Malik Newman Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Malik Newman was the 10th-ranked prospect in the 2015 high school class[1].

After playing his freshman season at Mississippi State, he transferred to Kansas and was a key part of the team that went to the National Championship game last season.

The 21-year-old[2] has accumulated 2,037 minutes in 68 NCAA appearances. Other experiences include 286 minutes with the United States National Team at the 2013 U16 FIBA Americas and 2014 U17 FIBA World Cup and 57 minutes at the 2013 adidas Nations[3].

Most recently, the six-foot-three off guard averaged 17.9 points per 40 minutes[4] on 60.6% true shooting and compiled a 18.3 PER in 39 appearances this past year.

Kansas played the second-toughest schedule in the country[5] and had a +18.4 pace-adjusted point differential in his 1,234 minutes[6].

His role on offense was as a weak-side floor-spacer who also had some responsibility turning the corner off dribble handoffs and isolating against his man in emergency situations late in the shot clock – logging just 20.8% usage rate and taking 51% of his shots from three-point range.

But Newman also proved he is able to create shots in transition, especially with regards to half-decent capability on stop-and-pop pull-up three-pointers off a sprint.

On the other end, he acted as a weak-side defender for the most part – stunting in-and-closing out and rotating in to pick up the roll man or crowd the area near the basket. Newman didn’t show a knack for making a tangible impact creating events or offering versatility in terms of guarding different types of players, though.

OFFENSE

He took most of his three-point shots on spot-ups. Newman doesn’t have rigid up-and-down balance, showing a fondness for kicking his legs forward, but it works fine for him. He sets himself well catching it on the hop, launches the ball from a high release, has a quick trigger and gets pretty good arc on his shot – nailing 41.5% of his 205 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 6.6 three-point shots per 40 minutes.

His 83.5% foul shooting on 115 free throws also offers comfort that the touch and shooting base are there for him to be just as good a shooter in the pros as well.

Newman took some shots on the move; sprinting to a spot in transition, relocating around the wing, drifting to the corner and coming off pindown screens for one-dribble pull-ups. He wasn’t moved around all that often, though, so it’s unclear to which level he could be good at those.

There were chances for him to turn the corner and get downhill off hand-offs into pick-and-rolls on the side of the floor.

Newman doesn’t have particularly impressive burst but moves very fluidly on a straight line, though with only so-so ability to maintain his balance and his momentum forward through contact, mostly dependant on if he was driving at a similarly-sized guard or a taller wing. Given his 189-pound frame, he could probably use some more bulk to absorb contact better.

Newman can euro-step to maneuver his way through traffic but mostly in transition and isn’t an explosive leaper off one foot going up in a crowd – taking just 29.1% of his shots at the rim[7] and earning just 3.7 foul shots per 40 minutes last season.

He flashed some ability to finish on his way down and glimpses of dexterity using his left hand on speed layups if the rim protector forced him to but for the most part he was an up-and-down finisher unable to finish through contact who had a strong preference for shooting finger-roll or scoop layups with his right hand – converting just 59.8% on 117 attempts at the basket.

Newman didn’t show if he has a floater to score over length from the in-between area.

In isolation, he doesn’t blow by his man often but does a pretty good job of getting to his spots for stop-and-pop pull-ups. Newman has a decent handle, some shiftiness and has developed neat resources to create separation; left-to-right between the legs, behind the back in a pinch, suddenness with hang dribbles, crossovers, hesitation.

He is a decent but not great shot maker just yet – nailing 38.8% of his 80 two-point shots away from the rim last season.

Newman can make a drop-off pass, a pass over the top and a kick-out off dribble penetration but didn’t show to have anything special in terms of court vision at this point of his development – assisting on just 11.1% of Kansas’ scores when he was on the floor last season and posting a lousy 1.4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

As is, it’s unclear if he could be tasked with creating for others off pick-and-roll more often, something that would help his career because at his size, most teams will probably prefer to have him run point.

DEFENSE

Newman proved to be attentive to his responsibilities executing the scheme as a weak-side help defender via rotating inside regularly to pick up the roll man and crowd the area near the basket, though he was not an asset to help finish possessions through steals or blocks in volume or make an impact with deflections due to the fact he has only a six-foot-five wingspan[8] and isn’t an explosive leaper off two feet.

That said, he was a key contributor on the defensive glass, given Kansas played with a single pure big in the lineup on a given time for most of the season – collecting 15.2% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

Newman did a poor job on closeouts. They were either weak or he sold out to run the shooter off his shot, easily beaten by a shot fake and exposing the defense behind him.

On the ball, he bends his knees to get down in a stance and has a couple of lateral slides in him to stay in front in individual defense but doesn’t play with enough intensity to be considered any sort of an ace stopper. Newman also can’t get skinny to go over screens at the point of attack and doesn’t hustle back to try making an impact challenging or contesting shots and passes from behind.

As far as offering versatility, it’s hard to view him as an asset to switch or cross-match onto bigger players given his lack of bulk and length.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 2/21/1997

[3] According to RealGM

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to RealGM

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to the measurements at the 2018 NBA Combine

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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