James Wiseman Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Top-ranked prospect in the 2019 high school class[1];
  • Nashville, Tennessee native who played his last two years of high school basketball at Memphis East High School;
  • One of five top 100 recruits joining the University of Memphis, with coach Penny Hardaway landing the top-ranked class in the country[2];
  • Turned 18 last March[3];
  • Listed at seven-foot-one and 240 pounds[4];
    • Measured with a seven-foot-four wingspan at the U16 USA Basketball Training Camp a couple of years ago[5], might be lengthier by now;
  • Profiles as a modern center on offense who could offer vertical and horizontal spacing down the line;
    • Had the freedom to step out to the three-point line at Memphis East and even flashed some versatility to his release;
    • Wasn’t put in the pick-and-roll often in high school but has the combination of leaping ability and standing reach that suggests he will be asked to play above the rim more regularly at higher levels;
    • Tries to make plays off the bounce but hasn’t yet shown the handle and coordination needed to project he will become that dynamic;
    • Underdeveloped shot creator from the post as well, though did show glimpses of appealing court vision;
  • Impressed with his activity as a rim protector and rebounder on defense, making the sort of multiple effort plays that aren’t always a given for players of his stature;
    • Might offer the versatility to pick up smaller players on switches;
  • Currently ranked first on ESPN’s way-too-early 2020 mock draft;

ATHLETICISM ON OFFENSE

  • Can grab-and-go off a defensive rebound and take it end-to-end at times but doesn’t have the handle and the coordination needed to initiate offense in the half-court;
    • Doesn’t always sprint up the court in transition but can change ends in impressive fashion when he does do it;
  • Might need to work on his conditioning – was seen putting his hands on his knees and resting during live-ball play;
  • So-so screener who walks or lumbers into setting picks but does widen his base to try drawing contact and disrupt the on-ball defender, though his teammates often didn’t know how to use him;
    • Hasn’t yet developed or wasn’t asked to deploy more advanced techniques like flipping the screen, re-screening, slipping the pick or setting moving picks;
  • Wasn’t put into pick-and-roll regularly and hasn’t shown how capable he is of diving hard down the lane but can play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense in transition and out of the dunker spot;
    • Has flashed some ability to catch the ball high, keep it high and go up with quickness without ever bringing it down;
    • Has shown glimpses of powerful leaping ability off two feet without needing to load up;
  • Doesn’t play with particularly impressive intensity crashing the offensive glass but is a put-back threat when he goes for it and has a quick second jump to fight for the ball in scrums or play volleyball at the rim;
    • Does get physical trying to push smaller players out of the way when they are tasked with boxing him out on switches;

SKILL LEVEL

  • Lefty shooter who feels more comfortable facing up and sizing up his man in the post;
    • Doesn’t play with a lot of intensity trying to set up a deep seal against similarly sized players and at times lets himself get pushed out to the elbow extended area in order to face up against his man with a little more space to operate;
    • Does get physical trying to get deep position against switches;
  • Hasn’t yet developed a patient approach or a diverse set of moves operating with his back to the basket;
    • Despite his large frame, hasn’t yet developed power moves or the ability to create space via physicality;
    • Hasn’t shown anything in terms of being able to get his defender out of position with skill via head fakes, shot fakes or pivot moves;
    • Mostly looks for quick turnaround hooks or hooks off a jump-stop with his left hand over the defender and is yet to show he can go to his right hand at all;
    • Did show flashes of court vision throwing darts to the opposite corner over the crowd;
  • Spaced out to the three-point line a fair amount and showed some versatility to his release taking shots on the move – out of the pick-and-pop, as the trailer in transition and jogging to the top of the key;
    • Doesn’t have an impressively quick trigger but has a fluid enough release for a seven-footer, launches the ball from the top and gets a good deal of elevation for someone his size, so manages to get his shot off over closeouts somewhat comfortably;
    • Hit eight of 16 three-point attempts in 10 appearances with AAU squad Bluff City Legends at the Nike EYBL Circuit last season[6];
    • Tends to miss short;
    • Uneven foul shooter at this point – touch looks fine but hit just 58.5% of 41 free throw attempts at the Nike EYBL Circuit;
  • Can shot-fake into straight line drives attacking closeouts;
    • Has long strides to get all the way to the basket off the bounce;
    • Can attack the rim with explosiveness elevating off one foot;
    • Flashed decent touch on a lefty finger-roll finisher but hasn’t yet been forced to show the extent of his finishing ability in traffic and most often shows so-so touch on non-dunk finishes;
    • Showed glimpses of impressive passing on the move – on drop-offs off engaging the last line of defense on straight-line drives and darts to the corner on quick catch-and-throw’s in transition;
  • Isolated from the perimeter from time-to-time;
    • Doesn’t have a quick first step out of a standstill;
    • Can’t power through contact against similarly sized players;
    • Can pivot into a not-all-that-fluid spin move on the fly;
    • Tries to go between the legs on occasion, doesn’t have that level of ball skills for advanced dribble moves at this point;
    • Has a loose handle for the most part and isn’t strong with the ball on the go – prone to getting it stripped of him in traffic;

