Luka Doncic Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Luka Doncic just finished a remarkable season on Tuesday.

After playing a key role on the Slovenian National Team squad that won the 2017 Eurobasket, the 19-year-old went on to win Euroleague and Spanish ACB MVP honors, while leading Real Madrid to continental and domestic titles.

There has never been a player who accomplished as much by such a young age.

The Ljubljana native has accumulated 4,404 minutes of pro experience over the last four years, defending Real Madrid in the two toughest leagues outside the United States and his country in the most competitive tournament among nations.

Most recently, the six-foot-eight passing wizard averaged 22.5 points per 40 minutes on 59.2% true shooting and compiled a 22.8 PER in 73 appearances last season.

With Sergio Llull injuring his knee during the summer and subsequently missing the vast majority of the year, Doncic was the top shot creator on the team and was relied on to run a ton of offense – logging 26.8% usage rate and assisting on 30.5% of Real Madrid’s scores when he was on the floor.

Most people view him as best suited for a role as secondary shot creator but Doncic showed this year, at the highest level of European basketball, that he is capable of doing more than just breaking down a scrambling defense or running offense for short stretches. And soon we will get to see to which extent his shot creation prowess can translate to the NBA.

On the other end, Doncic regressed. Tasked with a larger burden on offense, his commitment to off ball defense declined. And it was once again proven true that he is not suited to defending at the point of attack, consistently needing to be paired with a smaller player capable of handling opposing point guards.

There were still glimpses of intelligent help defense, though. And his contributions on the glass continued to be pretty strong.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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Melvin Frazier, Jr. Scouting Report

Melvin Frazier is a name most people probably aren’t familiar with but he could be a player that we look back on as a real steal in this year’s draft.

The junior guard out of Tulane stands at six-foot-five with a 200-pound frame, elite length and good athleticism, possessing adequate scoring ability and a nose for the ball. His numbers last season were extremely respectable for the Green Wave, as he averaged 18.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.5 steals per 40 minutes, while posting a 22.4 PER[1].

Frazier is an adequate scorer who can shoot it a little, converting on 38.5% of his three-point attempts last season and sporting a .631 true shooting percentage.

The faster, the better for Frazier. He excels in transition and attacking downhill off the dribble. He’s got solid first step quickness and can get to the rim or shoot off the dribble, but does most of his damage from dribble handoffs or behind the back dribbles usually going to his right.

Frazier can finish above the rim or through contact due to his athleticism but also his crazy length of course, as he was measured with a seven-foot-two wingspan[2].

The poster dunk Frazier had against North Carolina, where you see him beat the defender off high pick-and-roll with that behind the back dribble, was possibly the best play of the last college basketball season. He can finish with both hands and has good touch around the rim but seems to mainly look to go to the right.

As I mentioned above, Frazier’s best asset seems to be when the pace of the game speeds up and he’s in transition. He usually makes positive plays on the break and has very impressive speed in the open floor. Frazier is great at taking a defensive rebound and changing ends, getting the break going and staying on the lookout to find open shooters trailing him. He’s also great at turning steal and defensive plays into transition opportunities, often scoring from steals.

His shooting concerns me some but his field goal, three-point, free throw and two-point percentages all trended upwards during his three seasons at Tulane. Mechanically speaking, there doesn’t seem to be too many things standing out about his shot that are poor, besides really nitpicky things such as the ball being released behind his head or it seeming to be a little slow, as the ball kind of sticks at times with his release point. His follow through is sometimes inconsistent but he showed real progression over the past two seasons.

His handle is solid but his ball security seems to be a real issue, as he averaged three turnovers per 40 minutes. His dribble gets high at times and he gets the ball knocked away too often on drives, showcasing a limited arsenal in terms of his creativity as a ball handler. Frazier also has a strong preference for going right, as he just doesn’t seem particularly comfortable setting up lefty finishes.

The other end is where Frazier is really going to make his money in the league, especially with his ability off ball. He’s a thief, finishing with 152 steals over his three years in college and averaging 2.3 steals per 40 minutes.

Frazier does a good job of keeping his head on a swivel, reading passes and utilizing his great length to get into passing lanes. He’s a good team defender, helping often from the weak-side and even when he gets beat, Frazier has the length and quickness to recover and at least alter the shot.

