Emoni Bates Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Top-ranked prospect in the 2022 high school class[1];
  • Projected to be the first prospect drafted straight out of graduating high school, without the need to take a fake internship or a post-graduate year to enter the NBA without going to college or signing outside the United States, with the league expected to go back to the old rules in 2022;
  • Turned 15 in January[2];
  • Measured at six-foot-eight with a six-foot-nine wingspan and weighed in at 165 pounds at the Nike Elite 100 camp last month[3];
    • Broad shoulders suggest his frame should fill up in time;
  • Ball-dominant wing who plays more of an isolation-oriented game in AAU, while mixing in a few post-ups, some work in pick-and-roll and spotting up away from the ball a little bit in high school;
  • Uneven defender, as common with young teenagers – when engaged, can make a difference reaching around for strips on the ball, jumping passing lanes and walling off the front of the rim in rotation but doesn’t play with that sort of intensity regularly and is not a dominant figure on this end;
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan native who led Ypsilanti Lincoln High School to a state championship in his freshman year of high school last season;
  • Averaged 32.3 points per game on 54.5% shooting at the Nike Peach Jam last month[4] but BATES Fundamentals, coached by his father, lost in the first round of the elimination stage in the E15 division.

SHOOTING

  • Gunner who takes any opportunity he can get to launch a long bomb – at times pulling up from way past NBA range;
  • Hasn’t yet developed wide step-backs and side-steps that you are used to seeing from elite isolation gunners like James Harden and Luka Doncic, which could eventually make his pull-ups nearly uncontestable, but already has a deep arsenal of resources to get his shot off one-on-one;
    • Loves to go between the legs into a stop-and-pop three-pointer but also launches jumpers off hang dribbles, step-throughs, pull-backs, spin moves, jab-steps;
  • Sets an unorthodox base, bringing his knees closer together than you are used to seeing, and has a low release out in front but gets a good deal of elevation for someone who stands at six-foot-eight to get his shot off comfortably over every single defender within his age group;
  • Does shot prep with 1-2 footwork on catch-and-shoot’s and has good fluidity in his release, despite needing to take a pronounced dip for rhythm, with a quick trigger for someone his height thanks to compact mechanics;
    • Besides spot-ups, took a few shots on the move off relocating around the wing to offer his teammates a clearer passing lane but hasn’t yet shown what sort of versatility he has in his release – rarely coming off screens or working as the screener in pick-and-pop;
  • Showed glimpses of having a knack for getting to his spots in pick-and-roll;
  • Posts up smaller matchups from time-to-time and as he lacks the combination of strength and physicality to get a deep seal regularly, got pushed out further away from the mid-post often and showed to be more comfortable letting it happen, so he could face-up;
    • Hasn’t yet developed a patient approach operating with his back to the basket or any post moves to try getting his defender out of position prior to getting his shot off;
    • Mostly just faces up and shoots over the top;
    • Flashed a turnaround fadeaway jumper off a hiked leg.

FINISHING

  • Very comfortable on grab-and-go’s off a defensive rebound and can take it end-to-end or slow transition into an isolation but rarely triggers offense that involves his teammates;
  • Doesn’t have a quick first step out of a standstill position to blow by his man on speed but can maintain his balance and his momentum forward through contact well enough against his age group, mixing in a well-coordinated spin move to gain momentum into the lane from time-to-time;
  • Flashed a good feel for declining the ball-screen and an in-and-out dribble to manipulate his man into it operating in middle high pick-and-roll;
  • Explosive leaper off one foot in space but most often looks to gallop into two-foot leaps in traffic;
  • Flashed some flexibility to adjust his body in the air with a rim protector parked between him and the basket but has so far shown to be a basic finisher who looks for speed layups for the most part;
    • That said, hasn’t gotten all that many opportunities to show if he has any versatility to his finishing package because he lives at the foul line playing against his age group – despite his thin frame, his style of play invites plenty of contact as he drives;
  • Has shown a good deal of dexterity on floaters with either hand off 1-2 footwork, euro-steps and spin moves – missing only a floater off a jump-stop to complete his tear-drop package;
  • Can play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense but doesn’t get many alley-oop opportunities with the teams he plays with;
  • Occasional put-back threat but not tenacious enough to get several of those a game.

