3D Point Guard, 3D wing

Donovan Mitchell Scouting Report

CONTEXT

After a disappointing start to the season, when he hit just 36.4% of his shots through the non-conference part of Louisville’s schedule, Donovan Mitchell hit up the rest of the way, averaging 21.2 points per 40 minutes on 40% three-point shooting against ACC competition.

The six-foot-three combo guard had opportunity to run some offense towards the end of the year when Quentin Snider and Deng Adel missed some time due to injury but for the most part acted as an off guard, mostly preoccupied with creating looks from himself.

Louisville ran a motion offense that afforded him chances to catch the ball off a live dribble, with a head start on his man, but had two post players on the floor at all times, which combined with Mitchell’s suspect shot selection, resulted in fewer drives to the basket than his athleticism suggests he should be attempting.

But on instances where Mitchell was a little more committed to dribble penetration, he showed some traits of promise as a finisher and as a passer on the move. Some team enamored with the athletic prowess he exhibited at the combine is bound to dream of converting him into a lead ball handler down the line.

On the other end, Mitchell has the physical profile to play good defense, not just in terms of executing but as a difference maker, and has put in the effort to materialize such potential, as he led a team in minutes that ranked eighth in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Mitchell’s statistical profile is not particularly impressive but he’s risen up the boards during workout season (currently ranked 11th in Draft Express’ top 100) because he is the sort of prospect teams can more easily dream reaching the highest of highs.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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3D wing, Tall Passer

Josh Jackson Scouting Report

CONTEXT

For as much thought as we put into overanalyzing the draft, we really don’t know anything.

Every year there is a player with jaw dropping physical talent and some skill that suggests he might have superstar potential but who also possesses an undeveloped area that might be a fatal flaw and cap such potential.

If that player can make the sort of substantial improvement that will push him into superstardom tends to depend on things we cannot predict; such as if he will have the work ethic necessary, even though he will be earning a lot money that will afford him other types of time-consuming opportunities, or if he is drafted by a team that knows how to teach him right or puts him in the best position to limit the effects of his weaknesses.

This year, that prospect seems to be Josh Jackson.

I’ve profiled the six-foot-eight combo forward for this website in January and added a note about his hot shooting streak on our look at the top 10 draft prospects whose teams qualified for the tournament but for the tl;dr crowd, here are the basics:

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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3D wing, Pure Shooter

Justin Aaron Jackson Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Justin Aaron Jackson was perceived as a potential mid-second round pick by this time last year. He disappointed as a shooter in his first couple of seasons at North Carolina but possesses the sort of height and length that permits teams to envision him as an eventual 3D wing in the pros. Nonetheless, Jackson opted to return for his junior year after doing poorly at the Combine.

And that decision has paid off nicely. The just-turned 22-year-old not only improved his three-point rate and the overall efficiency of his spot-up gunning but also developed some versatility to his shot and enjoyed a bigger role in last season’s team – with his usage rate rising up from 21% in 2015-16 to 25.7% in 2016-17[1], thanks to the departures of Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson.

The six-foot-eight sharpshooter won ACC player of the year, North Carolina avenged the previous year’s heartbreaking loss to Villanova with a victory over Gonzaga in the national championship game and he is now perceived as a borderline lottery pick – as Draft Express currently ranks him 13th in its top 100.

READ MORE: Jayson Tatum | De’Aaron Fox | Lonzo Ball

SHOOTING

Thanks to the improvements in his footwork, elevation and mechanics, Jackson’s proven himself an excellent open-shot shooter spacing the floor away from the ball, as he nailed 37% of his 284 three-point shots (at a clip of 8.9 attempts per 40 minutes) and averaged 1.15 points per possession on catch-and-shoot jumpers over the first 31 games last season[2], adding value with his mere existence on the court.

Jackson also impressed with his intelligence working the second side, constantly relocating off drives or offensive rebounds to get himself open and cutting hard to create a second passing lane when a defender successfully denied him a catch or a teammate missed him in the first window.

But he is so highly rated right now because he’s also shown to be the most valuable type of shooter, that chess piece who can be moved around the floor and stress the defense with his movement. Jackson sprints hard around staggered screens, plants, adjusts his feet in a pinch, rises up with great balance and has a quick release to let it fly before the contest can be effective.

And if the defender can negotiate screens well enough to keep up with him and stay close on the catch, Jackson can take an escape dribble to readjust and then launch a one-dribble pull-up over him.

READ MORE:  Markelle Fultz | Frank Ntilikina

SHOT CREATION

North Carolina put his shooting to use in the post here and there, trying to take advantage of a particular matchup, and Jackson proved himself able to make the eventual turnaround jumper over a smaller defender but nothing substantially impressive came out of it often. There is no diversity to his post game and he didn’t do so well that opponents rushed to double team him there and leave someone uncovered.

Most of Jackson’s shot creation came on straight line drives when he curled around pindown screens. He did not get all the way to the basket often — as just 22.1% of his attempts were at the rim[3], but converted stop-and-pop mid-range pull-ups and underhanded toss-ups from the in-between area over length reasonably well — as he nailed his 180 two-point jumpers at a 39.4% clip, with just a third of them assisted.