DEFENSE

  • Gets beat down the court by opposing big men in transition at times;
  • More of often than not attentive to his boxout responsibilities and gets physical defending his rebounding area;
    • Collected 22.7% of opponents’ misses in 202 minutes at the Nike EYBL Circuit last season;
  • Active stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line defense, quick leaper off two feet, guards with his arms up near the rim, has a nine-foot-four standing reach[7] to block shots and challenges shots via verticality;
    • Shadows isolations;
    • Impressed with multiple efforts stepping up to discourage a shot attempt by the ball-handler, then turn around and go up in a split-second to block a shot by his man roaming around the dunker spot;
    • Makes some of the mistakes you tend to see on teenagers – sells out for blocks at times, is a bit overaggressive leaving his man to try contesting a shot with a teammate between him and the opponent, and is prone to biting on head fakes;
  • Explosive leaper off one foot coming across the lane in help defense and has the length to make up for being a step late when needed;
  • Dropped back in pick-and-roll defense;
    • Agility out in space wasn’t tested all that much in high school;
    • Gets in a stance defending the two-man game;
    • Can slide laterally and backpedal fluidly to prevent the ball-handler from turning the corner right away off the pick;
    • Kept pace with smaller players from the foul line down to discourage shots at the rim;
  • Proved himself attentive enough to switch on the fly to make up for breakdowns on the defense;
    • Bends his knees to get down in a stance guarding out on an island;
    • Can move side-to-side some to stay in front, though the poor spacing at the high school level didn’t make it that challenging;
    • Reacts quickly to leverage his length into discouraging opponents from trying to attempt a shot with him defending on the ball;
  • Puts in the effort to closeout to the three-point line;
    • Flashed killer speed to run the shooter off the line on occasion;
    • Has the body control to contest a shot without crashing into the shooter, which is impressive considering his size;
    • Can stay balanced and defend on the ball when he does manage to force the shooter into putting the ball on the floor;

[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to ESPN

[3] DOB: 3/31/2001

[4] According to Memphis’ official listing

[5] According to Draft Express

[6] According to RealGM

[7] According to ESPN, during the broadcast of Memphis East’s game against Rancho Christian

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

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Precious Achiuwa Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • 17th-ranked prospect in the 2019 high school class[1];
  • Played his senior season of high school at Montverde Academy;
  • One of five top 100 recruits joining Memphis, with coach Penny Hardaway landing the top-ranked class in the country[2];
  • About to turn 20 in September[3];
  • Six-foot-nine combo forward with the combination of frame (225 pounds[4]) and length (six-foot-11 wingspan[5]) the NBA looks for in its big wings from a physical profile-standpoint;
  • Got some chances to go at his man one-on-one on offense and was relied to show his versatility on occasion on defense but had a weakside role for the most part on both ends at Montverde Academy;
  • Has shown glimpses of developing perimeter skills but still mostly does best when he is able to leverage his athleticism in transition, on cuts and via straight line drives against a scrambling defense;
  • Puts in decent effort on defense for a teenager – rotates regularly, has quick leaping ability to make some plays at the rim, rebounds, gets in a stance and moves his feet in isolation, contests shots, and has shown flashes of being able to switch onto smaller players.

OFFENSE

  • Has good ball skills to grab-and-go off a defensive rebound – can take it end-to-end or slow transition into an isolation in the half-court, yet to shown much in terms of triggering offense or running a middle high pick-and-roll;
  • Fast and fluid sprinting without the ball in the open court and can play above the rim as a target for lobs in transition;
  • Has a lot of room to develop in terms of handle and coordination through contact but has shown some decent moves to create his own shot one-on-one;
    • Can pivot into a well-coordinated spin move against soft defense;
    • Has shown a little bit of an in-and-out dribble to attempt shaking his defender off balance and can crossover into his pull-up;
  • Hasn’t yet developed a lot of dexterity pulling up in rhythm but can take a smooth-looking stop-and-pop pull-up if left totally uncontested;
  • Has only shown iffy touch on floaters off 1-2 footwork;
  • Can attack the basket with good balance and explosiveness on straight line drives against a scrambling defense;
    • Can go up with power off one foot off momentum;
    • Is flexible enough to adjust his body in the air;
    • Can finish through contact;
    • Hasn’t yet shown much in terms of a versatile finishing package in traffic;
  • Hasn’t yet developed a patient approach in the post;
    • Doesn’t often play with enough intensity to try setting a deep seal;
    • Looks mostly for quick hooks with his inside hand;
  • Spaced out to the three-point line a fair amount – can make a shot with time and space to go through his motion but still a hesitant shooter for the most part;
    • Slow release, not yet consistently fluid;
    • Decent elevation but low release out in front;
    • Touch needs to improve;
    • Tends to miss short;
    • Missed 14 of his 18 three-point shots and hit just 53.7% of his 54 free throws in eight appearances with AAU squad New Heights at the Under Armour Association last season[6];
  • Flirted with taking some shots on the move – flashing to the foul line and even sprinting off a pindown for a three-pointer – but doesn’t yet have enough fluidity in his release for those types of shots;
  • Showed flashes of instinctive cutting and figures to be an asset playing above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense.
    • Should be used as a diver in pick-and-roll more often but wasn’t at Monteverde and probably won’t be at Memphis, as he figures to share the court with James Wiseman regularly and it’s really rare to see 1-4 pick-and-roll in college basketball;
  • Has shown to be a willing passer operating from inside zones but is yet to show particularly impressive court vision at this point of his development.

