3D Point Guard, Shot Creator

Rafa Luz Scouting Report

(Originally posted at VinteUm)

CONTEXT

With Marcelinho Huertas resting to participate in the FIBA Americas instead and Raulzinho being vetoed by the Utah Jazz, Rafa Luz ran point for the Brazilian national team in the Pan American Games and led the squad to five wins and a gold medal.

Luz is not a particularly great player but after a solid season in Spain, he ought to have gained extra credit with Ruben Magnano’s staff thanks last week’s sure handed performance in Toronto and might have established himself as the second most reliable option at the position behind Huertas.

SHOT CREATION

Luz struggles to get into the lane against a set defense, lacking the burst of quickness to turn the corner when the opponent strings him out sideways or create separation on straight line drives. He is also not the sort of dynamic ball-handler who can dribble side-to-side and stress the opponent into hesitation, unable to get to the basket or draw free throws with frequency.

Luz is an excellent ball mover who keeps the offense moving, though, often looking to pass ahead in transition and make the extra pass quickly around the perimeter. Though his dribble penetration isn’t much of anything, he creates for others by anticipating rotations and timing his passes extremely well – assisting on 31.7% of Obradoiro’s scores when he was on the floor last season and recording 17 assists in five appearances in the Pan American Games, according to RealGM.

There is a lot of risk involved for players who are aggressive anticipating rotations and Luz was a turnover machine. He lost the ball on 28.7% of Obradoiro’s possessions when he was on the floor last season.

SHOOTING

Luz took most of his shots from three-point range last week. He is not aggressive attempting pull-ups and also hasn’t shown the ability to shoot sprinting around side screens but converts enough open shots to stay a threat who the opponent must account for when he’s off the ball.

He hit four-of-11 three-point shots in the Pan American Games and 35.5% of his 62 such attempts in the Spanish league last season, a substantial improvement from converting just 27% of his 196 three-point shots the previous three seasons.

DEFENSE

Luz is a so-so defender. He has pretty good size (six-foot-one, 207-pound frame), gets on his stance and plays with effort, almost always pressing the opponent full court, but doesn’t have enough athleticism to be an impact player on that end. Luz doesn’t have a lot of length to contest outside shots effectively or shut down passing lanes.

He’s able to slide over screens reasonably well but lacks the burst of quickness to recover into his man well enough to limit help from the big man when the opponent turns the corner and attacks the lane. Quicker guards like Juan Jose Barea and Jose Acosta often managed to erase Luz from the play and attack Augusto Lima and Rafael Hettsheimeir in a position of advantage.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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Catch&Score Finisher, Tall Passer

Lucas Nogueira Scouting Report

(Originally posted at VinteUm)

CONTEXT

Just like Bruno Caboclo, it was disappointing how little playing time Lucas Nogueira got last season. He logged just 23 minutes with the Toronto Raptors and 80 minutes with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

It’s also worth mentioning that Nogueira dealt with injuries in 2013-2014 and logged just 297 minutes with Estudiantes that season. He has barely played 1,000 minutes the last four seasons. Nogueira is by no means old but at 22, it’s a bit concerning how little playing time he’s seen since turning pro.

That said, he seems to have put all that free time to good use. Nogueira appeared stronger at summer league and presented a more polished skill-set – factors that were concerns regarding his transition to the NBA.

However, as much as physical and skills training is important, playing time is still the biggest factor for a prospect’s development and that’s why it was important to see Nogueira do well in his 118 minutes last week.

PASSING

When he was drafted, Nogueira projected as a catch-and-finish big man on offense. But he surprised with how well he passed at summer league, especially considering he did it in several ways. Nogueira didn’t just assist cutters out of the low post but also proved able to pass facing the defense – out of the short roll and on high-lows.

According to RealGM, he assisted on 17.5% of Toronto’s scores when he was on the floor last week – an above average mark among centers. That said, Nogueira also averaged three turnovers per game, which isn’t to be ignored.

