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

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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

Jerome Robinson Scouting Report

I’m not sure any player has improved more over the last three seasons than Jerome Robinson has during his time at Boston College.

Robinson is as good as any scorer in this class and should be in consideration to end up a first round pick after a stellar junior season where he averaged 23 points on 60.8% true shooting, four rebounds and 3.7 assists per 40 minutes[1].

When it comes to scoring, the six-foot-six wing can get the job done at all three levels, as one of the best off dribble scorers in this draft. He can get his own shot consistently, as well as being able to create for others.

The 21-year-old[2] can get lazy with his handle and dribbles a little too high at times but has a killer crossover and a set of dribble moves to get to the basket, where he had no problem finishing through contact – converting 64% of his 150 attempts at the rim last season[3].

When forced to cut his drives short, Robinson has issue pulling up from mid-range or long range in rhythm. He’s a polished scorer who isn’t easily denied by an opponent taking one facet of his arsenal away.

He’s not the most explosive athlete but there’s a smoothness and fluidity to the way he can get buckets that is similar to that of Will Barton or Allen Crabbe.

Robinson off dribble scoring clinic, hesitation dribble to crossover, right handed finish with contact again

Robinson mid-range game, crossover, dribble handoff, stop and pop ft line jumper

On top of that, Robinson has shown a willingness and improved ability to create for others, becoming more of a dual threat offensively. His vision is by no means elite but he has the IQ and awareness to see the floor, knowing where the open man is – assisting on 20.6% of Boston College’s scores during his 3,118 minutes there.

Robinson also has a knack for the hockey assist, great at swinging the ball and igniting a sequence of passes that leads to a shot.

He has now added shooting to his weaponry on the offensive end. That is not to say he couldn’t shoot before, but he’s now become a borderline dead eye shooter. Robinson upped his shooting percentage to where he made 43.4% of his two-point jumpers and 41% of his three-point shots last season.

He has NBA range, is lethal on catch-and-shoot’s, can make you pay curling off pindown screens, has no problem making shots with a hand in his face and can make shots off the dribble when forced to create an opening to rise up if one isn’t readily available off the catch.

Mechanically speaking, Robinson’s shot is pretty textbook; he’s got a high release and a quick trigger with a consistent follow through and getting good elevation. His increased shooting ability should only make him more deadly as a scorer.

Robinson’s decision making is something that will need some tuning up, if a team is to trust him as a primary or secondary ball handler. Sometimes he tries to do too much, making an easy pass difficult or getting trapped along the baseline on a drive, with really no other option but to force a tough pass.

He gets a little lazy with the ball from time-to-time, whether it be passing or handling it, telegraphing passes – averaging three turnovers per 40 minutes last season.

On the other end, there’s a plethora of questions and concerns for Robinson to work on. I imagine this would be the main reason for teams to pass on him if he doesn’t go in the first round.

Robinson’s on-ball defense is adequate. I watched him be a pest to Grayson Allen in Boston College’s 89-84 win over Duke on December, 9th. Allen missed 15 of his 20 shots, including eight of his nine three-point shots, while primarily matched up against him, so it’s clear Robinson has some defensive ability on the ball.

He’s got good lateral quickness and length. The effort is usually there but hasn’t translated to consistent performance just yet. Boston College had a substantially lower defending rating than his individual defensive rating, meaning the team defended a lot better without him on the floor[4].

Robinson played in the zone a lot at Boston College but for whatever reason he would frequently leave his spot on rotations and get caught ball-watching, losing his man. He consistently gave up open looks on the weak-side, primarily corner-threes that would drive pro coaches insane.

I believe Jerome Robinson is a first round pick and view him as one of the premiere scorers in this draft class. Frankly, I would have no problem taking him anywhere between 17 and 30. There is a lot to work on defensively but he’s got the physical profile and work ethic to be expected to improve in those areas.

I’m not sure he’ll ever be an elite player but he’s a guy you want on your offense, whether it’s as starting two-guard or sixth man. His value on offense shouldn’t be underrated and I think he can carve out a nice career for himself, similar to that of J.R. Smith, Allen Crabbe, Will Barton, Jamal Crawford or Lou Williams.

