Jontay Porter Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Jontay Porter was the 11th-ranked prospect in the 2018 high school class before opting to reclassify, so he could play with his brother in what was expected to be the top recruit’s lone year at Missouri – ending up ranked 25th in the 2017 high school class[1].

Michael, Jr. dealt with back problems that limited him to just 53 minutes all season but Jontay surprised everyone who isn’t very familiar with high school ball. He was not only an impact player right away in college but a lot of people felt he was good enough to be a one-and-done and get picked in the mid-first round.

Porter attended the 2018 NBA Combine and rumors surfaced that he was about to sign with an agent and forgo the remainder of his amateur eligibility[2] but Porter opted at the deadline to return to Missouri for his sophomore year – disappointing many draftniks in the process.

The 18-year-old[3] averaged 16.1 points per 40 minutes[4] on 56.7% true shooting and put together a 20.6 PER in 33 appearances last season[5]. He led a team in net rating[6] that ranked 32nd in the country in adjusted strength of schedule[7].

The six-foot-11 stretch big really impressed with his skill and intelligence at such a young age. Though he spent a good chunk of his time on the floor with another big man out there, he projects as a pure center in the pros – profiling as a fit for what the league is looking for in its big men on offense these days.

Besides spacing out to the three-point line away from the ball, Porter offers gravity while screening at the point of attack thanks to his ability to take quick catch-and-shoot jumpers out of the pick-and-pop.

Though not in a physically imposing fashion, he can also post up switches and proved to be exceptional at scanning the floor with his back to the basket – firing up crosscourt passes against double teams to create three-pointers for others.

The concerns regard the other end, where the Columbia native figures to struggle defending out in space – at least as he is currently built. Porter weighed in at 236 pounds at the Combine, with 13.6% body fat[8]. Many speculate teams’ doubts over his conditioning are what encouraged him to return to college for a second year.

That is not to say, however, that he can’t defend. Despite showing a lack of lift, Porter was an effective rim protector when well positioned and did very well in the glass – creating events regularly enough to lead the team and rank second in the conference in defensive rating.

He’s currently placed 13th on ESPN’s latest mock draft.

FLOOR SPACING

Porter spaced out to three-point line regularly as a weak-side spot-up threat – taking 46.2% of his live-ball attempts from beyond the arc. He is also capable of relocating around the perimeter out of ball movement, jog to a spot for three-pointers out of roll-and-replace and, more importantly, set his feet quickly to take long bombs out of the pick-and-pop.

The Nathan Hale alum has a fairly quick trigger for someone his size – with only a quick dip for rhythm and fluid mechanics. He gets more elevation than you often see out of big men and fully extends himself for a high release – getting his shot off comfortably over closeouts.

The lefty nailed 36.4% of his 110 three-point shots, at a pace of 5.4 such attempts per 40 minutes. He looks hesitant to just let it go at times but it’s hard to argue that he is not getting enough high value shots ups. His 75% foul shooting over 104 free throws offers the expectation that he’ll be about as good a shooter in the pros too.

POST GAME

Porter doesn’t leverage his frame to get a deep seal against similarly sized players. More concerning, perhaps, has been his lack of toughness trying to impose his will against smaller guys on switches.

But when he does get the ball entered to him in the mid-post area, Porter has been exceptional at creating shots for others while operating with his back to the basket.

He doesn’t have power moves to back his way into close range layups or any explosiveness going up off two feet for powerful dunks out of a standstill. He’s also struggled to create separation for quick turnaround hooks and his touch on turnaround layup attempts has been so-so at best – as he shot just 60% on 40 shots at the rim last season[9].

But he’s shown to be just about enough of a scoring threat using shot fakes or head fakes to get his man out of position from time-to-time, mixing in a reasonably fluid pivot move, getting turnaround fadeaway jump-shots off and taking no-dribble jumpers off a jab-step on face-ups – hitting 45.5% on his 88 long-twos, with just nine of his 40 such makes assisted.