PASSING

  • Flashed some appealing court vision hitting the weakside corner over the top in pick-and-roll and off drawing two to the ball in isolation – height allows him to see over traffic;
  • Showed glimpses of being able to hit the stretch big over the top with good rhythm operating in pick-and-pop;
  • Willing to throw outlet passes if a teammate manages to leak out;
  • A bit of a reckless passer going for style plays at times.

DEFENSE

  • Played a role as more of a weakside defender with both BATES Fundamentals and Ypsilanti Lincoln High School, though he logged some time at center during the state championship game against Detroit Jesuit;
  • Edge in height and length was enough for him to discourage opponents from pulling the trigger with his so-so closeouts but got blown by often as those opponents put the ball on the floor;
  • Prone to ball watching and giving up a backdoor cut from time-to-time;
  • Showed flashes of activity rotating in to block shots from behind;
  • Was diligent with his responsibilities stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense – didn’t really explode off the ground to block shots or challenge them via verticality in volume but guards with his arms up near the rim, with those wall-offs good enough to make a difference within his age group;
  • Flashed some advanced position defense stopping the ball in pick-and-roll defense as a big on a show-and-recover;
  • Does not boxout – solely relying on his ability to rebound outside of his area to make plays on the glass;
  • Not a stout post defender but guards with his arms up, which tends to be enough to discourage opponents from trying to shoot over him;
  • Can jump a passing lane but doesn’t really play with the sort of energy to fly around and act as a dominant force on defense;
  • Attentive to his responsibilities switching on the fly and picked up shiftier ball handlers on occasion;
    • Gets down in a stance often but at times hunches down rather than bends his knees;
    • When engaged, showed some decent side-to-side mobility to keep pace one-on-one and quick reactions to leverage his length into reaching around for strips or blocking shots defending on the ball;
    • For the most part, didn’t stay in front of out in space but proved himself capable of staying attached and flashed some impressive hustle bothering from the side when he got beat;
    • Not built to slide around screens, neither at the point of attack nor chasing moving shooters around the floor.

[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 1/28/2004

[3] According to Rivals

[4] According to d1circuit.com

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

Ousmane Dieng Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Six-foot-seven French wing currently being developed within INSEP’s system;
  • Turned 16 last May[1];
  • Drew interest with his appearance at the FIBA U16 European Championship earlier this month, where France placed second;
    • Statistical profile in that event: 18.6 PER, 15.9 points per 40 minutes on 42.5% effective shooting, 29% assist rate, 4.1 turnovers per 40 minutes, 11.3% defensive rebounding rate[2];
  • Got a lot of opportunities to create shots against a set defense, most often acting as the team’s primary escape valve late in the shot clock;
    • Logged 23.5% usage rate;
    • His shooting percentages were bad, but his shooting stroke looked great and suggests there is a chance of him developing into a high-caliber shooter in a role as more of a floor-spacer;
    • His work in pick-and-roll was promising but lack of dexterity and explosiveness at the rim limits his potential in that role for now;
    • Proved himself a willing shot creator for others but shouldn’t be considered as a great passer just yet;
  • Did well as a weakside defender by executing the scheme but didn’t play with regular intensity as an individual defender on the ball or flying around to create events away from it.

SHOOTING

  • Shooting stroke looks great for someone aged 16: fluid mechanics, dips for rhythm, fully extends himself for a high release, pulls the trigger quickly;
  • Efficiency isn’t there yet: nailed just 32.4% of his 34 three-point shots at the U16 European Championship, at a pace of 8.7 such attempts per 40 minutes;
  • Besides basic spot-ups, took some shots off the catch on the move as well, by relocating around the perimeter to get open;
  • A chunk of his looks materialized via pull-ups;
    • Has a knack for getting to his spots in pick-and-roll, especially by showing a good feel for using re-screens;
    • Showed an appealing combination of handle and rhythm to create separation to get his shots off in isolation: crossover into step-back pull-up and going behind the back into step-back pull-up;
    • Adept at shot-faking to try baiting the defender into leaving his feet or destabilizing him just enough to create space for a short-range jumper;

