Aaron Holiday Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Aaron Holiday was ranked 88th in the 2015 high school class[1].
  • In two-and-a-half years at UCLA, the junior has so far accumulated 2,697 minutes of college basketball experience.
  • Through 20 games this season, the six-foot-one point guard has averaged 20.5 points per 40 minutes on 59.7% true shooting, assisted on 26% of UCLA’s scores over his 732 minutes and posted a 19.9 PER[2].
  • Holiday applied to the combine last year and has done well seeking improvement based on the feedback he got at the event. As a small player who isn’t a speed demon or a genius passer, the 21-year-old[3] has to become a legit scoring threat off the bounce in order to get a fair shake in the NBA.
  • On the other end, Holiday is tough in individual and looks to execute the scheme but is yet to show he can overcome the limitations his size offers.
  • He’s ranked 42nd on ESPN’s top 100.

SHOT CREATION

  • Holiday is not a particularly impressive athlete, lacking an explosive first step attacking off a standstill and general speed with the ball.
  • He gets by his man to get deep into the lane or creates separation to pull-up off the dribble on skill:
    • He has a solid handle and is attentive enough to protect the ball in traffic. Despite posting higher usage and assist rates this season, his turnover rate is slightly down compared to last year.
      • 2016-2017: 22.5% usage, 24.3% assist, 19.4% turnover
      • 2017-2018: 25.3% usage, 26% assist, 18.4% turnover
    • Holiday can split double teams at the point of attack, snake the pick-and-roll to maneuver his way through traffic to get a pull-up jumper off and has an in-and-out dribble to get downhill.
    • In isolation, he uses basic crossovers, between the legs crossovers and spin moves to get his man off balance and has decent strength in his 185-pound frame[4] to maintain his momentum forward through contact.
      • He’s taken 30.5% of his shots at the rim[5] and earned 6.4 foul shots per 40 minutes this season.
    • Holiday does not have special court vision anticipating passing lanes a split-second before they come open. But he is a good shot creator for others on a fairly regular basis. Holiday passes ahead to speed up the pace of the game, is more than willing to hit open teammates on drive-and-kick’s or drive-and-dish’s, has flashed some ability to pass on the move to the opposite end of the court and can make passes over the top, despite his height.
      • He has a low 1.43 assist-to-turnover ratio this season but I think that has more to do with the fact that UCLA doesn’t have shooters as good as they used to last year than with some inability of his to get good looks for others or him being particularly turnover prone.

SCORING

  • Holiday is not an explosive leaper off one foot in traffic but has shown body control to adjust himself in the air for reverse finishes among the trees, seeks contact and is strong enough to finish on his way down.
    • He’s finished his 79 shots at the basket at a 67.1% clip this season, with over 90% of his makes unassisted.
    • He finished his 101 shots at the basket at a 64.4% clip last season, with over 80% of his makes unassisted.
  • Holiday can crossover into pull-ups one-on-one and spin into a floater to score from the in-between area attacking off the catch or off a live dribble. He hasn’t been an effective scorer from two-point range away from the basket this season but did well from that zone the season before.
    • Holiday has hit just 32.4% of his 74 two-point jumpers this season, after hitting 40.5% of his 79 such shots a year ago – with just two of his makes assisted.
  • The biggest development in his game has been the ability to nail uncontested pull-up three-pointers off the pick-and-roll. Holiday doesn’t have the sort of lightening quick release an elite prospect like Trae Young has but he is able to punish opponents who can’t bring the big to play up on him at the three-point arc.
    • He has nailed 19 unassisted three-pointers in 20 appearances this season, after making just eight such shots a year ago.
  • Holiday is also taking towards developing into a more versatile shooter off the catch. Aside basic weak-side spot-ups, UCLA has gotten him looks coming off pindown screens as well.
    • He has nailed 39.6% of his 106 three-point shots this season, at a pace of 5.8 such attempts per 40 minutes.
    • He has now nailed 40.9% of his 328 three-point shots over his two-and-a-half years at UCLA, while also hitting 78.2% of his 248 foul shots.