DEFENSE

  • Hustles back in transition and can pick up the occasional chase-down block;
  • Was active rotating off the weakside to make plays at the basket;
    • Quick leaper off two feet to challenge shots via verticality;
    • Averaged 3.5 blocks per 40 minutes in eight appearances at the Under Armour Association;
    • Prone to biting on shot fakes from time-to-time;
  • Helps off the strongside just as aggressively – unclear if given the freedom to do it, considering the poor level of outside shooting at the high school level, or if he was in fact breaking basic help defense rules;
  • Hasn’t yet developed the feel for using his length to help clog driving lanes;
  • Doesn’t fly around to create events in the passing lanes;
  • Bends his knees to get down in a stance defending on the ball, has a few lateral slides in him to stay in front of similarly sized players in isolation and puts in the effort to contest pull-ups;
    • Has shown impressive quickness contesting a pull-up and then chasing after a long rebound;
  • Picked up some smaller players on switches on a few occasions – can keep pace with them on straight line drives out in space and puts in the work to go over picks at the point of attack but needs to improve his hustle in pursuit chasing them to bother or discourage shots from behind;
    • Could maybe be an option to crossmatch onto smaller players for entire possessions?
  • Struggles negotiating multiple picks chasing shooters around the floor;
  • Hustles on closeouts – contests catch-and-shoot’s effectively thanks to his length but is yet to show killer speed running the shooter off the line consistently;
  • Can become more physical but is attentive enough to his boxout responsibilities and has shown decent quickness chasing the ball off the rim at the high school and AAU levels;
    • Collected 23.1% of opponents’ misses in his 194 minutes at the Under Armour Association last season.

[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to ESPN

[3] DOB: 9/19/1999

[4] According to Memphis’ official listing

[5] According to Draft Express

[6] According to RealGM

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

Yves Pons Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Yves Pons is currently the ninth-ranked prospect of European citizenship, among those born in 1999[1].

In his two years at Tennessee, the six-foot-six defensive specialist has been a low-end rotation player – logging just 535 minutes in his 59 NCAA appearances.

Pons has a chiseled 209-pound frame[2] and plays hard on defense. He’s been deployed against opponents of all sizes from time-to-time, profiling as a big wing who offers a lot of versatility in terms of crossmatching and switching.

But it’s somewhat disappointing that a player with his physical profile and hustle hasn’t been able to fly around and create events a lot more regularly, as he posted an 8.6 PER last season[3].

On the other end, the 20-year-old[4] did very little this past year – logging 11.1% usage. He most often spot-up in the corner in the half-court, though there were flashes of smart off ball movement and effectiveness crashing the offensive glass.

DEFENDING SMALLER TYPES

Pons bends his knees to get down in a stance and can slide laterally with a lot of ease for someone with his bulk.

He is a bit too big to get skinny cleanly over well set picks but puts in the effort to go over ball-screens consistently at the point of attack and hustles in pursuit to try bothering or discouraging shots or passes from behind.

The Frenchman has a couple of lateral slides in him to stay attached in one-on-one defense and puts in the effort to contest pull-ups but doesn’t leverage his strength to chest up and contain dribble penetration through contact.

He is also not fast enough to chase speedsters as they turn on the jets – getting blown by Zach Norvell, Jr. and Lagerald Vick in the games against Gonzaga and Kansas last season – and it’s unclear how well he could hold up against shiftier types out on an island.

DEFENDING BIGGER TYPES

The Port-au-Prince native has shown flashes of being able to play stout post defense against bulkier players and is physical with his boxouts. He can get up off two feet quickly to chase the ball off the rim in one-on-one battles but doesn’t play with enough intensity to rebound in a crowd consistently – collecting just 11.3% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season.

