Jalen Smith Scouting Report

(First posted on RealGM)

Smith is the premiere 3&D center in this class.

As a sophomore, the Baltimore native played center throughout and averaged 31.3 minutes per game for a team that ranked 30th in the country in lowest percentage of shots allowed at the rim and 71st in block percentage at the rim, which boosted them to finish 22nd in adjusted defensive efficiency.

He is attentive and active stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense, a quick leaper off two feet and leverages his nine-foot-two standing reach to block and alter shots in volume. His 8.3% block rate is the sixth-best mark on ESPN’s top 100.

It’s not as clear how quick he is coming across the lane on longer rotations but sticking near the goal, Smith exceled as a rim protector.

In pick-and-roll, the 20-year-old usually went up to the foul line and dropped back. He often approached the ballhandler flat-footed and didn’t slide laterally to stop the ball as quickly as he was expected but showed fluid footwork backpedalling to keep pace with smaller players foul line down and proved himself capable of blocking a shot defending on the ball.

Smith really impressed with some multiple effort plays where he was able to stop the ball, force the pocket pass and then turnaround to contest the roll man at the basket effectively, besides showing glimpses of good quickness contesting shots at the three-point line in the pick-and-pop.

On offense, the six-foot-nine stretch big impresses the most as a three-point shooter.

He didn’t space out to the three-point line as much as he’ll likely be asked to do in the pros, taking just 27.9% of his field goal attempts from beyond the arc in his final year at Maryland.

Most of his long-range bombs were taken out of the pick-and-pop and Smith really stood out with the fluidity of his release and his footwork in these instances.

He nailed 36.8% of his 87 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 3.6 such attempts per 40 minutes.

Near the goal, Smith can play above the rim as a target for lobs out of the dunker spot and on longer rolls, though it’s unclear if he’s explosive enough to go up with power diving down the lane in traffic.

His total of 49 dunks in the sixth-best mark among those on ESPN’s top 100 who played in the NCAA last season and his touch on non-dunk finishes impressed too, as he shot 61.3% on 106 layup attempts.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Precious Achiuwa Scouting Report

(First posted on RealGM)

Achiuwa was the biggest beneficiary of Wiseman’s decision to leave Memphis after just three appearances.

With the six-foot-11 center gone, he got to play closer to the rim on both ends and compiled strong numbers as a finisher, rebounder and shot blocker.

A closer look reveals a prospect who is underdeveloped in terms of skill and technique, though.

The six-foot-seven big man has shown to be attentive to his responsibilities stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense, as well as an easy leaper off two feet and adept at leveraging his nine-foot standing reach to challenge shots above the rim.

Perhaps more impressively, he also flashed some promising recognition skills helping against backdoor cuts and making preventive rotations that denied the ball-handler space towards driving all the way to the rim.

He’s also shown to be active rotating off the weakside to pick up the roll man and a quick enough leaper to make plays on the ball off quick sprints to the basket – averaging 2.5 blocks per 40 minutes last season.

Achiuwa is not yet as effective a rim protector as he could be because it’s not uncommon to see him trying to meet the ball-handler at the summit with odd angles. He has a habit of not turning his body towards the opponent completely, thus unable to position himself perfectly between the opponent and the goal.

He is also prone to biting on shot fakes, although he managed to stay out of foul trouble in his one year at Memphis – averaging 3.1 personal fouls per 40 minutes.

In pick-and-roll, Achiuwa was most commonly asked to show-and-recover while extending a couple of steps above the foul line. He was regularly seen approaching the ball handler flat-footed, didn’t stand out in terms of being able to stop the ball while keeping track of the roll man behind him and had some iffy moments where he got completely turned around out in space.

In more basic north-and-south actions, Achiuwa puts in the effort to contest pull-ups and his nine-foot standing reach is an asset in mid-range. He also impressed with his hustle defending the pick-and-pop, able to cover some ground in a pinch and contest the catch-and-shoot attempt effectively.

Given the fact he was more of a perimeter player in his one year at Montverde Academy, there is hope he could pick up smaller players on switches regularly but his time at Memphis was discouraging.