DEFENSE

  • Holiday bends his knees to get down in a stance, has decent lateral quickness to stay in front of his man in isolation and gets skinny navigating over picks at the point of attack.
  • But he doesn’t often contain dribble penetration, despite his strong frame, and doesn’t have significant length to contest shots effectively.
  • Holiday executes the scheme and is attentive to his rotation responsibilities coming off the weak-side to help crowd the area near the basket. He is not a meaningful asset in rim protection, though.
  • Holiday has decent instincts making plays in the passing lanes and has shown a knack for going for the ball when he sees an opportunity to be aggressive doubling the post – averaging 1.7 steals per 40 minutes over this time in college.
  • Despite his size, he mixes it up on the defensive glass and has proven himself able to box out wings. His contributions collecting defensive rebounds are marginal, though.
  • Holiday has the second worst defensive rating on the team among rotation players[6].

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] DOB: 9/30/1996

[4] According to UCLA

[5] According to hoop-math

[6] According to sports-reference

READ MORE: Trae Young | Jalen Brunson | Quade Green

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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Dzanan Musa Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Dzanan Musa is the second-ranked European prospect born in 1999[1].

The six-foot-eight shooter is very experienced for someone his age, logging his first high level pro minutes a couple of years ago, when he became the ninth-youngest player in EuroLeague history to make his debut as a 16-year-old.

That season, his first with Croatian club Cedevita Zagreb, Musa was not a regular rotation player and spent some time with the junior squad as well.

Now a full time pro over the last year-and-a-half, the 18-year-old[2] is averaging 21.8 minutes per game in 37 appearances for a Cedevita team that has won 28 of its 38 games this season.

The level of competition he’s faced is mid-level. The Eurocup is the second-tier continental league, behind the EuroLeague, and Next-Step Basketball ranks the Adriatic League only the ninth domestic league in Europe, while the Croatian A-1 Liga is unranked.

He started 2017-2018 pretty hot, coming off a summer where he led the Bosnia & Herzegovina Senior National Team to five wins in eight games in the 2019 FIBA World Cup of Basketball Pre-Qualifiers – averaging 31.7 points per 40 minutes on 70.8% true-shooting[3].

Through 37 games this season, Musa has averaged 22.6 points per 40 minutes on 62.3% true-shooting. Though he’ll stop the offense every once in a while to run a pick-and-roll, Musa is getting most of his touches on the side of the floor via hand-offs and ball reversals, as 47.1% of his 301 shots have been three-point attempts.

Musa is for the most part a gunner because he hasn’t shown a lot of development in terms of athleticism and skill level. He has a thin 187-pound frame in the context of his six-foot-eight height[4] and struggles to get by his man one-on-one. His work in the pick-and-roll isn’t particularly advanced either.

On the other end, Musa is hidden off the ball but has flashed some potential of being able to make plays on the ball and switch onto bigger players.

SHOOTING

Musa has a bit of a low release out in front but does really nice shot preparation catching the ball on the hop, gets a good deal of elevation, goes through compact mechanics and has a quick trigger.

He gets a few looks sprinting from one side of the floor to the other around staggered screens and popping to the three-point line as the back-screener on Spain pick-and-rolls but generally acts a weak-side spot-up shooter.

Musa has nailed 35.2% of his 142 three-point shots this season, at a pace of seven such attempts per 40 minutes. He’s also hit 77% of his 149 foul shots.

On the ball, he’s capable of hitting not only stop-and-pop jumpers off the pick-and-roll against opponents dropping back to prioritize interior defense but also jumpers leaning into the big showing hard to take away his space. With the aid of a ball-screen, Musa has shown he knows how to get to his spots.

The issues are creating separation in isolation. He can hang dribble and crossover into pull-ups against defenders sagging off him some but struggles to get clean looks against more athletic defenders playing up on him, lacking side-to-side shake and dribble moves to work his man off balance.

FINISHING

Musa lacks an explosive first step and general speed with the ball one-on-one but can get all the way to the basket on catch-and-go’s against a scrambling defense off ball reversals, dribble hand-offs and attacking closeouts. He is a decisive decision maker out of triple threat position and has long strides to go from the three-point line to the rim in one dribble.

Musa is not an explosive leaper off one foot and doesn’t yet have a lot of flexibility or strength to hang and adjust his body in the air. He is also yet to develop dexterity finishing with his left hand against a rim protector stepping up to the front of the basket.

But other than a speed layup with his right hand, Musa has also shown a running floater off one foot to score from the in-between area. And he is quite a savvy player drawing contact on the move, living at the foul line in just about every event he participates – averaging 7.3 free throws per 40 minutes this season.

PASSING

Musa is only a decent passer at this point of his development.

