Malik Reneau may not have the most decorated background in terms of his team's NBA draft prospects, but his massive leap throughout Indiana's first 19 games of the 2023-2024 season has many wondering how high he can really elevate his game. The rugged 6'9", 230 pound sophomore has put up big numbers in round two with the Hoosiers, averaging 16.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists (to 2.8 turnovers) in his 29.9 minutes-per-night. The southpaw has been able to stay healthy (starting all 19 of IU's games) while stashing highly efficient shooting splits of 57.3 FG%/40.6 3%/63.2 FT%. He has been great all season, but has really picked things up recently. To put his growth into perspective, during his freshman campaign last season he started just 3 games and averaged just 6.1 points and 3.7 boards in his 14.9 minutes-per-game. He was also never able to capture the respect of defenses with his jumper, connecting on just 2 of his 8 attempts from beyond the arc.
While it would not be impossible to envision him maturing enough between now and the start of next season to earn a spot on an NBA roster, there would probably be a higher likelihood of Reneau being drafted higher if he were to come back for another year of improvement. But would there be a place for him in the league? Would scouts be interested in acquiring a lumbering lefty who struggles at times to defend? Would their level of intrigue wane upon noticing the trend of slander thrown his way via his head coach in regards to his inconsistency on the boards?
There is no telling what will transpire with regards to Reneau's professional path post-college, but one thing that is certain is his level of talent. NBA teams always need some size, and the more versatility that they can get via their bigs the better. With that in mind, there are some more subtle bigs in the league who draw some real correlation to Indiana's starting power forward.