He didn’t hold up as well in college as he had in high school, exchanging into the ballhandler flat-footed and then getting into a soft stance, too spacey to be effective. He has a few lateral slides in him to stay attached to less threatening types who can only go north-and-south without much speed but without locking in, Achiuwa can’t be trusted to switch onto a shiftier type who can shake him side-to-side. He was also not a good option to crossmatch onto perimeter players regularly, even other wing-sized players, due to his inability to get over a screen.

On offense, the Port Harcourt, Nigeria native acted primarily as a threat to finish near the goal at Memphis.

His hands catching the ball on the move proved to be only so-so but Achiuwa proved capable of going up explosively off two feet without needing to load up and play above the rim as a target for lobs, not just sneaking behind the defense on longer rolls and out of the dunker spot but diving down the middle of the lane in a crowd too.

With Lance Thomas and Isaiah Maurice spacing the floor, he was able to live near the basket once Wiseman departed – taking 62.6% of his live-ball attempts within close range and being assisted or finishing putbacks on 79% of his makes there.

Achiuwa showed glimpses of versatility to his finishing package at the basket with reverses, using his length to over-extend, going to his left hand reasonably comfortably and being able to finish through contact. But his touch on non-dunk finishes left a lot to be desired.

His 148 makes at the rim rank fifth among NCAA prospects listed on ESPN’s top 100 and his 64.1% shooting on 231 total attempts at the basket looks solid on the surface but subtracting his 47-for-52 shooting on dunks results in Achiuwa shooting just 56.4% on 179 layups.

Achiuwa has shown a two-dribble stop-and-pop pull-up off immediately attacking the pass when he spaced out to the three-point line and it looks sweet if he’s allowed to go into this pre-arranged choreography unbothered but other than that, Achiuwa struggled badly away from the immediate basket area – missing 75.4% of his 138 shots away from the rim.

He spaced out to the three-point line from time-to-time but far less than he showed the ambition to do in his time at Montverde, averaging just 1.7 three-point shots per 40 minutes in his one year at Memphis.

Achiuwa hit just 32.5% of his 40 three-point shots this past season, as well as just 59.9% of his 187 foul shots, putting into question if he even has the touch in place for a projectable jump-shooting stroke to be built upon.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Obadiah Toppin Scouting Report

(First posted on RealGM)

This a draft filled with unexpected rises to prominence but Toppin’s is probably the most incredible.

247Sports ranked 558 players graduating out of high school in the 2017 and Toppin was not one of them. Three years later, he is likely to end up a lottery pick after two years at Dayton.

This past season, the six-foot-nine finisher was arguably the most prolific scorer in college basketball – averaging 25.3 points per 40 minutes on 68.4% true shooting and 28% usage, leading Dayton to 29 wins in 31 games, and winning Wooden Award and Naismith College Player of the Year honors as a result.

Toppin exceled as a threat to score around the basket – converting 82.8% of his 203 shots at the rim, with two thirds of his makes assisted.

Though he is mostly an up-and-down leaper who didn’t often show particularly impressive flexibility hanging and adjusting his body in the air or a diverse arsenal of finishes around rim protectors, the 22-year-old can score with either hand around the goal on non-dunk finishes and finish through contact – converting 69.3% of his 88 layups.

He is a good screener who looks to draw contact and disrupt the on-ball defender and even flashed some savviness setting some moving picks. On the roll, Toppin can play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense on longer rolls and even flashed some noteworthy explosiveness rising in a crowd down the lane without needing to load up to go up with power. His total of 107 dunks is the best-mark on ESPN’s top 100.

What sets him apart from other play-finishers is that Toppin is a threat from beyond the arc as well. He nailed 39% of his 82 three-point shots this past season, though at a pace of just 3.3 such attempts per 40 minutes. He finishes his collegiate career nailing 41% of his 103 three-point shots over his two years in the NCAA, though at a pace of just 2.2 such attempts per 40 minutes.

Besides basic spot-ups, Toppin has proven himself able to take long-range bombs off the pick-and-pop and relocating off an offensive rebound too.