Pons impressed with his body control in drop-back pick-and-roll defense – backpedaling and sliding laterally around the foul line to prevent the ball-handler from turning the corner right away off the pick, while putting a hand on the roll man to impede him from getting past him completely.

OFF BALL DEFENSE

The INSEP product stays in a stance off the ball and has shown to be an active help defender, though not one who makes a difference all that regularly.

Pons makes some rotations off the weakside to help protect the rim and proved himself attentive to his responsibilities stepping up to the front of the basket as the last line of defense.

He most often absorbs contact and challenges shots via verticality but can be a high leaper off two feet with a split-second to load up – averaging 1.45 blocks per 40 minutes last season, an appealing mark for a wing.

Pons can make a play in the passing lanes every once in a while – mostly in zone defense and in help-the-helper situations – but doesn’t leverage his length nearly as often as expected, he picked up just 12 steals in all of his college career.

He is prone to losing his man off the ball from time-to-time but knows how to position himself to guard two players on the weakside and puts in good effort on closeouts. Pons hasn’t shown killer speed to run shooters off the line regularly but can contest catch-and-shoot’s effectively thanks to his standing reach and quick leaping ability.

OFFENSE

He mostly spaced out to the corner in the half-court but can’t offer real gravity at this point of his development.

The lefty has a somewhat fluid and compact release, launching the ball from out in front, but often misses to the side and struggles with touch as well – nailing just seven of his 25 three-point shots and six of his 15 free throw attempts last season.

Pons flashed some ability to create a pull-up off a handoff into a side pick-and-roll action but is underdeveloped as a threat off the dribble. He can make a stop-and-pop jumper from the foul line area if left totally uncontested but generally doesn’t feel comfortable pulling up off the bounce and hasn’t shown any sort of a floater – taking just seven attempts from midrange last season.

Pons doesn’t have a quick first step, has a loose handle and struggles to maintain his balance through contact, despite his well-built frame – turning the ball over on 24.1% of his possessions, a sky-high rate for someone with his comically low usage.

The most he contributes on offense at this point of his development is by making the extra pass around the horn to keep the offense humming, clearing the strongside corner when he reads his teammates setting up a post-up and cutting diagonally to offer a clearer passing lane for a teammate doubled in the post.

Pons is also an occasional tip-dunk and put-back threat but his success rate in terms of generating second chance opportunities in relation to the times he crashes the offensive glass probably doesn’t justify his aggressiveness, as he collected just 5% of Tennessee’s misses when he was on the floor last season.


[1] According to Eurospects

[2] According to Tenneesee’s official listing

[3] According to RealGM

[4] DOB: 5/7/1999

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

Philipp Herkenhoff Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Philipp Herkenhoff is currently the 11th-ranked prospect in Europe[1], among those born in 1999.

It’s rare to see teenagers trusted with legit rotation roles is the pros, even at lower level clubs, but that’s what the six-foot-10 center achieved with German side Rasta Vechta over the last two seasons – logging 1,499 minutes in 78 appearances[2] at first in the German Pro A (second division) and then in the German BBL (first division).

Despite his youth, he relies on his 229-pound frame[3] to hold up at the pro level from a physical-standpoint, though there is plenty of room for development in terms of athletic ability, as the just-turned 20-year-old[4] doesn’t impress much with his leaping ability or his quickness out in space.

Herkenhoff profiles as a floor spacer on offense, with over a third of his field goals coming from three-point range last season. He is capable of putting the ball on the floor out of triple threat position and has flashed some ability to pass on the move but hasn’t yet developed a tight handle and is more likely to turn the ball over than create a score off the dribble as of now.

On the other end, Herkenhoff was asked to hedge a lot against the pick-and-roll and did only a so-so job at it. He is mobile but not agile enough to consistently influence ball-handlers way beyond the three-point line, while also lumbering a bit in his recoveries. As a help defender and rim protector, he’s shown flashes of solid position defense and can absorb contact to challenge shots via verticality but struggled to create events due to underdeveloped athleticism.

SHOOTING

The Mettingen, North Rhine-Westphalia native doesn’t yet have a quick trigger, needing time and space to dip the ball for rhythm comfortably, but does good shot preparation elevating off 1-2 footwork, fully extends himself for a high release, gets decent elevation for someone his height and shows a good deal of natural touch.

Herkenhoff nailed 34.2% of his 178 three-point shots these last two seasons, at a pace of 4.7 such attempts per 40 minutes, while hitting 72.4% of his 116 free throws too.

Besides basic spot-ups, he’s taken long-range attempts out of the pick-and-pop, jogging to the ball for hand-offs and as the trailer in transition as well – showcasing some interesting versatility to his release for a center.

Herkenhoff hasn’t shown much in terms of taking stop-and-pop jumpers in rhythm off an escape dribble attacking closeouts but has flashed a sleek move where he fakes a spin move one way, then launches a fadeaway jump-shot turning the other.