FINISHING

  • Has a thin frame for someone his height and is only so-so at playing through contact at this point of his physical development;
  • Got downhill in pick-and-roll some but didn’t attack the lane all that often;
  • Has good court vision in terms of not insisting on drives when the path to the goal isn’t apparent and rarely drove into crowds;
    • On the other hand, didn’t show good speed with the ball when he did turn the corner;
  • Tucks the ball to protect it in traffic;
  • Showed no floater to act as a scoring threat from the in-between area;
  • Didn’t attack the basket with power and didn’t show a particularly diverse finishing package to deal with a rim protector parked between him and the goal;
    • Showed just 34.6% on 26 two-point attempts in the tournament;
    • Earned just 3.6 foul shots per 40 minutes.

PASSING

  • Assisted on 29% of France’s scores when he was on the floor but at a low 1.56-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio;
  • Most of his assists materialized of him being a willing passer on drop-offs and kickouts to the strongside off drawing two to the ball;
  • Plays with a nice rhythm in pick-and-roll, which afforded him opportunities to deliver some neat passes on delayed reads: hitting the dive man over the top on a slower-developing roll off a shot-fake, jump-passing back to the stretch big in pick-and-pop and flashing the ability to make a pass over the top to the opposite end.

DEFENSE

  • Impressed with his hustle in transition;
  • Executed the scheme pretty well as a weakside defender;
    • Rotated in to pick up the roll man and leveraged his length into deflecting some passes from the side;
    • Disciplined, consistently aware not to help off the strongside – averaged 1.5 steals per 40 minutes;
    • Stepped up to help crowd the area near the basket on rotations off the weakside – not an explosive leaper to act as a shot blocking threat but guards with his arms up to challenging via walling off;
    • Shows good awareness making preventive rotations to take away a clean path to the basket when he was the lowest defender;
  • Bends his knees to get down in a stance and put together a few possessions heating up opposing ball handlers somewhat impressively but doesn’t often play with that sort of intensity;
    • When engaged, has enough lateral slides to stay in front out in space and leverages his length to contest shots effectively but can’t contain dribble penetration through contact;
  • Doesn’t go over picks at the point of attack quickly enough to be considered an option to crossmatch or switch onto smaller players;
  • So-so discipline on closeouts: at times sells out to run the shooter off his shot and gives up a clean path to the middle, at times showed great body control to contest catch-and-shoot’s effectively without crashing into the shooter;
  • Played solid post defense against similarly sized wings;
  • Diligent boxing out whoever was closed by but wasn’t of much help going after the ball whenever others did the dirty work;
    • Collected just 11.3% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

[1] DOB: 5/21/2003

[2] According to RealGM

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

Precious Achiuwa Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

Precious Achiuwa is one of five top 100 recruits joining Memphis, with coach Penny Hardaway landing the top-ranked class in the country.

The six-foot-nine combo forward has the perfect combination of frame and length the NBA looks for in its big wings these days but has some way to go in terms of the skill level needed on offense to excel in that role.

He has shown decent moves to create his own shot out of ball reversals or slow transition into an isolation off a grab-and-go – flashing an in-and-out dribble to shake his defender off balance, pivoting into a well-coordinated spin move to get into the lane or crossing over into a pull-up – but hasn’t yet developed the handle and the court vision needed to create in middle high pick-and-roll.

For now, Achiuwa mostly projects as a floor-spacer who will operate out of triple threat position, though he needs a lot of development as a shooter to have the chance to put the ball on the floor often.

He can make a shot with time and space to go through his shooting motion but was still a hesitant shooter for the most part in his senior season at Montverde Academy. His release is somewhat slow and not all that fluid, but his touch is probably the biggest cause for concern, considering he shot poorly on free throws in AAU and the All-Star events.

If he develops as a shooter to command hard closeouts or at least gets the chance to attack a scrambling defense a fair amount, Achiuwa figures to impress with his athleticism on hard drives to the basket. He can get to the rim with balance and explosiveness on a straight line, go up with power off one foot with momentum and can finish through contact or adjust his body in the air to score in traffic.

