Udoka Azubuike Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Udoka Azubuike was the 22nd-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class[1].

Despite having been exposed to some high level basketball, he is still fairly inexperienced. The 18-year-old[2] accumulated just 990 minutes in his two seasons at Kansas, the first of which was lost after the first third due to need for a wrist surgery. Other than that, he has just 124 minutes at the 2015 adidas Nations and one appearance at the 2016 Nike Hoop Summit under his belt[3].

Azubuike averaged 22 points per 40 minutes[4] on 77% effective shooting and compiled a 26.9 PER in 36 appearances last season.

Kansas played the second toughest schedule in the country[5] and had a +26.9 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor, which led the team among rotation players[6].

A seven-foot, 273-pound bruising center, he got his touches in the post, sneaking behind the defense on slower-developing pick-and-rolls and crashing the offensive glass – logging 22.8% usage rate. Azubuike has a massive frame and remarkable length, so even though he still has plenty of room to develop in terms of skill, he manages to produce at a pretty good level due to his general size.

On the other end, the native of Lagos, Nigeria is a positive presence near the basket for the same reasons why he is effective on offense. He is also a little more nimble than his frame suggests but doesn’t figure to have the agility needed to defend out in space in this day and age.

OFFENSE

Azubuike can get deep seals in the post due to his size and strength. He doesn’t play with a lot of force trying to get position but doesn’t have to. Most of his shots come via backing his man down and setting up basic hooks. His feet are only so-so. But Azubuike has flashed glimpses of a more advanced skill-set to work his man out of position with shot fakes and head fakes. His touch on these hooks is pretty decent, as he shot 58.3% on his 60 two-point shots away from the basket[7] last season.

Azubuike hasn’t yet developed very good feel for dealing with more challenging approaches by the defense trying to get the ball out of his hands, though – averaging three turnovers per 40 minutes.

He is a good screener who sets his feet and makes it tough for the on-ball defender to get skinny around him, more often than not creating the head-start for the ball-handler that the pick-and-roll is designed to do.

Azubuike isn’t an explosive leaper off two feet diving down the middle of the lane in traffic but proved he is able to play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense on slower-developing pick-and-rolls. He isn’t a high leaper but has a nine-foot-four standing reach[8] to catch the ball in a different stratosphere. His touch on non-dunk finishes is pretty decent too, as he’s shown he’s able to score in a crowd when needed – finishing his 214 attempts at the rim at an 82.2% clip.

He doesn’t have particularly impressive reaction instincts chasing the ball off the rim but made a tangible impact on the offensive glass because he is a tough body to boxout and has a seven-foot-seven wingspan to rebound out of his area – collecting 12.2% of Kansas’ misses when he was on the floor. His second jump isn’t all that quick but he can catch, gather himself and go back strong to finish in a crowd – converting 76.5% of his 21 putback attempts into scores.

As far as more proactively aiding the ball movement process, Azubuike can only assist others on pre-arranged reads, as he hasn’t yet developed court vision to act as a hub to facilitate offense from the high post and doesn’t have the sort of quick instincts to pass out of short rolls – assisting on just 5.7% of Kansas’ scores when he was on the floor and posting a lousy 0.3 assist-to-turnover ratio last season.

DEFENSE

Azubuike is an effective rim protector when he is able to hang back and patrol the lane – averaging three blocks per 40 minutes. He moves well enough in tight spaces and goes up quick enough to challenge shots but his blocks materialize more thanks to his massive standing reach rather than his leaping ability, though they came at the cost of him often putting himself in foul trouble, as he averaged 5.1 personal fouls per 40 minutes.

Azubuike flashed some decent awareness with his positioning as well, clogging up driving lanes and shadowing isolations when he felt his teammates might get blown by – averaging 23.6 minutes per game on a team that allowed opponents to take just 28.8% of their shots at the basket[9].

He proved to be attentive to his boxout responsibilities and did it with some nice physicality too, which also manifests itself in post defense. He struggles some reacting to the ball off the rim, though – collecting just 20.8% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

The problems are when he is forced to leave the general area near the basket.

