7-footer, Post Scorer, Shot Creator, Stretch Big, Tall Passer

DeAndre Ayton Scouting Report

CONTEXT

DeAndre Ayton is off to a hot start in what should be his only year in college, averaging 25.5 points and 15.9 rebounds per 40 minutes over the first three games. Arizona has played a very poor slate of opponents so far, ranked 313th in strength of schedule[1], but Ayton’s performance has been noteworthy nonetheless.

The 19-year-old[2] born in the Bahamas is one of those teenage phenoms draftniks have tracked for years, though one mostly perceived as the sort of prospect who managed to dominate in high school through athletic prowess alone.

But over these first 88 minutes, the seven-foot-one center has signaled he’s taking steps towards developing into a more skilled type of big man; one who can stress his defender with the ability to make shots from all over the floor and make quick decisions against double teams, though he’s certainly still in the early stages.

Arizona is also forcing him to stretch his game. All his minutes have been spent with one of Dusan Ristic, Keanu Pinder or Ira Lee in the lineup as well, as Sean Miller has shown a fondness for a two-in offense, despite having enough perimeter options to play four-out comfortably. As a result, Ayton hasn’t always had space to roll hard to basket in pick-and-roll and opponents have needed to cover less ground to double-team him decisively when he gets a deep seal in the post.

On the other end, Ayton possesses the physical traits to potentially become a difference making defender down the line; one able to create lots of events and make his presence felt all over the floor.

He is not yet that player all the time, though, since his motor on plays that require multiple-efforts leaves something to be desired.

[1] According to kenpom.com

[2] Who only turns 20 next July

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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3D wing, Shot Creator

Hamidou Diallo Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Hamidou Diallo declared for the 2017 NBA Draft and stayed in it up until the very last minute possible, supposedly fishing for a promise to be picked in the first round. It appears that promise never came, so Diallo opted to return to Kentucky, where he enrolled last January but had an agreement in place with John Calipari not to participate in any games last season in order to keep open the option to go to the NBA straight out of high school.

Since that didn’t pan out, instead of playing Summer League in Las Vegas in July, the just-turned 19-year-old suited up for the United States Junior National Team at the 2017 U19 FIBA World Championships in Cairo, Egypt.

The US disappointed, finishing third, and Diallo himself was mostly a mixed bag. The six-foot-five wing averaged 23.9 points per 40 minutes but on below average 47.6% effective shooting. He did plenty in transition, off ball reversals and attacking closeouts, logging 24.5% usage-rate, but didn’t get many opportunities as a shot creator against a set defense. His measurables and athletic prowess are impressive but his defense was generally underwhelming.

ONE-ON-ONE OFFENSE

Based on his appearances in the high school and AAU circuit, it seems Diallo’s top skill is his ability to create a shot for himself in an individualistic manner, as he’s shown he has a lot of resources to get by his man or shake him side-to-side, create separation and get a good look off:

  • In-and-out dribble
  • Stop-and-start burst
  • Crossover into between the legs move
  • Cleverness to protect the ball in traffic
  • Strength to maintain his balance and his momentum forward through contact

Diallo is equally versatile as a finisher. He is an explosive leaper off one foot to go up strong and finish through contract, while also having the flexibility to adjust body in the air to score around rim protectors and has flashed a floater to launch over length from the in-between area – shooting 50.9% on 16.6 two-point attempts per 40 minutes in Cairo, according to our stats’ database.

As an aggressive rim attacker, he’s also shown a knack for drawing contact and living at the foul line against less physically developed types within his age group – earning 8.8 free throws per 40 minutes at the Worlds U19.

TEAM OFFENSE

But for the most part in Egypt, Diallo played off the ball in the half-court and he wasn’t particularly impressive in that role.

Diallo often spot up in the weak-side as a floor space but was a reluctant shooter, taking just 10 three-pointers in his 127 minutes. He gets little elevation off the ground but his balance is great and his form looks like a solid base to build upon. The ball didn’t go in a whole lot, though, as he missed eight of those threes.

Diallo also didn’t have the chance to showcase if he has any versatility to his shot, as the US didn’t have him coming off screens or popping off setting back-screens.

Within a team-oriented context, his passing on the move was his most promising contribution. As he sucked in the defense working off the dribble and drew two to the ball, Diallo proved he’s able to deliver drop-offs to big men at the dunker’s spot and kick-outs to shooters spot-up in the strong-side – assisting on 19.5% of the US’s scores when he was on the floor.