On the other end, the Bronx native was active rotating off the weakside to make plays at the basket. He is a quick leaper off two feet to challenge shots via verticality or block shots – averaging 3.5 blocks per 40 minutes in eight appearances in the Under Armour Association last season. Achiuwa was pretty active on the glass as well – collecting 23.1% of opponents’ misses in 194 minutes.

That said, he wasn’t as active flying around to get steals and deflections in the passing lanes and hasn’t yet developed a feel for leveraging his length into clogging driving lanes and making plays from the side on occasion.

The 19-year-old can hold up well one-on-one when engaged – bending his knees to get down in a stance, moving his feet to stay in front for a few slides and putting in the effort to contest shots, though it’s somewhat surprising that he isn’t as adept at containing dribble penetration through contact as his frame suggests he should.

Achiuwa picked up smaller players on switches on a few occasions and proved himself capable of staying attached on straight line drives, even putting in the effort to try going over picks at the point of attack, though his hustle in pursuit to try discouraging or blocking shots from behind left something to be desired.

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

Scottie Lewis Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

Scottie Lewis really impressed with his defense on Josh Green and on Nico Mannion in this year’s edition of the Nike Hoop Summit.

He has a thin frame for someone his height and can’t contain dribble penetration through contact but bends his knees to get down in a stance and showed great agility moving side-to-side to stay in front in isolation.

When he moved on to Mannion in the third quarter, after Cole Anthony struggled to stay in front in the first half, Lewis showed a good deal of tenacity defending on the ball by proving himself to able to get skinny through screens at the point of attack and hustling in pursuit to discourage or block shots from behind.

He exceled off the ball as well:

  • Showing activity with deflections and denying easy handoffs;
  • Showing awareness rotating in to pick up the roll man;
  • Showing hustle on hard closeouts and chasing Mannion around screens.

At the high school level, Lewis flashed the ability to rotate off the weakside and go up explosively off two feet to block shots too.

On offense, the 19-year-old is known for his scoring prowess in isolation. The way he moves has drawn comparisons to Kobe Bryant and they aren’t unfounded.

Lewis has a quick first step out of triple threat position or a standstill position and can go up with power off one foot in traffic, go up with explosiveness on two-foot leaps off a spin move or adjust his body mid-air for double clutch and reverse finishes with either hand around rim protectors.

His pull-up arsenal is versatile as well, as he’s shown the ability to nail pull-ups off spin moves, step-backs, crossovers and going behind the back with suddenness.

Lewis hasn’t yet shown to be as adept operating in pick-and-roll, though.

With that as the case, for now he is expected to develop into more of a 3&D wing.

The New Jersey native has a projectable shooting stroke on spot-ups – catching it on the hop, going through a pretty fluid release, fully extending himself and getting monster elevation for a high launch point to get his shot off comfortably over closeouts. But the ball doesn’t go in a whole lot just yet.

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

Deni Avdija Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

Deni Avdija is coming off a season where he got to experience the pro level for the first time – logging 349 minutes with Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Israeli BSL and the Euroleague, while also spending parts of the year with the junior squad participating in a couple of stages of the Adidas Next Generation Tournament.

As a pro, the six-foot-eight combo forward acted more as a floor-spacer with little shot creation responsibility. Though he’s shown some versatility in his release, in terms of being able to take shots off light movement, Avdija is more of a shot taker than a shot maker at this point of his development.

He has a fluid shooting motion, fully extends himself for a high release, rises in good balance, doesn’t need to dip for rhythm and tends to get a good arc on his shot but the ball isn’t going in at a decent clip yet, as Avdija missed 72.3% of his 130 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 8.1 such attempts per 40 minutes.

This summer, the 18-year-old led the Isreali National Team to the title of the FIBA U20 European Championship in home soil, matching up against players on average a year-and-a-half older than him.

He was the focal point of the offense – logging 28.6% usage rate and 27.6% assist rate in the event, with the chance to create on post-ups, in isolation and middle high pick-and-roll against a set defense.

