7-footer, Catch&Score Finisher, Stretch Big

Mohamed Bamba Scouting Report

  • Bamba scored 14 points on 14 minutes on Texas’ 96-84 win against the Dandenong Rangers — a team from Australia’s second division, on Tuesday.
  • His first score was on a catch-and-shoot three-pointer off a pick-and-pop on Texas’ second offensive possession of the game. His release looked a bit mechanical and methodical, though with very decent touch. He gets off the ground a decent amount for a seven-footer, it’s not a set shot, but lets the ball go from the side, instead of out in front.
  • Bamba was very aggressive pulling the trigger from the outside.
    • He took another three-pointer after making sure to space beyond the arc against Dandenong’s zone that missed;
    • Then he missed an uncontested turnaround right elbow jumper off the catch in the middle of Dandenong’s zone;
    • Then he made a no-dribble jumper from the left elbow turning and facing his defender on a post-up;
    • Then he missed a one-dribble pull-up fading to his left on the right side of the mid-post area after also turning and facing his defender.
  • Bamba got most of his touches in the post and showed a strong preference for turning, facing his defender and launching a jumper[1], with the exception of one possession at the start of the second quarter when he set decent position in the mid-post, took a dribble to set himself up and launched a right-handed turnaround hook over the defender’s left shoulder that went in. His footwork was not particularly impressive but Bamba at least showed he doesn’t have cement feet.
    • There was also a play where Bamba caught in the elbow area, turned and faced his defender, spot a cutter working baseline and delivered a nice pass that his teammate bobbled and lost out of bounds.
  • Texas did not put him in the pick-and-roll but Bamba proved himself able to play above the rim as a target for lobs with his massive nine-foot-six standing reach on a play where he sneaked behind the defense and finished an alley-oop.
  • Bamba’s most impressive plays from a skill-standpoint were when he drove from the top of the key to the rim and earned two free throws attacking out of triple threat position after trailing behind a play in transition and when he collected the ball after a deflection and took it end-to-end for a short jumper from just outside the restricted area. The exciting part of that grab-and-go is that it wasn’t on a straight-line; Bamba had to escape a steal attempt at half-court and then contain his momentum not to commit an offensive foul when an opponent challenged his shot. His coordination on both plays were equally as impressive as his ball-handling.
  • Bamba was only stressed in pick-and-roll defense once, showcasing decent agility for someone his size showing-and-recover to his man in a timely manner.
  • He proved himself a proactive help defender coming off the weak-side to act as a shot blocking threat, able to come off the ground with ease, aside from having such a giant reach.
  • Bamba also put his length[2] to use rebounding outside of his area, which will be key for him on the defensive glass as much as on the other end because while he seemed attentive to his boxout responsibilities, Bamba only plays with so-so physicality and sometimes doesn’t completely erase the opponent off the play or gets pushed out of his position.

[1] Bamba has a lean 216-pound frame in the context of his seven-foot height, so it’s understandable why he doesn’t look to play a physicality-oriented style

[2] Seven-foot-nine wingspan

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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Post Scorer, Shot Creator, Stretch Big

Marvin Bagley III Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Marvin Bagley III announced on Monday that he’s reclassifying to the 2017 high school class and joining the Duke Blue Devils for next season. The six-foot-11 big man might have to wait a little bit before the NCAA rules him eligible, given he made his decision to move on to college really late in the process, but ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweeted his father is said to have been keeping his documentation diligently in order and everything should work out in the end.

The expectation is for the 18-year-old[1] Bagley to be one-and-done and join what’s already viewed as a highly touted 2018 NBA Draft class, at least at the very top. Givony released his first mock draft on Tuesday and the lefty is ranked second.

At Sierra Canyon, Bagley had plenty of opportunities to create a shot from the post and the team spaced the floor fairly well around him. But though he flashed his ball skills and coordination on a few face-up drives and in transition, he was not given any chance to create from the perimeter against a set defense in the games against Oak Hill Academy and Nathan Hale – which this evaluation is based on.

Bagley was also not put in the pick-and-roll a whole lot in this game, which was disappointing.