He also managed to pitch in on the offensive glass, where he showed a knack for mixing it up and an exceptional second jump to fight for tip-ins – collecting 10% of the US’s misses when he was in the lineup.

DEFENSE

Diallo has the physical tools to project as an impact player on defense but didn’t do that great in Cairo.

He did use his six-foot-11 wingspan well to make plays in the passing lanes – averaging 2.5 steals per 40 minutes, but was unimpressive in every other area.

His closeouts were iffy. He executed the scheme and made his rotations but didn’t make many plays at the basket, picking up just two blocks in seven appearances, which was surprising low total for such an exceptional athlete. His 9.9% defensive rebounding rate was disappointing too.

In individual defense, he got in a stance and proved to have pretty good lateral quickness but doesn’t consistently stay in front and when he does he lacks the strength in his 195-pound frame to contain dribble penetration.

According to our stats’ database, Diallo ranked just ninth in the team in defensive rating.

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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3D wing, Pure Passer, Shot Creator, Tall Passer

Luka Doncic Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

Luka Doncic continues to build on what has to be the most remarkable résumé for a teenage basketball phenom ever.

Slovenia won the 2017 Eurobasket last month and the 18-year-old[1] was not only a rotation player in this winning run, leading the squad in minutes, which alone would be very impressive for someone his age, but was in fact a key reason why such an accomplishment was possible to begin with, ranking third on the team in plus-minus – according to FIBA.com.

Igor Kokoskov organized the team very well, with Goran Dragic taking priority running high pick-and-roll and attacking off curls around pindown screens at the elbow, logging a 33.2% usage-rate – according to our stats’ database.

With that as the case, Doncic was for the most part a secondary ball handler.

He still had plenty of opportunities to push the ball in transition, given he is such a great defensive rebounder, and run pick-and-roll against a set defense, with and without Dragic on the floor. In those instances, the six-foot-eight maestro showcased once more his court vision is amazing.

Doncic can not only anticipate passing lanes a split-second before they come open but also make shooters on the opposite end of the floor open; working his man into the screen, getting him on his back and manipulating the help with hang dribbles and hesitation moves, playing at a pace that is impressive when you get to see guys like Dragic and Bogdan Bogdanovic do so, let alone an 18-year-old.

Opponents forced his hand during this tournament, though. Doncic saw a lot of teams going out of their way to guard pick-and-rolls two-on-two, while others like Greece and Latvia felt comfortable switching behemoths such as Ioannis Bourousis and Kristaps Porzingis onto him from time-to-time.

With that as the case, Doncic assisted on just 20.6% of Slovenia’s scores when he was on the floor, which is a good percentage, but one that is below what we’ve come to expect from him. Though on a good note, it limited his exposure to risk and kept his turnover problem under control, as he turned it over just 12 times in 262 minutes.

Earlier in the tournament, he was given space to pull-up from three-point range off the pick-and-roll often and proved he is capable of making enough shots to discourage the opponent from going under picks and dropping the big man way back consistently. His release on such uncontested dribble-in pull-ups looked quite fluid and he hit a few shots from NBA distance.

Later in the tournament, defenders played up on him, both in the pick-and-roll with big men showing higher as he goes around the screen and in isolation. Doncic has an advanced handle to maneuver his way around traffic but doesn’t have enough quickness to just lose his man on hesitate-and-go’s, so he didn’t get all the way to the rim a whole lot in this event, taking just 17 of his 101 field goal attempts in the restricted area – based on the shotcharts available at FIBA.com.

But Doncic is pretty big, able to maintain his balance and his momentum forward through contact, and can still put a good deal of pressure at the last line of defense even if he is not attacking the basket furiously. He once again proved himself a very resourceful finisher from the in-between area, nailing 18 of his 30 shots in the lane, and averaged five free throws per 40 minutes.

When opponents were able to bottle him in the mid-range, Doncic leaned on step-back and stop-and-pop pull-ups that went in at a 4-for-10 clip. Much like his three-point jumper, he can make these shots when the big man lets him rise uncontested but hasn’t shown to be an aggressive enough shooter to make this not the shot that the defense is willing to give up to him.