[1] According to sports-reference

[2] DOB: 2/22/1997

[3] According to hoop-math

[4] According to RealGM

Editor’s Note: Evan Wheeler is a regular contributor to ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Denver Sidekickswhere he is also a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @EvzSports

Gary Trent, Jr. Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • One of those prospects who would have been better off going straight from high school to the pros if he had that option.
    • Was the 8th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1] but is now expected to go in the second round.
  • Has accumulated a decent deal of experience for a 19-year-old[2]:
    • 1,253 NCAA minutes at Duke;
    • 276 minutes defending the United States National Team at the 2015 U16 FIBA Americas and 2016 U17 FIBA World Cup;
    • 399 minutes at the 2015 and 2016 adidas Nations and the 2015 Nike Global Challenge;
    • An appearance at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit.
  • Averaged 17.2 points per 40 minutes[3] on 52.7% effective shooting and compiled a 15.9 PER in 37 appearances last season[4].
  • Duke played the 15th-toughest schedule in the country[5] and had a +22.2 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor[6].
  • Six-foot-six wing whose primary role was to space the floor for Marvin Bagley III’s and Wendell Carter, Jr.’s post-ups but had opportunities to take shots on the move coming off screens and sprinting to the ball on dribble hand-offs as well. Also got the eventual isolation from time-to-time.
    • Reasonably high 19.4% usage-rate for someone who was assisted on 68.9% of his field-goals.
  • Acted as a weak-side defender earlier in the season, one not stressed to do much. Did poorly when forced to guard on the ball. Has below average length for someone his height and doesn’t fly to create events.
    • Was part of the problem that led to Duke installing a full time zone defense for the second half of the season, despite the handful of high end prospects that team featured.

OFFENSE

  • Other than weak-side spot-ups, relocating around the wing and drifting to the corner, proved he is able to take shots on the move; coming off screens, sprinting to the ball on dribble hand-offs and slipping to the three-point line as the screener on the pick-and-pop. Sets feet quickly, has a quick trigger and fully extends himself for a high release.
    • Nailed 40.2% of his 241 three-point shots, at a pace of 7.7 such attempts per 40 minutes.
    • Hit 87.6% of his 97 foul shots.
  • Can run a basic side pick-and-roll to keep the offense moving but hasn’t shown much of anything in terms of court vision.
    • Assisted on just 6.7% of Duke’s scores when he was on the floor.
  • In isolation, can go behind the back in a pinch and pivot into a well-coordinated spin to create separation or gain momentum forward to launch step-back jumpers, floaters off jump-stops and running floaters, though isn’t all that efficient at them.
    • Hit 33.6% of his 131 mid-range shots[7].
  • Has difficulty getting all the way to the basket off the dribble. Has a loose handle, isn’t very quick with the ball and can’t bully his way forward through contact.
    • Took just 12.9% of his shots at the rim and earned just 3.1 foul shots per 40 minutes.
  • Isn’t an explosive leaper in traffic but can adjust his body in the air for acrobatic finishes around rim protectors and play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense on backdoor cuts.
    • Converted his 36 shots at the basket at a 65.5% clip, with 17 of his 36 makes assisted.
  • Low turnover player due to role as a gunner.

DEFENSE

  • Too spaced out in isolation defense, lacking the lateral quickness to stay in the front and not using the strength in his 209-pound frame[8] to contain dribble penetration through contact.
  • Dies on picks at the point of attack and doesn’t hustle back to try making plays challenging or contesting from behind.
  • Struggles chasing shooters off screens and flies by on closeouts, exposing the defense behind him.
  • Has a below average six-foot-eight wingspan[9] for someone his height but showed decent instincts jumping passing lanes for deflections and interceptions.
    • Averaged 1.4 steals per 40 minutes.
  • Not always attentive to his responsibilities rotating in to crowd the area near the basket and isn’t much of an asset to help protect the rim.
  • Contributed only marginally in the defensive glass.
    • Collected 10.2% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.
  • Had the third worst defensive rating on the team.

[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 1/18/1999

[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 Duke’s official listing

[9] According to Draft Express

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

Khyri Thomas Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Khyri Thomas was unranked out of Fork Union Military Academy in 2015[1] but has managed to build over his three years at Creighton a résumé worthy of first round consideration in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Through 101 NCAA appearances, the six-foot-three wing has accumulated 2,735 minutes of college ball experience up until this point.