He can make kick-out and drop-off passes against the defense collapsing to his drive, aside from hitting the screener diving to the basket if the opponent doubles him curling off a pindown screen.

Musa has also improved as a ball mover making the extra pass around the horn, seeming to have grown out of the catch-and-hold habits he was notorious for at the youth level.

He can make simple passes over the top out of the pick-and-roll, aided by the advantageous point of view his height provides, but hasn’t yet developed advanced skills passing across his body to the opposite end or tying up the opposing big long enough to free up the roll man on the pocket pass or the alley-oop.

Musa has assisted on a decent but not particularly impressive 13% of Cedevita’s scores over his 806 minutes. On the other hand, his shot-first mentality has led to a low 11.1% turnover rate.

DEFENSE

Musa stays in a stance off the ball and knows not to help one pass away.

His closeouts are effective in the sense that he can run the shooter off his shot a fair amount but he doesn’t do so in a way that keeps him balanced enough to slide and stay in front as the opponent puts the ball on the floor.

He rarely rotates inside to pick up the roll man or help crowd the area near the basket a whole lot but has shown decent instincts making plays in the passing lanes, despite possessing a below average six-foot-eight wingspan[5] for someone his height – averaging 1.4 steals per 40 minutes.

Musa has a hunched posture by nature but does bend his knees to get down in a stance guarding one-on-one on the ball. He has some lateral quickness to stay in front for a slide or two but doesn’t do multiple efforts and gets blown by eventually.

Though he is not that that long, Musa could develop into an option to pick up bigger players on switches down the line. He lacks the strength for that right now but has shown some tenacity looking to front the post in instances where he found himself guarding a big man.

So far, his biggest contribution on this end has been on the glass, where he’s proven himself attentive to the opportunities created by his teammates doing the dirty work – collecting 17.2% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor this season.

Despite his limitations as an individual defender, Musa’s ability to create events with steals and defensive rebounds have resulted in the team defending about the same with or without him on the floor in the Adriatic League[6] and better with him in the lineup against Eurocup[7] competition.

[1] According to Eurospects.com

[2] DOB: 5/8/1999

[3] According to our stats’ database

[4] According to Cedevita’s official listing

[5] According to Draft Express

[6] According to our stats’ database

[7] According to our stats’ database

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

Kris Wilkes Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Kris Wilkes was the 26th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].
  • Through 20 games this season, the six-foot-eight wing is averaging 19.1 points per 40 minutes on 54.9% true shooting and 22.9% usage rate[2].
  • Wilkes acts mostly as a spot-up gunner, spacing the floor for Aaron Holiday or Jaylen Hands in the pick-and-roll and Thomas Welsh or Gyorgy Goloman in the post, but can create his shot off the bounce attacking closeouts, in transition and out of ball reversals from time-to-time.
    • The 19-year-old[3] has been assisted on 58.1% of his field-goals[4] and three-pointers have accounted for 41.3% of his live-ball attempts.
  • On the other end, the freshman looks the part of a potential difference maker. He has a thin 195-pound frame[5] in the context of his height but is expected to develop some strength eventually, sports a six-foot-11 wingspan[6] and has flashed appealing leaping ability at times. However, Wilkes just doesn’t play sound defense with any regularity right now.
  • He’s not ranked on ESPN’s top 100.

SHOOTING

  • Wilkes takes quick catch-and-shoot jumpers sprinting up the court in transition and drifting around the wing but is only an open shot shooter at this point of his development. He does decent shot preparation catching it on the hop, elevates with nice balance, has a fluid release and launches the ball up high but needs to refine his mechanics and improve his touch.
    • He rarely seems to hold his guide hand throughout the motion.
    • Wilkes has nailed just 34.1% of his 88 three-point shots, at a pace of 5.6 such attempts per 40 minutes.
    • All of 30 of his three-point makes have been assisted and he has just 11 unassisted two-point jumpers in 20 appearances.
    • He’s also hit just 61.7% of his 81 foul shots.