He finished just 21.8% of Slovenia’s possessions with a shot, foul shot or turnover when he was on the floor, though. With Dragic leading the way, Doncic had to operate as a floor-spacer and ball mover a lot of the time. His catch-and-shoot three-pointer looked pretty good more often than not, as he does great shot prep, rises up in balance and launches it comfortably.

But the ball continued to go in at a below average clip. Doncic can certainly nail open shots but struggles when he is forced to speed up his release, both with a hand in his face on effective closeouts and when he is asked to sprint to the ball, come off screens or relocate. Overall, he hit just 31.1% of his 61 three-point attempts, also due to some poor shot selection on pull-ups.

Defensively, the picture is becoming clearer.

While Doncic can run point on offense full-time thanks to his remarkable dexterity operating in pick-and-roll, he is not suited to defend the point of attack on the other end. Doncic is too big to go over picks consistently and often compromised the integrity of the scheme behind him when the opponent ran him into a ball-screen. Smaller guards can also just blow by him out in space.

But as a weak-side defender, Doncic might develop into a difference maker, despite the fact he doesn’t create a lot of events, other than helping clean up the defensive glass, which he was exceptional at, collecting 28.3% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor, which ranked 14th in the tournament – according to our stats’ database.

By simply being intelligent and disciplined executing the scheme consistently, helping crowd the area near the basket and rotating in as the last line defense to contest shots at the rim with verticality, and then finishing possessions securing the defensive rebound, Doncic ranked second on the team in defensive rating, behind Anthony Randolph.

[1] Who only turns 19 in February

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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Catch&Score Finisher, Stretch Big, Tall Passer, Undersized Big

Robert Williams III Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Robert Williams III surprised many with his decision to return for a sophomore season at Texas A&M. After 10 double-doubles in 31 games and a 25.3 PER in 801 minutes as a freshman, the six-foot-eight big man was projected to go in the lottery last June. He is the exact sort of athlete who often wows teams during the organized workout part of the pre-draft process and whose stock rises once there are no more games to evaluate.

But the 19-year-old[1] might have made a good decision coming back for a second year of college. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony ranked him seventh in his latest mock draft last week and Mike Schmitz has mentioned before he believes Williams has a real shot to be in play for the number one pick depending on how much improvement he shows this upcoming season.

Williams is a very appealing prospect because he might be the unicorn teams are looking for to place at center these days; someone who can space the floor out to the three-point line on offense and protect the rim on defense. He will be considered undersized to play that position full time by some due to his height but Williams has a seven-foot-four wingspan[2] and is listed at 237 pounds, measurables that suggest he could be able to play up to standard.

He’s, of course, not that player yet. Despite that weight, Williams hasn’t developed the strength and toughness needed for coaches to feel comfortable having him matchup against centers with prototypical size on an every-possession basis, aside from the fact that his jump-shot and general skill level are mostly theoretical at this point of his development.

ATHLETIC ABILITY

As of now, Williams gets most of his production thanks to his athletic prowess, which materializes on defense in his quickness rotating off the weak-side as the last line of help and explosive leaping ability protecting the rim.

Though it sometimes came at the cost of him overhelping or selling out biting on shot fakes, he averaged 3.8 blocks per 40 minutes last season[3] and was probably the biggest reason why opponents shot just 55.9% at the rim against Texas A&M[4].

But despite his agility and length, Williams hasn’t yet developed into as impactful a defender away from the basket.

He does well sliding laterally against stretch big men and can closeout effectively, sometimes even blocking the eventual jumper. But he struggles containing dribble penetration if these types put the ball on the floor, as he is not yet inclined to playing with the toughness needed to contain his opponent’s momentum.

Picking up smaller players on switches, Williams doesn’t bend his knees to get down in a stance, too spaced out to stay in front in isolation. He also hasn’t shown much in terms of shuffling his feet laterally to prevent dribble drivers from turning the corner guarding the pick-and-roll at the foul line.

That said, Williams has long strides and can keep pace with smaller players on straight lines well enough to block or contest shots effectively from behind thanks to his incredible length, though it’s fair to expect that in the pros he’ll meet more guys who get all the way to the basket before he gets to them.

But the biggest concern about his defense regards his lack of physicality. Williams plays post defense with active hands trying to generate strips[5] but more often than not can’t hold his ground, which is also a problem in the defensive glass, as he struggles with his boxouts, collecting just 21.2% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season.