He was good post scorer in college but a large chunk of it was based on his ability to overwhelm younger, less physically developed, outmatched competition. It seems unlikely to translate to the pros.

But the biggest concerns regarding his translation to the NBA surround his defense.

When Dayton asked him to venture far beyond the foul line and show hard at the three-point line, Toppin was at times lackadaisical in his approach to the ballhandler and would even overplay the level of the screen, giving up the side of the rejection of the pick completely and rarely being able to get back into the play once the ballhandler got downhill.

In more conservative drop-back coverage, going up no more than a step beyond the foul line, he didn’t prove capable of making a substantial contribution either. Toppin rarely contested pull-up jumpers effectively and, though he was able to keep pace with ball handlers on a straight-line foul line down, he was not much of a threat to block shots defending on the ball.

But perhaps more troubling for his pro prospects, Toppin didn’t prove himself quick enough to guard both the ballhandler and keep the roll man from getting behind him or to shut down pocket passes and bat away lobs, which limits his team’s ability to defend the pick-and-roll two-on-two, which is what the NBA is looking for these days. Especially considering he didn’t show enough footspeed to stop the ball and hustle to contest stretch big men in the pick-and-pop either.

If you can’t guard the pick-and-roll two-on-two and limit help as much as you can, what NBA teams prefer to do then is switch and Toppin also doesn’t figure to be an asset for that strategy either.

As a help defender, he can rotate and block a shot from time-to-time but has shown only so-so proactivity and quickness coming across the lane in help defense on longer rotations. Keeping a hunched posture off ball, he looked to have heavier feet moving off the ball than I remember seeing from him as a freshman or even that you usually see from him on offense.

Toppin didn’t make much of an impact in the hidden areas of the game either, as you don’t often see him shadowing isolations to intervene at the last second when a teammate gets beat or making preventive rotations that cut off a driver’s path to the basket. He is actually quite detrimental in one of the hidden areas, as he’s often blown by on closeouts and exposes the defense behind him.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Onyeka Okongwu Scouting Report

(First posted on RealGM)

Okongwu was a key cog on that 2015-2016 Chino Hills squad that swept the nation and was profiled by The New York Times at one point.

But as the Ball brothers departed and the team became less prominent, most people didn’t keep track of Okongwu’s development and, although he did arrive at Southern California as the 20th-ranked prospect in the 2019 high school class, there wasn’t a lot of expectation he would end up a one-and-done.

But 858 NCAA minutes were enough for the six-foot-nine center to not only get back to NBA radars but establish himself as a top 10 prospect as well.

He is widely viewed as the better developed on defense of the higher profile big men in this draft class and the team that picks him will be hoping he is able to elevate the level of its rim protection the second he sets foot on an NBA court.

Okongwu impressed with his activity stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense, coming off the weakside in help defense, rotating in to pick up the roll man when he was not directly involved in the pick-and-roll and shadowing isolations to intervene when a teammate got beat.

He is a quick leaper off two feet and a fairly explosive leaper off one foot coming across the lane on longer rotations, capable of acting as a regular threat to block shots in volume or challenging them via verticality effectively.

The soon-to-be 20-year-old averaged 3.5 blocks per 40 minutes last season and ranked 20th in the NCAA in block percentage. As a star rim protector in college, he elevated the level of the defense around him – averaging 30.8 minutes per game for a team that ranked 25th in the country in opponents’ shooting percentage at the rim.

He also managed to make such an impact without putting himself in constant foul trouble, as he averaged just 3.5 personal fouls per 40 minutes.

In pick-and-roll, Okongwu was at his most capable going a step or so beyond the foul line and dropping back to prioritize cutting off dribble penetration.

He is a little hit-and-miss in terms of bending his knees to get down in a stance approaching the ballhandler but impressed with his smoothness and coordination sliding sideways and backpedaling in order to prevent the opponent from turning the corner or getting downhill right away off the pick.

