Shake Milton Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Shake Milton was the 79th-ranked prospect in the 2015 high school class[1].
  • Through 19 games this season, the six-foot-six combo guard has averaged 20 points per 40 minutes on 56.6% effective shooting and assisted on 24.9% of Southern Methodist’s scores over his 693 minutes[2].
  • Having logged 2,912 minutes of college ball up until this point, Milton is the sort of player you can project whichever way you want, as there is at least some piece of evidence to support whatever view you have of him.
    • The junior can break down a set defense off the pick-and-roll and create shots for others against a scrambling defense or on pre-arranged reads, while also a threat to spot-up off the ball. He has shown appealing quickness matching up with smaller players one-on-one when engaged and has the length to potentially develop into an asset picking up bigger players on switches down the line.
    • On the other hand, the 21-year-old[3] lacks explosiveness to put pressure on the rim regularly, isn’t yet an elite shot maker or the sort of valuable gunner who can be moved around the floor, has a low assist-to-turnover ratio and rarely translates his elite physical traits into making an actual positive impact on defense.
  • ESPN ranks him 25th in its top 100.

INTERIOR OFFENSE

  • Milton runs some middle pick-and-roll against a set defense late in the shot clock but a lot of his catches come off Iverson cuts on the side of the floor. He subsequently gets a ball-screen attempting to guide him towards the lane.
  • Milton doesn’t have an explosive first step to blow by his man on speed and hasn’t yet developed many dribble moves to shake his defender off balance often. He has a strong preference for going left and his best resource for now is a hesitation move that can be effective at times but rarely results in him just losing his man.
    • More concerning, perhaps, is the fact that Milton hasn’t shown any burst to burn big men on switches.
    • Also yet to develop strength in his thin 205-pound frame[4] to maintain his balance through contact regularly, Milton’s taken just 22.5% of his shots at the rim this season[5], though he’s been successful at earning foul calls, as he’s averaged 5.6 free throws per 40 minutes.
  • When he’s managed to get all the way to the basket, weaving his way through traffic with euro-steps, Milton has flashed a diverse arsenal of finishes. Aided by his seven-foot wingspan[6], he’s shown the ability to overextend and complete reverses among the trees. Milton lacks explosiveness elevating off one foot with possession of the ball, though. He’s also unable to finish through contact at this point of his development.
    • Milton has shot 52.8% at the rim as a junior, after shooting just 56.5% there as a sophomore.
    • He shot 70.4% at the rim as a freshman but 20 of his 38 makes were assisted.
      • Milton can play above the rim as a target for lobs filling the lanes in transition and sneaking behind the defense on backdoor cuts.
    • He’s shown decent touch on floaters, both off jump-stops and on the run, to finish over length from the in-between area.
    • Milton is an adequate passer off dribble penetration, able to make a drop-off or a kick-out pass against the defense collapsing to his drive, but not a particularly special shot creator for others as of now. He’s flashed a wraparound pass to the opposite corner and can toss up lobs on the move but it’s rare to see him sucking in the defense deep into the lane before putting someone in scoring position.

PERIMETER OFFENSE

  • Most of Milton’s assists come with him facing the defense and making passes over the top, aided by his advantageous point of view, or on-pre-arranged reads. He can toss up well timed lobs to wings diving to the rim on baseline cuts and make the skip pass to the big in the pick-and-pop. He’s also flashed some ability to make passes across his body to the opposite end.
    • Milton is more of a robotic passer rather than an instinctive one, which can be fine if you have a well-structured offense (which Southern Methodist reasonably does). But the cost of it manifests itself against teams that have him well scouted and know when to jump the passing lanes[7], as well as in the fact that Milton sometimes passes a split-second too soon, without totally engaging the help, making it easier for the opponent to closeout effectively.
      • He has a 1.95 assist-to-turnover ratio this season and a 2.13 one over his time at Southern Methodist.
    • Milton has attempted to hang dribble or cross his man over into pull-ups but isn’t much of a tough shot maker at this point. His most effective way to shoot off the dribble is a step-back fade-away, which he doesn’t do with deep range yet, as just 10 of his 49 three-point makes have been unassisted this season. Though he struggles to create separation against high level competition, Milton has nailed 45.1% of his 71 two-point jumpers this year, with just 10 of his 32 makes assisted.
    • He is at his most valuable as a spot-up shooter. Milton gets little elevation but fully extends himself for a high release off the catch and has a quick trigger. He’s nailed 42.8% of his 428 three-point shots over his two-and-a-half years at Southern Methodist, at a pace of 6.5 such attempts per 40 minutes this season in particular.
      • Milton has also improved as a foul shooter year over year, going from 72.5% as a freshman through 75.8% as a sophomore to now 82.5% as a senior.
    • He seems to have changed his base a little, looking to bring knees closer together. Perhaps because of this or simply because of an increased need for him to operate on the ball, Milton is taking fewer shots coming off screens, which he did more regularly last season.