SCREENING

He is a versatile screener for a young adult – proving himself capable of setting picks in a variety of ways.

Herkenhoff sprints to screen, widens his stance to draw hard contact in an attempt to disrupt the on-ball defender and then sprints to re-screen if called back up again.

He can also mix in moving picks to try baiting the opponent into switching or slip the screen if the big defender overcommits to blitzing the ball handler at the three-point line.

Herkenhoff has also shown to be an active screener away from the ball – hustling to set moving picks to free up shooters springing around the floor.

INTERIOR OFFENSE

He can finish some lobs filling the lanes in transition and sneaking behind the defense if he has time and space to load up but Herkenhoff is generally not a threat to play above the rim in the half-court, lacking explosiveness elevating off two feet.

He is a capable rim level finisher, showing good coordination adjusting his body mid-air catching a pass over the top and laying it in without needing to bring the ball down but only so-so efficacy on finger-roll finishes with a rim protector parked between him and the basket.

When he is not spaced out at the three-point line, Herkenhoff hustles to set inside position in the offensive glass and has flashed a decent second jump to fight for tip-ins or 50-50 balls but doesn’t appear to have superior length to rebound outside of his area and isn’t an explosive leaper to chase the ball consistently quicker than the opposition – collecting just 8.5% of Rasta Vechta’s scores when he was on the floor last season.

He can put the ball on the floor against hard closeouts, with mixed results. Herkenhoff can get to the rim on straight line drives thanks to his long strides but has a loose handle if forced to shift directions – turning the ball over on 13.7% of his possessions, a bit too much for someone with a 17.5% usage rate.

He can’t attack the basket with any explosiveness elevating off one foot in traffic and hasn’t shown much of anything in terms of floaters or pull-up shooting to score from the in-between area but can pivot into a post-up on the fly to leverage his size against switches.

Herkenhoff can make a pass on the move, both out of the short roll and off the dribble out of triple threat position, but only assisted on 8.5% of Rasta Vechta’s scores when he was on the floor last season.

PICK&ROLL DEFENSE

Asked to hedge a lot, he puts in the effort to try influencing ball-handlers way out in the perimeter but is only so-so at effectively blocking their path in a manner that prevents the opponent from turning the corner or shorting the pick-and-roll, besides being prone to overplaying prior to the ball-handler committing to using the ball-screen, unable to then help if the opponent just rejects the pick.

Herkenhoff also doesn’t impress much with his agility recovering back to his man, somewhat nimble but not all that fluid or quick out in space.

When unable to hedge, he did show glimpses of decent lateral mobility to prevent the ball-handler from turning the corner right away – suggesting he could be a lot more solid in a drop-back scheme.

RIM PROTECTION

Herkenhoff is not a good interior defender at this point of his development.

He has shown glimpses of being able to identify and make preventive rotations that keep opponents from getting all the way to the basket but doesn’t make enough of those plays to make a real impact in the hidden areas of the game.

Herkenhoff is active stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense, can go up off two feet somewhat quickly, guards with his arms up near the rim and challenges shots via verticality but lacks the quickness for longer rotations across the lane, the explosiveness to make up for being a step too late at times and the superior length to act as a constant shot blocking threat as of this point – blocking just 27 shots in 78 appearances these last two seasons.

PHYSICALITY

He is active trying to deny or bat away post entries – at times even fronting the post with a good deal of intensity – but struggles to hold his ground against power moves.

Herkenhoff is diligent with his boxout responsibilities but is prone to getting pushed out of the way by more physical types and isn’t quick enough off the ground chasing the ball off the rim – collecting just 16.4% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season and 14.1% the year before.


[1] According to Eurospects

[2] According to RealGM

[3] According to Rasta Vechta’s official listing

[4] DOB: 6/29/1999

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

Usman Garuba Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Usman Garuba is currently the top-ranked prospect in Europe, among those born in 2002[1].

The 17-year-old[2] helped Spain reach the championship game of the 2018 FIBA U18 European Championships last summer, playing against opponents on average two years older than him, then went on to excel with Real Madrid’s junior squad, which won the Adidas Next Generation Tournament and the U18 Spanish League in dominant fashion, blowing up Mega Bemax by 19 and arch-rivals Barcelona by 24 in the respective championship games.

To top it all, he has already logged his first ACB minutes in a couple of appearances last season.

Instead of playing up a level once again this summer, Garuba was selected for the Spanish National Team that will play the U18 European Championships in Volos later this month rather than the one that will play the U20 European Championships in Tel Aviv later this week.

Given his physical development and athletic ability at his age, the Madrid native profiles as a catch-and-score finisher but has also shown flashes of very appealing skill – spacing out to the three-point line from time-to-time and impressing with his court vision, not just scanning the floor from the post but on the move as well.