Okongwu can keep pace with smaller players on a straight line from the foul line down and block a shot on the ball or discourage the attempt altogether. He’s shown to be pretty savvy leveraging his length into batting away lobs on occasion and getting his hands into pocket passes, with a few of his 34 steals in 28 appearances materializing in these plays.

Okongwu hasn’t yet proven himself capable of offering versatility in pick-and-roll coverage, in terms of blitzing way high on the perimeter or closing out to stretch big men in the pick-and-pop.

When he picked up smaller players on switches, Okongwu seemed to prefer staying flat-footed while defending out on an island. He didn’t show particularly impressive side-to-side quickness to stay in front of shiftier types regularly and doesn’t leverage his strength into containing dribble penetration through contact, though he does manage to stay attached on a straight line pretty well against guards who only go north-and-south and also showed some hustle to recover and try to block a shot from behind when he got shook or beat on the first step.

There is also some skepticism surrounding his defensive rebounding. He’s shown only so-so diligence to his boxout responsibilities and not particularly impressive quickness reacting to the ball off the rim – collecting 18.5% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor. His average of 7.0 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes ranks 24th among 35 big men on ESPN’s top 100.

On the other end, the Chino Hills native profiles as a finisher.

Okongwu is an explosive leaper off two feet to play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense and has flashed the ability to go up strong without needing to load up, which suggests he might also be a threat to throw down lobs going up in a crowd in the middle of the lane.

He struggled some on non-dunk finishes when the lob was poorly tossed and he had to adjust his body in the air but generally showed soft touch around the basket when he got to go up and down – converting his 125 non-dunk finishes at the rim at a solid 61.6% clip.

His coordination also shined through in instances where he needed to catch the ball around the foul line, take a dribble to balance himself and gallop into a two-foot leap in traffic. Okongwu also flashed some appealing court vision on quick kickouts out of the short roll here and there.

He was also an impact player creating second chance opportunities in the offensive glass. His average of 4.3 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes is tied for the 10th-best mark among the big men on ESPN’s top 100.

Besides acting as a regular scoring threat on tip-ins and tip-dunks, his second jump is quick, and he can gather and go back up with power, even if surrounded – converting his 45 putback attempts at an 73.3% clip.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

James Wiseman Scouting Report

(First posted on RealGM)

Wiseman logged just 69 minutes in his time at Memphis, so teams are mostly evaluating him based on his performance with Memphis East High School and Bluff City Legends in the Nike EYBL circuit.

At lower levels, the center, who measured at six-foot-11 without shoes at the Memphis Pro Day one year ago, had the freedom to space out to the three-point line regularly and showed the ambition to try developing into a face-up driver.

Wiseman didn’t show anything particularly special operating off the bounce, though. He doesn’t have a quick first step out of a standstill and couldn’t often power through contact against similar-sized players. He pivoted into a not-all-that-fluid spin move on the fly and tried to go between the legs on occasion but didn’t have that level of ball skills for advanced dribble moves by that point. He had a loose handle for the most part and wasn’t strong with the ball on the go – prone to getting it stripped of him in traffic.

His brief cup of the coffee in the NCAA signals that as he moves up through the levels, Wiseman is more likely to settle into a conventional finisher who could space out to three-point line on occasion.

The 19-year-old can play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense, but it is unclear how explosive he can be diving down the lane in traffic. He has, however, flashed some impressive coordination catching the ball on the move and keeping it high while loading up to go up with force in a crowd.

When forced to act as a rim-level finisher, Wiseman hasn’t yet shown particularly noteworthy versatility to his finishing but did fine with his touch on non-dunk scores – converting 17 of his 19 shots at the rim.

He got a bunch of touches in the post and proved himself capable of overwhelming smaller competition with his sheer size, often able to set deep seals close to the basket and rarely crowded effectively, turning the ball over just three times total across his three appearances – a good mark considering his high 27.8% usage rate over his 23 minutes per game.

But Wiseman hasn’t yet developed the sort of skill needed for him to be expected to develop into a shot creator, for himself or others, against competition that can match up his size and physicality.

There were flashes of court vision throwing darts to the opposite corner over the crowd in high school but not as much in college, as he recorded a single assist during his time in the NCAA.