His court vision stood out, as Avdija can see over the top in a crowd and impressed with his dexterity delivering passes in a multitude of ways – with his back-to-the-basket to the opposite wing, with skip passes to the stretch big in the pick-and-pop, with darts to shooters sprinting to the corner in transition and with well-timed jump-passes to the roll man.

He wasn’t as impressive as a scorer, though. His average of 22.8 points per 40 minutes was achieved on just 48.6% effective shooting. There were some glimpses of three-level of scoring, as Avdija made pull-ups against the on-ball defenders going under the screen in pick-and-roll, flashed the ability to over-extend finishing around rim protectors and flashed a floater to score from the in-between area.

But he doesn’t have a quick first step, is not particularly fast with the ball, has a fairly basic handle for the most part and hasn’t yet developed advanced footwork to get his pull-ups off via step-backs or side-steps. Avdija is not very shifty, looks to gallop into two-foot leaps in traffic and hasn’t shown much body flexibility to adjust himself mid-air in a crowd.

With that as the case, the most developed dimension of his scoring profile is his post-up, as he’s shown an arsenal of moves operating with his back-to-the-basket – patient approach, power moves to back his way into short toss-ins, head fakes to bait his man out of position and short turnaround jumpers over the defender.

On the other end, Avdija does not project as an ace defender capable of picking up star opponents for the entire game but impressed with his awareness as a help defender and proved himself capable of hanging with smaller players out in space from time-to-time.

He was particularly impressive with his activity rotating off the weakside and surprised with his quick leaping ability off two feet to not only challenge shots via verticality but act as a constant shot blocking threat as well – averaging 3.0 blocks per 40 minutes at the U20 European Championship.

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

Deni Avdija Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Top-ranked prospect with European ties born in 2001[1];
  • Beit Zera native who has been developed in Maccabi Tel Aviv’s youth system since the age of 13;
    • Logged 349 minutes with the senior team in the Israeli BSL and the Euroleague last season but also spent parts of the year with the junior squad in a couple of stages of the Adidas Next Generation Tournament[2];
  • Turned 18 in January[3];
  • Combo forward listed at six-foot-eight, 210 pounds;
    • Measured with a six-foot-nine wingspan at the 2018 Basketball Without Borders[4];
  • Just led the Israeli National Team to a title at the FIBA U20 European Championship in home soil – going against players on average a-year-and-a-half older than him;
    • Statistical profile in that event: 26.8 PER, 22.7 points per 40 minutes on 48.6% effective shooting, 27.6% assist rate, 22.8% defensive rebounding rate, 3.0 blocks per 40 minutes, 2.6 steals per 40 minutes in 227 minutes;
    • Named MVP of the tournament;
  • Played as more of a floor-spacer with little shot creation responsibility with Maccabi at the senior level but was the focal point of the offense with the Israeli U20 squad last month;
    • Logged 28.6% usage rate;
  • Showed he can create decent separation for pull-ups out of pick-and-roll and in isolation against a set defense + took some catch-and-shoot three-pointers on the move as well;
    • Capable shot maker but the efficiency within those roles wasn’t really there and it’s questionable if that sort of dynamism can translate if asked to play that same role against tougher levels of competition;
  • Might be best suited for a role as a connective tissue, considering his court vision is his most developed feature on offense but he lacks the speed and the efficiency working on the ball to project in a role as shot creator against tougher levels of competition;
  • Did interesting things on defense at the U20 Euros: switched a lot and exceled as a help defender;
    • Proved himself capable of hanging with smaller players out in space and made a lot of plays off rotations – both while creating events and in the hidden areas of the game;
  • Slotted fifth on ESPN’s way-too-early 2020 mock draft released prior to the summer events.

PASSING

  • The versatility of his passing consistently stands out, as Avdija has shown impressive court vision in transition, in middle high pick-and-roll and with his back-to-the-basket;
    • Assisted on 27.6% of Israel’s scores when he was on the floor at the U20 European Championship, though with a merely so-so 1.85 assist-to-turnover rate;
  • Pushing the ball up the court on a grab-and-go off a defensive rebound, he’s shown dexterity on outlet passes, throwing darts to a shooter sprinting to the wing or the corner and tossing a skip pass to a trailer joining the offense late;
  • Rarely turns the corner and attacks the lane off a ball-screen but can drop-off off engaging the last line of defense or use his length for wraparound bounce passes when he does get deep dribble penetration;
  • Hits the roll man over the top with great timing but tends to impress more with shovel or skip passes to the stretch big in pick-and-pop;
  • Sees over the crowd very well and consistently looks for the shooter spot-up or drifting around the opposite wing on post-ups.