Azubuike is not suited to extend pick-and-roll coverage beyond the foul line. He just doesn’t have the foot speed for it, whether it’s picking up smaller players on switches, hedging-and-recovering in a timely manner, closing out to stretch big men at the three-point line out of the pick-and-pop, showing up to the level of the screen and trying to keep action in front. He even struggled to keep pace with dribble drives when tasked with only having to engage from the foul line down.

Azubuike puts in the effort to contest mid-range pull-ups but at times sells out to do so, needing to develop a better understanding of when it’s best to contest and when it’s best to prioritize getting a head-start getting position for a possible miss.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 9/17/1999

[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 Combine

[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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Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is remarkably experienced for a 20-year-old[1], having already accumulated in his brief career:

  • 3,070 minutes in 135 appearances at Kansas over the last four years;
  • 470 minutes defending the Cherkasy Monkeys in the Ukrainian Superleague in the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons;
  • 92 minutes at the 2016 adidas Eurocamp;
  • 33 minutes with the Ukrainian National Team at the 2014 FIBA World Cup;
  • 1,160 minutes with the Ukrainian National Team at the 2012 U16 FIBA European Championships A, 2013 U16 FIBA European Championships A, 2014 U18 FIBA European Championships B, 2016 U20 FIBA European Championships A and 2017 U20 FIBA European Championships A.

Most recently, he averaged 16.9 points per 40 minutes[2] on 55.6% effective shooting and compiled a 16.1 PER in 39 appearances last season[3].

Kansas played the second toughest schedule in the country[4] and had a +11 pace-adjusted point differential in his 1,346 minutes[5].

The six-foot-seven sniper took some shots out of screening for the pick-and-pop but wasn’t moved around much for the most part. His primary role was as a weak-side floor-spacer on spot-ups. He put the ball on the floor a little more last season, due to the respect opponents showed him on closeouts, but still took 54.9% of his shots from three-point range and was assisted on almost two-thirds of his field goals[6].

Mykhailiuk is responsible for shot creation when he plays with the Ukrainian National Team at the youth level. He has never shown to be particularly great at creating high quality looks for himself due to a lack of explosiveness but proved to be a much better passer off pick-and-roll than he had the chance to show in his time at Kansas. It’s possible he is able to run a functional offense in a pinch.

On the other end, the native of Cherkasy, Ukraine has a rough time making a positive impact. He puts in the effort to execute the scheme but lacks the length, athleticism and instincts to create events in off ball defense and the reach, strength and tenacity to get stops in individual defense – he had the worst defensive rating on the team among rotation players[7]. He also offers no versatility.

OFFENSE

Mykhailiuk has a quick trigger and a high release, can get his shots off prior to or over closeouts, and gets good arc on his shot – nailing 40.9% of his 579 three-point shots over his four years at Kansas, at a pace of 7.5 such attempts per 40 minutes. His touch is pretty good too – hitting 74.5% of his 134 foul shots over the span.

He wasn’t asked to come off pindown screens and sprint around staggered screens but figures to have a dynamic enough release to be leveraged in such ways. The shots he took on the move came from sprinting to a spot in transition and acting as the screener in the pick-and-pop, which makes one assume he should be a great asset as the back-screener in Spain pick-and-rolls as well.

Mykhailiuk could side-step around fly-by closeouts more often, as he often dribbles in for pull-up for lower value mid-range jumpers in these instances.

When he had to isolate against his man late in the shot clock, Mykhailiuk still has a rudimentary handle, lacks a first step to blow by his man on speed and doesn’t have the shiftiness to shake him side-to-side.

Aside from being unable to get to the rim in volume and seek contact in traffic, taking just 26.9% of his shots at the basket and earning just 1.7 free throws per 40 minutes last season, he also lacks the length and flexibility to finish around rim protection when there – converting his attempts at the basket a 52% clip.

Mykhailiuk is prone to getting the ball stripped in traffic as well – averaging 1.9 turnovers per 40 minutes, despite his low 20.9% usage rate.

He almost always ends up with a step-back pull-up creating on the ball, often off crossing over into his shot. Not much separation comes off it, though, and he struggled with shot making last season – hitting just 27.9% of his 86 two-point jumpers.

