Stretch Big

Noah Dickerson Scouting Report

(Originally posted at Upside & Motor)

CONTEXT

A broken foot held Noah Dickerson to just eight appearances last season in the state of Florida but his senior year wasn’t completely lost. The six-foot-eight, 245-pound big man – rated the 52nd best prospect out of high school, according to ESPN.com – posted averages of 14.6 points and six rebounds at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Nationals, helping lead Montverde Academy to its third straight title at the event.

He originally committed to stay in state and play for Florida but Billy Donovan bolted for Oklahoma City, so Dickerson backed down on that agreement and will enroll at Washington instead, where he is expected to earn minutes right away due to the departures of Robert Upshaw and Shawn Kemp.

INTERIOR PLAY

Dickerson played center during the national championship run. Logging most of his minutes with Ben Simmons as the other big, he was the one responsible for manning the interior – protecting the lane on one end and providing a threat close to the basket on the other.

On offense, Dickerson’s role was a post player or filling the baseline when Simmons was posting up on the opposite side of the block. He was able to establish deep position against the big men at Greensboro Day, Findlay Prep and Oak Hill thanks to his strength advantage.

Dickerson has good touch on his turnaround hook and turnaround jump-shot but is methodical and mechanical with his moves, which allow opponents the opportunity to try blocking his shot. He has flashed the ability to pass with his back to the basket but isn’t a very polished shot creator for others at this point.

As an option on dump-offs, Dickerson has proven able to catch the ball on the move, use his body to bump the opponent and create separation, and exhibits good touch to finish around the basket.

His best work below the rim was as an offensive rebounder, though. He is physical working to establish inside position and has a seven-foot-one wingspan to rebound the ball outside of his area. According to Max Preps, Dickerson averaged three offensive rebounds per game in the state of Florida, which was also his average during Montverde’s national title run.

He hasn’t shown a lot of explosiveness out of a standstill position to transform these second chances into putbacks but tends to draw shooting fouls in a lot of instances, as his large frame often leads to contact.

Defensively, Dickerson didn’t prove to be a difference maker but played with effort and has physical skills to potentially develop into an impact player on this end.

He does not play above the rim as a constant shot blocking threat coming off the weak-side but stepped in to protect the front of the rim with good timing in many instances – at times using verticality but more often proving willing to sacrifice his body and draw charges.

Dickerson didn’t grab a lot of defensive rebounds but excelled protecting the glass by boxing out diligently, the sort of dirty work that doesn’t go on the box score but was essential for Simmons to get his numbers.

PERIMETER SKILLS

Dickerson was coached to guard the pick-and-roll flat and moving in space did not seem like a chore to him but he doesn’t have the sort of agility needed to pick up smaller guards on switches or contain them in the in-between area. He did show enough quickness for his length to be effective closing out to mid-range shooters, though.

Dickerson has flashed ball skills that make him extremely interesting as a potential stretch-five. He hit a couple of three-point shots at the Dick’s Nationals, elevating in balance and showing a nice touch on these makes. Dickerson is only a so-so foul shooter, though, which makes you pause on assuming he will definitely develop into a legit threat as an outside shooter. He converted just 52 percent of his 31 free throws during the season in Florida and 14 of his 21 attempts in the national tournament.

Montverde often pulled him outside the lane and asked him to play high-low with Simmons, but Dickerson lacked touch on these passes and those tended to end in turnovers rather than assists. His ability to handle in transition, taking one dribble and making a hard push to the rim on a straight line drive was a little more promising, though he didn’t have a chance to show that skill in a half-court setting.

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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Shot Creator

Andres Feliz 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..

Feliz_ShotChart

  • At 6’0 or 6’1, Feliz is a scoring combo guard
    • Top scorer per game. 7th in scoring per 30 among players who played 20+ mpg
  • Extremely efficient in a high usage role
    • 13th among usage among all FIBA U19 players who played significant minutes
    • Among 28 players with a 28+ USG%, Feliz was 6th best in TS% (56%), 5th best in eFG% (53%).
    • Only 3 players had a higher or matching ORTG
      • Feliz’ efficiency was barely carried by distance shooting. Only 25% of his shots came from beyond the arc. He shot 32% on these which is decent given the high number of pull-up threes he took. Had to take a fair number of pull-ups with the clock winding down which is watering his long range efficiency down some more.
      • Fairly quick but low release and not effortless, pushing the ball.
      • Shot 55% inside the arc…

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Shot Creator, Tall Passer

Ben Simmons Scouting Report

(Originally posted at Upside & Motor)

CONTEXT

Ben Simmons enters college basketball as the top player out of high school for good reason. Aside from just leading Montverde Academy to its third straight national title, Simmons possesses a unique combination of size and skill that makes him the exact sort of player every pro team is looking for these days.