On the other end, his athleticism is his meal ticket as well.

As a remarkable leaper, Williams can play above the rim as a target for lobs, not just off one foot in transition and sneaking behind the defense spotting up in the dunker’s spot but bouncing off the floor off two feet explosively in a crowd as well, as he averaged 1.44 points per possession as a pick-and-roll finisher[6].

And yet, what caught people’s eyes the most, perhaps, were the instances where Williams caught the ball on the move and showed impressive coordination to take a dribble before laying it up around a defender trying to wall off the basket. Defenses can’t cover everything and what they are giving up the most these days is the in-between area[7], so players who do can things like that will become more coveted.

His leaping ability and length also translate in the offensive glass, where Williams collected 13.6% of Texas A&M’s misses when he was on the floor last season. He can rebound outside of his area thanks to that massive seven-foot-four wingspan and has second jump-ability to fight for tip-ins and go up for putbacks, which he converted at a 64% clip[8].

But as a shot creator, there isn’t much there yet. Due to his lack of physicality, Williams can’t set deep position in the low post and hasn’t shown much ability to back opposing big men down with power moves for short range attempts.

SKILL LEVEL

He also hasn’t shown much in terms of shot fakes, launching turnaround fadeaway jumpers and feeling double teams, mostly relying as his go-to move on a simplistic turnaround right-handed hook that has decent touch but isn’t quite a money maker, as he averaged just 0.83 point per possession on post-ups[9] and turned the ball over on 18.2% of his possessions with his back to the basket.

When he was unable of simply catching-and-dunking, Williams still showed nice touch on non-dunk finishes, impressing especially in the aforementioned plays where he needed to navigate his way through the in-between area, converting 72.4% of his 145 shots at the rim.

But as impressive as his finishing is, the chance of him potentially going number one overall in the draft is mostly linked to his ability to turn his jumper into a reality.

In sporadic moments, Williams flashed a catch-and-shoot three-pointer out of the pick-and-pop, a face-up jumper from the mid-post, a catch-and-shoot three-pointer spotting up in the corner and even a fluid stop-and-pop one-dribble pull-up off an isolation move.

But those were only glimpses. He missed 38 of the 47 jumpers he attempted, including 16 of his 18 three-point shots. The touch on his shot is pretty good but he has a methodical release and launches the ball from a low point. The fact he converted just 59% of his 100 free throws also casts doubt into just how real that jumper can really become.

His ability to help facilitate offense is closer to a real asset, though. Williams has can spot shooters on the opposite corner, pass out of the short roll, participate in post-to-post pre-arranged reads and aid dribble hand-offs from the elbows or the high post, assisting on 12% of Texas A&M’s scores when he was on the floor.

[1] Who turns 20 in October

[2] According to Draft Express

[3] According to sports-reference

[4] According to hoop-math

[5] He averaged one steal per 40 minutes last season

[6] According to research by Mike Schmitz

[7] Think about the way the Spurs defended the Rockets in that second round playoff series

[8] According to hoop-math

[9] According to research by Mike Schmitz

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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7-footer, Catch&Score Finisher, Stretch Big

Mohamed Bamba Scouting Report

 

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Mohamed Bamba is known for his physical profile and athletic ability. The 19-year-old[1] measured at seven-feet and 216 pounds with a remarkable seven-foot-nine wingspan at this year’s Nike Hoop Summit, where he looked like the prototypical center for this pick-and-roll driven era of basketball due to his explosiveness leaping off the ground in a pinch to finish lobs and block shots.

But the Harlem, New York native used Texas’s preseason trip to Australia to show people his skill level is ahead of expectations as well. He was very aggressive unleashing jumpers from the elbows on post-ups and from three-point range out of the pick-and-pop, showed to have some feel for the game in terms of helping facilitate offense and looked to bring the ball up himself whenever he could after collecting a defensive rebound.

These long bombs don’t go in the basket a whole lot yet and he isn’t really one of these new age big men who can initiate offense from the perimeter but Bamba did quite a bit in that four-game trip to suggest his ceiling now goes beyond the easy comparison to DeAndre Jordan that most people like to make.

Defensively, he is a very impactful player close to the basket due to his physical prowess and hinted he might offer his coach flexibility in terms of how to defend the pick-and-roll, given his level of comfort shuffling his feet out in space but hasn’t yet developed into the sort of player who can lift his unit above its means, as Texas got lit up by two of the three Australian NBL teams it faced during the trip.