Mykhailiuk was not tasked with creating for others but has shown decent court vision on drop-offs and kick-outs when he did manage to draw two to the ball or the defense collapsed to him attacking a closeout, though most of his assists came off him making the extra pass around the perimeter – assisting on 13.4% of Kansas’ scores when he was on the floor.

DEFENSE

He’s proven he can execute the scheme, as he is attentive to his responsibilities switching on the fly, working hard to deny dribble hand-offs and rotating inside to pick up the roll man.

Mykhailiuk is not an asset to help finish possessions via events as a weak-side defender. He can jump a passing lane from time-to-time but has only a six-foot-four wingspan[8] and lacks quick leaping ability to contribute near the rim, unable to act as any kind of a threat to block a shot when crowding the area near the basket.

His contributions on the glass were marginal, despite the fact he was the second tallest player on smaller lineups at almost all times last season – collecting just 8.6% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

His closeouts are also poor. He can’t contest shots effectively due to his eight-foot-four standing reach and gets easily beaten off the dribble when he does manage to run the shooter off his shot.

Mykhailiuk has decent lateral movement to stay in front for more than a few slides against similarly-sized players but lacks strength in his 211-pound frame to contain dribble penetration through contact and the reach to contest stop-and-pop or step-back jumpers effectively.

He is not suited to guard wings who can handle from the top due to being unable to navigate over screens at the point of attack.

On top of everything, he offers no versatility; not suited to guard smaller players due to this inability to go over picks and bigger players because he doesn’t have the bulk or play with enough force.

Perhaps more concerning, Mykhailiuk figures to struggle chasing shooters off screens at the pro level, where the sprints are more decisive.


[1] DOB: 6/10/1997

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] According to RealGM

[4] According to Ken Pomeroy

[5] According to RealGM

[6] According to hoop-math

[7] According to RealGM

[8] According to the measurements at the last week’s 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

Malik Newman Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • 10th-ranked prospect in the 2015 high school class[1].
  • Played one year at Mississippi State, sat out one year to transfer and played last season at Kansas.
  • Has accumulated 2,037 minutes in his 68 appearances in college. 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.
  • Most recently, averaged 17.9 points per 40 minutes[2] on 60.6% true shooting and compiled a 18.3 PER in 39 appearances last season[3].
  • Kansas played the second toughest schedule in the country[4] and had a +18 pace-adjusted point differential in his 1,234 minutes[5].
  • Six-foot-three off guard who acted for the most part as a weak-side floor-spacer in the half-court but had some responsibility turning the corner off dribble hand-offs and isolating against his man in emergency situations late in the shot clock.
    • Logged just 20.8% usage rate last season.
    • Took 51% of his shots from three-point range.
    • Also proved to be an able shot creator in transition, especially with regards to half-decent capability on pull-up three-pointers.
  • 21-year-old[6] whose primary role on the defense was as a weak-side defender; stunting in-and-closing out and rotating in to pick up the roll man or crowd the area near the basket. Made a low impact. Didn’t show a knack for creating events or that he can offer versatility in terms of guarding different types of players.

OFFENSE

  • Took most of his three-point shots on spot-ups. Doesn’t have rigid up-and-down balance, likes to kick his legs forward, but it works fine for him. Does nice shot preparation catching it on the hop, launches the ball from a high release, has a quick trigger and gets pretty good arc on his shot.
    • Nailed 41.5% of his 205 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 6.6 three-point shots per 40 minutes.
    • Hit 83.5% of his 115 foul shots.
  • 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. Wasn’t moved around all that often, though. Unclear to which level he could be good at those.
  • Had some chances to turn the corner and get downhill off hand-offs into pick-and-rolls on the side of the floor. Doesn’t have particularly impressive burst but moves very fluid on a straight line. 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. Could probably use some more bulk to absorb contact better (189 pounds[7]). Can euro-step to maneuver his way through traffic, though mostly in transition.
    • Took 29.1% of his shots at the rim[8] and earned just 3.7 foul shots per 40 minutes last season.
    • Isn’t an explosive leaper off one foot in traffic. Mostly an up-and-down finisher, though has flashed some ability to finish on his way down. Has a strong preference for shooting finger-roll or scoop layups with his right hand but has flashed some dexterity with his left hand on speed layups if the rim protector forces him to. Not strong enough to finish through contact often.
      • Still shot just 59.8% on 117 attempts at the basket last season.
    • Didn’t show a floater to score over length from the in-between area.
  • Isolated against his man or put him in pick-and-roll late in the shot clock from time-to-time. Doesn’t blow by his man often but does a pretty good job of getting to his spots for stop-and-pop pull-ups. Has a decent handle and some shiftiness. 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.
    • Decent not great shot maker just yet: nailed 38.8% of his 80 two-point shots away from the rim last season.
  • 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. 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.
    • Assisted on just 11.1% of Kansas’ scores when he was on the floor last season.
    • Posted a 1.4-to-1 assist-to-turnover rate.