Defensively, his energy and intensity were nice to see. He contested a lot of shots near the basket and worked hard on the glass. Bagley also even flashed some intelligence switching on the fly, which Sierra Canyon did a little bit of – a matchup zone of sorts. There’s still room for him to improve as a positional defender, though, rotating preemptively to keep opponents from getting to the basket to begin with.

[1] Who turns 19 only in March

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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Shot Creator, Stretch Big, Tall Passer

Miles Bridges Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Every team is looking for a Draymond Green these days; a big wing who can not only aid the shot creation process on dribble hand-offs, out of the short roll and handling in the secondary break but also draw opposing big men 25-feet away from the basket and force them to defend big-small pick-and-rolls out in space in a way they are not used to, while simultaneously providing excellent defense from a big position on the other end — whether it is via expert help or providing switch-ability.

That’s obviously a very difficult player to find. Green would be very valuable if he did just one or two of these things but the fact that he does them all is why he’s probably the most special non-volume scorer ever, given the way he unlocks Golden State’s most powerful lineup.

Miles Bridges hasn’t yet materialized into someone who can check all these boxes but there is no other prospect out there who looks like he is on his way to becoming something close to that sort of player down the line. And add to it that the 19-year-old[1] combo forward chose the perfect place to develop a similar skill-set to Green’s in Michigan State.

Bridges had a very productive first year in East Lansing, posting a 22.2 PER and averaging 21.1 points per 40 minutes on 56.3% effective shooting — according to our stats’ database.

He impressed with the versatility of his dribble moves and his passing on the go in instances where he was afforded shot creation opportunities, while also carrying his weight reasonably well when he was needed to spot-up off the ball.

Defensively, the six-foot-seven 230-pounder was not asked to switch onto smaller players all that frequently and operated mostly as a big man whose top responsibilities was defending the interior, impressing not just with the use of his athletic prowess to create events near the basket but also flashing recognition skills in rotations that prevented drives to the rim from happening.

[1] Who only turns 20 next March

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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Stretch Big, Tall Passer

Killian Tillie Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • 19 years old, turns 20 only next March
  • Listed at six-foot-10, 230 pounds
  • 17.8 points per 40 minutes on 47.6% effective shooting at the 2017 FIBA World Championships U19 in Cairo, Egypt last month
  • Tournament wasn’t necessarily the best that it could bebut still featured about a dozen guys who will for sure get a look in the NBA in the near future
  • France placed second in the tournament after winning the 2016 FIBA European Championships U18 last December but this was not really the same group, with Frank Ntilikina and Sekou Doumbouya missing the event due to injury
  • 25.2% usage rate, according to RealGM: participated in the shot creation process from the post and on pick-and-drive’s but not as a modern big wing who can draw an opposing big 25-feet away from the basket and force him to guard his drives out in space
  • Logged some minutes at center in instances when France was trying to come from behind but mostly played as an old pure power forward
  • May still develop into a bruising type – has the frame for that – but relied mostly on his skills package
  • Did very well on the defensive glass and showed excellent instincts picking up steals in volume, which led to the second best defensive rating on the team at 84.8

DEFENSE

  • Attentive to his rotation responsibilities coming off the weak-side in help-defense; not an explosive leaper off two feet, blocking just one shot in 195 minutes, but has developed dexterity using verticality to challenge shots at the basket effectively
  • Had the lateral quickness to keep pace with stretch big men one-on-one at this level of competition and uses his hands well to make plays on the ball – averaged two steals per 40 minutes
  • Coordinated enough to closeout, run shooter off his shot, slide laterally to keep pace with him off the bounce
  • Coordinated and agile enough to be an asset hedging-and-recovering against the pick-and-roll
  • Not an asset to switch onto smaller players regularly; lacks lateral quickness to stay in front of these types out on an island and isn’t quick enough to block them from behind
  • Attentive to his boxout responsibilities and chased the ball off the rim very well against this level of competition despite lack of explosive leaping ability; collected 27.3% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor, which ranked sixth in the tournament