On the other end, Garuba can protect the rim as a constant shot blocking threat, dominates the glass with his edge in athleticism and has crossmatched onto wings for stretches within his age group.

INTERIOR OFFENSE

Garuba is underdeveloped as a screener but has soft hands to catch the ball on the move and is an explosive leaper off two feet to play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense.

He is adept at leveraging his 220-pound frame to carve up space to go up strong in a crowd on catches below the rim and has shown a good touch on non-dunk finishes, though he is surprisingly not yet a powerful finisher through contact.

Garuba is well-coordinated for someone with his frame and can catch the ball around the foul line, dribble for balance and attack the basket on short drives. He can go up strong off one foot if left unchallenged but has also shown impressive court vision on the move to jump-stop and deliver drop-offs against a rim protector stepping up between him and the basket.

Garuba even flashed a sleek move off the bounce where he leverages his body control to stop on a dime, fake a spin move one way and then take a fadeaway jumper turning the other way.

He often shared the floor with another center in the lineup, which forced him to space out to three-point line at times, but Garuba was still very effective crashing the offensive glass. He is a quick leaper chasing the ball off the rim and lengthy enough to rebound outside of his area – averaging 4.5 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes in eight appearances at the Adidas Next Generation Tournament[3].

POST OFFENSE

Garuba doesn’t play with enough force trying to establish a deep seal in the post and was often pushed to the mid-post area.

He hasn’t shown much in terms of power moves but has light feet, flashing some well-coordinated pivot moves, besides basic turnaround hooks with his right hand.

Garuba has proven himself an appealing passer with his back to the basket, pivoting to pass on post-to-post combinations and hitting shooters on the opposite wing against hard double teams.

He was also deployed to facilitate offense on high-low actions flashing to the foul line – assisting on 20.4% of Real Madrid’s scores in his 166 minutes at the ANGT.

Garuba seemed more comfortable facing up from the high post. He has a quick first step off a rip-through move and can take it to the basket on straight-line drives, though his handle is still pretty loose at this point of his development and he didn’t seem as smooth when forced to change directions – averaging 2.8 turnovers per 40 minutes in Munich and Vitoria-Gasteiz.

He is mostly a wrecking ball driver at this point – which earned him 6.7 foul shots per 40 minutes on average – and hasn’t been tested on the versatility of his finishing package for the most part.

PERIMETER OFFENSE

Garuba spaced out to three-point range some but took just nine attempts from such range at the AGNT.

He is a hesitant shooter who doesn’t pull the trigger quickly off the catch, despite the fact he has proven himself a capable open shot shooter, even on some attempts out of the pick-and-pop when left totally unchallenged.

Garuba has a slow release and gets little elevation off the ground. He launches it from the top but gets little arc in his shot and his free throw percentages over the last three years puts into doubt if he has enough natural touch to develop into a legit outside shooter over time.

INTERIOR DEFENSE

Garuba is an explosive leaper off two feet to block shots stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense, though his timing was a bit off at times.

He is as capable coming across the lane off the weakside as well and has the length to make up for it when he is a step late.

Garuba has even shown he can block shots on the ball while keeping pace from the foul line down with ball-handlers attacking downhill in pick-and-roll.

He was hit-and-miss in terms of diligence with his boxouts and only showed so-so physicality when he did put a body on whoever was close by, though it hasn’t mattered much at the junior level, considering he’s been a dominant defensive rebounder in every event he’s participated so far.

POST DEFENSE

Garuba doesn’t put much focus into forcing the opponent further away from the basket and doesn’t play with much energy trying to deny easy post entries but can chest up and hold his ground in the low block.

He is not easily moved on power moves and his standing reach makes it tough to shoot over him when he is not biting on shot-fakes and head-fakes, which he is prone to doing from time-to-time.

PERIMETER DEFENSE

Garuba was often asked to hedge against the pick-and-roll. He doesn’t influence the ball handler a whole lot but is nimble enough to blitz outside the three-point line and recover to the roll man in a timely manner.

With another center always on the floor with him, Garuba had to check perimeter-oriented big men regularly. He struggles to navigate pindown screens and is only so-so at chasing more mobile types around the floor but contests catch-and-shoot’s effectively thanks to his length, can run the shooter off the line on hard closeouts and has the body control to stay balanced against straight line drives.

In the game against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Munich qualifier of the ANGT, which he was named MVP of, Garuba was asked to crossmatch onto Deni Avdija for stretches and really impressed with his on-ball defense way out in space.

He bends his knees some but mostly hunches to get down in a stance. Garuba showed tremendous side-to-side agility to stay in front one-on-one, chests up to contain dribble penetration through contact and uses his length to reach in for strips of the ball.

He even put in the work to try going over picks at the point of attack, though he was only so-so at hustling in pursuit to discourage or contest shots from behind.