DEFENSE

  • Milton looks the part of an impactful defender:
    • When engaged, he can use his quickness to stay in front of smaller players one-on-one;
    • When well positioned, he steps up to the front of the rim in help defense and has proven himself willing to attempt drawing charges;
    • He has the body control to stay balanced closing back to his man after taking a couple of steps inside to help pack the lane;
    • He has exceptional length for someone his size and decent instincts making plays in the passing lanes – averaging 1.7 steals per 40 minutes this season.
  • But he’s not one, for the most part:
    • Milton looks go over ball-screens at the point of attack but rarely gets skinny well enough to navigate the pick cleanly and beat his man to the spot on the other side, playing with the sort of low energy that makes him completely dependent on his big teammate stopping the ball in order to be able to get back in front of his man;
    • Aside from not yet having developed a lot of strength, Milton generally doesn’t play with much toughness and can’t contain dribble penetration. He has lateral quickness to stay in front but only has two or three slides in him and eventually gets lots along the way;
    • He rarely stays in a stance off the ball, making him slow in his reactions, resulting in weak closeouts more often than not;
    • He’s not always attentive to his responsibilities as a help defender rotating inside to pick up the roll man and doesn’t make himself any sort of asset helping protect the rim;
    • Milton has picked up big men on switches a few times and does try to execute in these instances, looking to front the post and putting a body on his man in the glass, but plays with no physicality and isn’t suited to matchup with bruising types;
    • He is just an average rebounder – collecting 12.4% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor this season.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] DOB: 9/26/1996

[4] According to Southern Methodist’s official listing

[5] According to hoop-math

[6] According to ESPN’s Mike Schmitz

[7] As it happened in the game against Texas Christian, when he had four turnovers

READ MORE: Troy Brown, Jr. | Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

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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Trae Young Scouting Report

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.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] According to our stats’ database

[4] DOB: 9/19/1998

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

Jalen Brunson Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Jalen Brunson was the 16th-ranked prospect in the 2015 high school class[1].
  • He was also the most valuable player of the 2015 FIBA World Championships U19.
  • Through the first 15 games this season, the six-foot-three lead guard has averaged 25.4 points per 40 minutes on 70% true shooting.
  • Brunson is a veteran who has 91 appearances under his belt in college and another 12 for the United States youth squads in FIBA tournaments[2]. As such, the 21-year-old[3] is a savvy point guard who knows how to control the pace of the game, regularly finding the right mix between passing ahead to speed up the tempo and walking it up to run half-court offense.
  • Villanova moves the ball side-to-side early in possessions but that’s usually useless motion. More often than not it falls on Brunson’s shoulders the task of breaking down a set defense midway through the shot clock. The junior has posted 24.6% usage-rate and assisted on 30.5% of Villanova’s scores over his 458 minutes this season[4].
  • Brunson does most of his work in middle high pick-and-roll and in isolation off ball reversals but he is also fond of taking his man into the post and backing him down, as Villanova inverts the offense quite a bit thanks to the presence of stretch five Omari Spellman.
  • Defensively, Brunson is strong for someone his height and plays with a lot of toughness. Villanova switches aggressively on all screens in large part because it feels comfortable with its point guard putting up a challenge against bigger players, and so far it hasn’t been disappointed. Having said that, he lacks the athletic ability and elite measurements to be a net positive on that end.
  • Despite his impressive résumé, he wasn’t ranked on ESPN’s top 100 as of December, 12th.