Simmons dominated last season (averages of 28 points and 12 rebounds in the state of Florida) due to his age (he was an 18-year-old senior) and physical profile (six-foot-10, 229-pound frame) and has very little experience outside the high school level. Simmons last logged minutes for the Australian national team junior squad in 2012 and has only 185 official minutes defending his country, according to RealGM.

Simmons did well against the tougher level of competition at the Nike Hoop Summit, though, and is expected to transition to college basketball fine. He had 13 points on 10 shots, nine rebounds and nine assists in 30 minutes, helping lead the World team to a two-point victory over a US squad built with the exact sort of athletes he will face playing for LSU.

PASSING

His top skill, and what separates him from the average six-foot-10 combo forward, is his passing. Simmons is an extremely unselfish playmaker and a very versatile shot creator for others in all phases of the game – in transition, with his back to the basket from the low post, handling from the top against a set defense in the half-court, getting into the lane against a scrambling defense and from the high post against the zone.

He is constantly looking to pass on the move and assist cutters or shooters spotting up around the perimeter. More impressively for someone his age, Simmons is not the sort of passer who needs to monopolize possession for a lot of time to scan the defense. He is a quick ball mover. His height is a tremendous asset to help him see over the top of the defense in traffic or against double teams. Simmons has proven able to anticipate rotations and traps well but sometimes hurries kicking the ball out, which makes him turnover prone.

SCORING

Simmons is an excellent scorer in transition. He has long strides to go from end-to-end quickly, proving able to go from the half-court line to the rim in just four steps. He can also play above the rim as a target for lobs filling the wing on the break.

Simmons was a less impressive scorer against a set defense in the half-court in the end of the year, though. His performances in March and April should be put into the context that he went through a marathon, flying from Chicago to New York to Portland in a short period to participate in the McDonalds All American Game, the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Championship and the Nike Hoop Summit. Nonetheless, Simmons struggled to score efficiently against the athletes he played against in these events.

He lacked quickness to turn the corner out of the pick-and-roll or get by his man in isolation, flashing the ability to go from side-to-side to force his man into hesitation but unable to just blow by anyone and attack length with explosiveness.

From the perimeter, Simmons can get into the lane best against a scrambling defense. His long strides can help him get by people who are closing out to him off balance. Since he is a poor shooter at this point, Simmons can make an impact driving in semi-transition or out of the short roll. If he improves his jump-shot and opponents have to respect him on the outside, opportunities to attack closeouts on spot-ups and out of the pick-and-pop will open up as well.

Simmons usually scores against challengers at the rim on short pull-ups just outside the restricted area or scoop shots, raising the ball high and using his off arm to create some separation. But the best outcome on his drives tend to be foul shots, as his large frame often leads to contact. Simmons ought to improve as a free throw shooter to capitalize on those opportunities, however. He is below average for someone with his ball skills.

Simmons was used mostly as a post player in the national tournament and, while he did very well as a passer when doubled, he struggled to show scoring prowess when he didn’t have a substantial size advantage on one-on-one matchups. When he got deep seals, Simmons showed some explosiveness turning around for dunks out of a standstill position here and there but mostly did poorly out of either side of the block. He showed no turnaround hook and struggled badly on turnaround or step-back jump-shots.

Simmons is a poor outside shooter in general, actively avoiding taking shots off the bounce, which permits the opponent to sag off him and go under screens when he is handling from the perimeter. On catch-and-shoot opportunities, Simmons set a short base, went through a methodical release, dipping for rhythm but without elevating much off the ground, often lacking touch on his misses. According to Max Preps, he missed 36 of his 51 three-point shots in the state of Florida.

DEFENSE

He’s shown to be a solid defender, when engaged. Simmons got on his stance at the Hoop Summit and worked hard to navigate picks, proving able to slide over despite his size. He has enough lateral mobility to stay in front of wings in isolation, the lower-body strength to contain dribble penetration through contact and the length to contest perimeter shots effectively.