SKILL LEVEL

What Bamba did the most during preseason was catch the ball on the elbow area on either side of the floor, as Texas entered it to him on post-ups a fair amount. Unable to set deep position as of now, he showed a strong preference for turning and facing his defender. Most opponents sagged off him, unaware or unafraid of his potential to hurt them from range, and Bamba responded by being quite an aggressive shot taker when given the space.

His release is a bit methodical and a bit mechanical but Bamba elevates with decent balance and has enticing touch on his shot.

When his defender played up on him, Bamba often tried to drive around him. His handle is very decent for someone his size and he’s well coordinated but lacks the strength to maintain his balance and his momentum forward through contact.

The few times here and there that Bamba tried to back down his man, he worked to set up a turnaround right-handed hook over the defender’s left shoulder. His footwork was not particularly impressive but Bamba at least showed he doesn’t have cement feet. His touch is only OK, though.

But in the game against Melbourne, when a defender forced him to turn to his off hand, Mamba attempted a right-handed push shot in awkward balance, instead of opting for a left-handed hook or a turnaround, fadeaway jumper, suggesting he doesn’t yet have these assets in his arsenal at this point of his development.

His passing is a lot more advanced than expected, though. Texas played through him a little bit in the high post, on plays designed for him to catch, turn, face his man and then enter the ball to a perimeter player cutting to the area near the basket made vacant by Bamba drawing his man out. He also flashed some ability to hit cutters out of doubles with his back to the basket and kick-out to spot-up shooters out of the short roll.

He’s projected as a pick-and-dive threat out of the pick-and-roll but whenever Bamba set ball-screens in Australia, he mostly popped out the three-point line and wasn’t shy of letting it fly. He needs to speed up his release but proved he can take open shots rather comfortably. He also made a habit of hanging back changing ends, so he could get an open three up as the trailer in the transition.

Much like his no-dribble jumper out of triple threat position, his catch-and-shoot release looked a bit mechanical and methodical, though his touch seemed very decent. He gets off the ground a decent amount for a seven-footer, it’s not a set shot, but lets the ball go from the side, instead of out in front.

Though the threes he made and how confident he was at taking them were a bit stunning, the most surprising skill Bamba showed was the ability to grab and go off a defensive rebound. His handle is OK and he looked well coordinated bringing the ball up. He even flashed a light hesitation dribble to get by his man in transition and tried to take it end-to-end a couple of times but his touch on non-dunk finishes is only so-so at this point of his development.

ATHLETIC ABILITY

Bamba didn’t roll to the basket a whole lot and when he did, a weak-side defender rotated in to take away the lob but he had chances to finish a couple of alley-oops sneaking behind the defense. Bamba can explode off the ground with some space to take flight and has a massive nine-foot-six standing reach to play above the rim.

But from an athletic-standpoint, Bamba struggles in plays that require strength and physicality of him due to his lean frame. He can’t set deep post position in the post, has no power moves and lacks force to go up strong through contact off a standstill after collecting offensive rebounds.

Defensively, Bamba struggles to hold his ground in the post and though he is attentive to his boxout responsibilities, it was rare to see him completely erase an opponent out of a battle under the glass.

But while he doesn’t grow into his body, Bamba can rely on that massive standing reach to contest shots effectively defending the post, even when the opponent knocks him back some, and he’s proved to have quick instincts chasing the ball off the rim, aside the fact he has that remarkable seven-foot-nine wingspan to rebound outside his position.

That said, what’s enticing about Bamba’s agility is his potential defending the pick-and-roll extending above the foul line and covering a lot of ground in help-defense. When these pro teams ran pick-and-roll with the center as the screener, Texas didn’t ask Bamba to go meet the ball-handler at the point of attack but had him step up to prevent the opponent from turning the corner right away, which he proved very comfortable doing out in space.

Texas didn’t have him picking up smaller players on switches at any moment but Bamba seems to be the exact sort of big who has a shot of keeping pace with such types out on an island, though it’s unclear if that’s truly the case yet.

What it’s clear is that Bamba will be a constant shot blocking threat near the basket, elevating out of two feet stepping up to protect the front of the rim and out of one foot coming the weak-side in help-defense. The expectation is he should average about three blocks per 40 minutes at the college level.