FINISHING

It should be mentioned, though, that he focused a lot more on gravitating towards the perimeter after screening than cutting to the front of the rim and making himself a target for lobs. And that is concerning. Nogueira’s newfound passing ability is great but shouldn’t come at the expense of having him as a scoring threat around the rim most of the time.

No one guarded Nogueira when he caught the ball outside the lane, so he tried a few standstill outside shots and hit one or two, but nothing to be taken seriously at this point. Which is also the case with his post-ups, as he lacks strength to back opponents down.

It’s worth considering that Nogueira logged most of his minutes upfront with Ronald Roberts, who didn’t stretch all the way to the three-point line and crowded the interior, but it was nonetheless concerning how little diving to the front of the rim he did, especially because he played with Delon Wright – one of the more polished point guards at summer league. And when he did cut down the lane, Nogueira also struggled to catch the ball in traffic.

DEFENSE

He wasn’t perfect defending pick-and-rolls, as he is not suited to guard smaller players on switches and moved sideways flat-footed instead of getting on his stance. But Nogueira was pretty good defending the front of the rim, as expected due to his length and agility to get off the ground.

He blocked 13 shots in five games and contested 6.8 two-point shots per game – the third highest mark at summer league, according to NBA.com/stats/. His long arms also helped deflect a lot of passes. Toronto allowed just 77.8 points per 100 possessions with Nogueira on the floor – an exceptional mark.

REBOUNDING

Part of why he was such an impact defender was his production on the glass. Nogueira doesn’t box out with great consistency and struggles pushing people from below the rim but his leaping ability and long arms allow him to reach the ball at a high point. He collected 27.4% of opponnents’ misses – the 11th highest defensive rebounding rate at summer league. Those same strengths translated on the other end, where Nogueira collected 14% of Toronto’s misses.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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3D wing

Bruno Caboclo Scouting Report

(Originally posted at VinteUm)

CONTEXT

Bruno Caboclo logged just 87 official minutes last season – 23 with the Toronto Raptors and 64 with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

When the Canadian franchise surprised everyone by drafting him 20th overall in 2014, ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla classically opined “he’s two years away from being two years away”. After that, there was already an idea Caboclo would see very little time on the court at the highest level.

But the fact he also played very little in the D-League as well was very disappointing. That was the case because Toronto was one of the teams that did not have their own D-League affiliate e depended on Fort Wayne for assignments. Differently than what happens with affiliates, where the focal point is developing players, coaches and strategies for the mother ship, the Mad Ants stay alive by attracting support from the region and does so by trying to win. Therefore, they play who they think gives them the best chance to win and the 19-year-old Brazilian who barely had any experience in the Brazilian league didn’t meet that criteria.

The good news is that Toronto just purchased a D-League franchise for next season already, which is going to provide Caboclo all the playing time he needs to start trying to reach the potential everyone sees in him, which will be vital because it’s very probable he will once again not be a part of Dwane Casey’s plans for next season.

The Raptors just signed DeMarre Carroll and still have DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, James Johnson and Norman Powell on the roste. Even with the departures of Lou Williams, Greivis Vasquez (Casey liked having two point guards on the floor some) and rumors the rumors that they will be more aggressive playing small, it’s still difficult to see Caboclo as a rotation player.

Especially considering that he didn’t impress very much in last week’s summer league. It’s generally expected for first-round picks to show a jump in performance heading into their second years, which can sometimes be seen starting at summer league already. Giannis Adetokunbo still isn’t much of anything, but he was nonetheless a rotation player on a playoff team, and started showing last summer league what was about to come in 2014-2015. But that wasn’t the case with Caboclo, who was inefficient with his shots and also didn’t have many chances to show a wider skill-set than what was expected.

THREE-POINT SHOOTING

At this point, what Caboclo does the most is take outside shots. He’s a good athlete, but didn’t play in the open court a whole lot. Most of his touches came in the half-court, where he almost always stood on the weak-side, without an active role in shot creation against a set defense. Cabloco was purely a spot-up shooter and 63% of his shots were three-point shots.

