Robert Williams, III Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Robert Williams, III was the 50th-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class.

Despite an up-and-down first year at Texas A&M, he was expected to go one-and-done after compiling a pretty good statistical profile and standing out from a physical-standpoint but surprised many by opting to return for a second season.

I think it’s fair to say that decision didn’t really pay off, though it didn’t backfire either.

Williams is currently expected to be drafted around the same range he would have been last year (late lottery), with some chance that he might drop after skipping the 2018 NBA Combine and starting his workout tour late in the process.

In his two years at Texas A&M, the 20-year-old accumulated 1,570 minutes of college basketball experience. But other than that, he has just 45 minutes in the 2017 adidas Nations under his belt.

Most recently, the six-foot-10 hyper athletic big man averaged 16.2 points per 40 minutes on 63.2% effective shooting and compiled a 24.1 PER in 30 appearances last season.

Texas A&M played the fourth-toughest schedule in the country and had a +22.2 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor – which led the team.

His positive impact on a team that played tough competition is impressive when you consider he played out of position on defense and wasn’t given many chances to max out his potential on offense due to the fact he logged most of his minutes alongside Tyler Davis, a pure center.

Defensively, that offered him a chance to guard a little further away from the basket, which is how he figures to be deployed in the switch-happy NBA, at least in the near future. But on the other end, Williams didn’t have many opportunities and space to roll to the basket out of the pick-and-roll – a big problem, given he projects as a catch-and-score finisher in the pros.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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Zhaire Smith Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Zhaire Smith was only the 194th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class and had no other meaningful experience prior to his time in college basketball but his one year at Texas Tech was enough for him to stand out.

In his 1,051 NCAA minutes, the 19-year-old averaged 15.9 points per 40 minutes on 61.8% true shooting and compiled a 21.3 PER, as a key cog on the team that made it to the Elite Eight before falling to eventual champion Villanova.

Texas Tech played the 19th-toughest schedule in the country and had a +34.6 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor.

Smith is an unorthodox prospect. His role on offense was as a combo forward. He spaced out to the three-point line some but not a lot, as most of his work was done screening and leveraging his athleticism as a threat near the basket on cuts, rolls, roaming around the baseline at the dunker spot and crashing the offensive glass.

On the other end, Smith also impressed the most as an interior defender, not only leveraging his explosiveness as a rim protector but also showing terrific awareness making an impact in the hidden areas of the game.

The problem, if you choose to see it as one, is that Smith was measured at six-foot-four, 198 pounds at the 2018 NBA Combine – a frame rarely associated with players suited to do things more commonly done by big men. As a result, he might spend a chunk of his career being miscast as a pure perimeter player, which he doesn’t figure to be as good at in the immediate future due to his lack of handle and the low volume of three-point shots he took in college.

Teams like Golden State, Brooklyn and Houston have reaped the benefits of playing guys like Draymond Green, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and PJ Tucker at center for portions of the game but we are yet to see other teams be as brave in terms of discounting height as an arbitrary need to view someone as a big man.

However, those players cited above are generally taller, longer and thicker than Smith, who would represent a longer leap of faith for a coach to feel comfortable having him log most of his minutes as an interior player, especially on defense.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

Udoka Azubuike Scouting Report

CONTEXT

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

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

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

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

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

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

OFFENSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEFENSE

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

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

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

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

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

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


[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 9/17/1999

[3] According to RealGM

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to RealGM

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to the measurements at the 2018 Combine

[9] According to hoop-math

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Brandon McCoy Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Brandon McCoy was the 16th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].

His one year at UNLV didn’t do well for the perception of him, though. He put together a reasonably impressive statistical profile but didn’t really elevate the level of that team, as the coaching staff struggled to leverage his presence, despite the fact the conference was fairly weak.

The seven-foot center averaged 23.6 points per 40 minutes[2] on 59% true shooting and compiled a 23.8 PER in 33 appearances[3]. But UNLV won just 20 of its 33 games and missed the NCAA Tournament. It had a +13.5 pace-adjusted point differential with him in the lineup[4] but played only the 122nd-toughest schedule in the country[5].

McCoy got most of his offense in the low post, though he also got a few touches flashing to the foul line to catch the ball in face-up position and roaming around the baseline at the dunker spot. Disappointingly, there was very little in pick-and-roll. In instances where he set high ball-screens, McCoy mostly rolled into post position or floated around the perimeter for a catch-and-shoot jumper.