OFFENSE

  • Can grab a defensive rebound and bring the ball up the court but isn’t the sort of modern big wing who feels comfortable initiating offense himself
  • Did about half of his shot creation from the post: doesn’t play with enough physicality to bully his way into deep post position consistently, which makes it not uncommon to see him get pushed out
    • Didn’t show a particularly diverse set of post moves, more often than not relying on simple turnaround hooks, and showed no power moves – earning just 2.6 free throws per 40 moves
  • Looked his best as a scoring threat on pick-and-drive’s against a scrambling defense; proved himself coordinated enough to catch, take a dribble and launch floaters or make a kick-out pass to the outside
  • Loves floaters, lives to take them; floaters off jump-stops, floaters off spin moves, runners. Has very nice touch on them, shot 51.2% on 68 two-pointers, despite a steady diet of these looks that tend to be low percentage on average
  • Doesn’t roll hard to the basket in pick-and-roll; isn’t an option to play above the rim as a target for lobs and can’t go up strong off two feet in a crowd
  • Took a pick-and-pop jumper from mid-range that looked good and also flashed a quick pop-to-three long bomb off faking to be preparing himself to set a screen, aside from a three-pointer relocating to an open spot around the wing
  • But for the most part was a very reluctant outside shooter; release looks fluid and reasonably quick for someone his size and he lets it go from a high point but takes some time to load his shot – averaging just three three-point attempts per 40 minutes in Cairo, missing 12 of his 15 attempts
  • Surprised in the offensive glass, collecting 11% of France’s misses
  • Tremendous asset to help facilitate offense, assisting on 21.2% of France’s scores when he was on the floor; excellent instincts on post-to-post passing, ball skills to act as a hub on dribble hand-offs, quick thinking on catch-and-go’s from the post, can make entry passes over the top from the perimeter when his team inverts the offense
    • It came at the cost of him turning it over on 20.6% of his plays; not some screaming absurdity given his high usage rate and assist rate but not something to be ignored either

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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3D wing, Shot Creator, Stretch Big, Tall Passer, Undersized Big

Abu Kigab Scouting Report

CONTEXT

RJ Barrett was the headliner but Abu Kigab was perhaps just as vital for Canada to win the 2017 World Championships U19 in Cairo, Egypt a couple of weeks ago. Like his star teammate, the 18-year-old[1] also earned first team all-tournament honors after averaging 20.9 points per 40 minutes on 23.1% usage-rate and ranking fifth in the tournament in defensive rating — according to RealGM.

The Oregon-commit is one of the smoothest athletes ever but impressed the most with the versatility of his skill-set on offense. He can run pick-and-roll, pass on the move, make some pull-ups, get to the foul line and space the floor operating off the ball, projecting as the prototype perimeter player for this era of basketball.

Canada went small quite a bit and spaced the floor well to provide him the best possible environment to succeed. If Oregon does the same, I suspect he’ll be just as prominent as Dillon Brooks was there.

On the other end, the six-foot-seven combo forward possesses the combination of physical profile and athletic ability to develop into an impact defender who offers as much flexibility as he does on offense. But as of now he’s only OK, executing Canada’s zone scheme pretty well and doing a reasonable job in one-on-one defense but failing to create many events.

SHOT CREATION

Kigab ranked third on the team in usage but with Lindell Wigginton missing a couple of games due to injury, he was given quite a bit of shot creation responsibility against a set defense and impressed with his fluidity operating off the dribble.

Kigab flashed the ability to make a well-timed pocket pass turning the corner but what he really likes to do in pick-and-roll is not attack right away. Regardless of whether the opponent shows hard, hedges or drops, Kigab prefers slowing down the pace, backing down a step or two, transition into an isolation and then turn on the jets.

He’s shown a strong preference for going left and has a combination of hesitation move + explosive first step to just blow by his man but has also shown quite a bit of craft to get around quicker types. Kigab can go between the legs on the move, pivot into a well-coordinated spin move in a pinch and showed an in-and-out dribble as well to shake his defender side-to-side.

