Isaiah Todd’s first year as a pro felt like a productive one.
The 15th-ranked prospect in the 2020 high school class, the six-foot-10 stretch big opted to sign with the start-up G-League Ignite instead of an NCAA program for last season.
He was speculated as a prospect who hadn’t progressed in his development as much as hoped for in his final couple of years in high school, but it seems like his time in the G-League set him a clear path forward.
There were some questions about how a program specifically built for four players (Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, Daishen Nix and Todd) would approach distribution of roles and opportunities in a real basketball setting, but they were answered in a very satisfying manner, in my opinion.
Todd, for example, was primarily a floor spacer who didn’t have much shot creation responsibility and was largely protected by a center, and that was the case because he hasn’t yet developed much in terms of shot creation skills and couldn’t protect the rim.
But he didn’t just park beyond the arc on offense and had no responsibilities on defense. The 19-year-old had a fair number of opportunities to launch mid-range jumpers out of the pick-and-pop, take a mismatch into the post, pick up smaller players on switches occasionally and play some center in five-out lineups designed to attempt comebacks against large deficits in the fourth quarter.
Ideally, he’d have been a little more aggressive pulling the trigger on long-range bombs, with just a little over a quarter of his live-ball attempts coming from three-point range, but all in all, it felt like Todd was consistently deployed in the most sensible manner for where he finds himself at this point of his development and how he is expected to contribute over the next few years of his career.
The playing time didn’t feel gifted either. All four of Green, Kuminga, Nix and he were clearly priorities but nothing out of the ordinary for a developmental squad. He averaged 24.4 minutes per game in 15 appearances, which seemed like the right balance between the fact that he made enough shots to keep offering some value on offense but wasn’t efficient enough (53% true shooting) and couldn’t defend well enough to play more than half-the-game for a team that made the playoffs.
The Raleigh, North Carolina native catches on the hop, gets a good deal of elevation for someone his height, fully extends himself for a high release, impresses with his guide hand discipline and seems to have the touch needed to be expected to develop into a good three-point shooter in time – nailing 36.2% of his 47 three-point attempts last season.
The question then becomes what level of shooter he will develop into. For now, Todd needs time and space to load his shot. Given the height of his release point, he was still able to get them off in volume (5.1 three-point shots per 40 minutes) but doesn’t shoot the easiest ball just yet.
He took some jumpers out of the pick-and-pop but is more of a shot taker than a shot maker with the most difficult types of attempts.
When he commanded a hard closeout, Todd showed good dexterity shot-faking into putting the ball on the floor but was only a real threat to score when he got an unimpeded path to the goal.
There were moments when he flashed noteworthy dexterity creating separation for a pull-up in isolation but, generally speaking, he hasn’t yet developed into an explosive leaper off one foot in traffic, a resourceful finisher in a crowd, a threat to score from the in-between area or a shot creator for others on the move (5% assist-rate).
The Team Loaded NC alum is only a slip screener at this point and rarely rolled hard to the basket, even in his minutes as the lone big man in the lineup. When he found himself manning the dunker spot, Todd showed he is not yet an option to play above the rim as a target for lobs, needs to load up to go up and can’t go up with power in a crowd – converting just 58.3% of his 36 attempts at the rim.
He also collected just 3.7% of the Ignite’s misses when he was on the floor (365.5 minutes), in large part due to his role, but also highlighting how he doesn’t yet have a knack for mixing it on scrums.
Not yet able to offer much value as a finisher or operating off the bounce, his one way of contributing to the offense, other than spotting up, was taking some mismatches into the post, where he showed to have very little refinement at this point of his development.
Carrying a thin 195-pound frame in the context of his six-foot-10 height, Todd isn’t able to get a deep seal often and hasn’t yet developed much in terms of power moves or a patient approach working his man out of position with fakes, most often only looking to set up an off-balance turnaround fadeaway jumper.
On the other end, the Word of God Christian Academy product mostly acted as a weak-side defender responsible for offering help when Amir Johnson or Brandon Ashley got pulled away into space and closing out to the three-point line.
There were good moments where his timing picking up the roll man forced a kickout but for the most part Todd was consistently a step late and didn’t show to have the quickness off the ground or the superior length to make up for that – averaging just 1.2 blocks and 4.1 personal fouls per 40 minutes. He was also just average helping finish possessions – collecting 17.5% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.
Todd was not especially quick in his closeouts but when he did manage to run a more hesitant shooter off his shot, he proved himself capable of staying attached on straight-line drives.
When he was brought to the ball against the pick-and-roll, Todd struggled as much as you’d expect a teenager to do against veterans. He approached the ball in a stance and looked fairly nimble back-pedaling to try keeping the ball in front but rarely successfully stopped dribble penetration via position defense.
Todd seemed more capable switching against the ball-screen. He bends his knees to get down in a stance and though he doesn’t press up, he doesn’t give the ballhandler an extensive cushion either. He moved his feet well enough and proved himself capable of sliding to stay in front of stiffer wings but lacks the strength to play with any sort of physicality and can’t contain dribble penetration through contact.
 DOB: 2001/October/17
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