SHOT CREATION

  • Wilkes has a decent handle in transition and good coordination putting the ball on the floor to attack a closeout or isolating out of ball reversals. He is yet to show a particularly impressive first step but has flashed a spin move, an in-and-out dribble and a high step to create separation for stop-and-pop jumpers or get dribble penetration.
    • His shot selection is suspect, as a quarter of his shots have been two-point jumpers but he’s converted them at a lousy 34% clip.
    • He still pressured the rim a fair amount, though; about a third of his shots have been at the basket and he’s averaged 5.6 foul shots per 40 minutes.
      • Wilkes is not yet an explosive leaper off one foot off the dribble but has shown body control adjusting himself in the air to finish among the trees on up-and-under’s and reverses – as he’s shot 69.4% at the basket this season.
    • Wilkes hasn’t handled the ball from the top against a set defense very often but has flashed some ability to pass on the move, not just on drive-and-kick’s and drive-and-dish’s but the eventual pass over the top as well – assisting on 10.4% of UCLA’s scores over his 579 minutes.
    • As a gunner, he’s turned it over on just 9% of his possessions.
    • Wilkes can read the defense well moving off the ball and is an explosive leaper off one foot on diagonal cuts and can play above the rim as a target for lobs filling the lanes in transition – 20 of his 50 makes at the basket have been assisted.
    • He’s shown an inclination for posting up smaller players every once in a while. His post game isn’t much yet but he has light feet working with his back to the basket to set up a turnaround hook over the top of the smaller defender and flashed some nice passing to the opposite wing.
    • Wilkes can also crash the offensive glass in some instances, showcasing high leaping ability and a quick second jump. He’s really only collected 6% of UCLA’s misses when he’s been on the floor but has translated his 14 putback attempts into immediate scores at a 69.2% clip.

DEFENSE

  • Wilkes doesn’t bend his knees to get down in a stance and is unable to stay in front out in space.
  • He consistently goes under picks defending at the point of attack.
  • Wilkes stays flat-footed off the ball as well and helps one pass away off the strong-side corner with alarming regularity.
  • Despite his length, he is yet to show particularly impressive instincts making plays in the passing lanes – averaging just 1.1 steals per 40 minutes.
  • Wilkes is somewhat attentive to his help defense responsibilities coming off the weak-side to crowd the area near the rim. He challenges some shots but does a more impressive job planting his feet and raising his arms to wall off the basket.
  • Wilkes does not mix up in the defensive glass, rarely looking to box out anyone, but can put his athletic ability to use taking advantage of his teammates doing the dirty work – collecting 13.4% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor this season.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] DOB: 9/18/1998

[4] According to hoop-math

[5] According to UCLA

[6] According to Draft Express

READ MORE: Shake Milton | Troy Brown, Jr. | Mikal Bridges

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

Ben Emelogu, II Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Ben Emelogu, II was unranked in the 2013 high school class[1].
  • Through 20 games this season, the six-foot-five gunner has averaged 13.2 points per 40 minutes on 69.3% effective shooting and posted a 18.3 player efficiency rating[2].
  • Emelogu, II struggled in his first two seasons at Southern Methodist after transferring from Virginia Tech but seems to have developed into a real knockdown shooter in his senior year. His outrageous shooting percentage is going to regress towards the mean eventually but the types of shots the 23 year-old[3] has taken should still make him a prospect of mild interest.
  • On the other end, he is an asset to pick up bigger players on switches and cross-matches due to the strength in his 215-pound frame[4] and the general physicality with which he plays in the interior. However, his lack of intensity in the perimeter is disappointing for a veteran with 2,458 minutes of college ball experience under his belt.
  • He’s unranked on ESPN’s top 100.

SHOOTING

  • Emelogu, II is not just a weak-side spot-up shooter, as he’s also proven himself able to make shots relocating around the wing on roll-and-replace and popping to the three-point line as the back-screener on Spain pick-and-rolls.
    • He does nice preparation catching it on the hop, has a fluid release and a quick trigger, fully extends himself to launch the ball from a high point and gets a good arc on his shot.
    • Emelogu, II has nailed 56.6% of his 83 three-point shots this season, at a pace of 5.4 such attempts per 40 minutes.
    • He’s nailed 37.9% of his 340 three-point shots over his 111 NCAA appearances, at a pace of 5.5 such attempts per 40 minutes.
    • The fact he’s hit just 64.8% of his 122 foul shots over his three-and-a-half seasons in college is a head-scratcher.