Simmons is not built to pick up smaller guards on switches, though. Those faster types can go around him with relative ease. He also hasn’t done well against true big men, playing soft defense against more physical types in the post.

When engaged, Simmons has proved attentive to step in, helping protect the front of the rim willing to draw charges but is not an aggressive help defender coming off the weak-side and does not play above the rim as a constant threat to block shots.

He is also sort of a liability on the glass, more often looking to rely on his athleticism tracking the ball off the rim and his six-foot-11 wingspan to grab the ball at a high point than getting physical with the opponent and boxing out diligently.

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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Shot Creator, Tall Passer

Jamal Murray Scouting Report

(Originally posted at Upside & Motor)

CONTEXT

18-year-old Jamal Murray was the second youngest player in the Pan American Games but his age didn’t keep him from leading Canada to a silver medal at home.

No player in the tournament compared to Murray in level of talent. He is a projected lottery pick in the 2016 NBA draft, while JJ Barea was the only proven NBA contributor in the competition. Everybody else was fringe talent at best, including Anthony Bennett and Andrew Nicholson.

It was, nonetheless, impressive how the teenager performed against players far more experienced and physically developed than him, and how he established himself as a lock for the Canadian team that will play the FIBA Americas, if NCAA rules permit him to.

That came on the heels of Murray dominating against his age group in the Nike Hoop Summit, when he scored 30 points on 23 shots and dished five assists in 31 minutes, leading the World Team to a two-point victory against the United States.

SHOT CREATION

Murray’s top skill at this point is his ability to get into the lane and create a shot for himself or others. He didn’t play any sort of secondary role, running side pick-and-rolls off a live dribble when the defense was already bent. Murray was relied upon to create against a set defense in the half-court and proved able to do so consistently well against that level of competition.

He doesn’t have an explosive first step but can change speed to get around defenders and turn the corner out of the pick-and-roll. Despite not playing with impressive speed, Murray has demonstrated the ability to get where he wants to go on the court – a skill expected to translate to college basketball, as shown in the Hoop Summit. He also has good handles and decent quickness going from side-to-side on the in-between area, forcing the opponent into some hesitation.

Murray has proven himself a very willing passer on the move, particularly impressive passing ahead in transition. In the half-court, he’s shown able to read rotations and how cutter and spot-up shooters can get off his drives. But he is not the sort of pure passer who anticipates passing lanes and seems to see plays develop one second ahead of everybody else, though. Murray is not allergic to passing by any means but when he is running offense, he is more likely to create a shot for himself than others.

FINISHING & SHOOTING

Murray strongly favors driving left and can finish with some explosiveness on straight line drives but doesn’t often tend to attack the basket with force. He has, however, flashed the ability to hang in the air to finish against length and through contact and a tear-drop floater when the help-defense kept him from getting to the rim. When he went right, Murray was less decisive on his drives and has trouble sustaining his momentum forward through contact at this point, often opting for step-back pull-ups.

Murray definitely proved himself a capable shooter off the bounce, even from three-point range. He is able to generate enough space to load his shot with his step-back and has a quick enough trigger to get his shot off, despite the fact he doesn’t have a particularly high point in his release.

Murray is listed at six-foot-four, the sort of height that helps him shoot over the top of smaller point guards but could give him trouble if guarded by lengthier wings, which was not the case in the Pan American Games where he was guarded mostly by point guards.

Murray’s shot looks tougher to contest on catch-and-shoot opportunities. He elevates off the ground with good balance, turns in the air and exhibits good mechanics. According to RealGM, Murray converted 11 of his 27 three-point shots in the Pan American Games and has a track record of shooting over 40 percent on such shots in the 2013 Nike Global Challenge and the 2013 FIBA Americas U16, and then an unusually lousy 28.6% performance in the 2014 World Championships U17.

ON-BALL DEFENSE

Murray played defense with effort, getting on his stance and working hard to go over screens consistently. He did not show the burst of quickness necessary to navigate the pick and recover to the guard driving to make plays as a trailer, though.

Individually, Murray looked quite good in the Hoop Summit. He was able to contain dribble penetration through contact by players his own age and possesses a six-foot-seven wingspan to help him affect passing lanes and make an impact contesting shots, though this is mostly potential at this point as he hasn’t shown to be an impact player on that end just yet.