On the other end, he was an effective rim protector when well positioned and a dominant defensive rebounder but didn’t show much in terms of effort and activity when forced to guard out in the perimeter, which helps explain why someone with his measurements, athleticism and production is likely to be drafted in the second round.

The soon-to-be 20-year[6] logged 949 NCAA minutes, after previously accumulating 117 minutes with the United States National Team at the 2017 U19 FIBA World Cup and 180 minutes at the 2015 adidas Nations and Nike Global Challenge.

OFFENSE

McCoy was the go-to option – logging 27.5% usage rate. He didn’t play with a lot of force trying to establish deep position but relied on his large frame to get good enough seals consistently.

UNLV didn’t space the floor very well around him, so opponents often crowded the lane shadowing his post-ups and threw hard doubles at him more often than you’re used to seeing these days. He struggled with these, having not yet developed dexterity using escape dribbles to buy room and pass it out – averaging 3.7 turnovers per 40 minutes.

McCoy flashed some court vision making crosscourt passes with his back to the basket but can’t be considered a reliable shot creator for others at this point – assisting on just 3.5% of UNLV’s scores when he was on the floor.

Against single coverage, he dominated, and not just versus Mountain West competition but doing very well in the game against Arizona too.

McCoy does not have an advanced post game, not showing much in terms of being able to work his man out of position with pivot moves, shot fakes and head fakes. He also does not seem to have the lightest of feet.

But though he isn’t really a bully, McCoy relied for the most part on general size and strength to bump his man back and create space for simple hooks or to go up strong off two feet. He has some good touch on non-dunk finishes, even showing a scoop layup to attempt finishing around length, but nothing all that special – converting his 200 attempts at the rim at a 67.7% clip[7], with almost a third of them unassisted, while also managing to earn 8.1 foul shots per 40 minutes.

He flashed a quick turnaround lean-in jumper against opponents who held their ground and took a few face-up near-standstill shots, especially on his catches around the foul line. McCoy looked capable is below average away from the rim at this point of his development – shooting just 36.6% on 153 two-point shots away from the rim, with just 15 of his 56 makes unassisted.

He can play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense, roaming around the baseline at the dunker spot and sprinting up the court in transition, and also proved to be coordinated enough to catch, take a dribble for balance and launch a floater with a defender between him and the basket on poor passes.

But McCoy is a poor screener who didn’t draw contact often and not even because he was slipping picks to beat his defender on a race to the rim as he rarely rolled hard to the basket off picks. He either rolled to post-up or looked to set up catch-and-shoot jumpers.

McCoy took a few three-point shots out of the pick-and-pop but didn’t show to be any sort of real asset from the outside yet, not just at the point of attack but even as a spot-up floor-spacer. He gets little elevation and releases the ball out in front but can shoot over contests due to his height. His touch is decent but his trigger is slow.

McCoy shot just three-for-nine from three-point range but did make 41 assisted two-point shots away from the basket, at a pace of 1.7 makes per 40 minutes, which seems decent enough for a pure center. His 72.5% foul shooting on 193 free throws also offers potential.

As a garbage man, he has a seven-foot-two wingspan[8] to rebound outside of his area, is a quick leaper and can go back up to attempt immediate scores without needing to load up – collecting 12.7% of UNLV’s misses when he was on the floor and shooting 64.3% on 66 putback attempts.

DEFENSE

McCoy was an effective rim protector when well positioned – averaging 2.5 blocks per 40 minutes. He is a quick leaper off two feet stepping up to the front of the basket, leveraged his nine-foot-two standing reach well to challenge shots and blocked a lot of shots with his left hand, though he sold out for blocks at times.

McCoy flashed some preventive rotations that discouraged opponents from getting all the way to the rim from time-to-time but was an iffy help defender on long rotations for the most part.

He blocked a lot but a physical specimen like him, playing against the level of competition that he did, was expected to be more impressive and elevate the level of his defense, which didn’t really happen, as McCoy averaged 28.5 minutes per game on a team that ranked 174th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.

When asked to extend pick-and-roll coverage above the foul line, he did poorly. He hunches rather than bends his knees getting down in a stance, isn’t very quick with his reactions out in space, doesn’t prioritize middle and gives up an easy path for the ball handler to decline the pick, rarely makes multiple-effort plays and didn’t use his length getting into passing lanes

McCoy showed only so-so attention to his boxout responsibilities, which didn’t matter against Mountain West competition because of his edge in general size and athleticism – collecting 25.1% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor. That’s something that needs to be improved, though, as that advantage likely won’t be there every night at the next level.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] According to RealGM

[4] According to RealGM

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] DOB: 6/11/1998

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to the measurements at the 2018 NBA Combine

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Jaren Jackson, Jr. Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Jaren Jackson, Jr. was the ninth-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].

An18-year-old[2] without a lot of high level experience, hogged just 764 NCAA minutes. Other than that, has just 85 minutes with the United States National Team at the 2016 U17 FIBA World Cup and an appearance at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit under his belt[3].

Jackson, Jr. averaged 20 points per 40 minutes[4] on 64.7% true shooting and compiled a 25.1 PER in 35 appearances last season.

Michigan State had a +34.9 pace-adjusted point differential with him in the lineup[5], though it only played the 62nd-toughest schedule in the country[6].

The six-foot-11, 236-pound inside-outside big got a fair amount of touches with his back to the basket in the post, without a lot of space to work with. He projects as a full time center in the pros but logged almost all of his minutes with another center on the floor in college.

Jackson, Jr. shot the ball a lot better during the conference part of the schedule and made a few out of the pick-and-pop but still figures to be only a capable spot-up shooter in the near future. He is expected to be a good finisher out of the pick-and-roll but didn’t have many, if any, opportunities to do that at Michigan State.

On the other end, the Indianapolis native often matched up against the rangier of opposing big men but still managed to make a massive impact as a rim protector. He wasn’t stretched a whole lot in East Lansing but figures to offer a ton of versatility in terms of pick-and-roll coverage based on his coordination and agility out in space.

On the other hand, he fouled a ton, which kept him from being a high-minutes player – averaging just 21.8 minutes per game.

OFFENSE

Jackson, Jr. was sought after quite a bit in the block – logging 23.5% usage rate. He doesn’t get a lot of deep seals but creates good enough angles to get the ball around the mid-post area. He hasn’t yet developed a lot of polish but did very well one-on-one.

Though he didn’t show much in terms of head fakes, shot fakes, face-up jumpers or fade-away jumpers, Jackson, Jr. was very productive with basic turnaround hooks and running hooks – proving to have soft touch with either hand.

He flashed a slick pivot-to-pass move but for the most part only spotted cutters and shooters when they were evident, aside from posting a displeasing turnover rate for someone who wasn’t a risk taker – assisting on just 9.2% of Michigan State’s scores when he was on the floor but averaging 3.2 turnovers per 40 minutes.

Jackson, Jr. can’t really be considered a power player but looked to back down weaker matchups a decent amount and didn’t shy away from contact – earning seven free throws per 40 minutes.

He shot the ball very well as a weak-side floor-spacer, even flashing some advanced footwork in a few instances, whether it was catching it on the hop on spot-ups or adjusting his feet quickly after moving to an open spot.

Jackson, Jr. has a compact release, launching the ball out in front but managing to get his shots off over closeouts comfortably enough due to his height and the good deal of elevation he gets – taking 41.3% of his shots from long range.

He nailed 39.6% of his 96 three-point shots, at a pace of five such attempts per 40 minutes. Showing his touch, Jackson, Jr. also hit 79.7% of his 133 foul shots.

He took and made a few shots out of the pick-and-pop but for the most part didn’t look as capable when an opponent forced him to rush through his mechanics. He is also certainly not yet the sort of shot maker who opens up driving lanes at the point of attack.

But Jackson, Jr. shot well enough to demand closeouts, which opened up paths for him to put the ball on the floor. He is very well coordinated attacking out of triple threat position, likes to go left, has long strides and maintains his balance through contact to get all the way to the basket on straight line drives.

Jackson, Jr. is not a powerful leaper off one foot with an opponent attached to his hip but proved able to elevate off two feet off a jump-stop with power. Though only an up-and-down finisher and not someone who can hang or adjust his body in the air, he proved to be ambidextrous at the basket, used his length well to score around rim protectors on scoop finishes and showed pretty good touch on non-dunk finishes – shooting 65.4% on his 108 attempts at the rim[7].

Jackson, Jr. wasn’t asked to isolate against his man out in the perimeter often but did flash some shiftiness in the game against Illinois, shaking his man side-to-side with multiple dribbles between the legs and getting by him on his way to the basket. He didn’t show much of anything in terms of running floaters, step-back or stop-and-pop jumpers and passing on the move, though.

Jackson, Jr. didn’t have the space to roll hard to the basket, as less than half of his makes at the rim were assisted. And despite his seven-foot-five wingspan[8], he was not particularly productive on the offensive glass – collecting just 8.7% of Michigan State’s misses when he was on the floor, though he did finish his 19 putback attempts at a 77.8% clip.

DEFENSE

Jackson, Jr. is an excellent rim protector – challenging everything he was close by and showing a ton of versatility as a shot blocker:

  • Stepping up to the front of the basket, going up off two feet and making full use of his nine-foot-two standing reach;
  • Going up off one foot coming off the weak-side in help-defense;
  • Keeping pace with smaller players on straight line drives and blocking shots defending on the ball.

Jackson, Jr. averaged 5.5 blocks per 40 minutes and was the main reason why opponents shot 45.8% at the rim against Michigan State, which ranked second in the country[9].

All that activity near the basket came at the cost of him getting into constant foul trouble, though – as he averaged 5.9 personal fouls per 40 minutes, which limited him to just 21.8 minutes per game.

He was asked to extend out to the top of the key consistently, either hedging or showing-and-staying-out-an-extra-second to try preventing the ball handler from turning the corner right away or getting to the middle on side pick-and-rolls –doing well more often than not.

Jackson, Jr. is very fluidly sliding laterally and can keep up with smaller players stride-for-stride on straight line drives foul line down, though he can still improve in drop-back defense – in terms of not letting the roll man get behind him.

He was not asked to pick up smaller players on switches out on an island. Though he figures to have the agility for it, it’s unclear.

Jackson, Jr. showed only so-so attention to his boxout responsibilities. He is not all that physical either, showing an over-reliance on quickness chasing the ball off the rim, which didn’t go over great as the level of competition got tougher – collecting 19.7% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor through the season overall but just 17.7% against Big Ten competition.

Jackson, Jr. had the best defensive rating among rotation players on a team that ranked 10th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 9/15/1999

[3] According to RealGM

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to RealGM

[6] According to Ken Pomeroy

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to the measurements at the NBA Combine

[9] According to hoop-math

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Wendell Carter, Jr. Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Wendell Carter, Jr. had a great year. If not for Marvin Bagley III on the same team taking away the spotlight, he would probably be even more highly touted by now.

He has the physical profile (six-foot-10, 259 pounds[1]) of a pure center in a time where pure centers are devalued but showed the skill he was previously known for and surprised with his nimbleness out in space.

He also has a good deal of high level experience for a just-turned 19-year-old[2]:

  • 997 NCAA minutes with Duke;
  • 206 minutes defending the United States National Team at the 2015 U16 FIBA Americas and 2016 U17 FIBA World Cup;
  • 82 minutes at the 2016 adidas Nations;
  • An appearance at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit.

Carter, Jr. averaged 20.2 points per 40 minutes[3] on 62.8% true shooting and compiled a 26.3 PER in 37 appearances last season[4].

Duke played the 15th-toughest schedule in the country[5] and had a +33.3 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor, which was the best net rating on the team among rotation players[6].

The Pace Academy product played primarily center, though he shared the court with Marques Bolden some – getting most of his touches in the post. He didn’t roll hard often but flashed a catch-and-shoot three-pointer out of the pick-and-pop.

The native of Fairburn, Georgia guarded pick-and-rolls mostly below the foul line during the first half of the season and defended the front of the basket when Duke went to a full time zone during the conference part of the schedule.

OFFENSE

Carter, Jr. has a very advanced post game for someone his age:

  • Power moves;
  • Head fakes;
  • Shot fakes;
  • Fake pivot move;
  • Pivot move to pass;
  • Turnaround, fadeaway jumper;
  • Most often looking for right handed hook but has a counter finishing with his off hand;

He struggled with touch during the second half of the season, though – shooting 36.8% on 95 two-point attempts away from the basket[7].

Carter, Jr. showed to be a decent passer out of hard double teams with good court vision but not some exceptional passer and turned it over a displeasing amount – assisting on 12.9% of Duke’s scores when he was on the floor but averaging three turnovers per 40 minutes while logging 22.6% usage rate.

He prefers to rely on skill but doesn’t shy away from contact – averaging 6.8 foul shots per 40 minutes.

Carter, Jr. didn’t roll hard to the basket often out of setting ball-screens. Part of the problem was Bagley, III not always spacing out to the three-point line and Trevon Duval being a poor shooter but part of it was due to his lack of explosiveness.

He can play above the rim as a target for lobs in transition and sneaking behind the defense with time to load up but can’t go up strong off two feet in traffic.

Carter, Jr. did prove to be coordinated enough for instances where he needed to catch, take a dribble for balance and go up for a finish with a defender between him and the basket, though. He also showed to have decent touch on non-dunk finishes – shooting 70.2% on 178 attempts at the rim.

Carter, Jr. is only a capable open shot shooter at this point of his development. The fluidity of his release improved the second half of the season, though it remains not quick enough to get a good look off when rushed by a closeout or over a contest.

He flashed some quick shots out of the pick-and-pop and out of roll-and-replace but is mostly suited for spot-ups as of now. His touch was OK, though it can certainly stand to improve some more – as he shot 73.8% on 168 free throws.

His shooting percentage indicates he certainly can become a real asset as a floor-spacer down the line but was not perfectly reflective of how real a long range shooter he is right now, as most of his misses were considerably short. Carter, Jr. nailed 41.3% of his 46 three-point shots, but at a pace of just 1.9 such attempts per 40 minutes.

He doesn’t play with a particularly impressive motor or toughness disentangling himself from boxouts but was pretty effective crashing the offensive glass thanks to a seven-foot-four wingspan[8] that helps him rebound outside of his area – collecting 12.7% of Duke’s misses when he was on the floor. He also showed a decent second jump fighting for tip-ins – shooting 75% on his 41 putbacks attempts.

Carter, Jr. flashed a dribble drive from the elbow down, lacking an explosive first step but able to maintain his balance through contact, but isn’t suited to attack closeouts and hasn’t yet develop an in between game in terms of stop-and-pop jumpers, step-back jumpers, running floaters or floaters off jump-stops.

DEFENSE

Carter, Jr. was an effective rim protector when he was able to hang back and patrol the lane, which was less challenging for him to do once Duke installed a full time zone.

He has decent short area lateral quickness and was proactive stepping up the front of the basket as the last line of defense. Though not an explosive leaper off two feet in a pinch, he acted as a shot blocking threat thanks to his nine-foot-one standing reach – averaging 3.1 blocks per 40 minutes last season.

Carter, Jr. challenged shots via verticality very well. He has a thick frame some guards will just bounce back off on impact, though at a risk of getting into foul trouble – as he averaged 4.2 personal fouls per 40 minutes. He also proved himself a willing charge drawer.

Carter, Jr. was able to stick with ball handlers from the foul line down in college. When he had less ground to cover, Carter, Jr. developed some awareness shadowing isolations and making preventive rotations that kept the dribble driver from getting all the way to the rim, which he didn’t show earlier in the year when Duke was guarding man-to-man.

When forced to guard out in space, Carter, Jr. flashed some decent nimbleness but doesn’t figure to be suited to venture far away from the basket in the pros. He was able to influence ball handlers on hedges but can’t hustle back to contest effectively at the rim. It’s also unclear how well he can keep action in front if asked to show hard at the three-point line.

Carter, Jr. can bend his knees to get down in a stance some and keep pace on straight line drives in a few matchups but isn’t agile enough to stay in front of shifty types.

He used his length some to get into passing lanes, though nothing at a difference making level – averaging 1.2 steals per 40 minutes.

Carter, Jr. proved to be a stout post defender and was attentive to his boxout responsibilities but isn’t exceptionally quick chasing the ball off the rim – collecting 23.1% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

He had the best defensive rating among rotation players on a team that ended up ranked ninth in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.


[1] According to Duke’s official listing

[2] DOB: 4/16/1999

[3] According to sports-reference

[4] According to RealGM

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to RealGM

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to measurements at this year’s NBA Combine

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Omari Spellman Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Omari Spellman averaged 15.4 points per 40 minutes[1] on 57.3% effective shooting and posted a 19.5 PER in 40 appearances last season[2].
  • Villanova played the sixth-toughest schedule in the country[3] and had a +27.3 pace-adjusted point differential in Spellman’s 1,125 minutes[4].
  • The six-foot-nine stretch big was a vital part of Villanova’s offense, which often relied on lead guard Jalen Brunson taking his matchup into the post while Spellman vacated the area near the basket by spacing out to the three-point line.
    • Despite logging all of his minutes at center, Spellman took 44.6% of his shots from three-point range.
    • Despite possessing a strength advantage on most nights, given his thick 245-pound frame[5], he posted a low 18.3% usage rate.
  • On the other end, the 20-year-old[6] was an effective rim protector when well positioned and flashed some ability to defend out in space – extending pick-and-roll coverage slightly above the foul line and picking up smaller players on switches, but doesn’t really move in a way that makes you presume he will be as capable in the pros.
  • Other than his two years of college basketball, one of which he redshirted, the Ohio native only has 71 minutes at the 2014 Nike Global Challenge of meaningful experience under his belt.

OFFENSE

  • Spellman has proven to be a pretty good shooter for someone his size. He has a fluid release and good touch, launching the ball from a high point and getting his shots off comfortably over closeouts.
    • Other than spot-ups, Spellman has shown he’s able to take three-pointers out of the pick-and-pop as well, proving himself nimble enough to screen, relocate to an open spot and set his feet quickly.
    • Spellman nailed 43.3% of his 150 three-point shots, at a pace of 5.3 such attempts per 40 minutes – which is a very appealing rate for a center.
    • He converted 70% of his 70 foul shots – which is not necessarily concerning, but gives you some pause over how killer a shooter he truly is.
  • Spellman hasn’t yet developed a lot of dexterity in terms of handle and coordination attacking closeouts. When forced to put the ball on the floor out of triple threat position, he often ends up dribbling into a post-up, which is how he feels more comfortable with the ball in his hands.
  • Spellman showed a decent mix of power moves and face-up shooting operating out of the mid-post (he enjoys sizing up his man, jab-stepping and launching no-dribble jumpers), though he still has plenty of room to improve in terms of passing out of the block and incorporating pivot moves and fakes into his post-up routine.
    • He hit 42.2% of his 90 two-point shots away from the basket, with over half of them unassisted[7].
    • He assisted on just 4.3% of Villanova’s scores when he was on the floor.
  • When he screened at the point of attack, Spellman was either asked to prioritize popping to the three-point line or isn’t easily inclined to roll hard to the basket. And even when he did, Spellman didn’t show enough explosiveness to play above the rim as a target for lobs, though he flashed appealing coordination in instances when he was forced to catch, take a dribble for balance and go up for a non-dunk finish over a defender between him and the basket.
    • He took just 28.6% of his shots at the rim and hasn’t yet developed versatility to his finishing ability – converting just 59.4% of his 96 shots at the basket.
  • Considering his role on the offense, Spellman was fairly effective in the offensive glass. He doesn’t play with a lot of energy and isn’t a high leaper but is a big body that can be tough to boxout and has a seven-foot-two wingspan[8] to rebound outside of his area or win battles for tap-outs.
    • He collected 9.9% of Villanova’s misses when he was on the floor.
    • But doesn’t have a quick second jump to translate these second chances into immediate scores – finishing his 37 putback at a very lousy 43.8% clip.

DEFENSE

  • Spellman is a so-so pick-and-roll defender.
    • At times, he was able to keep action in front dropping back to prioritize interior defense and moved his feet decently in tight spaces to clog driving lanes.
    • When asked to hedge-and-recover, Spellman struggled to influence the ball handler and then hustle back to the roll man quick enough to relieve the weak-side help-defender and not leave a shooter uncovered for too long.
    • Villanova switched quite aggressively and Spellman had to pick up a smaller player from time-to-time, proving he’s attentive enough to execute strategies that asked him to switch on the fly. He is not built to be able to stay in front of shifty types side-to-side but is able to keep pace on straight line drives decently enough to challenge or block shots from behind.
  • Spellman is also a so-so help defender.
    • Spellman is not always attentive to his responsibilities rotating off the weak-side or stepping up to the front of the basket in rim protection. He is also not very quick covering ground when put in long rotations. Despite his size, he is not very feared.
    • But when well positioned, Spellman was a reasonably effective rim protector. He is a big body that can be challenging to finish around when he’s standing between the opponent and the basket. He’s also pretty long, looked to contest shots via verticality and proved himself a willing charge drawer as well.
      • He averaged 2.1 blocks per 40 minutes.
    • Spellman is a stout post defender.
    • He’s attentive to his boxout responsibilities but not all that physical, making him a good defensive rebounder but not really dominant.
      • Spellman collected 23.1% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

[1] According to sports-reference

[2] According to RealGM

[3] According to Ken Pomeroy

[4] According to RealGM

[5] According to Villanova’s official listing

[6] DOB: 7/21/1997

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] 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