SCORING OFF THE BALL

  • Volume shooter off the catch but more of a shot taker than a shot maker right now;
    • Nailed just 27.7% of his 130 three-point shots in 51 total appearances with Maccabi last season (combining the senior and junior levels), at a pace of 8.1 such attempts per 40 minutes;
    • Nailed just 28.6% of his 42 three-point shots at the U20 European Championship, at a pace of 7.4 such attempts per 40 minutes;
  • Besides basic spot-ups, took shots on the move as well – off pindown screens, as the trailer in transition, on handoffs and as the deep screener in Spain pick-and-roll;
    • Doesn’t sprint in these actions, though – mostly jogs;
  • Has a fluid shooting motion, fully extends himself for a high release, rises in good balance, doesn’t need to dip for rhythm and tends to get a good arc and a good spin on his shots;
  • Questions remain over his natural touch, though;
    • Shot just 51.2% on 82 foul shots last season;
    • Shot just 60% on 45 foul shots last month.

SCORING ON THE BALL

  • Acted as a little bit of a ball stopper at times;
  • Can make a pull-up three-pointer against opponents going under or getting stuck in the screen in pick-and-roll but didn’t impress much in terms of getting to his spots operating off a pick;
    • Might have some potential as an ace scorer if he manages to develop dexterity snaking the pick-and-roll;
  • Rarely turns the corner and attacks the lane in pick-and-roll – doesn’t have a lot of speed with the ball but can mix in a hesitation move to get the defender on his side;
    • Flashed some explosiveness elevating off one foot with space to load up but looks to gallop into two-foot leaps in traffic;
    • More of an up-and-down finisher in the sense that he hasn’t yet shown a lot of flexibility to adjust himself mid-air;
    • Can overextend for scoop finishes with either hand but has only shown so-so touch in a crowd;
    • Flashed a floater off a jump-stop;
    • Earned 7.9 foul shots per 40 minutes in this tournament;
  • Doesn’t have a quick first step in isolation and rarely gets all the way to the basket one-on-one but can create separation for his pull-ups via craft;
    • Struggled badly when guarded by Usman Garuba in the Munich qualifier of the Adidas Next Generation Tournament last season;
    • Has a bit of a stiff posture and isn’t very shifty but has flashed some side-to-side and stop-and-start suddenness;
    • Despite underdeveloped upper body strength, can play through contact some and tends to get the benefit of the whistle;
    • Can go between-the-legs into a pull-up but didn’t really flash particularly advanced footwork in terms of step-backs and side-steps;
  • Posted up smaller players and weaker wings somewhat regularly in this tournament;
    • Showed glimpses of a versatile scoring package with his back to the basket – patient approach, power moves to back his way into short toss-ins, head fakes to bait his man out of position and short turnaround jumpers over the defender.

HELP DEFENSE

  • Impact player as a help-defender at the youth level;
  • Active rotating off the weakside – not just to help crowd the area near the basket but to make plays as well;
    • Impressed with quick leaping ability off one and two feet to challenge shots via verticality and act as a shot blocking threat – averaging 3.0 blocks per 40 minutes at the U20 European Championship;
    • Sometimes to a fault, though – prone to help off the strongside in somewhat reckless fashion;
  • Executes the scheme pretty well: picks up the roll man, clogs driving lanes by getting his hands on the ball from the side and made some plays jumping passing lanes too;
    • Averaged 2.6 steals per 40 minutes last month;
  • Did a generally poor work with his closeouts in this event;
    • Lacks the footspeed to run shooters off the line regularly;
    • Didn’t show great body control on hard closeouts to stop his momentum without crashing into shooters;
    • Can stay attached against less aggressive shooters putting the ball on the floor but didn’t show the combination of quickness and physicality needed to contain;
  • Didn’t help the helper with boxouts and generally didn’t involve himself on scrums but flew to the ball pretty well;
    • Collected 22.8% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