[1] Who turns 20 only in March

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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7-footer, Catch&Score Finisher, Stretch Big

Mohamed Bamba Scouting Report

  • Bamba scored 14 points on 14 minutes on Texas’ 96-84 win against the Dandenong Rangers — a team from Australia’s second division, on Tuesday.
  • His first score was on a catch-and-shoot three-pointer off a pick-and-pop on Texas’ second offensive possession of the game. His release looked a bit mechanical and methodical, though with very decent touch. He gets off the ground a decent amount for a seven-footer, it’s not a set shot, but lets the ball go from the side, instead of out in front.
  • Bamba was very aggressive pulling the trigger from the outside.
    • He took another three-pointer after making sure to space beyond the arc against Dandenong’s zone that missed;
    • Then he missed an uncontested turnaround right elbow jumper off the catch in the middle of Dandenong’s zone;
    • Then he made a no-dribble jumper from the left elbow turning and facing his defender on a post-up;
    • Then he missed a one-dribble pull-up fading to his left on the right side of the mid-post area after also turning and facing his defender.
  • Bamba got most of his touches in the post and showed a strong preference for turning, facing his defender and launching a jumper[1], with the exception of one possession at the start of the second quarter when he set decent position in the mid-post, took a dribble to set himself up and launched a right-handed turnaround hook over the defender’s left shoulder that went in. His footwork was not particularly impressive but Bamba at least showed he doesn’t have cement feet.
    • There was also a play where Bamba caught in the elbow area, turned and faced his defender, spot a cutter working baseline and delivered a nice pass that his teammate bobbled and lost out of bounds.
  • Texas did not put him in the pick-and-roll but Bamba proved himself able to play above the rim as a target for lobs with his massive nine-foot-six standing reach on a play where he sneaked behind the defense and finished an alley-oop.
  • Bamba’s most impressive plays from a skill-standpoint were when he drove from the top of the key to the rim and earned two free throws attacking out of triple threat position after trailing behind a play in transition and when he collected the ball after a deflection and took it end-to-end for a short jumper from just outside the restricted area. The exciting part of that grab-and-go is that it wasn’t on a straight-line; Bamba had to escape a steal attempt at half-court and then contain his momentum not to commit an offensive foul when an opponent challenged his shot. His coordination on both plays were equally as impressive as his ball-handling.
  • Bamba was only stressed in pick-and-roll defense once, showcasing decent agility for someone his size showing-and-recover to his man in a timely manner.
  • He proved himself a proactive help defender coming off the weak-side to act as a shot blocking threat, able to come off the ground with ease, aside from having such a giant reach.
  • Bamba also put his length[2] to use rebounding outside of his area, which will be key for him on the defensive glass as much as on the other end because while he seemed attentive to his boxout responsibilities, Bamba only plays with so-so physicality and sometimes doesn’t completely erase the opponent off the play or gets pushed out of his position.

[1] Bamba has a lean 216-pound frame in the context of his seven-foot height, so it’s understandable why he doesn’t look to play a physicality-oriented style

[2] Seven-foot-nine wingspan

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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Post Scorer, Shot Creator, Stretch Big

Marvin Bagley III Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Marvin Bagley III announced on Monday that he’s reclassifying to the 2017 high school class and joining the Duke Blue Devils for next season. The six-foot-11 big man might have to wait a little bit before the NCAA rules him eligible, given he made his decision to move on to college really late in the process, but ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweeted his father is said to have been keeping his documentation diligently in order and everything should work out in the end.

The expectation is for the 18-year-old[1] Bagley to be one-and-done and join what’s already viewed as a highly touted 2018 NBA Draft class, at least at the very top. Givony released his first mock draft on Tuesday and the lefty is ranked second.

At Sierra Canyon, Bagley had plenty of opportunities to create a shot from the post and the team spaced the floor fairly well around him. But though he flashed his ball skills and coordination on a few face-up drives and in transition, he was not given any chance to create from the perimeter against a set defense in the games against Oak Hill Academy and Nathan Hale – which this evaluation is based on.

Bagley was also not put in the pick-and-roll a whole lot in this game, which was disappointing.

Defensively, his energy and intensity were nice to see. He contested a lot of shots near the basket and worked hard on the glass. Bagley also even flashed some intelligence switching on the fly, which Sierra Canyon did a little bit of – a matchup zone of sorts. There’s still room for him to improve as a positional defender, though, rotating preemptively to keep opponents from getting to the basket to begin with.