Frazier definitely can get greedy at times and his effort off ball can come back to haunt him, as he gambles frequently for steals. This causes him to get out of or give up position to his man and give up easy buckets. As long as he can keep his energy level, while maintaining better discipline, he should limit these errors and excel as a defender at the next level.

As an on ball defender, the story is different. He’s not bad, but far from great.

Frazier gets beat off the dribble more than you would expect. His fundamentals are pretty poor; he stands way too upright and is rarely down in a stance, something that usually gets taken advantage of.

Frazier just kind of goes through the motions and that’s a big issue for me, as I view him as lazy. If he can capture the same intensity and effort he brings off the ball to when he is guarding on the ball, he has the potential to be an upper echelon defender in the NBA.

I don’t view Frazier as an elite prospect and he’s not going to change your franchise by any means. But he’s an adequate shooter and scorer, who can create at times for himself, thrives playing in transition and can generate steals in volume. He will add value to whatever team selects him and should be a rotation player for a long time, if he gets stronger and continues to improve his on-ball defense.

Frazier is a real dark horse in this class and would be a steal in the second round. To me, he should be late first round pick and could perhaps help a contender right away.


[1] According to sports-reference

[2] According to measurements at the 2018 NBA Combine

Editor’s Note: Evan Wheeler is a regular contributor to ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Denver Sidekickswhere he is also a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @EvzSports

Jerome Robinson Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Jerome Robinson was the 308th-ranked prospect in the 2015 high school.

But after three productive years at Boston College and what seems to be a workout tour for the ages, he’s now expected to be picked in the lottery on Thursday’s Draft.

The 21-year-old enters the NBA with 3,118 NCAA minutes under his belt but has no other meaningful experience, in terms of participating in prominent offseason events or defending the United States National Team in FIBA events.

Most recently, the six-foot-five combo guard averaged 23 points per 40 minutes on 60.7% true shooting and compiled a 20.2 PER in 35 appearances last season.

Boston College played the 48th-toughest schedule in the country and had a +8.8 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor.

Robinson has a skill-set similar to Devin Booker’s on offense. He is a very good shooter who also proved he is able to create for himself and others out of the pick-and-roll. Luckily for him, he was given the chance to showcase the full extent of his capabilities, as Boston College got him looks on the move in diverse ways and let him run offense against a set defense with Ky Bowman off the floor.

Robinson logged 27.3% usage rate, assisted on 19.5% of Boston College’s scores when he was in the game and was assisted on just 46.9% of his field goals.

His production was far less inspiring on the other end. He was mostly hidden on defense but Boston College switched some and he defended on the ball from time-to-time. Robinson does the basics but doesn’t play with any energy or intensity and lacks the physical profile and athletic ability to make a positive impact when he does try harder on occasion.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

Robert Williams, III Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Robert Williams, III was the 50th-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class.

Despite an up-and-down first year at Texas A&M, he was expected to go one-and-done after compiling a pretty good statistical profile and standing out from a physical-standpoint but surprised many by opting to return for a second season.

I think it’s fair to say that decision didn’t really pay off, though it didn’t backfire either.

Williams is currently expected to be drafted around the same range he would have been last year (late lottery), with some chance that he might drop after skipping the 2018 NBA Combine and starting his workout tour late in the process.

In his two years at Texas A&M, the 20-year-old accumulated 1,570 minutes of college basketball experience. But other than that, he has just 45 minutes in the 2017 adidas Nations under his belt.

Most recently, the six-foot-10 hyper athletic big man averaged 16.2 points per 40 minutes on 63.2% effective shooting and compiled a 24.1 PER in 30 appearances last season.

Texas A&M played the fourth-toughest schedule in the country and had a +22.2 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor – which led the team.

His positive impact on a team that played tough competition is impressive when you consider he played out of position on defense and wasn’t given many chances to max out his potential on offense due to the fact he logged most of his minutes alongside Tyler Davis, a pure center.

Defensively, that offered him a chance to guard a little further away from the basket, which is how he figures to be deployed in the switch-happy NBA, at least in the near future. But on the other end, Williams didn’t have many opportunities and space to roll to the basket out of the pick-and-roll – a big problem, given he projects as a catch-and-score finisher in the pros.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

Troy Brown, Jr. Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Troy Brown, Jr. was the 12th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class.