SWITCH DEFENSE

  • Picked up smaller players on switches regularly and held up reasonably well out in space against this level of competition;
    • Doesn’t bend his knees to get down in a stance, has more of a hunched posture defending out on an island;
    • Can slide laterally with good agility to stay in front and flashed some toughness containing dribble penetration through contact against smaller guards;
    • Needs to become more active guarding with his arms up to discourage shots, rather than just reacting to contest them;
  • Doesn’t seem suited to crossmatch onto smaller players regularly – hasn’t shown the sort of quickness to tenacity needed to navigate screens and hustle in pursuit.

[1] According to Eurospects

[2] According to RealGM

[3] DOB: 1/3/2001

[4] According to Eurospects

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

AJ Lawson Scouting Report

CONTEXT

AJ Lawson ranked seventh in the U19 World Championships in total scoring – putting up 117 points in 203 minutes.

Canada placed eighth in the tournament in somewhat disappointing fashion, even when you consider this group isn’t as talented as the one that won the title two years ago, but the six-foot-six shooter probably managed to improve his status coming out of it. He shot better and at a higher clip than he did in his first year at South Carolina, while taking some of these shots on the move.

Lawson also passed well on basic pick-and-rolls and showed a little bit of shot creation potential against a set defense, proving himself able to get a shot off in high leverage situations, but struggled to finish in this setting as well – which tanked his effective field goal percentage. As is the case, the 19-year-old[1] continues to profile as a more of a floor-spacer.

On the other end, Lawson put in the effort defending on the ball and executing the scheme but didn’t prove himself an ace defender, didn’t fly around to create events and didn’t make much of an impact in the hidden areas of the game.

SHOOTING

The Mississauga native took 56.4% of his shots from three-point range in the event, while averaging 10.4 such attempts per 40 minutes. He nailed 39.6% of them[2].

Besides basic spot-ups, Lawson showed a dynamic enough release to take shots on the move as well – out of Iverson cuts, coming off pindown screens and sprinting to the ball for handoffs, as he caught the ball on the hop, got great elevation to shoot over closeouts and pulled the trigger quickly.

SHOT CREATION

Lawson ran a good deal of side pick-and-roll to keep the offense moving and showed he is capable at hitting the roll man over the top – assisting on 21.2% of Canada’s scores when he was on the floor.

He has a quick first step and has also shown some dexterity pass-faking to clear a path to the basket but doesn’t attack the rim with any power and struggled to finish with a defender parked between him and the goal – converting just 43.9% of his 41 two-point shots in the tournament.

He launched a few floaters off a jump-stop to try acting as a scoring threat from the in-between area but struggled with his touch on those as well.

Lawson had some responsibility creating shots late in the shot clock and got some good looks off on jumpers – crossing over into step-back pull-ups in isolation and creating separation for stop-and-pop pull-ups in pick-and-roll. But he struggles to play through contact due to his thin 180-pound frame and rarely managed to get to the rim in a position of strength.

DEFENSE

Lawson bent his knees to get down in a stance and played with pretty good effort defending on the ball.

He was only so-so at getting skinny through ball-screens at the point of attack but hustled in pursuit to bother or challenge shots from behind, though without doing so at a particularly impactful level.

Lawson moves his feet laterally well enough to stay in front and contests pull-ups but lacks the bulk and physicality to contain dribble penetration through contact. That lack of strength also hurt him in post defense against opposing wings, as he struggled to hold his ground.

Lawson executed the scheme fine for the most part – helping clog driving lanes, rotating to the front of the rim to attempt a block on occasion and helping the helper with boxouts. He is not that fast, that bouncy, that physical or that lengthy to make a significant impact in these areas, though.

As is, Lawson continues to project as more of a zero defender[3] who might offer a little bit of versatility playing down (switching or crossmatching) if he were to start showing a lot more tenacity.


[1] DOB: 7/15/2000

[2] According to Real GM

[3] Doesn’t help, 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