[1] According to Eurospects

[2] DOB: 3/9/2002

[3] According to RealGM

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

Mario Nakic Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Mario Nakic is currently the 10th-ranked prospect in Europe, among those born in 2001[1].

The six-foot-seven wing is coming off a prolific season with Real Madrid’s junior squad, which won the Adidas Next Generation Tournament and the U18 Spanish League in dominant fashion, blowing up Mega Bemax by 19 and arch-rivals Barcelona by 24 in the respective championship games.

The Serbian was named the MVP of the final round of the ANGT in Vitoria-Gasteiz, scoring 33 points against his compatriots.

Nakic was the top shot creator on the team, logging 27.7% usage in Munich and 34% in Vitoria-Gasteiz[2], while acting as a slasher in middle high pick-and-roll against a set defense and mixing in some touches on the side of the floor curling off pindown screens.

On the other end, the 18-year-old[3] was a weak-side defender for the most part, showcasing decent attention with his rotations coming off the weak-side to help crowd the area near the basket, even helping protect the rim by challenging shots via verticality, while also contributing to the rebounding effort.

SLASHING

Nakic did most of his work in pick-and-roll – both middle high against a set defense and on the side of the floor off ball reversals.

He is still a one-speed slasher off the ball-screen at this point of his development, looking to get downhill at the first glimpse of a driving lane, while his court vision and decision making are underdeveloped.

Nakic has shown traces of a tight handle, having flashed the ability to split double teams at the point of attack with a nifty crossover. But he is not all that strong with the ball, prone to getting it stripped of him in traffic, and has a knack for driving into crowds – averaging 5.4 turnovers per 40 minutes in his eight ANGT appearances last season.

The Belgrade native can hit the roll man over the top and is a willing passer on drop-offs off engaging the last line of defense but is yet to show much in terms of hitting the opposite side off dribble penetration and even misses some basic kickouts to the strong-side from time-to-time.

He is very good at getting to the basket within his age group, though. Nakic is fluid and smooth shifting directions on a dime, has pretty good body control in traffic, can pivot into a well-coordinated spin move to charge his way into the lane and is strong enough to maintain his balance and his momentum forward through contact thanks to his 193-pound frame.

He does not attack the basket with a whole lot of explosiveness elevating off one foot but has shown to be a resourceful rim-level finisher – euro-stepping to navigate his way through the crowd, making use of head-fakes off a jump-stop to bait rim protectors into leaving their feet and unleashing scoop finishes, though his touch has some room to improve and he is yet to develop his left hand as an asset.

Nakic also has a frame that invites contact within his age group – averaging 10 foul shots per 40 minutes in 182 minutes at the ANGT.

SHOOTING

He can make a shot off the dribble, showing decent footwork on pull-ups – side-stepping in isolation, step-backing in pick-and-roll against hard shows and stepping into his shot against the on-ball defender going under the screen – but is a poor shooter with questionable shot selection for the most part.

Nakic is also not much of a threat when walled off from the rim – having not yet developed adequacy on stop-and-pop jumpers or floaters.

He is hesitant of pulling the trigger as a floor-spacer, still more comfortable shot-faking into putting the ball on the floor and relying on his long strides to try getting to the basket against a scrambling defense. Given the fact he does have a quick first step within his age group, those tend to be some of his better decisions.

Nakic goes through 1-2 footwork on catch-and-shoot’s and has a low release out in front. His mechanics are compact enough and he gets a good deal of elevation to get his shot off prior to or over long closeouts. He tends to get a good arc on his shot but needs to work on guide hand discipline in his follow through – often missing to the side of the rim and at times missing the rim completely.

Nakic missed 22 of his 30 three-point shots at the ANGT but did nail 76.1% of his 46 free throws, suggesting at least the natural touch is in place.

DEFENSE

As most teenagers tend to be, Nakic is an uneven defender at this point of his development.

As a weak-side defender, he is proactive rotating in to help crowd the area near the basket and has shown the ability to challenge shots via verticality, though not as a shot blocker. Nakic is not, however, the sort of energetic wing who flies around and has only a six-foot-seven wingspan[4] to boot.

He is a good rebounder for his position – collecting 17.4% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor in Munich and 19.4% in Vitoria-Gasteiz – but doesn’t help the helper with boxouts.

Nakic can’t negotiate picks cleanly chasing shooters around the floor and his effort on closeouts is hit-and-miss, aside the fact he is prone to giving up backdoor cuts from time-to-time.

He bends his knees to get down in a stance defending on the ball out in the perimeter, has couple of lateral slides in him to stay attached with similarly-sized players in isolation and can leverage his strength to chest up and contain dribble penetration when he is locked in but can’t go over picks at the point of attack and doesn’t hustle in pursuit to challenge or discourage shots from behind.