His statistical profile features a dip in a few areas in comparison to last season but it’s still pretty strong across the board for someone with his role, as the 21-year-old[2] has averaged 19.3 points per 40 minutes on 65.5% true shooting this season[3].

Thomas was not responsible for running offense on a regular basis, as his 21.2% usage rate and 14.9% assist rate attest[4]. He did most of his work on the second side, spotting up or coming off screens, though there were also times where he had a more active role in shot creation by taking smaller matchups into the post and running middle pick-and-rolls in emergency situations late in the shot clock.

But Thomas is more highly thought of for his defense. He is Creighton’s primary on-ball defender, consistently tasked with guarding opposing point guards. Thomas is not perfect, as there are times where opponents without particularly impressive athleticism have blown by him at the point of attack, but he puts in the effort to stay attached to his man more often than not in individual defense and has shown he is aware of his responsibilities executing the scheme as well.

In an Era where the biggest stars in the league are mostly wings who handle the ball often, there is an increase in demand for point guard-sized shooters who can supplement these ball handling wings by providing spacing on one end and defending smaller types on the other. So, Thomas will be entering the league at a time where teams are looking for someone with his exact skill-set. As is, ESPN currently ranks him 21st in its top 100.

SECOND SIDE

Thomas’ top skill on offense at this point of his development is his jumper, as he’s proven to have a versatile enough release to take shots on the move as well as on spot-ups.

And Creighton has leveraged his quick trigger in several ways; having him jog around staggered screens from the restricted area to the wing, run off a pindown screen to the top of the key, sprint to the ball for dribble-handoffs and even wheel around pick-and-rolls to confuse zone defenses.

Thomas is obviously no JJ Redick yet but he is the sort of prospect who has a real chance of eventually becoming that level of a shooter down the line. He does excellent shot preparation catching it on the hop, exhibits fluid mechanics consistent enough to withstand the need to stop on a dime and rise up in a split-second against the momentum of his body, gets very good elevation for a high release and has a quick trigger.

And even in instances where the opponent managed to prevent him from shooting off the catch instantly, Thomas has shown a knack for creating enough space to rise up for no-dribble jumpers with a combination of jab-step and rip through move.

He has nailed 40.9% of his 320 three-point shots over his three years at Creighton, at a pace of 4.7 such attempts per 40 minutes, though that rate is up to a more pleasing 5.9 average this season. He’s also hit 72.1% of his 208 foul shots.

Thanks to the prolificacy of his jumper and the effect that it had on Creighton’s offense even when he wasn’t shooting it, Thomas ranks second in offense rating among rotation players[5] in a team that ranks 22nd in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency[6].

ATTACKING CLOSEOUTS

Thomas is not an explosive player off the dribble and when opponents have switched shooting actions at the top, he’s struggled to blow by big men on a straight line. His handle is very rudimentary as of now, especially going to his left, and he hasn’t shown a whole lot of quickness changing directions on the move.

Thomas can get all the way to the basket against similarly sized players maintaining his balance through contact and he’s shown to be an effective finisher against size around the basket. He’s flashed a euro-step in the secondary break to weave his way through traffic and has a six-foot-10 wingspan to over-extend on finger-roll finishes, which he’s proven to be ambidextrous at.

Thomas is not as versatile a finisher as he is a shooter; he can’t finish through contact, isn’t an explosive leaper out of one or two feet, hasn’t shown much flexibility to hang or adjust his body in the air and hasn’t yet developed a knack for drawing contact – averaging just three foul shots per 40 minutes throughout his college career.

But he was pretty efficient in college, converting his 330 shots at the rim at a 67.8% clip, with just 90 of his 224 layups/dunks assisted[7].

SHOT CREATION

Other than moving off the ball, Thomas contributes the most with the shot creation process by taking smaller players into the post every now and again.

He has a strong 210-pound frame in the context of his six-foot-three height and while he doesn’t use it to get deep seals consistently, he offers his teammate enough of a window for the post entry regularly and then goes to work.

His preferred move is turning, facing his man, jab-stepping once or twice, rip-through and then rise up for a no-dribble jumper. He’s been very effective with his sequence, nailing 44.6% of his 83 two-point jumpers this season, with most of his makes coming out of the post, given Thomas hasn’t shown to be much of a pull-up jump-shooter so far.