Thanks to his effectiveness, even if he doesn’t look all that dominant as a post scorer often, Porter has commanded double teams and carved them up – assisting on 19.5% of Missouri’s scores when he was on the floor.

Besides dexterity using an escape dribble against hard doubles, he has excellent court vision firing up crosscourt passes to the opposite wing against a scrambling defense and can ignite passing sequences that end up in high value shots.

BALL MOVEMENT

He is an asset to initiate ball movement out of the low post but also keep it moving out of the perimeter. Porter is a quick touch passer and consistently makes the extra pass around the horn.

He can also act as a hub to facilitate offense from the high post. Missouri often placed him at the foul line against zones to have him dismantle it from within and sometimes placed him in the elbow extended area, opening up the baseline for backdoor cutters.

More promising for his pro aspirations were the glimpses of being able to pass off the bounce, though. Porter has shown to be coordinated enough to put the ball on the floor off a shot fake against closeouts and kick the ball out off the dribble against a collapsing defense as he got into the lane.

AROUND THE RIM

Porter is not an option to play above rim as a target for lobs and rarely rolls hard to the basket off a ball-screen – more often than not looking to roll into a post-up.

He can’t get all the way to the rim off the bounce regularly – lacking an explosive first step, speed with the ball or side-to-side shiftiness. Just 16.8% of his live-ball attempts happened at the basket, though his large frame invites contact and helped him average 5.1 foul shots per 40 minutes.

Due to his role as a floor-spacer and a shot creator out of the post, Porter was rarely in position to crash the glass – collecting just 7.7% of Missouri’s misses when he was in the game.

But on top of his positioning on the court, Porter also lacks the explosive leaping ability to out-jump opponents chasing the ball off the rim and has only a seven-foot wingspan, which doesn’t help him rebound out of his area consistently.

And when he did manage to create the eventual second chance opportunity, Porter showed not to have a quick second jump or explosiveness to go back up strong in a crowd.

INTERIOR DEFENSE

He did very well defending close to the basket.

Porter was attentive to his responsibilities stepping up to the front of the rim acting as the last line of defense and impressed with his IQ shadowing isolations.

Though he doesn’t have particularly impressive vertical explosion, Porter uses his nine-foot-one standing reach well to block shots and contest effectively via verticality – averaging 2.7 blocks per 40 minutes last season. He also proved himself a willing charge drawer.

Porter played stout post defense and used his reach well making plays on the ball for strips – averaging 1.4 steals per 40 minutes, which is a good mark for a center.

He was also attentive to his boxout responsibilities and though he wasn’t all that impressive chasing the ball off the rim, his big rebounding area guaranteed him very good production protecting the glass, as he collected 23.1% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

Porter can be surprisingly nimble in tight spaces – doubling a mismatch in the post and recovering back to his man in quick enough fashion to relieve his helper to close back to the perimeter.

But he struggled when asked to make long rotations coming off the weak-side in help-defense, often getting there a split-second late and putting himself at risk of fouling, especially as he was prone of biting on shot fakes as well – averaging 4.8 personal fouls per 40 minutes, which is part of why he was limited to just 24.5 minutes per game.

In pick-and-roll defense, Porter can stop the ball when asked to drop back, keep pace from the foul line down as ball-handlers get downhill and puts in the effort to contest elbow pull-ups.

PERIMETER DEFENSE

He doesn’t seem suited to venture above the foul line, though.

Porter wasn’t very quick blitzing at the three-point line and recovering back to the roll man in a way that doesn’t expose the scheme behind him. He is also not an asset to pick smaller players on switches.

Porter bends his knees to get down in a stance and has a couple of fluid lateral slides in him out in space but struggles with shiftier types who can break him down side-to-side.