DEFENSE

  • Attentive to his responsibilities executing the scheme as a weak-side defender; rotated inside regularly to pick up the roll man and crowd the area near the basket.
    • Not an asset to help finish possessions via steals or blocks. Has only a six-foot-five wingspan and isn’t an explosive leaper off two feet.
    • Was an important contributor on the defensive glass, given Kansas played with a single pure big in the lineup for most of the season: collected 15.2% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.
  • 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.
  • Not strong or long enough to pick up bigger players on switches.
  • On the ball, bent his knees to get down in a stance.
    • Has a couple of lateral slides to stay in front in individual defense but isn’t tenacious enough to be considered an ace stopper.
    • 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.

[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] According to RealGM

[4] According to Ken Pomeroy

[5] According to RealGM

[6] DOB: 2/21/1997

[7] According to measurements at the NBA Combine

[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

Mikal Bridges Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Mikal Bridges is a college basketball purist’s dream.

After redshirting his first year, the six-foot-seven wing improved year-over-year the next three seasons, graduated and now leaves Villanova as a two-time National Champion.

Most recently, he averaged 22 points per 40 minutes on 65.5% true shooting and posted a 25.2 PER in 40 appearances last season. Villanova played the sixth-toughest schedule in the country and had a +35.3 pace-adjusted point differential in Bridges’ 1,286 minutes.

Other than his 3,172 minutes of NCAA experience, Bridges also has 103 minutes at the 2017 adidas Nations under his belt.

The 21-year-old had a few chances to isolate against his man out of ball reversals and sealing his man for catches in the extended elbow area. But for the most part he operated as a weak-side floor-spacer, while also flashing some ability to aid the shot creation with movement.

On the other end, Bridges started most possessions matched up on similarly sized wings, as a weak-side defender, but Villanova switched aggressively, not just on screens but on movement as well, and he found himself picking up smaller and bigger players quite often.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

Brandon McCoy Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • 16th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].
  • Had a wasted year at UNLV. Put together a reasonably impressive statistical profile but didn’t really elevate the level of that team, as the coaching staff struggled to leverage his presence in a fairly weak conference.
    • UNLV won just 20 of its 33 games and missed the NCAA Tournament.
    • Averaged 23.6 points per 40 minutes[2] on 59% true shooting and compiled a 23.8 PER in 33 appearances last season[3].
    • UNLV had a +13.5 pace-adjusted point differential with him in the lineup[4] but played only the 122nd-toughest schedule in the country[5].
  • Soon to be 20-year-old[6] with 949 NCAA minutes, 117 minutes with the United States National Team at the 2017 U19 FIBA World Cup and 180 minutes at the 2015 adidas Nations and Nike Global Challenge of experience under his belt.
  • Seven-foot, 245-pound center who got most of his offense in the post. Other than that, got a few touches flashing to the foul line to catch the ball in face-up position and roaming around the baseline at the dunker spot.
    • Did very little in pick-and-roll. In instances where he set high ball-screens, mostly rolled into post position or floated around the perimeter for a catch-and-shoot jumper.
  • Was an effective rim protector when well positioned and a dominant defensive rebounder but didn’t show much in terms of effort and activity when forced to guard out in the perimeter, which helps explain why someone with his measurements, athleticism and production is likely to end up drafted in the mid-second round.