SHOT CREATION

  • Brunson is a very resourceful ball handler. He lacks a quick first step and explosiveness to blow by his man on speed[5] but can get by his man in isolation and generate a good look off the pick-and-roll thanks to a fairly diverse arsenal of dribble moves:
    • In-and-out dribble to shift directions;
    • Stop-and-start quickness;
    • Stop-and-pop pull-ups;
    • Crossover into pull-ups;
    • Hang dribble into pull-ups;
    • Dribble in pull-ups off the ball screen with range out of the college three-point line.
      • 15 of his 34 three-point makes this season have been unassisted[6].
    • Brunson is not one of those genius passers who can anticipate passing lanes a split-second before they come open but he has good court vision and has proven himself a reliable shot creator for others off the bounce, not only able to make a kick-out and a drop-off pass against the defense collapsing to him but also pass across his body to the opposite end of the court.
    • He’s sure handed as well, turning it over on just 8.8% of his possessions this season – which is almost beyond belief for someone with his high usage and assist rates.
    • Brunson uses the strength in his 200-pound frame to take his man into the post in a way you don’t see guards do a whole lot these days and has a combination of power moves and shot fakes that you don’t see in the vast majority of this generation’s big men.

SHOOTING & FINISHING

  • Brunson is not a super dynamic pull-up shooter at the Trae Young-level but has developed into a very good shot maker.
    • He’s nailed 59.3% of his 54 two-point jumpers this season. That sort of efficiency is obviously absurd but it’s not too far off the shooter Brunson truly is, as he nailed 48.5% of his 97 such looks a year ago.
  • Off the ball, he is not yet one of those gunners who can make shots on the move but has proven himself an above average open shot set shooter – nailing 40.6% of his 308 three-point shots over his time at Villanova, including 49.3% of his 69 such shots this season, at a pace of six attempts per 40 minutes.
  • Thanks to his strength maintaining his balance and his momentum forward through contact, Brunson is taking 30.9% of his shots at the rim and averaging 5.5 foul shots per 40 minutes – which are good numbers for someone without elite athleticism like him.
    • He is not an explosive leaper off one foot, doesn’t have much length[7] to over-extend himself around rim protectors and is yet to show much flexibility adjusting his body in the air to finish reverses in traffic but is an ambidextrous finisher with nice touch on speed layups – converting his 55 shots at the basket at a 70.9% clip this season.
  • Brunson ranks second in the country in offensive rating.

DEFENSE

  • He bends his knees to get down in a stance and plays tenacious post defense on the ball – averaging 1.2 steals per 40 minutes this season, but doesn’t use his strength to contain dribble penetration regularly.
  • Brunson looks to go over picks and works his way back to his man well enough to contest elbow jumpers but doesn’t really get skinny navigating the screen to beat his man to the spot with particularly impressive quickness and lacks length to make a real impact contesting these shots.
  • He’s also not very quick chasing opponents around screens on the side of the floor and lacks length to closeout effectively.
  • Brunson is strong enough to pick up bigger players on switches and put up a challenge one-on-one. It’s not any big who will back him down for an easy look within close range. However, he lacks length and leaping ability to make many plays as the last line of defense close to the goal, other than drawing the eventual charge here and there.
  • Brunson is a good rebounder for a point guard – collecting 10.3% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor this season.
  • He has the second worst defensive rating on the team among rotation players[8].

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to Real GM

[3] DOB: 8/31/1996

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] Which has proven to be an issue when big men have switched onto him, as he’s struggled to burn them for it

[6] According to hoop-math

[7] Six-foot-three wingspan, according to Draft Express

[8] According to sports-reference

READ MORE: Quade Green | Collin Sexton | Cassius Winston

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

Quade Green Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Quade Green was the 24th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].
  • Through the first 14 games of the season, the six-foot tall point guard has averaged 17.3 points per 40 minutes on 59.8% true shooting and assisted on 24.6% of Kentucky’s scores over his 339 minutes[2].
  • Within Kentucky’s rudimentary offense, the lead guard is tasked with breaking down the defense in challenging conditions. Without a lot of space to get into the lane often, the bulk of Green’s job is to take pull-ups out of the pick-and-roll and in isolation late in the shot clock.
    • As he’s spent some time together with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as well, Green has also gotten some catch-and-shoot looks spacing the floor when the Canadian point guard is running the offense.
  • On the other end, the 19-year-old[3] lacks the physical traits to be an impact player. He puts in decent effort to slide laterally and stay in front but would have to play with crazy tenacity in order to make up for his limitations in terms of size, which is not the case.
  • He was not ranked on ESPN’s top 100 as of December, 12th.

SHOOTING

  • Green is a good shooter off the catch, not just spot-up on the weak-side but also relocating around the perimeter after setting up Kevin Knox running around a pindown screen or PJ Washington in the post.
    • He fully extends himself for as high a release he can get, goes through his mechanics comfortably and quickly enough and has nice touch on his shot.
    • Green has nailed 39.5% of his 38 three-point shots, at a pace of 4.5 such attempts per 40 minutes. He’s also hit 22 of his 27 foul shots.
    • He hasn’t been able to show how much versatility he has in his shot, as Kentucky doesn’t have him running around staggered screens or back-screening in Spain pick-and-rolls.
  • Almost half of his shots come from the mid-range area[4]. Green is not an elite level pull-up shooter but is a legit threat on these stop-and-pop jumpers. Though he struggles operating against length, Green is a savvy ball-handler getting to his spots at the elbow and can hit side-step pull-ups against defenders with a hand in his face.
    • Green has shown a running floater to score over rim protectors from the in-between area.
    • He’s hit his 49 two-point shots away from the basket at a 49% clip.

DRIVING

  • Green doesn’t have an explosive first step or top end speed with the ball but can get his defender off balance with a combination of shiftiness and dribble moves.
    • He keeps the ball in a string, has side-to-side shake to get by his man a fair amount and a euro-step to weave his way through traffic.
  • Green is not an explosive leaper, hasn’t shown much ability to hang or adjust his body in the air and needs to develop his left hand as an asset. Without many resources to score among the trees and a lot of space to go for speed layups, he rarely puts pressure at the rim.
    • Green has taken just 20.9% of his shots at the basket and averaged only 3.2 foul shots per 40 minutes.
  • He is an adequate passer on the move spotting cutters and making a drop-off or a kick-out pass against the defense collapsing to his drive. He has also flashed the ability to make a pass across the court to the opposite end.
    • Green struggles passing over the top, though, as his height compromises his vision and his ability to deliver in traffic. He’s turned it over on almost a fifth of his possessions.

DEFENSE

  • Green can get skinny to go over screens in the pick-and-roll and has decent lateral quickness to stay in front for a few slides in isolation.
  • But he lacks strength in his 184-pound frame to contain dribble penetration and length to contest shots effectively or reach around his man to strip him of the ball.
  • He is a poor defender chasing his man around screens and his closeouts are ineffective.
  • He lacks length and hasn’t shown many instincts making plays in the passing lanes – just three steals in 14 appearances.
  • His contributions on the defensive glass are marginal.
  • Green has the worst defensive rating on the team among rotation players, by a lot[5].

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] DOB: 5/12/1998

[4] According to hoop-math

[5] According to sports-reference

READ MORE: Trevon Duval | Collin Sexton | Cassius Winston

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

PJ Washington Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • PJ Washington was the 12th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].
  • Through the first 13 games of the season, the six-foot-seven post-up big has averaged 15.6 points per 40 minutes on 52.9% effective shooting but posted only a 16.6 PER[2].
  • He is getting his touches in the low post with his back to the basket and at the elbow area within Kentucky’s horns set. Though he’s shown a lack of lift and explosiveness with the ball, the 19-year-old[3] has managed to generate efficient offense down low thanks to the strength in his 243-pound frame.
  • On the other end, Washington is more effective close to the basket as well, though his rebounding has been subpar. And despite looking like an athlete who should be able to defend out in the perimeter, he’s struggled to stay in front and closeout to the three-point line properly.
    • His defensive rating is second worst on the team among rotation players[4].
  • ESPN ranks him 40th in its top 100.

BELOW THE FOUL LINE

  • Washington uses his strength well to get a deep seal in his spots, also being aided by having spent most of his time on the floor with Nick Richards in the lineup, as few opponents have two big men strong enough to matchup with both.
    • He’s posted 20.2% usage-rate over his 334 minutes.
  • Almost always relying on power moves to back his way into close range attempts, he doesn’t seem to have much versatility in his post game, yet to show anything in terms of shot fakes, head fakes and spin moves.
  • Facing up his man, Washington also plays bully-ball more often than not, though he has flashed a jumper off sizing up his man. His first step isn’t very quick and he hasn’t shown side-to-side shake or dribble moves, though he attempts a behind the back dribble every once in a while.
  • His brute force has been effective at the collegiate level. Able to maintain his balance and his momentum forward through contact, he’s taken 51.8% of his shots at the basket and converted them at a 70.5% clip[5], despite the fact he lacks explosiveness elevating off one foot or two feet in traffic.
    • Washington has also shot 7.8 free throws per 40 minutes, while posting a 76.5% free throw rate.
    • He has struggled feeling double teams, though – turning it over on 20% of his possessions.
  • When he’s been kept from getting a good look at the basket, Washington has struggled with his touch on floaters to finish over length from the in-between area – missing 22 of his 33 two-pointers away from the basket.
    • He has, however, shown to be an adequate passer making a drop-off or a kick-out pass against the defense collapsing to him – assisting on 15.2% of Kentucky’s scores when he’s been on the floor. He’s also been an asset operating from the foul line inside zone defenses.
  • Washington doesn’t play with a high enough motor to be a volume offensive rebounder – collecting just 8.5% of Kentucky’s misses when he’s been in the game. But he has enough strength to win inside position and a seven-foot-three wingspan[6] to rebound outside his position, aside from showing a decent second jump, so when he goes for it, he can be productive.
    • A quarter of his shots at the basket have been putback attempts and he’s converted them at a 100% clip.
  • Washington has been a proactive rim protector, whether it’s stepping up to the front of the basket or coming off the weak-side in help-defense. He’s a quick leaper off two feet and has an eight-foot-nine standing reach[7] to challenge shots at the basket – averaging 1.9 blocks per 40 minutes.
  • Washington is often inattentive to his boxout responsibilities and though he does have long arms, he is not a high leaper to consistently chase the ball at a higher point than his opponents – collecting just 13.2% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor.

ABOVE THE FOUL LINE

  • Washington has started spacing out to three-point line a little more over the last few games but it’s still pretty rare. He has a decent catch-and-shoot stroke but a methodical release and poor touch on his shot. Opponents play off him and pack the lane.
    • He’s missed six of his eight three-point attempts and shot just 61.5% on 65 free throws.
  • Washington bends his knees some and has decent lateral quickness for someone his weight defending out in space but doesn’t get all that low in a stance and doesn’t slide laterally multiple times to stay in front all the way.
    • Though he looks like someone who should be an asset to pick up smaller players on switches, Washington needs to make more multiple effort plays in order for that to be the case.
  • Washington can run shooters off their shots at the three-point line but sells out to do so, sometimes even leaving his feet, which gives the opponent a free path to attack off the bounce and compromises the defense behind him.
  • Despite great length, he hasn’t shown many instincts many plays in the passing lanes or using his reach to make plays on the ball defending in the perimeter. His contributions through steals have been marginal.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] DOB: 8/23/1998

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to hoop-math

[6] According to the measurements at the Kentucky combine

[7] According to nbadraft.net

READ MORE: Nick Richards | Marques Bolden

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

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the 35th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].
  • Through the first 13 games, the six-foot-six combo guard has averaged 16.2 points per 40 minutes on 55% effective shooting and assisted on 24.9% of Kentucky’s scores over his 372 minutes[2].
  • Gilgeous-Alexander has alternated between running point when Quade Green is out of the game and playing off the ball alongside him.
    • The native of Hamilton, Ontario can make an open jumper and is a quick decision maker putting the ball on the floor off the catch but his best work has been done running middle high pick-and-roll.
  • On the other end, the 19-year-old[3] has also alternated between defending the point of attack and as a wing defender while accommodating Green.
  • He has great assets in terms of height, length and quickness to be expected to develop into an elite defender who offers his coach a lot of flexibility on how to place him in the lineup and the fact that he already puts in the effort is a great sign. He needs bulk up, though, possessing a weak 182-pound frame at this point of his development.
  • ESPN ranks him 47th in its top 100.

SHOT CREATION

  • Gilgeous-Alexander has an almost complete package in terms of athletic abilities running pick-and-roll:
    • Speed turning the corner or getting downhill to drive deep into the lane;
    • The ability to play with pace, mixing in change of speeds to wait for driving lanes to clear on slower developing plays;
    • A height advantage over the average opposing point guard, which helps him to make passes over the top.
  • But he still has a lot of room to refine his actual skill level working off a ball-screen:
    • Being prone to having the ball stripped in traffic – turning it over on 19.2% of his possessions;
    • Having not yet developed dynamic enough pull-up jumpers or floaters to force opponents to play up on him – missing 26 of his 39 two-pointers away from the basket up until now[4];
    • Able to make a kick-out and a drop-off pass against the defense collapsing to him but yet to show advanced court vision in terms of making passes across his body to the opposite end of the court.
  • Gilgeous-Alexander can breakdown the defense without the aid of a screen. He has dribble moves (crossover, in-and-out, behind the back, hesitation) and side-to-side shake to get by his man and attack the basket in straight isolations or on catch-and-go’s off ball reversals and dribble hand-offs.
    • He’s taken 43% of his 100 live-ball attempts at the rim and averaged 5.1 foul shots per 40 minutes.
  • Given his height, it’s tempting for a coach to play him as a wing but Gilgeous-Alexander is a legit point guard, having shown good feel for controlling the rhythm of the game, in terms of finding the right balance between passing ahead to speed up the pace or walking the ball up to run organized half-court offense.

SHOOTING & FINISHING

  • Gilgeous-Alexander is a below-the-rim finisher at this point of his development, lacking explosiveness off one foot to go up strong in traffic. But he’s flexible enough to adjust his body in the air and finish around length on reverses or stretching out his long arms on side toss-ups.
    • He’s converted 69.8% of his 43 attempts at the rim, even proving himself able to finish with his left hand.
  • Gilgeous-Alexander is only an open-shot shooter at this point of his development. He is almost a set shooter, getting little elevation and launching the ball from a low point. His release is also slow and mechanical as of now. But his mechanics seem like a decent foundation to build upon and he certainly has touch on his shot.
    • He’s nailed eight of his 18 three-point attempts and 87.2% of his 47 foul shots so far this season.

DEFENSE

  • Gilgeous-Alexander has shown to be a disciplined individual defender. He bends his knees to get down in a stance and can slide laterally several times to stay in front. He lacks strength to contain penetration but uses his length to contest shots effectively.
  • He has also shown to be an excellent pick-and-roll defender:
    • Able to get skinny to go over the pick;
    • Showing a sense of urgency to hurry back to his man in order not to compromise the integrity of the scheme behind him too much;
    • Using his seven-foot wingspan[5] to block, deflect and effectively challenge shots and passes from behind as the trailer.
  • His height and length suggests he could be an option to pick up bigger players on switches but he is not strong or tenacious enough for that just yet.
  • Gilgeous-Alexander has shown a knack for using his length making plays in the passing lanes and reaching around to strip opposing point guards of the ball in individual defense – averaging 3.2 steals per 40 minutes.
  • His contributions in the defensive glass or coming off the weak-side to crowd the area near the basket have been marginal.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] DOB: 7/12/1998

[4] According to hoop-math

[5] According to the measurements on Kentucky’s Combine

READ MORE: Trevon Duval | Collin Sexton | Cassius Winston

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

Trevon Duval Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Trevon Duval was the top ranked point guard in the 2017 high school class[1] but hasn’t shined as brightly as peers Collin Sexton and Trae Young over the first month-and-a-half of the season.

His job is more challenging, though.

Differently than Sexton, Duval has four other pro prospects out there on the court with him at any given time, needing to balance the need to keep everyone engaged. And differently than Young, he doesn’t get to monopolize possession of the ball, given the nature of Duke’s offense.

The 19-year-old[2] is responsible for triggering an attack that focuses more heavily on getting the wings catches on the side of the floor off screens and the big men touches in the low post. He handles the ball in high pick-and-roll a fair amount but no one will ever confuse this offense with the Houston Rockets’.

Duval has done a sufficient job keeping things moving as they should. Duke leads the country in adjusted offensive efficiency[3].

But his struggles as a scorer, especially against tougher competition, figure to tank his draft stock somewhat. He is averaging just 1.15 point per shot on 47.3% effective shooting[4].

On other end, Duval plays good individual defense and has a high steal average but is also part of a unity that has struggled to execute help defense principles and been picked apart by top end competition — allowing more than a point per possession in the games against Michigan State, Florida, Indiana and Boston College.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] DOB: 8/3/1998

[3] According to kenpom.com

[4] According to our stats’ database