As he spent some of his time on the court with another center out there, Porter stuck closer to the perimeter against opposing stretch big men from time-to-time. He contested outside shots well and even flashed some ability to block three-pointers in impressive fashion, which was also seen as he hustled in pick-and-pop defense, but was blown by on closeouts more than a few times.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to Sports’ Illustrated Jeremy Woo

[3] DOB: 11/15/1999

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to our stats’ database

[6] According to our stats’ database

[7] According to Ken Pomeroy

[8] According to NBA.com/stats/

[9] According to hoop-math

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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De’Andre Hunter Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

De’Andre Hunter was the 77th-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class[1].

After redshirting his first year at Virginia, he went on to average 18.4 points per 40 minutes[2] on 58.4% true shooting and put together a 22.1 PER in 33 appearances last season[3].

Though he logged just 657 total minutes, the 20-year-old[4] was a key cog on the team that finished second in the nation in adjusted efficiency margin[5] and won ACC Sixth Man of the Year honors.

Despite the fact he broke his wrist during the conference tournament and missed the team’s loss to Maryland-Baltimore County in the NCAA Tournament, draftniks were enthused with the idea of him entering this year’s class but Hunter opted to return for his sophomore season without even testing the waters.

The Philadelphia native looks the part of what the NBA is looking for in a two-way combo forward these days, which is why he is currently considered the ninth-ranked prospect in the 2019 draft class[6].

Listed at six-foot-seven with a chiseled 222-pound frame[7] and rumored to have a seven-foot-two wingspan, Hunter has enough size and has shown to be tough enough to hold his own against bulkier types in the post and the defensive glass.

He is also mobile and agile enough to defend true perimeter players out in space, aside from offering versatility in pick-and-roll coverage.

On the other end, the Friends Central School alum has operated as a hub to facilitate offense from the elbow area for the most part, as he’s played as a big on Virginia’s two-post system, but has also shown he can take his man one-on-one from the foul line down and that he has a projectable outside shot – even if he didn’t space out to the three-point line as much you’d like.

INTERIOR DEFENSE

Hunter is pretty tenacious in post defense – putting in the effort to front the post and prevent an easy feed. If the ball was still entered, he managed to hold his ground well enough and rarely got completely knocked back. Hunter hasn’t shown to be the sort of nuclear athlete who can block shots defending on the ball but is fairly effective walling off and contesting hooks.

He is attentive to his boxout responsibilities and isn’t averse to getting physical but didn’t show to be a particularly special leaper chasing the ball off the rim – collecting just 14.7% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season.

Hunter signaled he can be relied on to execute the scheme – rotating in off the weak-side to help crowd the area near the basket consistently and stepping up to the front of the rim acting as the last line of defense proactively.

He is a very willing charge drawer and can go up off two feet to challenge shots via verticality from time-to-time but doesn’t act as a volume shot blocking threat – averaging just 0.8 blocks per 40 minutes as a redshirt freshman.

And though he averaged just 1.2 steals per 40 minutes, Hunter was effective at using his length to bat pocket passes and passes over the top when he rotated to pick up the roll man.

PERIMETER DEFENSE

He bends his knees to get down in a stance, has as many lateral slides as needed in him to stay in front of similarly sized players out in space, uses his core strength to contain dribble penetration through contact and guards his arms up to discourage or challenge shots effectively.

Hunter is quick at covering ground on stunting-and-recovering and can contest catch-and-shoot jumpers effectively thanks to his length. He also impressed with his ability to closeout and run the shooter off his shot while staying balanced as that player puts the ball on the floor – though he was also prone to biting on shot fakes from time-to-time.

Against the pick-and-roll, Hunter has shown to be capable of guarding the pick-and-roll way above the foul line in a couple of ways.

He can pick up smaller players on switches, as he is able to keep pace with quicker types on straight line drives and even showed glimpses of being able to stay in front of shiftier guys as they attempted to shake him side-to-side.

Hunter was also impressively effective containing the ball in drop coverage and blitzing at the three-point line then returning to his man to relieve the help in a timely manner on show-and-recover’s – suggesting he could be an asset against shooting big men in the pick-and-pop, which are notoriously hard to guard.