OFFENSE

  • Was the go-to option. Didn’t play with a lot of force trying to establish deep position but relied on his large frame to get good enough seals consistently.
    • Logged 27.5% usage rate.
    • UNLV didn’t space the floor very well around him, so opponents often crowded the lane shadowing his post-ups and threw hard doubles at him more often than you’re used to seeing these days.
      • Struggled when crowded or doubled, having not yet developed dexterity using escape dribbles to buy room and pass it out.
        • Averaged 3.7 turnovers per 40 minutes.
      • Flashed some court vision making crosscourt passes with his back to the basket but can’t be considered a reliable shot creator for others at this point.
        • Assisted on just 3.5% of UNLV’s scores when he was on the floor.
      • Dominated against single coverage, not just against Mountain West competition but doing very well in the game against Arizona as well.
        • Does not have an advanced post game. Didn’t show much in terms of being able to work his man out of position with pivot moves, shot fakes and head fakes. Does not seem to have the lightest of feet.
        • Isn’t really a bully but for the most part relied on general size and strength to bump his man back and create space for simple hooks or to go up strong off two feet. Has some touch on non-dunk finishes, even showing a scoop layup to attempt finishing around length, but nothing all that special.
          • Shot 67.7% on his 200 attempts at the rim, with almost a third of them unassisted[7].
          • Earned 8.1 foul shots per 40 minutes.
      • Flashed a quick turnaround lean-in jumper against opponents who held their ground and took a few face-up near-standstill shots, especially on his catches around the foul line. Looked capable but is below average away from the rim at this point of his development.
        • Shot 36.6% on 153 two-point shots away from the rim, with just 15 of his 56 makes unassisted.
  • Can play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense, roaming around the baseline at the dunker spot and sprinting up the court in transition. Also proved to be coordinated enough to catch, take a dribble for balance and launch a floater with a defender between him and the basket on poor passes.
  • Poor screener. Didn’t draw contact often and not even because he was slipping picks to beat his defender on a race to the rim as he rarely rolled hard to the basket off picks. Either rolled to post-up or looked to set up catch-and-shoot jumpers. Took a few three-point shots out of the pick-and-pop but didn’t show to be any sort of real asset from the outside yet, not just at the point of attack but even as a spot-up floor-spacer.
    • Gets little elevation and releases the ball out in front but can shoot over contests due to his height. Has some touch but a slow trigger.
      • Shot just three-for-nine from three-point range.
      • Did make 41 assisted two-point shots away from the basket, at a pace of 1.7 makes per 40 minutes, which seems decent enough for a pure center.
      • Hit 72.5% of his 193 foul shots.
  • Has a seven-foot-two wingspan[8] to rebound outside of his area. Is a quick leaper and can go back up to attempt immediate scores but so-so touch limited his effectiveness in a crowd.
    • Collected 12.7% of UNLV’s misses when he was on the floor.
    • Shot just 64.3% on 66 putback attempts.

DEFENSE

  • Effective rim protector when well positioned. Quick leaper off two feet stepping up to the front of the basket. Able to leverage his nine-foot-two standing reach well to challenge shots. Blocked a lot of shots with his left hand. Even flashed some preventive rotations that discouraged opponents from getting all the way to the rim.
  • Iffy help defender on long rotations, though. Sold out for blocks at times. Blocked a lot of shots but a physical specimen like him, playing against the level of competition that he did, was expected to be more impressive and elevate the level of his defense, which didn’t really happen.
    • Averaged 2.5 blocks per 40 minutes.
    • Averaged 28.5 minutes per game on a team that allowed 56.7% shooting at the rim, which ranked 76th in the country[9].
    • UNLV ranked 174th in adjusted defensive efficiency.
  • Did poorly when asked to extend pick-and-roll coverage beyond the foul line:
    • Hunches rather than bends his knees getting down in a stance;
    • Isn’t very quick in his reactions out in space;
    • Doesn’t prioritize middle, giving up an easy path for the ball-handler to decline the pick;
    • Rarely made multiple-effort plays;
    • Didn’t use his length to make plays in the passing lanes;
      • Averaged just 0.6 steal per 40 minutes.
  • So-so attention to his boxout responsibilities, which didn’t matter against Mountain West competition because of his edge in general size and athleticism but needs to be improved as that advantage won’t be there every night at the next level.
    • Collected 25.1% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] According to RealGM