He’s proven himself pretty fast for someone his size with the ball and consistently gets deep dribble penetration against his age group. But Kigab lacks the strength to maintain his balance through contact to get to the basket and often got up to finish in awkward balance.

He’s proven himself fearless weaving through traffic on his way to the goal (resulting in 7.3 foul shots per 40 minutes) and flashed an euro-step to score around rim protection in transition but for the most part struggled with his touch on non-dunk finishes in the half-court — converting his 56 two-point shots at a disappointing 42.9% clip.

As was the case, Kigab took quite a bit of stop-and-pop jumpers from the elbow area and his one-dribble pull-up looks pretty good. The above average efficiency isn’t there yet but he appears to have a great base to be build upon; able to stop on a dime, elevate in great balance, pull the trigger quickly and get his shot off comfortably.

But Kigab’s most productive contribution off the bounce is his passing on the move. He has a nice handle for someone his size, turning it over on just 10.6% of his possessions, and proved himself very willing to hit open teammates with kick-outs to the strong-side and drop-offs to a big man at the dunker’s spot when the defense collapsed against his dribble penetration — assisting on 14.9% of Canada’s scores when he was on the floor at the Worlds U19.

FLOOR SPACING

Kigab proved himself an effective, if not particularly great yet, option operating off the ball as a floor-spacer. He catches on the hop on spot-ups, gets off the ground quickly, shows to have fluid mechanics to be build upon and has a quick release — nailing 36.7% of his 30 three-point attempts in Cairo.

Canada used him as the screener on the pick-and-pop once or twice and Kigab flashed the ability to relocate to a spot beyond the arc, catch and rise up quickly in rhythm with great balance. But other than that, he was not given many opportunities to showcase the versatility of his shot, as he was not asked to sprint around staggered screens or come off pindown screens.

DEFENSE

Kigab posted the best defensive rating on the team, despite the fact he had just five steals and three blocks in his 190 minutes in Cairo — marks that were disappointing given his six-foot-nine wingspan[2], his leaping ability and the fact he often put himself in good position as he proved himself attentive to his help-defense responsibilities.

That was the case because Kigab showed pretty good discipline putting in the effort to stay in front of similarly-sized players in individual defense, running shooters off their shots with his closeouts on weak-side defense and executing the rotations within the zone scheme Canada played towards the latter part of the tournament.

He didn’t show a lot of toughness containing dribble penetration and holding ground in the post, despite his 214-pound frame, but contested shots in a satisfying manner with his eight-foot-six standing reach, aside from the fact he was vital for Canada’s smaller lineups to work with his ability to help protect the defensive glass — collecting 23.3% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

[1] Who turns 19 in November

[2] 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

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Shot Creator, Stretch Big

Michael Porter, Jr. Scouting Report

CONTEXT

With free agency and Summer League in the rearview mirror, NBA fans start to turn their attention to the 2017-2018 season and part of that is learning who is worth tanking for. And that would be Michael Porter, Jr., the Missouri-commit who currently ranks first on Draft Express’ top 60[1].

The just-turned 19-year-old is coming off a wildly successful year. After moving from Missouri to Seattle, the six-foot-10 forward led Brandon Roy-coached Nathan Hale, a high school that had lost 18 of 21 games the previous season, to a 29-0 record and a state championship — the school’s first since 1994.

Porter dominated in high school due to his athletic prowess but also showed an appealing level of skill for someone his size. The combination of dribble moves and shot making he displayed, even if still in its infancy, makes his scoring potential tantalizing.

That said, Porter doesn’t have a particularly polished skill-set at this point of his development. He got most of his offense in the half-court out of the isolation plays, as Roy didn’t put him in the pick-and-roll often. He also didn’t have much opportunity to showcase the versatility of his shot.

Defensively, Porter has the combination of physical profile and athletic ability to potentially develop into an impact defender who could make a difference in a variety of ways. He’s far from materializing into that, though. As it tends to be the case with most teenagers, his effort on that end was subpar more often than not.