But the team that ends up drafting him in the top five will do so hoping he’ll develop into a difference maker who completely shuts down the rim on defense.

Albeit against lower level competition, Wiseman was very effective near the basket in college.

He was active not just coming off the weak-side on longer rotations and stepping up to the front of the basket as the last line of defense but also shadowing post-ups to intervene at the last second and showing glimpses of being able to play center fielder making preventive rotations that deny the opponent space towards driving all the away to the basket.

Though prone to biting on shot fakes, Wiseman averaged just 2.9 personal fouls per 40 minutes, while consistently looking to make plays on the ball. He averaged 5.2 blocks per 40 minutes over his three appearances and made an impact in the hidden areas of the game as well, by actively challenging shots via verticality and guarding with his arms up near the rim to discourage an opponent from even attempting to finish over him on occasion.

Perhaps more impressively, Wiseman often showed the combination of quickness and effort needed on multiple effort plays, able to cut off a drive and force a drop-off then turnaround to contest his man at the dunker spot effectively.

His work in pick-and-roll defense was more of a mixed bag.

Though those three games didn’t exactly offer a substantial video sample, we were able to see Wiseman stressed in pick-and-roll coverage and Memphis asking him to defend it in a couple of different ways.

Against South Carolina State, Wiseman was asked to go up to the foul line and drop back to prioritize protecting the paint. He was seen approaching the ball handler in a stance, which was an improvement over his more lackadaisical approach during the high school All-Start circuit.

Wiseman got beat foul line down by the ballhandler here and there but flashed a fast-twitch reaction recovering to block the dribble driver from behind on one instance. The hustle was impressive but in the NBA that driver tends to get to the rim before the shot blocker can get to him.

He was stretched a little more in the next two games; flipping between show-and-recover and hedging, under both strategies working to make himself a presence at the three-point line.

Wiseman proved capable of influencing the ballhandler and cutting off access to the other side of the floor with his hedges, though his quickness in recovering back to his man left something to be desired.

His work on show-and-recover seemed more effective. He hasn’t yet developed a knack for leveraging his length into shutting down passing lanes (one steal in 69 minutes) but showed to be well-coordinated sliding laterally to prevent the ball handler from turning the corner right away off the pick a fair amount and put in the effort to contest pull-up three-pointers.

Wiseman doesn’t figure to be an option to pick up smaller players on switches on the regular or check stretch big men in the pick-and-pop.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Leandro Bolmaro Scouting Report

(First posted on RealGM)

Bolmaro is widely viewed as the top-ranked prospect with European ties born in 2000.

Last season, the six-foot-seven combo guard split some time between Barcelona’s senior team, with whom he logged 171 minutes in the Spanish ACB and the Euroleague, and its B squad, with whom he logged 241 minutes in the Spanish LEB Plata (Spanish third division).

With Barcelona’s senior squad, the 19-year-old was a benchwarmer who got most of his opportunities in garbage time or as a minutes-eater when the team was short at lead guard on a given game – averaging just 11.4 minutes per game in his 15 appearances. He acted as a caretaker point guard who triggered offense in the half-court and had some opportunities to create within the flow of the system but was mostly told to space out to the three-point line to get out of the way.

With the B squad, a U23 team, the Argentinean was primarily a swingman in order to accommodate small ball handlers Brancou Badio, Juani Marcos and Lluis Costa but still had a lot of responsibility as a shot creator against a set defense – logging 27.6% usage rate while averaging 26.8 minutes per game in his nine appearances in the Spanish LEB Plata.

Bolmaro averaged 22.2 points per 40 minutes on 54.3% true shooting against third division competition and elevated the level of the team, which won seven of the nine games he participated in but just seven of the 17 when he wasn’t there.

He has above average height for someone with potential to be developed as a lead guard but has an underdeveloped frame at this point of his development. As is the case with most teenagers logging minutes among the pros, the Cordoba native struggled with the physicality of the game and thus offered very little on defense.

His 178-pound frame ranks him as one of the 10 lightest players on ESPN’s top 100. He’s also rumored to have a six-foot-eight wingspan, which would rate as below average for someone his height.