OFFENSE

Despite not being the focal point of the offense and not having many plays run for him, Hunter logged 25.6% usage rate.

Most of his touches came around the elbow extended area, where he facilitated offense on handoffs and found backdoor cutters or isolated against his man on the side of the floor, as he hasn’t shown much of a post game just yet.

Hunter doesn’t have an explosive first step and hasn’t yet developed a set of dribble moves to shake his defender side-to-side but looks very smooth putting the ball on the floor off triple threat position, a shot fake or a jab-step.

He doesn’t have a tight handle but can pivot into a well coordinated spin move or euro-step to weave his way through a crowd, looks to protect the ball in traffic and has a frame that invites contact – taking a third or his shots at the basket[8] and averaging six free throws per 40 minutes.

Hunter can go up strong off two feet with some space to load up but hasn’t shown to be an explosive leaper off one foot in traffic.

As we are yet to see much flexibility to hang or adjust his body in the air, he’s been an up-and-down finisher up until this point, though a reasonably effective one. Hunter is adept at converting finger-roll and scoop finishes with either hand, uses his length fairly well to overextend while dealing with rim protectors and can finish on his way down – converting 60.6% of his 71 shots at the rim last season.

He also flashed a floater off a jump-stop to score over length from the in-between area.

Aside from facilitating the offense on handoffs, Hunter has shown flashes of enticing court vision – assisting on 11.8% of Virginia’s scores when he was on the floor. The team liked to place him in the middle of zones quite a bit. Aside from basic drop-offs and kick-outs off his short drives, he also showed glimpses of being able to run a side pick-and-roll to keep the offense moving and making a pass over the top.

When he was kept from driving, Hunter looked good on quick one-dribble side-step pull-ups and dribble-in pull-ups off an escape dribble against flyby closeouts, as well as no-dribble jumpers off sizing up his man or catch-and-shoot jumpers from the middle of the zone – nailing 46% of his 89 long-twos.

Hunter doesn’t look as good when forced to rise up off several dribbles, as he hasn’t yet developed a step-back pull-up and just generally struggles to create good enough separation for such looks.

As a floor-spacer, Hunter looks promising. He has an unorthodox shooting stance where he doesn’t point his feet towards the basket and hasn’t yet developed an all that quick release but rises up in balance off the catch, has fluid mechanics and fully extends himself for a high release.

With time to set his feet and work through his motion, Hunter can shoot over closeouts comfortably – nailing 38.1% of his 55 three-point shots, though at a pace of just 3.3 such attempts per 40 minutes.

His 75.5% foul shooting on 98 free throws offers quite a bit of hope that he could be about as efficient in the pros as well.

Hunter took a few shots out of jogging to a spot and a few pick-and-pop jumpers from mid-range but is more of an open shot shooter for the most part at this point of his development, as he struggled a little bit more when forced to rush through his release.

OUTLOOK

Hunter profiles as the sort of big wing/combo forward every team needs.

Though he hasn’t taken three-pointers in volume, Hunter projects as at least a capable floor-spacer and has shown he can aid the shot creation process via taking his man one-on-one with his side of the floor cleared or as a hub to facilitate from the elbows. He’s even started to develop some ability to take shots on the move.

Hunter figures to be an even more useful player on the other end. He’s strong and tough enough to hold his own against bulkier big men, while also being an option to defend similarly-sized players in the perimeter and offering flexibility to pick up smaller players on switches or blitzing pull-up threats at the three-point line.

With all of that said, the flashes of star potential aren’t there yet, as he hasn’t handled in middle high pick-and-roll against a set defense or leveraged his length and athletic ability to fly around creating events on defense. He hasn’t shown anything above what’s normal in terms of intelligence on defense and is also older than preferred for someone with his level of experience.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] According to our stats database

[4] DOB: 12/1/1997

[5] According to kenpom.com

[6] According to ESPN

[7] According to Virginia’s official listing

[8] According to hoop-math

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