Jackson also flashed some decent passing on the move when he attacked closeouts, reading collapsing defenses well off dribble penetration — assisting on 15.8% of North Carolina’s scores when he was on the floor and turning it over on just 9.5% of his possessions last season.

However, Jackson didn’t do much of anything against a set defense. He has enough of a handle to get a pull-up three-pointer off a middle high pick-and-roll if he gets a good screen and the big man drops back and can run a side pick-and-roll against a bent defense to keep the offense moving but for the most part can’t assist with the shot creation process from the top when he is on the ball.

He doesn’t have an explosive first step, doesn’t have a lot of quickness to shake his defender side-to-side, hasn’t yet developed his handle to deal with pressure or manipulate his way into wherever he wants to get on the floor and doesn’t have a lot of strength in his 201-pound frame to maintain his balance through contact.

READ MORE: Lauri Markkanen | Jonathan Isaac

DEFENSE

When evaluating players with Jackson’s height, one point of emphasis is trying to notice if he is versatile enough to defend bigger players on four-out lineups. Due to his lack of strength, Jackson does not figure to check that box in the immediate future.

But Jackson has shown he can offer flexibility on defense with his ability to guard smaller players, not just picking them up midway through the shot clock on switches but also cross-matching on ball handlers for entire possessions.

His thin frame should be a weakness against bulkier wings but has helped him navigate staggered screens trailing shooters as they sprint from one side of the court to the other and navigating over ball screens at the point of attack in order to beat them to the spot on the other side, stay in front and contest shots with his eight-foot-eight standing reach, though he could be more effective if he got into the pull-up shooter’s personal space some more.

If Jackson can translate that sort of on-ball defense to the pros is vital because he doesn’t offer a lot of value as a weak-side defender. Despite his six-foot-11 wingspan, Jackson didn’t use his length to make plays in the passing lanes or act as a shot blocking threat rotating to the basket area in help defense – with marginal contributions in steals and blocks.

He was also a below average for someone his size, collecting 9.3% of opponents’ misses in his 3,430 minutes on the floor during his three seasons at North Carolina.

[1] According to sports-reference

[2] According to research by Draft Express’ Mike Schmitz

[3] 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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3D wing, Shot Creator

Dwayne Bacon Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Dwayne Bacon is the most prominent player on a Florida State team that has won 18 of its 20 games so far and currently ranks 14th in adjusted efficiency margin – according to Ken Pomeroy. But despite the fact he’s managed to stand out over the last couple of seasons even with another projected first round pick on the team each year, the six-foot-seven wing is considered only a mid-tier pro prospect – with Draft Express ranking him 40th in its top 100.

Bacon is averaging 24.7 points per 40 minutes but on an average 55.5% true shooting and a high 29.2% usage rate. He is also older than average for someone with his level of experience, as he’ll already turn 22 in August despite the fact this is only his second year of college ball. Aside from that, though he has great size for his position, Bacon has below average reach (six-foot-eight wingspan) for someone his size and isn’t a particularly impressive athlete.

But the biggest concern regards his lack of meaningful improvement from his freshman season to his sophomore year. Bacon is a reasonably polished scorer but hasn’t shown much in terms of being able to make an impact in other areas of the game.

INTERIOR SCORING

Bacon’s top skill at this point of his development is his scoring close to the basket.

He’s very fluid attacking closeouts and on catch-and-go’s off ball reversals. In isolation, Bacon has not yet shown a very diverse set of dribble moves and doesn’t often blow by his man on speed but can maintain his balance through contact and often pivots into a well-coordinated spin move to get all the way to the basket on straight line drives or draw contact – as he’s averaged 5.9 free throws per 40 minutes, according to basketball-reference.

Bacon has also handled the ball in pick-and-roll a decent amount and showed appealing skills splitting double-teams at the point of attack, playing with some pace to wait for driving lanes to develop hedges or soft traps and changing speeds to turn the corner.

At the basket, he’s impressed with his ability to finish, converting 63.3% of his attempts – according to hoop-math. Bacon is not very explosive elevating off one foot in traffic but can euro-step to navigate rim protectors in front of the rim, hang in the air, adjust his body mid-flight and score on up-and-unders or reverses.

OTHER AREAS OF OFFENSE

But Bacon mostly prefers to pull-up for outside jumpers, as almost two-thirds of his shots have been taken away from the basket.

He elevates in pretty good balance and has proven himself capable of making step-back jumpers with a hand in his face from time to time but he’s not a particularly special shot maker as of now, in large part because his shot selection is very suspect. In such cases, Bacon has nailed just 36.9% of his two-point jumpers this season.

He’s flashed some ability to pass on the move, mostly on simple drive-and-kick’s and passing ahead in transition, but never demonstrated much in terms of court vision and being able to make advanced passes against a set defense. Bacon has assisted on just 11.9% of Florida State’s scores when he’s been on the floor, which is a disappointing figure given how often he has the ball in his hands.