[4] According to RealGM

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] DOB: 6/11/1998

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to measurements at the NBA Combine

[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

Jaren Jackson, Jr. Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Ninth-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].
  • 18-year-old[2] without a lot of high level experience. Logged just 764 NCAA minutes. Other than that, has just 85 minutes with the United States National Team at the 2016 U17 FIBA World Cup and an appearance at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit under his belt[3].
  • Averaged 20 points per 40 minutes[4] on 64.7% true shooting and compiled a 25.1 PER last season.
  • Michigan State had a +34.9 pace-adjusted point differential with him in the lineup[5], though it only played the 62nd-toughest schedule in the country[6].
  • Six-foot-11, 236-pound inside-outside big who got a fair amount of touches with his back to the basket in the post, without a lot of space to work with. Projects as a full time center in the pros but logged almost all of his minutes with another center on the floor in college. Shot the ball a lot better during the conference part of the schedule and made a few out of the pick-and-pop but still figures to be only a capable spot-up shooter in the near future.
    • Figures to be a good finisher out of the pick-and-roll but didn’t have many, if any, opportunities to do that at Michigan State.
  • Often matched up against the rangier of opposing big men but still managed to make a massive impact as a rim protector. Wasn’t stretched a whole lot in East Lansing but figures to offer a ton of versatility in terms of pick-and-roll coverage based on his coordination and agility out in space.
    • On the other hand, fouled a ton, which kept him from being a high-minutes player.

OFFENSE

  • Was sought after quite a bit in the block. Doesn’t get a lot of deep seals but creates good enough angles to get the ball around the mid-post area. Hasn’t yet developed a lot of polish but did very well one-on-one.
    • Logged 23.5% usage rate.
    • Didn’t show much in terms of head fakes, shot fakes, face-up jumpers or fade-away jumpers.
    • Was very productive with basic turnaround hooks and running hooks, proving to have soft touch with either hand.
    • Flashed a slick pivot-to-pass move but for the most part only spotted cutters and shooters when they were evident, aside from posting a displeasing turnover rate for someone who wasn’t a risk taker.
      • Assisted on just 9.2% of Michigan State’s scores when he was on the floor.
      • Averaged 3.2 turnovers per 40 minutes.
    • Can’t really be considered a power play but looked to back down weaker matchups a decent amount and didn’t shy away from contact.
      • Earned seven free throws per 40 minutes.
  • Shot the ball very well as a weak-side floor-spacer, even flashing some advanced footwork in a few instances, whether it was catching it on the hop on spot-ups or adjusting his feet quickly after moving to an open spot.
    • Has a compact release, launching the ball out in front but managing to get his shots off over closeouts comfortably enough due to his height and the good deal of elevation he gets.
    • Took 41.3% of his shots from long range. Nailed 39.6% of his 96 three-point shots, at a pace of five such attempts per 40 minutes.
    • Has the touch. Hit 79.7% of his 133 foul shots.
    • Took and made a few shots out of the pick-and-pop but for the most part didn’t look as capable when an opponent forced him to rush through his mechanics. Certainly not yet the sort of shot maker who opens up driving lanes at the point of attack.
  • Demanded closeouts, which opened up paths for him to put the ball on the floor. Very well coordinated attacking out of triple threat position. Likes to go left, has long strides and maintains his balance through contact to get all the way to the basket on straight line drives.
    • Is not a powerful leaper off one foot with an opponent attached to his hip but proved able to elevate off two feet off a jump-stop with power.
    • Only an up-and-down finisher, not someone who can hang or adjust his body in the air. But proved to be ambidextrous at the basket, used his length well to score around rim protectors on scoop finishes and showed pretty good touch on non-dunk finishes.
      • Shot 65.4% on his 108 attempts at the rim[7].
  • Wasn’t asked to isolate against his man out in the perimeter often but did flash some shiftiness in the game against Illinois, shaking his man side-to-side with multiple dribbles between the legs and getting by him on his way to the basket.
      • Didn’t show much of anything in terms of running floaters, step-back or stop-and-pop jumpers and passing on the move.
  • Didn’t have the space to roll hard to the basket.
    • Less than half of his makes at the rim were assisted.
    • Despite his seven-foot-five wingspan[8], was not particularly productive on the offensive glass.
      • Collected just 8.7% of Michigan State’s misses when he was on the floor.
      • But did finish his 19 putback attempts at a 77.8% clip.