Caboclo has good mechanics but is a bit methodical on his release and that split-second makes a difference against the best players in the world – even those working hard to find jobs as the 15th men on rosters. At this point, Caboclo is still mostly an open-shot shooter than one able to shoot a decent percentage with defenders closing out to him, missing 26 of his 36 three-point shots last week.

SHOT CREATION

Caboclo had some opportunities to attack closeouts and create off a live dribble but lacks explosiveness and rarely created separation. He did get to the rim and drew shooting fouls with some success thanks to his six-foot-nine, 212-pound frame, though. He has long strides, going from the wing to the rim in two dribbles and two steps.

Caboclo converted 10 of his 21 two-point shots and averaged 4.6 foul shots per 36 minutes – both promising marks. That said, his ball-handling is so-so and his feel for the game is very poor, as he logged just four assists in five games and 11 turnovers.

DEFENSE

Due to his size and length, it is expected Caboclo will develop into an above average defender. But as now he is not much of anything. In isolation, Caboclo is able to contain dribble penetration by players his own size but struggled to stay in front of smaller players.

Guarding the pick-and-roll, he struggled going over screens and recovering with quickness. Maybe Caboclo is too big to be effective sliding over and might be best suited to go under and use his length to challenge potential pull-ups.

Caboclo also had some lapses that would cost him playing time in any environment other than summer league. At one point, he just decided to go to the rim with two other Raptors close to the basket and left Doug McDermott completely open in the corner. The ball eventually got to McDermott, who missed but shouldn’t be taking that shot in the first place.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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Pure Passer, Shot Creator

Diego Flaccadori Scouting Report

Excellent work by Artur Kowis. Everyone is encouraged to check out Artur’s blog ‘BallTrackr‘ and to follow him on twitter @arturkowis.

ball.trackr..

flaccastats

Flacca_shotchart

  • very dominant ball handler at the off-guard position for Italy (6th highest USG% in the field) which didn’t put him in good position to take many spot-up shots. 36 attempted pull-up shots to just 12 spot-up shots. About  twice as many pull-up threes as spot-up threes.
  • generally very mature, yet shot selection on pull-ups can be ill-advised, especially in closing minutes of a close game where he likes to take it on himself to decide the outcome.
  • quick, fluid release – leaning slightly forward with his hip – very little elevation – good arc – close to his body coming from his chest

  • size, ball handling, vision and hands should allow him to become a pick and roll creator at either guard position.
  • creates for himself as well as others – tilting towards himself on pick and rolls.
    • Surprisingly quick first step either off a stance or having his dribble iniated already.

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Pure Shooter

Josh Carter Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Josh Carter remains one of the very best pure shooters in the globe. He took his talents to Turkey last season and once again shot extremely well on a high number of attempts per minute. It continues to be a mystery to me how come somebody with his combination of length (six-foot-seven height, six-foot-11 wingspan) and effective field goal percentage hasn’t gotten a look by the NBA or a higher level club in Europe yet.

SHOOTING

Like Montepaschi Siena the season before, Turk Telekom was yet another team that didn’t fully maximize the impact of Carter’s shooting by having him jet around screens some and impact the game without touching the ball.

Carter was used mostly a weak-side spot-up shooter and did what was expected of him in that role. He converted 40.5% of his 170 three-point shots in 912 minutes, averaging 6.7 such attempts per 36 minutes. According to RealGM, Turk Telekom averaged 134.5 points per 100 possessions with Carter on the floor and just 113.4 overall, signaling a massive drop-off when he got some rest. He ranked second in the Turkish league in offensive rating among all players.

He has now hit 40.4% of his 940 three-point shots over his last four years in Europe with Maccabi Ashdod, Spartak Saint Petesburg and Turk Telekom. That’s after nailing 41.8% of his 715 such shots in four years at Texas A&M between 2005 and 2009. Simply put: this is a proven shooter with an excellent history of volume shot making in an efficient manner.