OFF THE DRIBBLE

  • Emelogu, II is smooth attacking closeouts and though he lacks a quick first step, he is able to maintain his balance and his momentum forward through contact. He has some body control to hang and adjust himself in the air in his best days for the eventual reverse finish but is not an explosive leaper off one foot in traffic and hasn’t developed much dexterity drawing contact.
    • After shooting 44.2% there as a junior and 38.9% as a sophomore, Emelogu, II has finished his 28 shots at the rim at a 57.1% clip this season, with six of 16 makes at the basket assisted[5].
      • He can play above the rim as a target for lobs leaping off two feet sneaking behind the defense on a wheel route play Southern Methodist likes to run.
    • Emelogu, II has averaged 1.7 free throws per 40 minutes this season and just two fouls shots per 40 minutes over his time in college.
  • His best resource off the dribble is a floater off a jump-stop but his most productive work is on drive-and-kick’s – as he’s assisted on 11.1% of Southern Methodist’s scores over his 618 minutes this season.
  • Emelogu, II can run a side pick-and-roll to keep the offense moving but is not a good option to create his own shot against a set defender. He has a rudimentary handle and lacks side-to-side shake to get his man off balance, with a spin move as his only resource to get penetration.
    • Unable to create much separation, he’s shot just 32% on two-point jumpers this season.

PERIMETER DEFENSE

  • Emelogu, II doesn’t really bend his knees to get low in a stance and doesn’t put in much effort to stay in front in isolation or navigate over ball-screens at the point of attack, though he’ll put in some effort to contest pull-ups if he’s close by.
  • His closeouts are ineffective as well, as he doesn’t seem to have above average length to contest catch-and-shoot jumpers effectively and isn’t quick enough to run shooters off their shots.
  • He’s shown some instincts making plays in the passing lanes – averaging 1.6 steals per 40 minutes in his 89 appearances for Southern Methodist.

INTERIOR DEFENSE

  • Despite his height, his highest value on defense is closer to the basket, as he is able to pick up bigger players on switches and cross-matches. He is tough enough and plenty strong to hold his ground in the post and box them out in the battle under the defensive glass.
    • Emelogu, II has collected 15% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor this season.
    • Due to his work as an interior defender, he ranks third on the team in defensive rating among rotation players[6].

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] DOB: 11/24/1994

[4] According to Southern Methodist

[5] According to hoop-math

[6] According to sports-reference

READ MORE: Gary Trent, Jr. | Troy Brown, Jr. | Arnoldas Kulboka

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

Ethan Chargois Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Ethan Chargois was not ranked in the 2017 high school class[1].
  • Through 19 games this season, the six-foot-nine stretch big has averaged 19.5 points per 40 minutes on 60% true shooting and posted a 22.4 player efficiency rating[2].
  • Southern Methodist has deployed the 19-year-old[3] as a center who spaces the floor out of the three-point line on one end and offers some semblance of rim protection on the other. In that role the freshman has been very effective on both ends, despite lacking elite height for the position.
  • He’s unranked on ESPN’s top 100.

OFFENSE

  • 44.4% of his shots have been launched from three-point range, as Chargois has shown the ability to not only space the floor as a spot-up shooter but also taken catch-and-shoot jumpers on the move coming out of the pick-and-pop and as the trailer in transition.
    • He has a compact release and a quick trigger for someone his size, catching it on the hop and displaying decent touch.
    • He’s nailed 40.3% of his 67 three-point shots this season, at a pace of 6.2 such attempts per 40 minutes, though his 65.4% foul shooting over 52 free throws is a head-scratcher.
  • Other than that, Chargois has gotten the ball in the post and in the elbow on low horns sets as well.
    • He uses power moves to burn smaller players on switches but flashed the traits of a very skilled post game against bigger players, using shot-fakes and head-fakes to work his defender out of position and finish around them on up-and-under’s.
    • Chargois can take his man off the bounce on straight line drives, lacking an explosive first step but using the strength in his 235-pound frame[4] to maintain his balance through contact and high-stepping to weave his way through traffic. He lacks lift off one foot to go up strong at the basket but flashed a running floater to score over length from the in-between area and showed nice touch on lefty finger-roll finishes.
    • Prior to the game against Tulane, Chargois had converted his 57 attempts at the rim at a 70.2% clip, with a third of his 40 makes at the basket unassisted[5].
  • He’s proven himself an asset to help facilitate offense on dribble hand-offs in the perimeter or scanning the floor out of the low post and figures to be an option passing out of the short roll if put in that position too – assisting on 10.5% of Southern Methodist’s scores over his 433 minutes this season.
  • He is not a target to play above the rim as a target for lobs, lacking lift to go up strong off two feet in a pinch, and his impact in the offensive glass has been marginal.