[1] According to Eurospects

[2] According to RealGM

[3] DOB: 6/14/2001

[4] According to Draft Express

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

Vincent Poirier Scouting Report

CONTEXT

The Athletic’s Shams Charania first reported on July, 2nd that Boston reached an agreement with Vincent Poirier on a two-year deal.

The 25-year-old[1] Frenchman transfers to the NBA after two seasons with Laboral Kutxa Baskonia, where he accumulated 3,161 minutes of high-level experience in the Euroleague and the Spanish ACB as a rotation player on a team that made the playoffs in both leagues each year.

Most recently, Poirier averaged 18 points per 40 minutes on 63.8% true shooting in 73 appearances last season and ranked fifth in the Euroleague in PER, at 23.1[2].

The six-foot-11 center is a good scorer and capable passer out of the pick-and-roll, while also hustling to create second-chance opportunities in volume crashing the offensive glass when away from the primary action.

On the other end, he is a so-so pick-and-roll defender who is also uneven holding his ground in the post but leverages his athletic ability to create events as a rim protector and rebounder.

PICK&ROLL OFFENSE

Poirier is a versatile screener who can read the defenders setting up to defend the two-man action very well.

He sprints to screen and, though he doesn’t always widen his base, Poirier seeks to make hard contact when he is looking to disrupt the on-ball defender. He is also active flipping the screen or re-screening at the point of attack in an attempt to create space for the ball-handler to get downhill and very savvy slipping the screen against inattentive defenders.

The INSEP product is also a versatile scorer on his rolls to the basket.

He can play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense and is a fairly quick leaper off two feet who doesn’t need to go up all that high to dunk thanks his tall standing reach, even if he hasn’t shown the same explosiveness going up in a crowd without time or space to load up.

Besides catch-and-dunks, he is a good finisher at rim level as well – showing soft hands to catch the ball on the move, able to finish through contact with his chiseled 235-pound frame and showcasing good touch on non-dunk extended finishes with either hand.

On catches a bit further away from the basket, Poirier is not a threat to make quick jumpers out of the pick-and-pop but is coordinated enough to catch the ball around the foul line, dribble for balance and attack the basket with explosiveness off one foot off momentum on short straight-line drives.

He has also flashed the ability to roll into quick post-ups. Poirier doesn’t leverage his strength into carving up space to go up with power all that often but shows good touch on quick turnaround hooks with either hand.

He is even a capable (if unspectacular) passer on kickouts out of the short roll, able to take advantage of the corner defender selling out to challenge him in the lane – assisting on 8.4% of Baskonia’s scores when he was on the floor last season.

OTHER AREAS OF OFFENSE

The Clamart native has only a basic package operating with his back to the basket, having not shown much in terms of being able to trick his defender out of position with head fakes, shot fakes and pivot moves or finding shooters and cutters.

He is a capable open shot shooter from mid-range, if left totally uncontested. Poirier has a slow release and is a near-standstill shooter but can get a good arc on his shot when he is able to go through his motion, though his touch is only so-so as his 69.9% foul shooting on 592 free throws over the last two seasons can attest.

He is very active crashing the offensive glass, though, hustling to set inside position and showcasing a quick second jump to fight for tip-ins or 50-50 balls – collecting 15% of Baskonia’s misses when he was on the floor last season.

PICK&ROLL DEFENSE

Poirier was asked to hedge a lot last season and didn’t do that great a job at it. He is coordinated and nimble enough to venture out to the three-point line and recover to his man in a timely manner but doesn’t influence ball-handlers all the well.

When asked to drop-back, Poirier flashed good positioning clogging driving lanes to prevent the ball-handler from turning the corner right away off the screen and has light feet to backpedal fluidly but let the roll man get behind him way too often.

He is athletic and fairly agile for someone his size but it’s unclear if he is suited to pick up smaller players on switches.

OTHER AREAS OF DEFENSE

Poirier is attentive to and proactive with his responsibilities stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense. He is a quick leaper off two feet who mostly challenges via verticality but can block a shot thanks to his tall standing reach – averaging 1.75 blocks per 40 minutes over the last two seasons.

Despite his frame, Poirier was a surprisingly uneven defender in the post, so-so at holding his ground, though active his hands to try making plays on the ball from time-to-time – averaging 1.2 steals per 40 minutes these last two years.

He is a very good rebounder, diligent and physical with his boxouts, while also showing the quickness and instincts needed to chase the ball of the rim – collecting 23.8% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season and 25% of them the year before.

There is a cost to his energy, intensity and physicality, though. Poirier is quite foul prone, as his constant involvement in scrums battling for rebounds on both ends, his aggressiveness reaching in for the ball in post defense and his challenges via verticality in rim protection led to him averaging 5.2 personal fouls per 40 minutes over these last two seasons.


[1] DOB: 10/17/1993

[2] According to RealGM

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