OTHER AREAS OF OFFENSE

Carter showed to be a little more capable off the bounce than he had in Italy – running some side pick-and-rolls against unbalanced defenses and passing pretty well on the move. He assisted on 12.4% of Turk Telekom’s baskets when he was on the floor last season – his highest mark over the last four seasons.

He is not much of a threat to get to the rim against a set defense, lacking the burst to blow by defenders or the handles to shake them up side-to-side and the strength to maintain his balance through contact. But Carter shot very well off the bounce, which created some driving opportunities at times, and he was able to convert 63.3% of his 109 two-point shots.

Carter once again flashed the ability to play above the rim as a target for lobs when his team pulled the big men outside the lane and opened space for weak-side cuts and also showed the ability to handle the ball well enough on the break.

DEFENSE

Carter is a below average defender. His physical profile suggests he should be more impactful but he contributes very little on the glass, crashing inside to help protect the rim and shutting down passing lanes.

He doesn’t seem like a massive liability in individual defense but does struggle navigating over screens and recovering quickly to contest shots effectively, while also lacking the strength to contain dribble penetration through contact and hold his ground in the post. Carter had the second highest defensive rating on the team among rotation players, per RealGM.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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3D Point Guard, Tall Passer

Tomas Satoransky Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Tomas Satoransky played as a wing at Cajasol Seville but was used as Victor Sada’s replacement by Barcelona. Marcelinho Huertas had a great first couple of months to the season but declined physically (either due to age or injury), and Satoransky took over most of the minutes at the point from January on.

ATHLETICISM

Satoransky is one of the most interesting players in the continent due to his combination of physical profile (six-foot-seven, 200 pounds) and athletic ability. Fouling in transition is a go-to strategy to limit easy scoring in Europe, but every once in a while we got the chance to see how great Satoransky is in the open floor.

He has proven able to play above the rim as a target for lobs, not only on fast-breaks but also when Barcelona pulled both big men outside the lane and opened up space for weak-side cuts. According to ACB.com, 23.8% of his 67 two-point baskets in the Spanish league were dunks.

ON BALL DEFENSE

But it’s defending the point of attack where Satoransky impacts the game the most. He has very good lateral agility to navigate over screens and recover to the driver quickly. His length (six-foot-seven wingspan) wasn’t a difference making asset shutting down passing lanes (he averaged just 1.4 steals per 36 minutes, per RealGM) but helped him contest shots effectively and contribute on the defensive glass – where he collected 14.3% of opponents’ misses when he was in the game.

According to gigabasket.org, Barcelona allowed just one point per possession with Satoransky in the lineup for 516 Euroleague minutes and then defended 2.41 points per 100 possessions worse when he got some rest.

SHOT CREATION

Satoransky was a high usage shot creator at Seville but that was not the case at all in his first season with Barcelona. He was mostly a 3D point guard, bringing the ball up the floor and getting the team into the half-court offense but rarely asked to create against a set defense consistently.

From January on, Satoransky started logging most of his minutes with the first group and that meant spending more time with Ante Tomic, Deshaun Thomas and either Juan Carlos Navarro or Brad Oleson. With this group Satoransky was almost always off the ball, entering it to Thomas in the post or handing off to Navarro/Oleson after they got a down screen and then moving to the weak-side.

Most of Satoransky’s shot creation opportunities came with him attacking off a live dribble, after the defense was bent by an initial action. In those instances he did well, lacking the burst to blow by defenders in a pinch but getting around them thanks to his long strides and ability to maintain balance through contact.

Satoransky averaged three shots at the rim per 36 minutes in the Euroleague, a healthy amount in the context of his nine-shot average. He scored well there, finishing at a 66% clip at the basket in the Euroleague and having just four of his 107 two-point shots in the Spanish league blocked. His 3.5 free throws per 36 minutes were only so-so, though, considering his drives should stress the defense more than the average perimeter player in Europe does.