DEFENSE

  • Chargois is pretty nimble for someone his weight and can be somewhat effective defending the pick-and-roll around the foul line but isn’t suited to pick up smaller players on switches or match up with shooting big men.
    • He has a couple of lateral slides in him to show-and-recover well against the pick-and-roll, able to contain the ball-handler and prevent him from getting downhill or turning the corner right away.
      • Southern Methodist ranks 22nd in the country in lowest percentage of shots allowed at the basket[6].
    • But he can get exposed backpedalling and doesn’t act as a deterrent for passes over the top.
    • Chargois bends his knees to get down in a stance in individual defense in the perimeter but lacks lateral quickness to stay in front of smaller players for more than a slide or two.
    • His closeouts are also ineffective, as he doesn’t seem to have above average length to contest catch-and-shoot jumpers effectively and isn’t quick enough to run shooters off their shots.
  • Chargois has shown good attention to his rotation responsibilities stepping up to the front of the basket as the last line of defense and coming off the weak-side in help defense.
    • He’s shown a knack for making plays on the ball – averaging 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per 40 minutes, but that pursuit of events have come at the cost of him putting himself at constant risk of foul trouble – as he’s averaged 4.9 personal fouls per 40 minutes, which have limited his playing time to just 22.8 minutes per game.
    • He ranks second on the team in defensive rating among rotation players[7].
  • Chargois plays disciplined post defense and is attentive to his boxout responsibilities but has a high center of gravity, which affects his ability to hold ground some.
    • He’s collected just 17.8% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor this season.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] DOB: 1/19/1999

[4] According to Southern Methodist

[5] According to hoop-math

[6] According to hoop-math

[7] According to sports-reference

READ MORE: Omari Spellman | Brady Manek | Jaren Jackson, Jr.

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

Jarrey Foster Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Jarrey Foster was unranked in the 2015 high school class[1].
  • Through 19 games this season, the six-foot-six combo forward has averaged 16.3 points per 40 minutes on 53.8% true shooting and posted a 20.8 player efficiency rating[2].
  • Foster is a wing-sized player who has been forced to play most of his minutes as a big in college, at times even as a center. The 21-year-old[3] has shown he can certainly execute the scheme operating as the last line of defense but ultimately lacks the physical profile not to be a liability one-on-one against true behemoths.
  • On the other end, his meal ticket is going to be his shooting. The junior is having a relative down year but has proven he is able to make quick catch-and-shoot shots out of the pick-and-pop. His off dribble portfolio isn’t much yet but has proven to be effective against bigger players out in space.
  • He’s ranked 32nd on ESPN’s top 100.

EXECUTION

  • Foster is an intelligent defender operating as the last line of defense, attentive enough to:
    • Step up to the front of the rim to prevent the opponents from taking uncontested layups and dunks – Southern Methodist ranks 22nd in the country in lowest percentage of shots allowed at the basket[4];
    • Come off the weak-side to play above the rim as a shot blocker elevating off one foot – averaging 1.5 blocks per 40 minutes;
    • Rotating in to pick up the roll man – unable to go up strong off two feet to block shots but smart enough to raise his arms and wall off the front of the basket.
  • Foster is obviously mobile enough to guard pick-and-rolls above the foul line but has also shown quick thinking playing the angles and preventing the opposing ball handler from turning the corner whenever he could.

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSE

  • Foster bends his knees to get down in a stance and can slide multiple times to stay in front in individual defense against similarly sized players.
  • He doesn’t use the strength in his 220-pound frame[5] to contain penetration but can contest mid-range pull-ups somewhat effectively.
  • Against bigger players, Foster puts in the effort to front the post and is attentive to his boxout responsibilities but lacks reach to prevent the post entry over the top and struggles to clear these types of players out of his rebounding area.
    • He’s collected just 11.7% of opponents’ misses over his 616 minutes this season.
    • Given these weaknesses having to play out of position for the most part, Foster has the second worst defensive rating on the team among rotation players[6].