With the change at coach, with cult hero Saras Jasikevicius taking over at Barça, there was hope Bolmaro would have a more consistently role this season. That has sort of been the case over the first couple of months, as he’s logged 152 minutes over 14 appearances, at the time of writing. But Bolmaro has struggled so far, with a .300 effective field-goal percentage and a 21.2% turnover rate.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Josh Green Scouting Report

(First posted on RealGM)

Green lost status in his one year at Arizona.

He was the eighth-ranked prospect in the 2019 high school class but now seems likely to end up drafted in the bottom third of the first round.

Measured at six-foot-four without shoes at the 2020 NBA Combine, the Australian profiles as a small 3&D wing but struggled to make shots away from the rim – missing 68.6% of his 191 such attempts last season.

He looks like a good shooter, pulls the trigger with confidence, and nailed 36.1% of his 83 three-point shots in Tucson, but at a pace of just 3.6 such attempts per 40 minutes. His 28.8% three-point rate stands out as one of the 15 lowest marks among perimeter players on ESPN’s top 100.

Green hit a few quick bombs off drifting around the wing to sustain proper spacing but hasn’t shown a ton of versatility to this release in terms of taking shots on the move.

When he did command a hard closeout, the soon-to-turn 20-year-old exceled at attacking the basket out of triple threat position. Green is very smooth putting the ball on the floor off a shot fake or straight out of a ball reversal. He has an explosive first step and a good deal of speed with the ball on straight-line drives.

The IMG Academy alum is an explosive leaper off one foot, can hang or adjust his body in the air to double clutch around rim protectors and finish through contact, besides flashing some exotic finishes on occasion like a wrong hand-wrong foot layup.

As a straight-line driver, and at times a cutter, he took 61.1% of his live-ball attempts at the rim and converted them at a 67.8% clip, with just 30.7% of them assisted. His touch on non-dunk finishes left something to be desired, though, as Green shot 24-for-26 on dunks but just 52.9% on 70 layups.

On the other end, the Sydney native has shown to be a tenacious defender on the ball. He bends his knees to get down in a stance, has quick lateral slides to defend out in space, leverages his 210-pound frame to contain dribble penetration through contact and reacts quickly to contest pull-ups with urgency.

That said, Green doesn’t seem to be quite big enough to check the most threatening wing ballhandlers in the NBA, thus profiling more of a potential point of attack defender.

He is not very adept at getting skinny to navigate over screens at the point of attack but hustles in pursuit and can contest shots from behind effectively with his eight-foot-seven standing reach. Given his quickness and the consistency of his effort, Green might develop into someone who can guard smaller players on the regular and supplement jumbo shot creators while keeping the lineup tall across all positions.

Off the ball, he didn’t impress with his instincts executing the scheme or making an impact near the rim but was quite energetic flying around to make plays in the passing lanes. His average of 2.0 steals per 40 minutes is a top 15 mark among perimeter players on ESPN’s top 100.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Saddiq Bey Scouting Report

(First posted on RealGM)

Bey was once the 137th-ranked prospect in the 2018 high school class. Two years later, he’ll be a first-round pick in the 2020 draft.

The six-foot-eight wing had a fair amount of shot creation responsibility in his second year at Villanova but figures to be more of a floor-spacer in the pros.

His .451 three-point percentage last season is the fifth-best mark on ESPN’s top 100. His average of 3.0 three-point makes per 40 minutes is tied for the 10th-best mark among the same group and his average of 1.31 points per spot-up possession ranked him in the 98th percentile in the NCAA.

He has shown some versatility to his release, able to nail some long-range bombs jogging around pindown screens and relocating on offensive rebounds, but for the most part he projects as more of a spot-up shooter in the immediate future. His balance on catch-and-shoot attempts seems a bit unorthodox but the overall approach looks projectable.

The 21-year-old handled the ball in middle high pick-and-roll in college but projects as more of a fit for side pick-and-rolls within the flow of the offense in the pros. He hasn’t yet developed a tight handle or dribble moves and doesn’t have a quick first step, much speed with ball or side-to-side but can mix in change of pace and apply hesitation moves to put his defender in jail.