Thomas has also done well mixing in a power move, backing his defender for a couple of dribbles, demanding a double team and passing out of that double.

His passing is also his best attribute off the dribble, whether it’s handling from the top against a set defense or attacking a scrambling defense out of kickouts or ball reversals, as he’s shown to be very coordinated on shot-fake, drive, drop-off sequences and also impressed with his court vision hitting to the opposite corner when he’s got to the basket but couldn’t finish.

When he’s had to run middle pick-and-rolls late in the shot clock, Thomas has shown a light hesitation dribble to try creating a driving lane for himself and can make bounce passes against soft doubles and passes to the opposite end facing that way – assisting on 14.9% of Creighton’s scores over his 1,009 minutes this season.

He hasn’t yet developed the handle and the ability to play with pace to be asked to create offense for himself or others more often, though. Thomas has a loose handle, doesn’t have much in terms of dribble moves to shake his man off balance in isolation and hasn’t shown the ability to tie up the last line of defense until the last possible split-second before hitting the roll man.

ON BALL DEFENSE

Thomas is a good defender on the ball.

He bends his knees to get in a stance, puts in the effort to stay attached to his man one-on-one, ices ball-screens, works to get over picks at the point of attack and uses his rumored six-foot-10 wingspan to reach around opposing point guards and make plays on the ball in volume – averaging 2.1 steals per 40 minutes this season.

He is not without flaws, though.

There were multiple times where guys like Jalen Brunson and Bryant McIntosh, who won’t exactly rate as elite in terms of first steps in the NBA, just blew by him out in space, which was a bit disconcerting to see. His lateral reaction isn’t always as elite as you’d like to see from someone who will earn a bulk of his money based on his ability to defend the strongest position in the league out on an island.

Thomas also can’t cleanly navigate picks, almost always brushing on the opposing big man, needing his big teammate to prevent the opponent from turning the corner or pulling up right away in order to make it back in front. And despite his strong frame, he doesn’t contain dribble penetration often.

OFF BALL DEFENSE

That said, Thomas does leverage that strength to offer versatility picking up bigger players on switches. Aside his length, he’s proven himself an asset to matchup with bulkier types with his tenacity fronting the post to deny the feed and boxing out.

Operating as a weak-side defender, Thomas stays in a stance off the ball and even faceguards players he deems more challenging. He’s shown to be attentive to his rotation responsibilities crashing inside to pick up the roll man and closing out to the corner when the teammate responsible for that corner helped at the basket.

Thomas has also impressed in plays that demand multiple efforts; stunting-and-recovering, closing out-and-staying balanced as the opponent puts the ball on the floor and sprinting to crowd the area near the basket on desperate scrambles. In these instances, he leveraged his length to make plays in the passing lanes and proved himself willing to draw charges.

Another way Thomas makes a tangible impact is as an active contributor in the glass, exhibiting quick leaping ability off two feet and instincts reacting to the ball – collecting 13.6% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor in college, a nice mark for someone his size.

[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 5/8/1996

[3] According to sports-reference

[4] According to our stats’ database

[5] According to our stats’ database

[6] According to Ken Pomeroy

[7] 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

Trae Young Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

It’s hard to believe Trae Young was only the 23rd-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].

The six-foot-three lead guard is taking college basketball by storm, as he’s averaged 35.5 points per 40 minutes[2] on 62% true-shooting and assisted on 55.6% of Oklahoma’s scores over his 494 minutes[3] so far this season.

Young is an exceptional shooter who has shown a lightning-quick trigger and deep range on pull-ups out of the pick-and-roll. Someone with that skill-set is probably the number one asset for an NBA offense these days, as he is able to stress defenses from the moment he crosses half-court.

And yet, that’s not all the 19-year-old[4] does. Young has also shown the ability to break down the defense off the bounce with one of the most advanced packages of dribble moves you will ever see from someone his age. Though he is not an athletic marvel and has been a subpar finisher on live-ball attempts in college, Young has lived at the foul line and proven himself a very good passer on the move.

It must always be pointed out Young is in the very best position to succeed as well. Oklahoma runs a fast-paced pro-style offense that emphasizes floor spacing. The Sooners have a stretch big in the game for 37 of the 40 minutes and constantly have that player (usually Brady Manek) set picks for Young in order to create an opening at the point of attack.