OFFENSE

  • Foster is not a volume outside shooter at this point – taking just 29.8% of his shots from three-point range and averaging just four such attempts per 40 minutes this season. But ultimately, that’s how he projects to produce the most on offense in the pros.
    • He has a fluid release with a reasonably quick trigger, dips for rhythm, has decent touch and often gets a nice arc in his shot.
    • Aside from basic spot-ups, Foster has also taken and made shots out of the pick-and-pop, able to set his feet quickly off a slip-screen.
    • He has nailed just 32.3% of his 62 three-point shots this season but 37.4% of his 174 such shots over his two-and-a-half year stay at Southern Methodist.
    • However, Foster has hit just 69.8% of his 53 foul shots this season and just 59.3% of his 177 such shots over his time in Dallas, raising legit concerns over how good of a shooter he is really.
  • Other than on spot-ups and out of the pick-and-pop, Foster has also gotten touches in the elbow out of a low horns set and on ball reversals. He is not particularly smooth putting the ball on the floor out of triple threat position, doesn’t have an explosive first step and has a loose handle but uses a few resources to get all the way to the basket off the bounce:
    • Shot fake to get his man out of position;
    • Strength to maintain his balance through contact;
    • Spin move to weave his way through traffic;
    • A high step to sustain his momentum forward.
      • Foster has taken 52.4% of his shots at the basket and, though he is not an explosive leaper off one foot, has finished these attempts at a 61.5% clip[7].
        • Partly because he can play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense on backdoor cuts and filling the lanes in transition, as 39 of his 67 makes at the basket have been assisted.
      • Foster can make adequate passes off the bounce on drive-and-kick’s and has also flashed excellent court vision making crosscourt passes out of the low post – assisting on 16.6% of Southern Methodist’s scores when he’s been on the floor this season.
      • He has power moves to burn smaller players on switches in the post.
      • He has also played with nice energy crashing the offensive glass – collecting 10.5% of Southern Methodist’s misses when he’s been in the game, though he lacks the lift off two feet to translate these second chances into immediate scores – converting his 23 putback attempts at a 46.2% clip.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] DOB: 12/9/1996

[4] According to hoop-math

[5] According to Southern Methodist

[6] According to sports-reference

[7] According to hoop-math

READ MORE: Nik Slavica | Brady Manek | Wenyen Gabriel

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

Shake Milton Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Shake Milton was the 79th-ranked prospect in the 2015 high school class[1].
  • Through 19 games this season, the six-foot-six combo guard has averaged 20 points per 40 minutes on 56.6% effective shooting and assisted on 24.9% of Southern Methodist’s scores over his 693 minutes[2].
  • Having logged 2,912 minutes of college ball up until this point, Milton is the sort of player you can project whichever way you want, as there is at least some piece of evidence to support whatever view you have of him.
    • The junior can break down a set defense off the pick-and-roll and create shots for others against a scrambling defense or on pre-arranged reads, while also a threat to spot-up off the ball. He has shown appealing quickness matching up with smaller players one-on-one when engaged and has the length to potentially develop into an asset picking up bigger players on switches down the line.
    • On the other hand, the 21-year-old[3] lacks explosiveness to put pressure on the rim regularly, isn’t yet an elite shot maker or the sort of valuable gunner who can be moved around the floor, has a low assist-to-turnover ratio and rarely translates his elite physical traits into making an actual positive impact on defense.
  • ESPN ranks him 25th in its top 100.

INTERIOR OFFENSE

  • Milton runs some middle pick-and-roll against a set defense late in the shot clock but a lot of his catches come off Iverson cuts on the side of the floor. He subsequently gets a ball-screen attempting to guide him towards the lane.
  • Milton doesn’t have an explosive first step to blow by his man on speed and hasn’t yet developed many dribble moves to shake his defender off balance often. He has a strong preference for going left and his best resource for now is a hesitation move that can be effective at times but rarely results in him just losing his man.
    • More concerning, perhaps, is the fact that Milton hasn’t shown any burst to burn big men on switches.
    • Also yet to develop strength in his thin 205-pound frame[4] to maintain his balance through contact regularly, Milton’s taken just 22.5% of his shots at the rim this season[5], though he’s been successful at earning foul calls, as he’s averaged 5.6 free throws per 40 minutes.
  • When he’s managed to get all the way to the basket, weaving his way through traffic with euro-steps, Milton has flashed a diverse arsenal of finishes. Aided by his seven-foot wingspan[6], he’s shown the ability to overextend and complete reverses among the trees. Milton lacks explosiveness elevating off one foot with possession of the ball, though. He’s also unable to finish through contact at this point of his development.
    • Milton has shot 52.8% at the rim as a junior, after shooting just 56.5% there as a sophomore.
    • He shot 70.4% at the rim as a freshman but 20 of his 38 makes were assisted.
      • Milton can play above the rim as a target for lobs filling the lanes in transition and sneaking behind the defense on backdoor cuts.
    • He’s shown decent touch on floaters, both off jump-stops and on the run, to finish over length from the in-between area.
    • Milton is an adequate passer off dribble penetration, able to make a drop-off or a kick-out pass against the defense collapsing to his drive, but not a particularly special shot creator for others as of now. He’s flashed a wraparound pass to the opposite corner and can toss up lobs on the move but it’s rare to see him sucking in the defense deep into the lane before putting someone in scoring position.