He is not the sort of next-level passer Huertas is, someone able to see a play develop one-second ahead of everyone else, but proved to be a very capable passer on the move, able to adjust quickly when his drives drew help – assisting on 27% of Barcelona’s scores in his 1,439 minutes on the floor last season. Due to the nature of his role, there was often little risk associated to his passes, which explains his very good 2.85 assist-per-turnover ratio.

SHOOTING

Satoransky is a solid open-shot shooter, one with decent mechanics but who needs time to load up his shot. That was all that was asked of him in his first year with Barcelona, and as a result he converted 43.5% of his 131 three-point shots.

The combination of his prolificacy at the rim, his discipline taking only open triples (he averaged fewer than two attempts per game) and his efficiency nailing those resulted in Satoransky leading the Spanish league and ranking 10th in the Eurolegue in effective field goal percentage – something impressive for a perimeter player.

He is a limited shooter on the move, though – not at all any sort of asset coming off down screens and iffy off the bounce, as he missed 27 of his 41 mid-range jump-shots against Euroleague competition.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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Pure Passer, Shot Creator

Marcelinho Huertas Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Marcelinho Huertas had a great first couple of months to the season but then fell off a cliff, either due to injury or general regression in athleticism due to age. He lost a lot of minutes to Tomas Satoransky and was a non-impact player towards the end of the season.

PICK-AND-ROLL SHOT CREATION

Huertas is a pick-and-roll menace, one of the very best shot creators in the globe off a high ball-screen. But he struggled to turn the corner and attack the lane with speed last season.

Huertas was never one those guards that got to the rim with power but has always been able to put pressure on the defense with his floater, then when they converged to him he was always able to adjust his decision making in the air and find a big running free to the rim or an open shooter.

As he struggled to create any sort of separation, Huertas stopped pulling up for those runners enough times for the defense to feel threatened by his scoring ability. According to gigabasket.org, Huertas shot 12-for-34 (35%) from mid-range in his last 14 Euroleague appearances, after shooting 28-for-63 (44%) on such shots in his first 14 Euroleague appearances last season.

Huertas has such incredible vision and command of how an offense should be run, though, that his assist rate did not decline, despite the fact defenses probably didn’t need to rotate as much to contain his dribble penetration. According to RealGM, Huertas assisted on a third of Barcelona’s scores in his 1,584 total minutes on the floor last season.

It can’t be ignored he was also a turnover machine, though, limiting how much of a positive his passing was. Giveaways are often the cost of doing business with such prolific shot creators for others, who often take chances trying to anticipate passing lanes, but Huertas’ 20.1% turnover rate was sky-high in the context of his 21.2% usage-rate.

ATLHETICISM

Either due to injury or age, Huertas was very limited moving around the floor last season. He didn’t have a lot of side-to-side quickness before, so losing that burst to turn the corner completely killed his ability to get to the basket.

Huertas took just 30 shots at the rim in 28 Euroleague appearances and missed more than half of those, while also averaging just 1.8 free throws per 36 minutes. He shot 75% on 40 attempts at the rim against that same level of competition the season before.

On the other end, Huertas remains a poor pick-and-roll defender, unable to navigate over screens with enough quickness to limit the need for help. He also lacks the wingspan to contest shots effectively and shut down passing lanes. According to gigabasket.org, Barcelona allowed 106.3 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor in the Euroleague, and just 95.3 with Satoransky defending the point of the attack instead.

SHOOTING

Huertas continues to be only a capable open-shot shooter at best. He hit 35.5% of his 197 three-point shots last season, keeping his four-season average at a respectable 36.5% on 850 such shots. While decent enough not to be a significant minus to their spacing over the course of the season, Huertas remains the sort of shooter opponents play off of in high leverage situations. Olympiacos did it yet again in the Euroleague quarterfinals, with Evangelos Mantzaris not guarding Huertas when he stood still on the weak-side. He logged just 15.5 minutes per game in that series and just 11 minutes in game four.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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