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

Augusto Lima Scouting Report

(Originally posted at VinteUm)

CONTEXT

Augusto Lima was a highly touted prospect Unicaja held on to in its system for years but consistently blocked his playing time in the senior squad. He eventually left Malaga in the summer of 2013, joined Murcia and his career has finally taken off after two seasons of real solid production.

Lima did extremely well in the Pan American Games last week, a five-game sample this report is based on. They should be put into the context of a really low level of competition. There was one legit, proven NBA contributor (JJ Barea) and maybe a dozen ‘fringe NBA’/’mid-tier Europe’ (including Anthony Bennett and Andrew Nicholson) but there were mostly just guys.

Nonetheless, the Dallas Mavericks are now rumored to be interested in having him join them for training camp and if Lima repeats this sort of performance against a much higher level of competition at the FIBA Americas, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t sign somewhere high profile – either in the NBA or with a higher level in Europe.

LENGTH & ATHLETICISM

Lima is not a particularly skilled big man but can impact the game with his combination of length and athleticism. He is limited to a very specific role on offense but can provide flexibility to how a defense defends the pick-and-roll.

His top skill on offense is his offensive rebounding, as he is able to rebound outside of his area due to his seven-foot wingspan and can leap off the ground in a pinch. According to RealGM, Lima collected 14.6% of Murcia’s misses last season – a mark that ranked him sixth in the Spanish league in offensive rebounding rate.

Within the offense, he’s an asset by scoring out of the pick-and-roll. Lima is a slip screener who uses the split-second head start to dive down the lane with the sort of speed that sucks in attention and can potentially open up perimeter shots. He has shown soft hands to catch the ball on the move and can play above the rim as a target for lobs. Lima converted 64.7% of his 34 shots in the Pan American games last week and 54.4% of his 472 attempts with Murcia over the last two seasons.

Lima can play above the basket as a shot blocker but is not the sort of rim protector who blocks shots in volume (one block last week and 36 blocks in 34 appearances with Murcia last season). He is a decent interior protector, though, thanks to his agility. He moves fluidly and in control guarding the pick-and-roll dropping back to prioritize protecting the paint and has exhibited good closing speed to contest shots out of the pick-and-pop. In help-defense, Lima has shown good quickness rotating to the front of the rim and proven willing to draw charges.

But his top skill on defense is guarding above the foul line. Lima is an asset to guard smaller players on switches, as he has decent lateral mobility for someone with a six-foot-10, 234-pound frame to stay in front when forced side-to-side. He is able to contain dribble penetration through contact and has the sort of length needed to contest mid-range shots effectively.

Lima is an above average defensive rebounder thanks to his athleticism, quick tracking the ball off the rim, although sloppy boxing opponents out diligently. He collected 24.8% of opponents’ misses last season – a mark that ranked fourth in the Spanish league in defensive rebounding rate.

GAPS

Lima is limited in other areas of the game, those related to skill level. Hepassed the ball well out of the post in the Pan American games, keeping his head up and making easy reads against double teams and poor rotations but he’s not a well-polished post player due to awkward footwork and mechanical moves.

He also hasn’t shown the ability to pass out of the short roll, assisting on just 5% of Murcia’s scores in his 831 minutes.

Lima doesn’t have much of a jump-shot either and isn’t an option to spot up on the weak-side or play pick-and-pop. He is also a poor foul shooter, converting just 66% of his 223 free throws over the last two seasons.

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 Shooter

Vitor Benite Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Vitor Benite was the best player in the Pan American Games in Toronto last week. Higher profile perimeter players like Marcelinho Huertas, Leandrinho Barbosa, Alex Garcia and Marcus Vinícius Vieira rested in order to be available for the FIBA Americas, so Benite had a prominent role leading Brazil to the gold medal and impressed many people with his shot making – averaging 18.2 points per game in five apperances.

THREE-POINT SHOOTING

Benite is an excellent three-point shooter, not just spotting up on the weak-side but also on the move – off the dribble and sprinting around screens. He is very good at setting his feet in a hurry and has a quick release, making it hard for opponents to contest his shot effectively. More impressively, Benite proved himself able to make difficult shots from deep range off the bounce against better athletes.