PERIMETER OFFENSE

  • Most of Milton’s assists come with him facing the defense and making passes over the top, aided by his advantageous point of view, or on-pre-arranged reads. He can toss up well timed lobs to wings diving to the rim on baseline cuts and make the skip pass to the big in the pick-and-pop. He’s also flashed some ability to make passes across his body to the opposite end.
    • Milton is more of a robotic passer rather than an instinctive one, which can be fine if you have a well-structured offense (which Southern Methodist reasonably does). But the cost of it manifests itself against teams that have him well scouted and know when to jump the passing lanes[7], as well as in the fact that Milton sometimes passes a split-second too soon, without totally engaging the help, making it easier for the opponent to closeout effectively.
      • He has a 1.95 assist-to-turnover ratio this season and a 2.13 one over his time at Southern Methodist.
    • Milton has attempted to hang dribble or cross his man over into pull-ups but isn’t much of a tough shot maker at this point. His most effective way to shoot off the dribble is a step-back fade-away, which he doesn’t do with deep range yet, as just 10 of his 49 three-point makes have been unassisted this season. Though he struggles to create separation against high level competition, Milton has nailed 45.1% of his 71 two-point jumpers this year, with just 10 of his 32 makes assisted.
    • He is at his most valuable as a spot-up shooter. Milton gets little elevation but fully extends himself for a high release off the catch and has a quick trigger. He’s nailed 42.8% of his 428 three-point shots over his two-and-a-half years at Southern Methodist, at a pace of 6.5 such attempts per 40 minutes this season in particular.
      • Milton has also improved as a foul shooter year over year, going from 72.5% as a freshman through 75.8% as a sophomore to now 82.5% as a senior.
    • He seems to have changed his base a little, looking to bring knees closer together. Perhaps because of this or simply because of an increased need for him to operate on the ball, Milton is taking fewer shots coming off screens, which he did more regularly last season.

DEFENSE

  • Milton looks the part of an impactful defender:
    • When engaged, he can use his quickness to stay in front of smaller players one-on-one;
    • When well positioned, he steps up to the front of the rim in help defense and has proven himself willing to attempt drawing charges;
    • He has the body control to stay balanced closing back to his man after taking a couple of steps inside to help pack the lane;
    • He has exceptional length for someone his size and decent instincts making plays in the passing lanes – averaging 1.7 steals per 40 minutes this season.
  • But he’s not one, for the most part:
    • Milton looks go over ball-screens at the point of attack but rarely gets skinny well enough to navigate the pick cleanly and beat his man to the spot on the other side, playing with the sort of low energy that makes him completely dependent on his big teammate stopping the ball in order to be able to get back in front of his man;
    • Aside from not yet having developed a lot of strength, Milton generally doesn’t play with much toughness and can’t contain dribble penetration. He has lateral quickness to stay in front but only has two or three slides in him and eventually gets lots along the way;
    • He rarely stays in a stance off the ball, making him slow in his reactions, resulting in weak closeouts more often than not;
    • He’s not always attentive to his responsibilities as a help defender rotating inside to pick up the roll man and doesn’t make himself any sort of asset helping protect the rim;
    • Milton has picked up big men on switches a few times and does try to execute in these instances, looking to front the post and putting a body on his man in the glass, but plays with no physicality and isn’t suited to matchup with bruising types;
    • He is just an average rebounder – collecting 12.4% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor this season.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] DOB: 9/26/1996

[4] According to Southern Methodist’s official listing

[5] According to hoop-math

[6] According to ESPN’s Mike Schmitz

[7] As it happened in the game against Texas Christian, when he had four turnovers

READ MORE: Troy Brown, Jr. | Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

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