(First posted RealGM)
Luwawu-Cabarrot is the one shooting guard in this draft who has shown some potential of becoming a true superstar someday down the line. However, he is expected to get picked late in the lottery because he alternated flashes of spectacular brilliance with maddening indiscipline playing for Mega Leks in the Adriatic league.
At his best, the 21-year-old Frenchman is everything you would want in a wing for this Era of NBA basketball:
- he is equipped with a six-foot-seven, 205-pound frame and a seven-foot-one wingspan;
- he’s proven able to attack length at the rim with explosiveness elevating out of one foot in transition, the secondary break and on straight-line drives out of the pick-and-roll or blowing by closeouts;
- he showcased nice court vision reading the defense from the perimeter when the opponent showed hard on the pick-and-roll to keep him out of the lane and touch to deliver scoring opportunities for his teammates on the money, assisting on 16.2% of Mega Leks’ scores when he was on the floor last season – according to our stats database;
- he nailed 36% of his 176 three-point shots, at a pace of seven attempts per 40 minutes – with smooth mechanics off the catch;
- he can get low in a stance defending on the ball, keep pace stride by stride with smaller players in space, use his length to contest shots effectively and pitch in on the defensive glass at an above average clip.
Luwawu-Cabarrot is perfect.
Except for all the times that he isn’t:
- often losing the man is responsible for defending on the weak-side;
- regularly predetermining ahead of time what he is about do on a play without taking the defense into account – resulting in the many times where he drove into a crowd and had the ball stripped from him in traffic or had his defender contain his dribble penetration because he was not thrown out of balance by the ball-screen or the dribble move and threw up a garbage shot off the bounce (averaging a very sad 0.66 point per possession on 204 plays in isolation and pick-and-roll last season, according to research by Draft Express);
- constantly taking asinine risks on crosscourt passes against a set defense, posting a sky-high 17% turnover-rate and a displeasing 0.97 assist-to-turnover ratio as consequences.
The argument could be made that all of the weak points in Luwawu-Cabarrot’s game are fueled by the freedom he was given to stretch his wings at Mega Leks and that once his playing time becomes dictated by a ratio of smart play-dumb play, he’ll cut down on his mistakes. That’s possible.
But if all that dumb decision making is imprinted in his DNA by now, Luwawu-Cabarrot will forever be one of those guys who disappoint you by being a lot more interesting in theory than in reality.
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