second round because of his ability to play right now. Paschall will turn 23 years old in November, having originally spent a year at Fordham before sitting out his transfer year to join the Wildcats. Many second-round picks are projects that take several years to pan out, but Paschall can come in and have a role to start the season, whether that's with the Sixers or another team’s bench. As of now, it seems like Paschall is projected to be selected right around where the Sixers are drafting with the 42nd pick, but I think his ability to play now helps him get drafted a bit earlier. I project Paschall to join his former Villanova Wildcat teammate Jalen Brunson, playing for the Dallas Mavericks with the 37th pick.