Oklahoma has also been sensitive to his limitations on the other end. The freshman is a poor individual defender at this point of his development, so the Sooners have hidden him off the ball and switched somewhat aggressively on flare screens at the top in order to always try maintaining Young a weak-side defender, where he’s actually carried his weight executing the scheme and showcasing good instincts making plays in the passing lanes.

SHOOTING

His biggest impact in the game right now is through his pull-up shooting. Young can take and make shots from deep range, as he is able to stop on a dime and elevate in a pinch. He has proven himself able to make step-back and side-step three-pointers in isolation but is most effective taking stop-and-pop three-pointers out of the pick-and-roll.

His shot selection is questionable at times but Young has nailed 38.9% of his 149 three-point shots, with two thirds of his makes unassisted, at a remarkable pace of 12.1 three-point attempts per 40 minutes. He’s also hit 85.1% of his 148 foul shots.

Young doesn’t do much coming off screens, given Oklahoma doesn’t have another ball-handler of his caliber to run offense, so it’s unclear how good he could be working the second side. But he can provide gravity as a floor-spacer as well, as he has 18 assisted three-pointers in 15 appearances.

MOVES

Young has a collection of dribble moves to get into the lane. He is quick but not really a speed demon with the ball, so he relies on his craftiness splitting double teams at the point of attack or getting by his defender in isolation.

Young uses hesitation moves, crossovers, in-and-out dribbles, step-throughs and hang dribbles to work his man out of position and drives with his left hand enough to keep the defense honest too.

FINISHING

The 180-pounder is not an explosive leaper off one foot in traffic and can’t attack the basket with much power. Though he is flexible enough to adjust his body in the air, Young lacks length to score around rim protectors on reverses and extended finishes – converting just 53.7% of his 95 shots at the rim.

But he has shown to be a savvy player seeking contact among the trees and stopping his momentum to draw collisions with defenders trailing him – averaging 12 free throws per 40 minutes.

He also has a righty and a lefty running floater and uses shot fakes to clear his defender out of the way for short lean-in jumpers to finish from the in-between area – having hit on 15 of his 26 two-pointers away from the basket.

PASSING

Young passes ahead to speed up the pace of the game and is willing to give up the ball when the opponent traps him at mid-court. With him at the wheel, Oklahoma ranks third in the country in possessions per game[5].

He can make the skip pass to a stretch big in the pick-and-pop and pass across his body to the opposite end of the court off dribble penetration. He’s has also proven himself able to make wraparound passes in traffic to a shooter in opposite corner or a big man close by. And though he is not that tall, Young can pass over the top as well thanks to very good court vision.

He struggles some against traps and physical defenders but Young is turning it over on just 15.9% of his possessions, which is an acceptable cost for doing business with his 55.1% assist rate and his 38.1% usage rate.

DEFENSE

Young is a poor individual defender as of this point. He hunches rather than bend his knees getting down in a space and doesn’t slide laterally multiple times, often getting easily blown by at the point of attack.

With that as the case, Oklahoma hides him as often as it can and as a team defender, Young does enough within reason. He is often flat-footed off the ball but executes the scheme as a weak-side helper, rotating in to pick up the roll man regularly.

Young is not an explosive leaper and lacks length to contest shots effectively near the basket but can make a positive impact of some sort by simply being another body the opponent has to navigate in a tight space.

He’s also shown some instincts making plays in the passing lanes and pitches in on the defensive glass – averaging 2.4 steals per 40 minutes and collecting 10% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor.

His closeouts sprinting back to the perimeter are poor and he easily gives up straight line drives off the dribble, though.

When he’s had to inevitably defend on the ball, Young has shown a few impressive efforts in pick-and-roll defense here and there. He is attentive enough to ice the ball handler away from the middle of the floor and has four blocks this season coming from behind after fighting over the pick.

Young lacks the physical traits to be an impact player on this end. But Oklahoma has shown it’s very possible to hide him and he has shown he can execute enough in order not to compromise a healthy scheme. His defensive rating ranks third on the team among rotation players[6] and the Sooners rank 38th in the country in adjusted defensive rating[7], while Young has averaged 32.9 minutes per game.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] According to our stats’ database

[4] DOB: 9/19/1998

[5] According to Team Rankings

[6] According to sports-reference

[7] According to kenpom.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

Brady Manek Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Brady Manek was not ranked in ESPN’s top 100 prospects of the 2017 high school class.
  • Through the first 14 games, the six-foot-nine stretch big has averaged 18.3 points per 40 minutes on jaw-dropping 65.6% effective shooting when you consider 60.7% of his shots have come from three-point range.
  • Manek is a sick shooter who has proven himself (in college) to be the most valuable type of gunner: the one able to make shots on the move and who can be deployed around the floor as a valuable chess piece that provides spacing for his teammates wherever he is close by.
    • Other than that, the freshman hasn’t done much of anything else on offense, though.
  • On the other end, Manek isn’t very strong yet, doesn’t impress with his quickness or leaping ability and doesn’t appear to have above average length. But he is nimble enough to rotate in help defense adequately and has flashed good recognition skills making these rotations effectively.
  • The 19-year-old was not ranked in ESPN’s top 100 as of December, 12th.

SHOOTING

  • Manek is an exceptional shooter who does nice preparation on spot-ups catching the ball on the hop, launches his shot from a high point and has a very quick release – not just for someone his size but overall.
  • Oklahoma leverages his quick trigger having him take shots on the move; relocating around the wing on roll-and-replace and in the pick-and-pop or as the back-screener on Spain pick-and-rolls, aside from flashing to the foul line for turnaround jump-shots against the zone.
  • He’s nailed 42.6% of his 68 three-point shots this season, at a pace of 8.1 such attempts per 40 minutes[1].
    • Manek has missed six of his 13 foul shots, which puts his free throw shooting at 53.8% but I think we can chalk that up to small sample.

OTHER AREAS OF OFFENSE

  • Manek doesn’t have an explosive first step, advanced ball skills or a lot of strength in his thin 215-pound frame to maintain his balance through contact and get all the way to the basket or the foul line attacking closeouts.
    • 17 of his 25 makes at the rim have been assisted[2].
    • He’s averaged 1.5 foul shots per 40 minutes.
  • He is also yet to show much of anything in terms of an in-between game putting the ball on the floor and cutting his drives short for stop-and-pop or step-back fade-away jumpers and running floaters or floaters off jump-stops.
    • Just 9.1% of his shots have come from mid-range.
  • Manek hasn’t shown to be able to pass on the move and Oklahoma doesn’t run an offense where he gets the ball in the elbows or the high post.
    • Assisting on just 4.1% of Oklahoma’s scores over his 336 minutes.
  • His role is to spot-up beyond the arc, so he hasn’t gotten the ball in the post and hasn’t crashed the offensive glass.
  • He can’t play above the rim as a target for lobs or hang and adjust his body in the air for acrobatic finishes. He is also not an explosive leaper going up off two feet in traffic but has shown good touch around the basket.
    • Converting his 33 shots within close range at a 75.8% clip.

DEFENSE

  • Manek is fairly agile and combines his mobility with good recognition skills to act as an effective help-defender:
    • Stepping up to the front of the basket as the last line of defense and challenging shots or drawing charges;
      • He doesn’t have particularly impressive lift but has averaged 1.5 blocks per 40 minutes.
    • Making preventing rotations to keep the ball-handler from getting to the rim in the first place;
    • Pinning the ball handler to the baseline in side pick-and-rolls.
  • Manek hunches, rather than bend his knees, getting down in a stance but has shown decent lateral quickness sliding to stay in front of stretch big men taking him off the bounce, though he lacks strength to contain dribble penetration.
  • Despite his mobility, he doesn’t project as an asset to pick up smaller players on switches out on an island or extend pick-and-roll coverage too far beyond the foul line.
  • Manek hasn’t shown an inclination to get physical clearing his area and can get pushed out of his spots at times due to his lack of strength but has been an adequate defensive rebounder so far, attentive to his boxout responsibilities and pursuing the ball off the rim with good enough quickness.
    • He’s collected 18.1% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor.
  • He ranks third on the team in defensive rating among rotation players[3].

[1] According to sports-reference

[2] According to hoop-math

[3] According to sports-reference

READ MORE: Wenyen Gabriel | Mohamed Bamba | Daniel Theis

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