The fact he is not out there looking to pass a whole lot and mostly jacks up outside jumpers makes his 11.1% turnover rate less impressive.

Bacon’s biggest contribution in a team-oriented manner is his ability to act as a credible threat spacing the floor away from the ball. But though he has improved in comparison to last season, he is still only an average catch-and-shoot gunner at this point of his development, nailing 36.3% of his 91 three-point shots so far this season. Bacon has a quick release off ball reversals but lets the ball go from a low point and hasn’t yet shown anything in terms of being able to come off screens or sprint to the ball for dribble-handoffs.

He doesn’t mix it up on the offensive glass.

DEFENSE

Bacon has the size and strength to be expected to eventually develop into at least a zero defender[1].

He has enough lateral quickness to stay in front of similarly-sized wings and can contain dribble penetration through contact due to his 221-pound frame. Bacon doesn’t have reach to pickpocket opponents but has shown decent instincts making plays in the passing lanes, as he’s averaged 1.7 steals per 40 minutes.

More interestingly, Bacon has flashed potential of being able to chase shooters around screens and then getting in front of them on the catch. He doesn’t show that sort of tenacity all that frequently, though.

Bacon doesn’t offer switch ability at this point of his development. He can’t stay in front of smaller players in space and often crashes his way into picks defending the pick-and-roll. Given his size, he might develop into someone who can match up against bigger players but Bacon doesn’t have the explosiveness to make plays near the basket.

He contributed on the glass very well last season, collecting 17.4% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor, but the arrival of Jonathan Isaac has limited his rebounding opportunities this year and his percentage is now average.

[1] Doesn’t help but doesn’t hurt.

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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3D wing

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk Scouting Report

CONTEXT

It took two years but Sviatoslav Mykhailiuyk has finally become a more prominent rotation player at Kansas, as he’s averaged 26.9 minutes per game this season.

He still hasn’t been given any opportunity to handle the ball against a set defense, though. His role on this team is as a weak-side spot-up shooter without any sort of shot creation responsibility, posting only a 18.1% usage rate.

The six-foot-eight wing impressed running offense at the Eurocamp last summer and had already shown some potential on the ball prior to joining Kansas. But since it’s unclear how well his skill-set has developed over the last two-and-a-half years, his draft stock has consistently declined over time, despite his size and youth (he’ll still only turn 20 in June).

Draft Express currently ranks him 46th in its top 100.

WEAK-SIDE OFFENSE

58.8% of his shots have been three-pointers this season. His release is not as lightning quick as you’d expect for a specialist like him but he tends to get the ball off comfortably enough before an opponent can closeout and contest his shot effectively.

Mykhailiuk’s flashed the ability to come off screens and hit pull-up three-pointers off side pick-and-rolls but is mostly only used on spot-ups. He’s nailed 42.5% of his 87 three-point shots this season, while averaging 7.6 attempts per 40 minutes. Through his 1,197 minutes in college, Mykhailiuk’s been a 38.5% three-point shooter on 7.7 attempts per 40 minutes.

He can’t turn the corner on dribble-handoffs but attacks closeouts very fluidly and gets all the way to the basket against a scrambling defense a fair amount considering his role, as he’s averaged 3.2 shots at the rim per 40 minutes – according to data researched at hoop-math.

Mykhailiuk lacks lift to get up strong off one foot in traffic, lacks length for reverses or extended finishes against rim protectors and hasn’t shown anything in terms of being able to finish through contact – converting just 59.5% of his shots at the basket and averaging only 1.8 foul shots per 40 minutes.

He’s proven himself to be a very good passer on the move, though. Mykhailiuk has pretty good court vision sucking in the defense and kicking out to a spot-up shooter on the strong side or dropping off to a big man at the dunker’s spot – assisting on 10.8% of Kansas’ scores when he’s been on the floor throughout his collegiate career, according to basketball-reference.

Mykhailiuk is also an asset on baseline cuts, showing very good feel to take advantage of an unaware defender. He can play above the rim as a target for lobs elevating out of two feet and more than half of his 22 makes at the rim have been assisted.

DEFENSE

Mykhailiuk is a decent team defender, always with a foot in the lane when he’s guarding on the weak-side and rotating in to help crowd the area near the basket. He lacks the athletic ability to make much of an impact, though – unable to run shooters off the three-point line consistently, lacking length to contest shots effectively and contributing very little through blocks and defensive rebounds.

Mykhailiuk also doesn’t have much athleticism to do well as an individual defender. He gets on a stance and has decent lateral quickness to stay in front of similarly-sized players but can’t contain dribble penetration through contact and is not a viable option to pick up smaller players on switches, as he’s unable to go over screens that well.

At his height, Mykhailiuk could be considered an option to spend some minutes at stretch four on smaller lineups but lacks strength in his 205-pound frame hold ground in the post or boxout true big men.

According to basketball-reference, he has the second lowest defensive rating on the team among rotation players.

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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