According to RealGM, Benite converted 39.4% of his 155 three-point shots in 1,132 minutes with Flamengo in the Brazilian league, the FIBA Americas for clubs and the Intercontinental Cup against Maccabi last season. He converted 40.7% of his 550 three-point shots over the last four years and 16 of 30 such shots with the Brazilian national team last week.

FLOOR GAME

Benite showed to be more than just a one-dimensional shooter, though. He proved himself able to attack closeouts fairly well against that level of competition. Benite didn’t create separation but has enough speed to get into lane off a live dribble. He didn’t attack the rim with any sort of explosiveness but exhibited balance to hang in the air and draw some shooting fouls, as he averaged 4.3 free throws per 36 minutes.

Benite also surprised with his ability to create against a set defense. He doesn’t blow by anyone and can’t turn the corner out of the pick-and-roll but can change speeds well enough to force a rotation and bend the defense, aside from being able to get around big men on switches and drives off curls.

When he got by his man, Benite showed good court vision and the ability to pass the ball on the move, averaging 2.8 assists per game last week and assisting on 11% of Flamengo’s scores when he was on the floor last season.

DEFENSE

Benite has below average size (six-foot-three, 194 pounds) and athleticism for someone his position, which limits what sort of impact he can make on that end. He gets on his stance and works hard to navigate over screens and chase shooters around baseline screens but lacks strength to contain dribble penetration through contact and length to shut down passing lanes and contest shots effectively. According to RealGM, Benite had the second worst defensive rating among rotation players on Flamengo.

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

Leonardo Meindl Scouting Report

CONTEXT

After logging over 1,000 minutes for Franca for the third straight year in the Brazilian league, 22-year-old Leonardo Meindl was selected for Brazilian squad that competed in the Pan American Games in Toronto due to the absences of Leandrinho Barbosa, Alex Garcia and Marcus Vinícius Viera, who will participate in the FIBA Americas instead.

The team did well (it played great offense and won gold) but perhaps more important, Meindl introduced himself as a potential solution for the national team’s shortage of depth on the wing.

SHOOTING

Meindl’s top skill is his three-point shooting. 46.4% of his shots were taken from beyond the arc these last three seasons, as were 16 of 27 attempts last week. He doesn’t elevate much off the ground but doesn’t need to for a high point in his release thanks to his six-foot-seven height. More importantly, he has proven himself able to shoot on the move – coming off baseline and side screens.

According to RealGM, Meindl nailed 200 three-point shots in the Brazilian league in his three seasons as a full time pro, with 37.2% efficiency on 537 attempts. He converted the eighth most such shots in that league last season and was the fifth highest scorer – an impressive feat considering his age.

FLOOR GAME

Meindl can run pick-and-rolls off a live dribble but struggled to create separation against the sort of athletes he faced last week, often looking to quickly pass off a couple of bounces than attack the rim with decisiveness.

When he did make a push, he couldn’t get around his defender or drive through contact often. Meindl showed some explosiveness attacking free driving lanes but didn’t do well against length at the rim, struggling to maintain his balance in the air, and also didn’t show much of a pull-up game.

Meindl is a decent enough passer on the move that he can recognize rotations and find open teammates (14% assist-rate with Franca last season) but is not an option to create against a set defense at this point, at least against the level of competition he played against in Toronto. And the offense Brazil ran did not ask him to take smaller wings into the post.

He is also turnover prone, due to a loose handle, and those giveaways tank some of his value. Meindl turned it over on 18.8% of Franca’s possessions in his 1,354 minutes on the floor last season and the team averaged just 98.5 points per 100 possessions with him in the lineup despite the fact he is a high-volume three-point shooter and those tend to have higher offensive ratings.

DEFENSE

Standing at six-foot-seven and weighing 200 pounds, Meindl has prototypical size for his position and showcased good strength to contain dribble penetration through contact and pretty good quickness to chase shooters around baseline screens.

He navigated screens reasonably well for someone with his big frame and contested shots effectively, though he didn’t show the sort of burst to recover into plays that would make him an asset to guard smaller guards. Meindl is, however, an option to pick up bigger players on switches, as his strength helps him holds his own in the post against some lighter power forwards.

Meindl doesn’t make a lot of plays shutting down passing lanes or helping protect the rim but his athleticism translates in contributions on the defensive glass. He collected 13.8% of opponents’ misses last season, a mark that ranked him fourth in the Brazilian league in defensive rebounding rate among small forwards.

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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