Bey has good body control to stop on a dime and maneuver his way around for an overextended finish but doesn’t put much pressure at the rim as a ballhandler. He was unassisted on 74.2% of his makes at the rim but his average of 1.9 such makes per 40 minutes is only a mid-table mark among perimeter players ESPN’s top 100 who played in the NCAA last season, his 24.8% free throw rate is a bottom 10 mark among the same group and he shot just 57.1% on 84 non-dunk finishes at the rim.

Bey can make basic reads in pick-and-roll, mostly in terms of hitting the roll man over the top, but hasn’t yet shown anything particularly impressive in terms of court vision. His 10.1% turnover rate stands out as a top 10 mark in this draft class, though.

On the other end, Bey puts in the effort, bending his knees to get down on a stance and sliding as well as he can, but lacks the physicality to chest up and contain dribble penetration against similar-sized players, the side-to-side quickness to stay in front of smaller players on crossmatches or switches, and pure strength to hold his ground against bigger players in the post.

His awareness and activity in help defense is pleasing but he is not a threat to fly around and create events in volume, neither at the rim nor in the passing lanes.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Tyrese Maxey Scouting Report

(First posted on RealGM)

Maxey is a tough player to label.

He was more of a lead guard in high school and AAU and given his six-foot-one stature without shoes, measured at the 2019 Nike Hoop Summit, he is likely to be viewed as more a point guard prospect in the pros.

But he was sort of an off-guard in his one year at Kentucky.

And off the ball, the just-turned 20-year-old struggled. Maxey seems like a capable enough shooter on spot-ups but missed 70.8% of his 113 three-point shots and averaged just 0.75 point per catch-and-shot jumper in the half-court, which ranked in the 20th percentile in the NCAA.

He has a very low release, launching the ball from almost in front of his face and needing to rely on a quick trigger and great elevation to be able to get his shot off prior to most closeouts, as he’s not able to launch his shots over them.

Odds are the Dallas native will go back to being more of a ballhandler moving forward, though.

He was an aggressive pull-up shooter this past season and looked good pulling up in rhythm when the on-ball defender when under the screen in pick-and-roll, even looking comfortable going to his left, but is not as efficient on wild stop-and-pop pull-ups early in the shot clock, taking long range bombs off jab-steps or side-stepping into pull-ups without shaking his defender enough to keep him from contesting the shot in his personal space.

Maxey shot just 35.7% on 129 two-point shots away from the rim last season and hit just four unassisted three-pointers in 1,068 minutes in his one year at Kentucky.

He is a willing passer on the move, especially off drawing two to the ball on a drive, but hasn’t yet shown particularly noteworthy court vision in pick-and-roll, though there were glimpses of impressive instincts in transition, in terms of tossing up lobs on the run and finding trailers with crosscourt passes on occasion – assisting on 18.7% of Kentucky’s scores when he was on the floor last season, with a 1.48 assist-to-turnover ratio to boot.

Maxey often struggled to create separation to pull-up in isolation but exceled at attacking scrambling defenses and getting all the way to the rim a fair amount. He has a quick first step off the catch, not just off a shot fake to try dragging his defender out of position on a closeout but curling around a pindown screen and turning on the jets off a dribble-handoff as well.

The Texan was particularly impressive maneuvering his way through tight spaces – taking 31.1% of his live-ball attempts at the rim and earning 4.5 foul shots per 40 minutes, neither mark spectacularly elite but both solid enough considering the lack of spacing Kentucky often dealt with.

Maxey flashed explosive leaping ability off one foot in traffic but most often operated as a below-the-rim finisher and had just seven dunks in his 31 NCAA appearances.

He did show a fairly diverse bag of resources to score among the trees with either hand and converted 64.6% of his 99 layups, which was the fourth-best mark among wings on ESPN’s top 100 who played in college last season.

On the other end, Maxey might go either way.

When locked in, he can lock up similarly sized players – chesting up to contain dribble penetration through contact and contesting pull-ups in the opponent’s personal space.