DEFENSE

  • Excellent rim protector. Challenged everything he was close by. Showed a ton of versatility as a shot blocker:
    • Stepping up to the front of the basket, going up off two feet and making full use of his nine-foot-two standing reach;
    • Going up off one foot coming off the weak-side in help-defense;
    • Keeping pace with smaller players on straight line drives and blocking shots defending on the ball;
      • Averaged 5.5 blocks per 40 minutes.
      • Was the main reason why opponents shot 45.8% at the rim against Michigan State, which ranked second in the country[9].
  • All that activity near the basket came at the cost of him getting into constant foul trouble.
    • Averaged 5.9 personal fouls per 40 minutes, which limited him to just 21.8 minutes per game.
  • Was asked to extend out to the top of the key consistently, either hedging or showing-and-staying-out-an-extra-second to try preventing the ball handler from turning the corner right away or getting to the middle on side pick-and-rolls. Did well more often than not.
    • Very fluidly sliding laterally and able to keep up with smaller players stride-for-stride on straight line drives foul line down.
    • Can still improve in drop-back defense, in terms of not letting the roll man get behind him.
  • Was not asked to pick up smaller players on switches out on an island. Figures to have the agility for it but unclear.
  • So-so attention to his boxout responsibilities. Not all that physical either. Showed over-reliance on quickness chasing the ball off the rim, which didn’t go over great as the level of competition got tougher.
    • Collected 19.7% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor through the season overall but just 17.7% against Big Ten competition.
    • Had the best defensive rating among rotation players on a team that ranked 10th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.

[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 9/15/1999

[3] According to RealGM

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to RealGM

[6] According to Ken Pomeroy

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to the measurements at the NBA Combine

[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

Wendell Carter, Jr. Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Had a great year. If not for Marvin Bagley III on the same team taking away the spotlight, would probably be even more highly touted by now.
  • Has the physical profile (six-foot-10, 259 pounds[1]) of a pure center in a time where pure centers are devalued but showed the skill he was previously known for and surprised with his nimbleness out in space.
  • Has a good deal of high level experience for a just-turned 19-year-old[2]:
    • 997 NCAA minutes with Duke;
    • 206 minutes defending the United States National Team at the 2015 U16 FIBA Americas and 2016 U17 FIBA World Cup;
    • 82 minutes at the 2016 adidas Nations;
    • An appearance at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit.
  • Averaged 20.2 points per 40 minutes[3] on 62.8% true shooting and compiled a 26.3 PER in 37 appearances last season[4].
  • Duke played the 15th-toughest schedule in the country[5] and had a +33.3 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor, which was the best net rating on the team among rotation players[6].
  • Played primarily center, though shared the court with Marques Bolden some.
    • Got most of his touches in the post.
    • Didn’t roll hard often but flashed a catch-and-shoot three-pointer out of the pick-and-pop.
    • Guarded pick-and-rolls mostly below the foul line during the first half of the season.
    • Defended the front of the basket when Duke went to a full time zone during the conference part of the schedule.