In his one year at Oregon, the 18-year-old accumulated 1,093 minutes of NCAA experience. Prior to it, he logged 86 minutes at the 2015 Nike Global Challenge, 122 minutes at the 2016 adidas Nations, 169 minutes with the United States National Team at the 2016 U17 FIBA World Cup and 16 minutes at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit.

Most recently, the six-foot-seven swingman averaged 14.5 points per 40 minutes on 49.4% effective shooting and compiled a 15.8 PER in 35 appearances last season.

Oregon had a +4.9 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor but played only the 84th-toughest schedule in the country.

Brown looks like the 3&D wing every single team is looking for these days.

He isn’t quite that player on offense, though. Brown shot poorly from long range in his one year in college and didn’t get up as many three-point shots as you’d like for someone in his role (weak-side floor-spacer), instead showing a stronger preference for putting the ball on the floor to attack closeouts and isolating out of ball reversals.

When Payton Pritchard was out of the game, Brown was tasked with bringing the ball up the floor and triggering ball movement sequences but didn’t have many, if any, chances to run high pick-and-roll against a set defense. He was a point guard in high school and flashed some nice passing on side pick-and-rolls, so there might be some hidden potential for shot creation there.

On the other end, Brown proved he is able to execute the scheme as a weak-side help defender and has the physical profile to be expected to offer versatility picking up bigger players on switches. He doesn’t appear to have the lateral quickness needed to develop into an ace stopper and isn’t suited to defend smaller players for longer stretches, though.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

Zhaire Smith Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Zhaire Smith was only the 194th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class and had no other meaningful experience prior to his time in college basketball but his one year at Texas Tech was enough for him to stand out.

In his 1,051 NCAA minutes, the 19-year-old averaged 15.9 minutes per 40 minutes on 61.8% true shooting and compiled a 21.3 PER, as a key cog on the team that made it to the Elite Eight before falling to eventual champion Villanova.

Texas Tech played the 19th-toughest schedule in the country and had a +34.6 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor.

Smith is an unorthodox prospect. His role on offense was as a combo forward. He spaced out to the three-point line some but not a lot, as most of his work was done screening and leveraging his athleticism as a threat near the basket on cuts, rolls, roaming around the baseline at the dunker spot and crashing the offensive glass.

On the other end, Smith also impressed the most as an interior defender, not only leveraging his explosiveness as a rim protector but also showing terrific awareness making an impact in the hidden areas of the game.

The problem, if you choose to see it as one, is that Smith was measured at six-foot-four, 198 pounds at the 2018 NBA Combine – a frame rarely associated with players suited to do things more commonly done by big men. As a result, he might spend a chunk of his career being miscast as a pure perimeter player, which he doesn’t figure to be as good at in the immediate future due to his lack of handle and the low volume of three-point shots he took in college.

Teams like Golden State, Brooklyn and Houston have reaped the benefits of playing guys like Draymond Green, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and PJ Tucker at center for portions of the game but we are yet to see other teams be as brave in terms of discounting height as an arbitrary need to view someone as a big man.

However, those players cited above are generally taller, longer and thicker than Smith, who would represent a longer leap of faith for a coach to feel comfortable having him log most of his minutes as an interior player, especially on defense.

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Kevin Huerter Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Kevin Huerter was the 49th-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class.

In his two years at Maryland, the 19-year-old accumulated 2,071 minutes of college basketball experience. Other than that, he has 184 minutes with the United States National Team at the 2016 U18 FIBA Americas and 2017 U19 FIBA World Cup under his belt.

Most recently, the six-foot-seven swingman averaged 17.1 points per 40 minutes on 64% true shooting and compiled an 18.4 PER in 32 appearances last season.

Maryland played the 50th-toughest schedule in the country and had a +17.3 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor.

His stock has been on the rise over the last month and after a very strong appearance at the 2018 Combine, he is now expected to end up a top 20 pick.

Huerter was given the chance to showcase a very versatile skill-set on offense. He took 54.3% of his shots from three-point range and was assisted on 59.8% of his field goals but did more than just spot-up as a weak-side floor-spacer, proving he is able to nail shots on the move and create for others off side pick-and-roll as well.

On the other end, the native of Clifton Park, New York acted as a weak-side defender for the most part, though he found himself guarding on the ball when Maryland switched aggressively on ball screens against select opponents. He is a so-so individual defender and lacks elite athleticism to fly around in terms of creating events in volume but proved to be exceptional at executing the scheme.

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