But it doesn’t happen often enough to make you trust him as the primary defender on a killer opposing point guard.

Given his height, his 198-pound frame and unspectacular six-foot-six wingspan, Maxey will almost certainly need to guard the point of attack in the pros. But to fill that role well enough, he will need to improve his motor, as Maxey often struggles to get skinny navigating over picks and, though he hustles in pursuit on occasion, he’s yet to show any real potential to impact a play from behind.

Off the ball, he doesn’t offer much of a contribution executing the scheme, neither in terms of flying around to create events, with his average of 1.5 (steals + blocks) per 40 minutes ranking as the seventh-worst mark among wings on ESPN’s top 100, nor in terms of making an impact in the hidden areas of the game.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Aaron Nesmith Scouting Report

(First posted on RealGM)

Nesmith had his second year at Vanderbilt cut short in half due to injury.

But by that point, he had shown enough to establish himself as the top shooter in this draft class, not just because of his insane three-point percentage but also due to his insane three-point rate and his shot profile, as Nesmith has shown a ton of versatility to his release and projects as the most valuable type of shooter – the one whose gravity can be leveraged all over the floor.

The six-foot-six sniper nailed a jaw-dropping 52.2% of his 115 three-point shots this past season, at a remarkable pace of 9.2 such attempts per 40 minutes. His 56.1% three-point rate ranks fourth among players on ESPN’s top 100, behind only Isaiah Joe, Justinian Jessup, and Louis Olinde.

He nailed 41% of his 290 three-point shots in his year-and-a-half at Vanderbilt, at a pace of 8.1 such attempts per 40 minutes and 58.5% of his live-ball attempts being launched from beyond the arc.

Nesmith has a tremendous approach: catching it on the hop, fully extending himself for a high release and launching with a quick trigger. He still needs to dip for rhythm but it’s not that pronounced and it appears to be more related to power transference and being able to have the ball get to the basket rather than a lack of dexterity being able to adjust to passes that don’t come to his shooting pocket.

His footwork adjusting his base off movement is impressive as well, as is his fluidity escape-dribbling into a one-dribble pull-up against flyby closeouts, and offered Vanderbilt the flexibility of getting him looks not just on basic spot-ups but also off dribble-handoffs, snaking his way around pindown screens, sprinting through elevator doors, jogging around staggered screens, drifting to the corner and popping to the three-point line as the inside screener in Spain pick-and-rolls.

The 21-year-old can put the ball on the floor, take it all the way to the rim on a straight-line drive and act as a threat to score on speed layups, even showing some comfort going to his left hand around the goal, but generally does not go up with power off one foot in traffic and struggles as a rim-level up-and-down finisher – converting just 55.8% of his 52 shots at the rim this past season, with over a quarter of them assisted too.

Nesmith showed a knack for taking smaller players into the post from the time-to-time but other than that, he doesn’t figure to be a shot creator on the ball in the pros.

He contributes the most on the defense as a help defender who puts in the effort to execute the scheme and looks to make himself a presence near the rim with a good deal of proactivity.

It’s important to point out that he is not an elite athlete and wings in college are usually not part of elaborate defensive schemes, so his average of 1.0 block per 40 minutes does not stand out in the spreadsheet but video of his work on defense reveals a prospect with potential to be a real plus, presuming he gets good coaching in the pros.

That said, he’s prone to get caught ball watching on occasion, his impact in the passing lanes (1.2 steals per 40 minutes in 1,428 NCAA minutes) is somewhat disappointing for someone with a rumored six-foot-10 wingspan and he is quite prone to getting blown by on closeouts.

Nesmith is also not consistently active mixing it up on scrums and boxing out whoever is close by, though he does assist the rebounding process by crashing the glass – collecting 13.5% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season and 17.2% the year before.

On the ball, the Charleston native gets in a stance, slides and contests as well as he can but lacks the physicality to contain dribble penetration through contact and can’t get over a screen, thus not profiling as someone capable of holding up well enough against the most threatening type of scores in the pros.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara