James Wiseman Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Top-ranked prospect in the 2019 high school class[1];
  • Nashville, Tennessee native who played his last two years of high school basketball at Memphis East High School;
  • One of five top 100 recruits joining the University of Memphis, with coach Penny Hardaway landing the top-ranked class in the country[2];
  • Turned 18 last March[3];
  • Listed at seven-foot-one and 240 pounds[4];
    • Measured with a seven-foot-four wingspan at the U16 USA Basketball Training Camp a couple of years ago[5], might be lengthier by now;
  • Profiles as a modern center on offense who could offer vertical and horizontal spacing down the line;
    • Had the freedom to step out to the three-point line at Memphis East and even flashed some versatility to his release;
    • Wasn’t put in the pick-and-roll often in high school but has the combination of leaping ability and standing reach that suggests he will be asked to play above the rim more regularly at higher levels;
    • Tries to make plays off the bounce but hasn’t yet shown the handle and coordination needed to project he will become that dynamic;
    • Underdeveloped shot creator from the post as well, though did show glimpses of appealing court vision;
  • Impressed with his activity as a rim protector and rebounder on defense, making the sort of multiple effort plays that aren’t always a given for players of his stature;
    • Might offer the versatility to pick up smaller players on switches;
  • Currently ranked first on ESPN’s way-too-early 2020 mock draft;

ATHLETICISM ON OFFENSE

  • Can grab-and-go off a defensive rebound and take it end-to-end at times but doesn’t have the handle and the coordination needed to initiate offense in the half-court;
    • Doesn’t always sprint up the court in transition but can change ends in impressive fashion when he does do it;
  • Might need to work on his conditioning – was seen putting his hands on his knees and resting during live-ball play;
  • So-so screener who walks or lumbers into setting picks but does widen his base to try drawing contact and disrupt the on-ball defender, though his teammates often didn’t know how to use him;
    • Hasn’t yet developed or wasn’t asked to deploy more advanced techniques like flipping the screen, re-screening, slipping the pick or setting moving picks;
  • Wasn’t put into pick-and-roll regularly and hasn’t shown how capable he is of diving hard down the lane but can play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense in transition and out of the dunker spot;
    • Has flashed some ability to catch the ball high, keep it high and go up with quickness without ever bringing it down;
    • Has shown glimpses of powerful leaping ability off two feet without needing to load up;
  • Doesn’t play with particularly impressive intensity crashing the offensive glass but is a put-back threat when he goes for it and has a quick second jump to fight for the ball in scrums or play volleyball at the rim;
    • Does get physical trying to push smaller players out of the way when they are tasked with boxing him out on switches;

SKILL LEVEL

  • Lefty shooter who feels more comfortable facing up and sizing up his man in the post;
    • Doesn’t play with a lot of intensity trying to set up a deep seal against similarly sized players and at times lets himself get pushed out to the elbow extended area in order to face up against his man with a little more space to operate;
    • Does get physical trying to get deep position against switches;
  • Hasn’t yet developed a patient approach or a diverse set of moves operating with his back to the basket;
    • Despite his large frame, hasn’t yet developed power moves or the ability to create space via physicality;
    • Hasn’t shown anything in terms of being able to get his defender out of position with skill via head fakes, shot fakes or pivot moves;
    • Mostly looks for quick turnaround hooks or hooks off a jump-stop with his left hand over the defender and is yet to show he can go to his right hand at all;
    • Did show flashes of court vision throwing darts to the opposite corner over the crowd;
  • Spaced out to the three-point line a fair amount and showed some versatility to his release taking shots on the move – out of the pick-and-pop, as the trailer in transition and jogging to the top of the key;
    • Doesn’t have an impressively quick trigger but has a fluid enough release for a seven-footer, launches the ball from the top and gets a good deal of elevation for someone his size, so manages to get his shot off over closeouts somewhat comfortably;
    • Hit eight of 16 three-point attempts in 10 appearances with AAU squad Bluff City Legends at the Nike EYBL Circuit last season[6];
    • Tends to miss short;
    • Uneven foul shooter at this point – touch looks fine but hit just 58.5% of 41 free throw attempts at the Nike EYBL Circuit;
  • Can shot-fake into straight line drives attacking closeouts;
    • Has long strides to get all the way to the basket off the bounce;
    • Can attack the rim with explosiveness elevating off one foot;
    • Flashed decent touch on a lefty finger-roll finisher but hasn’t yet been forced to show the extent of his finishing ability in traffic and most often shows so-so touch on non-dunk finishes;
    • Showed glimpses of impressive passing on the move – on drop-offs off engaging the last line of defense on straight-line drives and darts to the corner on quick catch-and-throw’s in transition;
  • Isolated from the perimeter from time-to-time;
    • Doesn’t have a quick first step out of a standstill;
    • Can’t power through contact against similarly sized players;
    • Can pivot into a not-all-that-fluid spin move on the fly;
    • Tries to go between the legs on occasion, doesn’t have that level of ball skills for advanced dribble moves at this point;
    • Has a loose handle for the most part and isn’t strong with the ball on the go – prone to getting it stripped of him in traffic;

DEFENSE

  • Gets beat down the court by opposing big men in transition at times;
  • More of often than not attentive to his boxout responsibilities and gets physical defending his rebounding area;
    • Collected 22.7% of opponents’ misses in 202 minutes at the Nike EYBL Circuit last season;
  • Active stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line defense, quick leaper off two feet, guards with his arms up near the rim, has a nine-foot-four standing reach[7] to block shots and challenges shots via verticality;
    • Shadows isolations;
    • Impressed with multiple efforts stepping up to discourage a shot attempt by the ball-handler, then turn around and go up in a split-second to block a shot by his man roaming around the dunker spot;
    • Makes some of the mistakes you tend to see on teenagers – sells out for blocks at times, is a bit overaggressive leaving his man to try contesting a shot with a teammate between him and the opponent, and is prone to biting on head fakes;
  • Explosive leaper off one foot coming across the lane in help defense and has the length to make up for being a step late when needed;
  • Dropped back in pick-and-roll defense;
    • Agility out in space wasn’t tested all that much in high school;
    • Gets in a stance defending the two-man game;
    • Can slide laterally and backpedal fluidly to prevent the ball-handler from turning the corner right away off the pick;
    • Kept pace with smaller players from the foul line down to discourage shots at the rim;
  • Proved himself attentive enough to switch on the fly to make up for breakdowns on the defense;
    • Bends his knees to get down in a stance guarding out on an island;
    • Can move side-to-side some to stay in front, though the poor spacing at the high school level didn’t make it that challenging;
    • Reacts quickly to leverage his length into discouraging opponents from trying to attempt a shot with him defending on the ball;
  • Puts in the effort to closeout to the three-point line;
    • Flashed killer speed to run the shooter off the line on occasion;
    • Has the body control to contest a shot without crashing into the shooter, which is impressive considering his size;
    • Can stay balanced and defend on the ball when he does manage to force the shooter into putting the ball on the floor;

[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to ESPN

[3] DOB: 3/31/2001

[4] According to Memphis’ official listing

[5] According to Draft Express

[6] According to RealGM

[7] According to ESPN, during the broadcast of Memphis East’s game against Rancho Christian

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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Precious Achiuwa Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • 17th-ranked prospect in the 2019 high school class[1];
  • Played his senior season of high school at Montverde Academy;
  • One of five top 100 recruits joining Memphis, with coach Penny Hardaway landing the top-ranked class in the country[2];
  • About to turn 20 in September[3];
  • Six-foot-nine combo forward with the combination of frame (225 pounds[4]) and length (six-foot-11 wingspan[5]) the NBA looks for in its big wings from a physical profile-standpoint;
  • Got some chances to go at his man one-on-one on offense and was relied to show his versatility on occasion on defense but had a weakside role for the most part on both ends at Montverde Academy;
  • Has shown glimpses of developing perimeter skills but still mostly does best when he is able to leverage his athleticism in transition, on cuts and via straight line drives against a scrambling defense;
  • Puts in decent effort on defense for a teenager – rotates regularly, has quick leaping ability to make some plays at the rim, rebounds, gets in a stance and moves his feet in isolation, contests shots, and has shown flashes of being able to switch onto smaller players.

OFFENSE

  • Has good ball skills to grab-and-go off a defensive rebound – can take it end-to-end or slow transition into an isolation in the half-court, yet to shown much in terms of triggering offense or running a middle high pick-and-roll;
  • Fast and fluid sprinting without the ball in the open court and can play above the rim as a target for lobs in transition;
  • Has a lot of room to develop in terms of handle and coordination through contact but has shown some decent moves to create his own shot one-on-one;
    • Can pivot into a well-coordinated spin move against soft defense;
    • Has shown a little bit of an in-and-out dribble to attempt shaking his defender off balance and can crossover into his pull-up;
  • Hasn’t yet developed a lot of dexterity pulling up in rhythm but can take a smooth-looking stop-and-pop pull-up if left totally uncontested;
  • Has only shown iffy touch on floaters off 1-2 footwork;
  • Can attack the basket with good balance and explosiveness on straight line drives against a scrambling defense;
    • Can go up with power off one foot off momentum;
    • Is flexible enough to adjust his body in the air;
    • Can finish through contact;
    • Hasn’t yet shown much in terms of a versatile finishing package in traffic;
  • Hasn’t yet developed a patient approach in the post;
    • Doesn’t often play with enough intensity to try setting a deep seal;
    • Looks mostly for quick hooks with his inside hand;
  • Spaced out to the three-point line a fair amount – can make a shot with time and space to go through his motion but still a hesitant shooter for the most part;
    • Slow release, not yet consistently fluid;
    • Decent elevation but low release out in front;
    • Touch needs to improve;
    • Tends to miss short;
    • Missed 14 of his 18 three-point shots and hit just 53.7% of his 54 free throws in eight appearances with AAU squad New Heights at the Under Armour Association last season[6];
  • Flirted with taking some shots on the move – flashing to the foul line and even sprinting off a pindown for a three-pointer – but doesn’t yet have enough fluidity in his release for those types of shots;
  • Showed flashes of instinctive cutting and figures to be an asset playing above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense.
    • Should be used as a diver in pick-and-roll more often but wasn’t at Monteverde and probably won’t be at Memphis, as he figures to share the court with James Wiseman regularly and it’s really rare to see 1-4 pick-and-roll in college basketball;
  • Has shown to be a willing passer operating from inside zones but is yet to show particularly impressive court vision at this point of his development.

DEFENSE

  • Hustles back in transition and can pick up the occasional chase-down block;
  • Was active rotating off the weakside to make plays at the basket;
    • Quick leaper off two feet to challenge shots via verticality;
    • Averaged 3.5 blocks per 40 minutes in eight appearances at the Under Armour Association;
    • Prone to biting on shot fakes from time-to-time;
  • Helps off the strongside just as aggressively – unclear if given the freedom to do it, considering the poor level of outside shooting at the high school level, or if he was in fact breaking basic help defense rules;
  • Hasn’t yet developed the feel for using his length to help clog driving lanes;
  • Doesn’t fly around to create events in the passing lanes;
  • Bends his knees to get down in a stance defending on the ball, has a few lateral slides in him to stay in front of similarly sized players in isolation and puts in the effort to contest pull-ups;
    • Has shown impressive quickness contesting a pull-up and then chasing after a long rebound;
  • Picked up some smaller players on switches on a few occasions – can keep pace with them on straight line drives out in space and puts in the work to go over picks at the point of attack but needs to improve his hustle in pursuit chasing them to bother or discourage shots from behind;
    • Could maybe be an option to crossmatch onto smaller players for entire possessions?
  • Struggles negotiating multiple picks chasing shooters around the floor;
  • Hustles on closeouts – contests catch-and-shoot’s effectively thanks to his length but is yet to show killer speed running the shooter off the line consistently;
  • Can become more physical but is attentive enough to his boxout responsibilities and has shown decent quickness chasing the ball off the rim at the high school and AAU levels;
    • Collected 23.1% of opponents’ misses in his 194 minutes at the Under Armour Association last season.

[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to ESPN

[3] DOB: 9/19/1999

[4] According to Memphis’ official listing

[5] According to Draft Express

[6] 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

Yves Pons Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Yves Pons is currently the ninth-ranked prospect of European citizenship, among those born in 1999[1].

In his two years at Tennessee, the six-foot-six defensive specialist has been a low-end rotation player – logging just 535 minutes in his 59 NCAA appearances.

Pons has a chiseled 209-pound frame[2] and plays hard on defense. He’s been deployed against opponents of all sizes from time-to-time, profiling as a big wing who offers a lot of versatility in terms of crossmatching and switching.

But it’s somewhat disappointing that a player with his physical profile and hustle hasn’t been able to fly around and create events a lot more regularly, as he posted an 8.6 PER last season[3].

On the other end, the 20-year-old[4] did very little this past year – logging 11.1% usage. He most often spot-up in the corner in the half-court, though there were flashes of smart off ball movement and effectiveness crashing the offensive glass.

DEFENDING SMALLER TYPES

Pons bends his knees to get down in a stance and can slide laterally with a lot of ease for someone with his bulk.

He is a bit too big to get skinny cleanly over well set picks but puts in the effort to go over ball-screens consistently at the point of attack and hustles in pursuit to try bothering or discouraging shots or passes from behind.

The Frenchman has a couple of lateral slides in him to stay attached in one-on-one defense and puts in the effort to contest pull-ups but doesn’t leverage his strength to chest up and contain dribble penetration through contact.

He is also not fast enough to chase speedsters as they turn on the jets – getting blown by Zach Norvell, Jr. and Lagerald Vick in the games against Gonzaga and Kansas last season – and it’s unclear how well he could hold up against shiftier types out on an island.

DEFENDING BIGGER TYPES

The Port-au-Prince native has shown flashes of being able to play stout post defense against bulkier players and is physical with his boxouts. He can get up off two feet quickly to chase the ball off the rim in one-on-one battles but doesn’t play with enough intensity to rebound in a crowd consistently – collecting just 11.3% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season.

Pons impressed with his body control in drop-back pick-and-roll defense – backpedaling and sliding laterally around the foul line to prevent the ball-handler from turning the corner right away off the pick, while putting a hand on the roll man to impede him from getting past him completely.

OFF BALL DEFENSE

The INSEP product stays in a stance off the ball and has shown to be an active help defender, though not one who makes a difference all that regularly.

Pons makes some rotations off the weakside to help protect the rim and proved himself attentive to his responsibilities stepping up to the front of the basket as the last line of defense.

He most often absorbs contact and challenges shots via verticality but can be a high leaper off two feet with a split-second to load up – averaging 1.45 blocks per 40 minutes last season, an appealing mark for a wing.

Pons can make a play in the passing lanes every once in a while – mostly in zone defense and in help-the-helper situations – but doesn’t leverage his length nearly as often as expected, he picked up just 12 steals in all of his college career.

He is prone to losing his man off the ball from time-to-time but knows how to position himself to guard two players on the weakside and puts in good effort on closeouts. Pons hasn’t shown killer speed to run shooters off the line regularly but can contest catch-and-shoot’s effectively thanks to his standing reach and quick leaping ability.

OFFENSE

He mostly spaced out to the corner in the half-court but can’t offer real gravity at this point of his development.

The lefty has a somewhat fluid and compact release, launching the ball from out in front, but often misses to the side and struggles with touch as well – nailing just seven of his 25 three-point shots and six of his 15 free throw attempts last season.

Pons flashed some ability to create a pull-up off a handoff into a side pick-and-roll action but is underdeveloped as a threat off the dribble. He can make a stop-and-pop jumper from the foul line area if left totally uncontested but generally doesn’t feel comfortable pulling up off the bounce and hasn’t shown any sort of a floater – taking just seven attempts from midrange last season.

Pons doesn’t have a quick first step, has a loose handle and struggles to maintain his balance through contact, despite his well-built frame – turning the ball over on 24.1% of his possessions, a sky-high rate for someone with his comically low usage.

The most he contributes on offense at this point of his development is by making the extra pass around the horn to keep the offense humming, clearing the strongside corner when he reads his teammates setting up a post-up and cutting diagonally to offer a clearer passing lane for a teammate doubled in the post.

Pons is also an occasional tip-dunk and put-back threat but his success rate in terms of generating second chance opportunities in relation to the times he crashes the offensive glass probably doesn’t justify his aggressiveness, as he collected just 5% of Tennessee’s misses when he was on the floor last season.


[1] According to Eurospects

[2] According to Tenneesee’s official listing

[3] According to RealGM

[4] DOB: 5/7/1999

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

Usman Garuba Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Usman Garuba is currently the top-ranked prospect in Europe, among those born in 2002[1].

The 17-year-old[2] helped Spain reach the championship game of the 2018 FIBA U18 European Championships last summer, playing against opponents on average two years older than him, then went on to excel with Real Madrid’s junior squad, which won the Adidas Next Generation Tournament and the U18 Spanish League in dominant fashion, blowing up Mega Bemax by 19 and arch-rivals Barcelona by 24 in the respective championship games.

To top it all, he has already logged his first ACB minutes in a couple of appearances last season.

Instead of playing up a level once again this summer, Garuba was selected for the Spanish National Team that will play the U18 European Championships in Volos later this month rather than the one that will play the U20 European Championships in Tel Aviv later this week.

Given his physical development and athletic ability at his age, the Madrid native profiles as a catch-and-score finisher but has also shown flashes of very appealing skill – spacing out to the three-point line from time-to-time and impressing with his court vision, not just scanning the floor from the post but on the move as well.

On the other end, Garuba can protect the rim as a constant shot blocking threat, dominates the glass with his edge in athleticism and has crossmatched onto wings for stretches within his age group.

INTERIOR OFFENSE

Garuba is underdeveloped as a screener but has soft hands to catch the ball on the move and is an explosive leaper off two feet to play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense.

He is adept at leveraging his 220-pound frame to carve up space to go up strong in a crowd on catches below the rim and has shown a good touch on non-dunk finishes, though he is surprisingly not yet a powerful finisher through contact.

Garuba is well-coordinated for someone with his frame and can catch the ball around the foul line, dribble for balance and attack the basket on short drives. He can go up strong off one foot if left unchallenged but has also shown impressive court vision on the move to jump-stop and deliver drop-offs against a rim protector stepping up between him and the basket.

Garuba even flashed a sleek move off the bounce where he leverages his body control to stop on a dime, fake a spin move one way and then take a fadeaway jumper turning the other way.

He often shared the floor with another center in the lineup, which forced him to space out to three-point line at times, but Garuba was still very effective crashing the offensive glass. He is a quick leaper chasing the ball off the rim and lengthy enough to rebound outside of his area – averaging 4.5 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes in eight appearances at the Adidas Next Generation Tournament[3].

POST OFFENSE

Garuba doesn’t play with enough force trying to establish a deep seal in the post and was often pushed to the mid-post area.

He hasn’t shown much in terms of power moves but has light feet, flashing some well-coordinated pivot moves, besides basic turnaround hooks with his right hand.

Garuba has proven himself an appealing passer with his back to the basket, pivoting to pass on post-to-post combinations and hitting shooters on the opposite wing against hard double teams.

He was also deployed to facilitate offense on high-low actions flashing to the foul line – assisting on 20.4% of Real Madrid’s scores in his 166 minutes at the ANGT.

Garuba seemed more comfortable facing up from the high post. He has a quick first step off a rip-through move and can take it to the basket on straight-line drives, though his handle is still pretty loose at this point of his development and he didn’t seem as smooth when forced to change directions – averaging 2.8 turnovers per 40 minutes in Munich and Vitoria-Gasteiz.

He is mostly a wrecking ball driver at this point – which earned him 6.7 foul shots per 40 minutes on average – and hasn’t been tested on the versatility of his finishing package for the most part.

PERIMETER OFFENSE

Garuba spaced out to three-point range some but took just nine attempts from such range at the AGNT.

He is a hesitant shooter who doesn’t pull the trigger quickly off the catch, despite the fact he has proven himself a capable open shot shooter, even on some attempts out of the pick-and-pop when left totally unchallenged.

Garuba has a slow release and gets little elevation off the ground. He launches it from the top but gets little arc in his shot and his free throw percentages over the last three years puts into doubt if he has enough natural touch to develop into a legit outside shooter over time.

INTERIOR DEFENSE

Garuba is an explosive leaper off two feet to block shots stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense, though his timing was a bit off at times.

He is as capable coming across the lane off the weakside as well and has the length to make up for it when he is a step late.

Garuba has even shown he can block shots on the ball while keeping pace from the foul line down with ball-handlers attacking downhill in pick-and-roll.

He was hit-and-miss in terms of diligence with his boxouts and only showed so-so physicality when he did put a body on whoever was close by, though it hasn’t mattered much at the junior level, considering he’s been a dominant defensive rebounder in every event he’s participated so far.

POST DEFENSE

Garuba doesn’t put much focus into forcing the opponent further away from the basket and doesn’t play with much energy trying to deny easy post entries but can chest up and hold his ground in the low block.

He is not easily moved on power moves and his standing reach makes it tough to shoot over him when he is not biting on shot-fakes and head-fakes, which he is prone to doing from time-to-time.

PERIMETER DEFENSE

Garuba was often asked to hedge against the pick-and-roll. He doesn’t influence the ball handler a whole lot but is nimble enough to blitz outside the three-point line and recover to the roll man in a timely manner.

With another center always on the floor with him, Garuba had to check perimeter-oriented big men regularly. He struggles to navigate pindown screens and is only so-so at chasing more mobile types around the floor but contests catch-and-shoot’s effectively thanks to his length, can run the shooter off the line on hard closeouts and has the body control to stay balanced against straight line drives.

In the game against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Munich qualifier of the ANGT, which he was named MVP of, Garuba was asked to crossmatch onto Deni Avdija for stretches and really impressed with his on-ball defense way out in space.

He bends his knees some but mostly hunches to get down in a stance. Garuba showed tremendous side-to-side agility to stay in front one-on-one, chests up to contain dribble penetration through contact and uses his length to reach in for strips of the ball.

He even put in the work to try going over picks at the point of attack, though he was only so-so at hustling in pursuit to discourage or contest shots from behind.


[1] According to Eurospects

[2] DOB: 3/9/2002

[3] 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

Vincent Poirier Scouting Report

CONTEXT

The Athletic’s Shams Charania first reported on July, 2nd that Boston reached an agreement with Vincent Poirier on a two-year deal.

The 25-year-old[1] Frenchman transfers to the NBA after two seasons with Laboral Kutxa Baskonia, where he accumulated 3,161 minutes of high-level experience in the Euroleague and the Spanish ACB as a rotation player on a team that made the playoffs in both leagues each year.

Most recently, Poirier averaged 18 points per 40 minutes on 63.8% true shooting in 73 appearances last season and ranked fifth in the Euroleague in PER, at 23.1[2].

The six-foot-11 center is a good scorer and capable passer out of the pick-and-roll, while also hustling to create second-chance opportunities in volume crashing the offensive glass when away from the primary action.

On the other end, he is a so-so pick-and-roll defender who is also uneven holding his ground in the post but leverages his athletic ability to create events as a rim protector and rebounder.

PICK&ROLL OFFENSE

Poirier is a versatile screener who can read the defenders setting up to defend the two-man action very well.

He sprints to screen and, though he doesn’t always widen his base, Poirier seeks to make hard contact when he is looking to disrupt the on-ball defender. He is also active flipping the screen or re-screening at the point of attack in an attempt to create space for the ball-handler to get downhill and very savvy slipping the screen against inattentive defenders.

The INSEP product is also a versatile scorer on his rolls to the basket.

He can play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense and is a fairly quick leaper off two feet who doesn’t need to go up all that high to dunk thanks his tall standing reach, even if he hasn’t shown the same explosiveness going up in a crowd without time or space to load up.

Besides catch-and-dunks, he is a good finisher at rim level as well – showing soft hands to catch the ball on the move, able to finish through contact with his chiseled 235-pound frame and showcasing good touch on non-dunk extended finishes with either hand.

On catches a bit further away from the basket, Poirier is not a threat to make quick jumpers out of the pick-and-pop but is coordinated enough to catch the ball around the foul line, dribble for balance and attack the basket with explosiveness off one foot off momentum on short straight-line drives.

He has also flashed the ability to roll into quick post-ups. Poirier doesn’t leverage his strength into carving up space to go up with power all that often but shows good touch on quick turnaround hooks with either hand.

He is even a capable (if unspectacular) passer on kickouts out of the short roll, able to take advantage of the corner defender selling out to challenge him in the lane – assisting on 8.4% of Baskonia’s scores when he was on the floor last season.

OTHER AREAS OF OFFENSE

The Clamart native has only a basic package operating with his back to the basket, having not shown much in terms of being able to trick his defender out of position with head fakes, shot fakes and pivot moves or finding shooters and cutters.

He is a capable open shot shooter from mid-range, if left totally uncontested. Poirier has a slow release and is a near-standstill shooter but can get a good arc on his shot when he is able to go through his motion, though his touch is only so-so as his 69.9% foul shooting on 592 free throws over the last two seasons can attest.

He is very active crashing the offensive glass, though, hustling to set inside position and showcasing a quick second jump to fight for tip-ins or 50-50 balls – collecting 15% of Baskonia’s misses when he was on the floor last season.

PICK&ROLL DEFENSE

Poirier was asked to hedge a lot last season and didn’t do that great a job at it. He is coordinated and nimble enough to venture out to the three-point line and recover to his man in a timely manner but doesn’t influence ball-handlers all the well.

When asked to drop-back, Poirier flashed good positioning clogging driving lanes to prevent the ball-handler from turning the corner right away off the screen and has light feet to backpedal fluidly but let the roll man get behind him way too often.

He is athletic and fairly agile for someone his size but it’s unclear if he is suited to pick up smaller players on switches.

OTHER AREAS OF DEFENSE

Poirier is attentive to and proactive with his responsibilities stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense. He is a quick leaper off two feet who mostly challenges via verticality but can block a shot thanks to his tall standing reach – averaging 1.75 blocks per 40 minutes over the last two seasons.

Despite his frame, Poirier was a surprisingly uneven defender in the post, so-so at holding his ground, though active his hands to try making plays on the ball from time-to-time – averaging 1.2 steals per 40 minutes these last two years.

He is a very good rebounder, diligent and physical with his boxouts, while also showing the quickness and instincts needed to chase the ball of the rim – collecting 23.8% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season and 25% of them the year before.

There is a cost to his energy, intensity and physicality, though. Poirier is quite foul prone, as his constant involvement in scrums battling for rebounds on both ends, his aggressiveness reaching in for the ball in post defense and his challenges via verticality in rim protection led to him averaging 5.2 personal fouls per 40 minutes over these last two seasons.


[1] DOB: 10/17/1993

[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

Amar Sylla Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Amar Sylla is currently the fourth-ranked prospect playing in Europe among those born in 2001[1].

The six-foot-nine center is coming off a very productive year with Real Madrid’s junior team, as a rotation player on the squad that won the Adidas Next Generation and the Spanish League U18.

Los Blancos didn’t lose a single game in either tournament and blew out Mega Bemax and Barcelona in both title games – by 19 and 24 points, respectively.

Sylla acted as an energy big on offense whose primary responsibilities were to screen, finish drop-offs at the dunker spot and crash the offensive glass, though he flashed glimpses of appealing skill on a few jumpers and passes out of the short roll.

On the other end, the 17-year-old[2] impressed with his mobility blitzing pick-and-rolls high at the three-point line and his quick leaping ability as a rim protector. He was a dominant rebounder within his age group as well.

ESPN has him ranked 23rd in its way-too-early 2020 mock draft and Sylla has an opportunity to gain even more notoriety this offseason at the FIBA U19 World Championships in Crete.

PICK-AND-ROLL DEFENSE

Sylla is agile and well-coordinated for someone his height, which makes him an asset to defend the pick-and-roll above the foul line.

He is very fluid sliding laterally to prevent ball-handlers from turning the corner on one speed and puts in the effort to contest pull-up jumpers effectively, even at the three-point line.

The Senegalese is just as nimble dropping back – backpedaling to stop the ball clogging driving lanes or keeping pace with the ball-handler from the foul line down. He is active with his hands trying to reach around for strips and has proven himself able to block shots defending on the ball.

Sylla projects as an option to pick up smaller players on switches from time-to-time. At least big wings, as he was asked to crossmatch onto Deni Avdija for stretches in the game against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Munich qualifier of the Adidas Next Generation and held up well enough.

Sylla bends his knees to get down in a stance, has a couple of lateral slides in him to stay in front out in space and puts in the effort to contest pull-ups.

INTERIOR DEFENSE

The Dakar native is an active help defender rotating off the weakside, stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense and shadowing post-ups. He is a quick leaper and a high leaper off two feet, while also leveraging his eight-foot-10 standing reach[3] to wall off the basket – blocking 25 shots in 171 minutes in the Adidas Next Generation[4]. When he is well positioned, it’s tough for players in his age group to finish over him.

Sylla struggles to hold his ground in the post due to his thin 190-pound frame[5] in the context of his six-foot-nine height and lack of general physicality but can act as a shot blocking threat even after being bumped back.

He is not consistently diligent to his boxout responsibilities but has very quick leaping ability to chase the ball off the rim and impressed with his motor – collecting 23.5% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor in the Adidas Next Generation while sharing about half of his minutes with Usman Garuba.

OFFENSE

Despite his thin frame, Sylla is a good screener who widens his base to draw contact. He can finish lobs sneaking behind the defense on longer rolls and out of the dunker spot but hasn’t yet shown to be an explosive leaper going up with power in traffic. In more than a few instances, Sylla caught the ball high and brought it down to gather momentum before going back up – seeming to be the sort of leaper who needs to load up to go up with explosiveness.

He plays with the sort of intensity needed to crash the offensive glass relentlessly and has a seven-foot-two wingspan to rebound outside of his area – collecting 14.8% of Real Madrid’s misses when he was on the floor in the Adidas Next Generation. But his second jump left something to be desired and his touch on non-dunk finishes is only so-so.

Sylla flashed some versatility out of the pick-and-roll in terms of skill: a pick-and-pop jumper from mid-range and a drop-off pass out of the short roll.

The lefty is a near-standstill shooter, getting little elevation off the ground. He also needs time to go through his motion and has a low release out in front. But Sylla did nail 22 of his 26 free throws in the Adidas Next Generation, suggesting the touch and base mechanics for him to develop into an outside shooting threat in the future is in place. Real Madrid even had him jogging to the foul line for quick catch-and-shoot jumpers off a pindown screen every once in a while.

He is unable to play with much force trying to establish deep position and hasn’t yet developed many resources operating out of the post. Sylla flashed a no-dribble face-up jumper and a turnaround jumper turning off the right shoulder but has no power moves, no right hand, no fakes and lacks a feel for handling double teams well. He also struggles to maintain his balance and his momentum forward through contact on face-up drives.

Sylla is a willing passer when he can make basic reads and the opponent doubling him hard can’t reach the ball but struggles with his deliveries – turning the ball over on 15% of his possessions at the Adidas Next Generation, a high mark for someone with his 20.8% usage-rate.


[1] According to Eurospects

[2] DOB: 10/1/2001

[3] According to Eurospects

[4] According to RealGM

[5] According to Real Madrid’s official listing

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

Filip Petrusev Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Filip Petrusev was not expected to play much in his first year at Gonzaga. Ranked 56th in the 2018 high school class[1], there was probably a chance he’d be convinced to redshirt upon his arrival in Spokane but Jacob Larsen’s unexpected departure from the team to focus on academics opened the need for the six-foot-11 center to make the active roster right away.

As Killian Tillie missed the first half of the season due to a hip injury, Petrusev was pushed into the rotation until the end of December, when from that point he went on to average single digit minutes.

Nonetheless, his 366 minutes in 32 appearances were very productive, as the Serbian teenager posted a 23.5 PER and averaged 1.71 points per shot on 23.6% usage rate[2].

By age 19[3], Petrusev has already experienced an impressive amount of diverse basketball at various levels. Raised in the Crvena Zvezda youth system, the Belgrade native signed with Saski Baskonia in 2014. After a couple of years in Spain, he moved to Connecticut for a season with Avon Old Farms before being recruited to play his senior year at Montverde Academy.

On top of it, Petrusev has accumulated 451 FIBA minutes with the Serbian National Team in youth competitions, leading his age group to back-to-back titles in the FIBA U18 European Championships in 2017 and 2018. He’ll gain more experience this summer as well, as part of the squad that will play the 2019 FIBA U19 World Championships starting in a couple of days.

Petrusev profiles as a modern center who can finish in traffic on rolls to the rim, step outside the arc to credibly space the floor and protect the lane with position defense. But for now, he is not a particularly impressive athlete, must continue working to improve the quickness of his release and needs to learn how to defend without fouling.

INTERIOR OFFENSE

Petrusev is a good screener who widens his base and seeks to draw contact to disrupt the on-ball defender. He is not an explosive leaper off two feet without time and space to load up before going up with power, so he is not an option to play above the rim diving down the lane in a crowd.

But he has good hands to catch the ball on the move, can finish through contact and has flashed a few resources to deal with an opponent parked between him and the basket – head fake off a jump-stop to bait the defender into leaving his feet, some flexibility to adjust his body in the air, use of his off hand to protect the ball from shot block attempts and decent touch on lefty finishes.

On straight catch-and-finishes, Petrusev proved to have good touch on layups and can finish lobs sneaking behind the defense at the dunker spot – converting 77.4% of his 62 attempts at the rim last season[4].

In part because of his role spacing out to three-point line at times but also because he didn’t play with the sort of energy needed to crash the offensive glass, Petrsuev collected just 7.6% of Gonzaga’s misses when he was on the floor. His seven-foot wingspan[5] is not an asset to help him rebound outside of his area as well.

His touches in the post against high level competition were too limited to get a proper feel for.

PERIMTER OFFENSE

Petrusev spaced out to the three-point line a decent amount for a center – averaging 3.3 attempts per 40 minutes.

Considering his time at Montverde as well, he’s shown to have some versatility to his release for someone with his size and is a capable open shot shooter off light movement – jogging to the top of key off setting a screen around the elbow, joining the offense late as the trailer in transition and on slower-developing pick-and-pop’s.

Petrusev gets good elevation for a near seven-footer and fully extends himself for a high release, often getting a good arc in his shot, but takes some time to go through his long motion – leading to 21 misses in 30 three-point attempts in 2018-2019.

On the other hand, his 85.3% foul shooting on 75 free throws does offer some expectation that the touch and standstill mechanics are there as a good enough base for him to get his percentage up to average standards in the near future.

He is well coordinated putting the ball on the floor and can take it to the basket on straight line drives but doesn’t have any explosiveness off the dribble and hasn’t shown the athleticism to go up strong off one foot in traffic.

Petrusev also flashed a decent-looking rhythm one-dribble pull-up off an escape dribble from time-to-time but needs to be uncontested to nail such looks as well.

INTERIOR DEFENSE

Petrusev showed glimpses of high-level rim protection, not just on hard rotations off the weak-side and stepping up to the front of the basket as the last line of defense but on preventive rotations that took away clear paths to the goal and shadowing post-ups as well.

He is not a quick leaper off two feet and averaged just 1.6 blocks per 40 minutes last season but was active and challenged a lot of shots via verticality. That said, Petrusev fouled a ton as well – averaging 5.4 personal fouls per 40 minutes.

He was attentive to his boxout responsibilities but didn’t play with a lot of toughness establishing a big rebounding area and didn’t impress with his quickness chasing the ball off the rim – collecting just 17.7% of opponents’ misses when he was in the game.

PERIMETER DEFENSE

Petrusev was asked to defend the pick-and-roll a couple of different ways and proved capable of executing the scheme.

He is well coordinated dropping back to prioritize interior defense and has decent lateral movement to discourage ball handlers from turning the corner off the pick on one speed, though he didn’t show anything particularly impressive in terms of getting his hands in the passing lanes or contesting pull-ups effectively.

Petrusev was also asked to hedge-and-recover a fair amount and was nimble enough to influence the ball-handler and come back to his man in a timely manner.

He can bend his knees to get down in a stance against perimeter big men and can shuffle his feet to stay in front one-on-one but doesn’t leverage his strength to chest up and contain dribble penetration through contact.

Petrusev is not suited to defend players who can come off screens for their catches and his closeouts tend to be ineffective, as he is not quick enough to run the shooter off his shot consistently.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to RealGM

[3] DOB: 4/15/2000

[4] According to hoop-math

[5] 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