OFFENSE

  • Advanced post game for someone his age:
      • Power moves;
      • Head fakes;
      • Shot fakes;
      • Fake pivot move;
      • Pivot move to pass;
      • Turnaround, fadeaway jumper;
      • Most often looking for right handed hook but has a counter finishing with his off hand;
      • Struggled with touch during the second half of the season.
        • Shot 36.8% on 95 two-point attempts away from the basket[7].
      • Decent passer out of hard double teams with good court vision but not some exceptional passer and turned it over a displeasing amount;
        • Assisted on 12.9% of Duke’s scores when he was on the floor.
        • Averaged three turnovers per 40 minutes while logging 22.6% usage rate.
      • Prefers to rely on skill but doesn’t shy away from contact;
        • Averaged 6.8 foul shots per 40 minutes.
    • Didn’t roll hard to the basket often out of setting ball-screens:
      • Part of the problem was Bagley, III not always spacing out to the three-point line and Trevon Duval being a poor shooter but part of it was due to lack of explosiveness;
      • Can play above the rim as a target for lobs in transition and sneaking behind the defense with time to load up but can’t go up strong off two feet in traffic;
      • Proved to be coordinated enough for instances where he needed to catch, take a dribble for balance and go up for a finish with a defender between him and the basket;
      • Has decent touch on non-dunk finishes;
        • Shot 70.2% on 178 attempts at the rim.
    • Only a capable open shot shooter at this point of his development:
      • Fluidity of release improved the second half of the season, though it remains not quick enough to get a good look off when rushed by a closeout or over a contest;
      • Flashed quick shots out of the pick-and-pop and out of roll-and-replace but most suited for spot-ups as of now;
      • Touch was OK, though it can certainly improve;
        • Shot 73.8% on 168 free throws.
      • Shooting percentage indicates he certainly can become a real asset as a floor-spacer down the line but was not perfectly reflective of how real a long range shooter he is right now, as most of his misses were considerably short;
        • Nailed 41.3% of his 46 three-point shots, but at a pace of just 1.9 such attempts per 40 minutes.
    • Doesn’t play with a particularly impressive motor or toughness disentangling himself from boxouts but was pretty effective crashing the offensive glass.
      • Has a seven-foot-four wingspan[8] to rebound outside of his area.
        • Collected 12.7% of Duke’s misses when he was on the floor.
      • Decent second jump fighting for tip-ins.
        • Shot 75% on his 41 putbacks attempts.
    • Flashed a dribble drive from the elbow down, lacking an explosive first step but able to maintain his balance through contact, but isn’t suited to attack closeouts and hasn’t yet develop an in between game in terms of stop-and-pop jumpers, step-back jumpers, running floaters or floaters off jump-stops.

DEFENSE

  • Effective rim protector when he was able to hang back and patrol the lane, which was less challenging for him to do once Duke installed a full time zone:
    • Has decent short area lateral quickness;
    • Was proactive stepping up the front of the basket as the last line of defense;
    • Not an explosive leaper off two feet in a pinch but acted as a shot blocking threat thanks to his nine-foot-one standing reach.
      • Averaged 3.1 blocks per 40 minutes.
    • Challenged shots via verticality very well. Has a thick frame some guards will just bounce back off on impact, though at a risk of getting into foul trouble;
      • Averaged 4.2 personal fouls per 40 minutes.
    • Proved himself a willing charge drawer;
    • Was able to stick with ball handlers from the foul line down in college;
    • When he had less ground to cover, developed some awareness shadowing isolations and making preventive rotations that kept the dribble driver from getting all the way to the rim, which he didn’t show earlier in the year when Duke was guarding man-to-man.
  • When forced to guard out in space, flashed some decent nimbleness but doesn’t figure to be suited to venture far away from the basket in the pros.
    • Was able to influence ball handlers on hedges but can’t hustle back to contest effectively at the rim.
    • Unclear how well he can keep action in front if asked to show hard at the three-point line.
    • Can bend his knees to get down in a stance some and keep pace on straight line drives in a few matchups but isn’t agile enough to stay in front of shifty types.
  • Used his length some to get into passing lanes, though nothing at a difference making level.
    • Averaged 1.2 steals per 40 minutes.
  • Stout post defender.
  • Was attentive to his boxout responsibilities but not exceptionally quick chasing the ball off the rim.
    • Collected 23.1% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.
  • Had the best defensive rating among rotation players on a team that ended up ranked ninth in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.

[1] According to Duke’s official listing

[2] DOB: 4/16/1999

[3] According to sports-reference

[4] According to RealGM

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to RealGM

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to measurements at this year’s 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