ATHLETIC ABILITY

Bagley’s biggest appeal at this point of his development is his agility and coordination, which are above average for someone his size.

Those translate on offense in:

  • his fluid footwork in the post
  • his nice first step and long strides on face-up drives
  • his explosiveness going up to finish strong off one foot or two feet with some space to take flight
  • his ability to adjust his body in the air for reverse finishes
  • his handling of the ball or filling of the lanes on the fast-break
  • his second jump on putback attempts

Defensively, Bagley was very proactive stepping up to protect the front of the basket going up vertically off two feet and coming off the weak-side to block shots off one foot in help-defense. According to d1circuit.com, he blocked 60 shots in 20 appearances for Nike Phamily in the Nike EYBL circuit last month.

Bagley also proved himself attentive to his boxout responsibilities and showed excellent instincts and quickness chasing the ball off the rim — collecting almost nine defensive rebounds per game in the AAU event.

In high school, Sierra Canyon had him hedging-and-recovering against the pick-and-roll and Bagley proved himself quick enough to prevent the ball-handler from turning the corner right away and then getting back to his man in a timely manner.

When he dropped back against dribble drivers who got downhill, Bagley showed he’s able to keep pace with smaller players on straight line drives thanks to his long strides and intimidate or effectively contest shots at the basket.

He wasn’t asked to switch often but has proven when matched up against stretch big men on face-up drives that he can bend his knees to get down in a stance and shuffle his feet laterally to stay in front, so there’s potential for that.

But Bagley doesn’t have elite reach for someone his height. The Draft Express’ archive lists him with only an eight-foot-nine standing reach measured three years ago but given there is no record of him getting taller, it’s fair to assume he hasn’t gotten longer either. And that figures to be a concern as he moves up through the ranks.

His measurements are out of his control, though. An area that needs improvement and he can work on as his body matures is his strength. Bagley has a lean 225-pound frame in the context of his six-foot-11 height. As a result, he gets pushed out of deep position in the post and needs to front the post on the other end.

SKILL LEVEL & BASKETBALL IQ

Without any power moves to speak of as of now, Bagley relies on his skill operating from the low block.

He’s flashed a face-up jumper off a jab-step and a lefty hook off a jump-stop but for the most part likes to face his defender and attempt driving around him. Bagley has a loose handle and is prone to getting the ball stripped from him in traffic but can go around his man due to his quick first step, maintain his balance through contact and shows some nice touch on non-dunk finishes.

There’s plenty of room for refinement, though. Bagley didn’t show much diversity to his post game, in terms or shot fakes or a turnaround fadeaway jumper, and he is extremely left-hand dominant. In an instance where Billy Preston forced him to his right in the game against Oak Hill, Bagley still try a left-handed hook, despite the fact his momentum was against his strong hand and Preston wouldn’t be able to contest him if he had shot with his right hand.

But Bagley is viewed as a potential star prospect because of the glimpses of perimeter skills he’s flashed, which at his combination of size and agility could be difference makers.

He’s proven himself able to grab a defensive rebound, take a few dribble and pass ahead to speed up the pace of the game or go end-to-end and drive at his man one-on-one. He even flashed some passing ability, from the post hitting a cutter off a double team in the game against Oak Hill and on a drop-off against Nathan Hale.

Bagley didn’t run any pick-and-rolls against a set defense or show the ability to shake his defender side-to-side with dribble moves in these two games, though.

The same dynamic is true of his outside jumper. Bagley spaced out to the three-point line when Cody Riley set a ball-screen or posted up, which suggests he has shown such range in practice, and he hit a smooth looking stop-and-pop corner three-pointer off the bounce as his defender eased up his stance against Oak Hill. He elevates off the floor with decent balance, has decent quickness in his release for someone his size and pretty good touch in his shot.

But other than taking a catch-and-shoot corner three relocating off ball movement against Nathan Hale, Bagley wasn’t given the chance to show if he has any versatility to his shot, as he was not put in the pick-and-pop or run off pindown screens, and there is no tangible evidence he is on pace to develop into a real long-range threat in the immediate future, as Bagley hit just 20.9% of his 67 three-point shots and 62.3% of his 199 free throw shots in the EYBL circuit last month.

[1] Who turns 19 only in March

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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