[1] RIP, Draft Express

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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Catch&Score Finisher, Stretch Big

Daniel Theis Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Boston is said to have agreed on a deal to import German center Daniel Theis to the United States. The 25-year-old[1] accumulated 3,995 minutes of EuroLeague and German Bundesliga[2] experience playing for Brose Baskets of Bamberg in Deutschland the last three years, helping the powerhouse earn three straight domestic titles, leading the league in individual defensive rating last season.

Andrea Trinchieri runs a diverse offense that relies on swinging the ball around the perimeter to move the defense in order to find an opening to attack off pick-and-roll. Therefore, the six-foot-nine, 215-pounder didn’t have much shot creation responsibility and is adapted to the defined role as a finisher and floor spacer that he’ll be asked to play in the US.

But whether or not he has a legitimate chance of cracking the rotation will depend on what level of defense he brings to the table. Theis is quite athletic, challenged a lot of shots near the basket at the European level and posted very strong defensive rebounding numbers in each of the last three seasons. The concern regards his ability to extend coverage beyond the foul line.

DEFENSE

Ball handlers who are threats to pull-up from three-point range off the pick-and-roll are in vogue these days, stressing the need for big men to become more of an asset defending the perimeter.

Brose Baskets asked Theis to hedge-and-recover beyond the arc. He is not a stiff by any means but also didn’t impress with his agility defending out in space, able to defend stretch big men on straight line drives but ineffective closing out to three-point line[3].

Theis doesn’t figure to be an option picking up smaller players on switches either. He flashed some ability to keep pace with less athletic, less resourceful types on straight line drives in Deutschland but doesn’t bend his knees to get down in a stance, which makes him vulnerable to getting shook side-to-side.

Theis makes most of his impact defending close to the basket. He is attentive to his responsibilities coming off the weak-side in help-defense and goes up off two feet with ease to challenge shots via verticality or play above the rim as a shot blocker – averaging 2.2 blocks per 40 minutes over the last three years.

More impressive, perhaps, is how Theis often does preventive work as well, slowing down the development of plays by using his mobility to slide laterally and put his big body in the way to discourage immediate drives to the basket by opposing ball handlers turning the corner or attacking downhill off pick-and-roll.

Theis will be considered undersized for a center in the US but held up well from a physicality-standpoint in Europe. He showed to have a strong base to hold his ground in the post and boxing out opposing behemoths under the defensive glass – collecting at least 24% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor in each of the last three years, according to RealGM.

OFFENSE

Despite not being a post player, Theis logged 23.2% usage-rate last season. That’s the case because Brose Baskets spaced the floor really well, which afforded him many good looks for finishes near the basket out of the pick-and-roll and from three-point range as a floor spacer. He should enjoy similarly healthy conditions in Boston if he gets some burn.

Theis is a so-so screener who likes to slip the pick to get a head start diving down the lane but has good hands to catch the ball on the move and can play above the rim as a target for lobs. He also has pretty good touch on non-dunk finishes in instances where he had to catch, get down and go up again, showcasing second jump-ability that also manifests itself as he fights for tip-ins and 50-50 balls in the offensive glass – where he collected 12% of Brose Baskets’ misses when he was on the floor last season.

Theis has a decent looking catch-and-shoot jumper from mid-range off the pick-and-pop. He even flashed some ability to hit such a shot from three-point range when the ball handler sucked in the defense long enough for him to have time to set his feet. But his three-pointers tended to come from spot-ups for the most part and he showed to be only a capable open shot shooter who needs some time to get his shots off – nailing 36.4% of his 321 three-point shots over the last three years.

He is fluid enough to attack closeouts on free straight-line paths from beyond the arc to the basket and even flashed some ability to take an escape dribble and rise for a stop-and-pop mid-range pull-up. But Theis is by no means a playmaker off the bounce and struggles to protect the ball in traffic due to his high dribble, turning it over on 14% of his possessions last season – a high mark for someone with his role.

He has decent enough ball skills to help facilitate offense on dribble handoffs but didn’t show much in terms of particularly instinctive passing – assisting on just 7% of Brose Baskets’ scores when he was on the floor last season.

[1] Who only turns 26 next April

[2] Which Next Step Basketball ranks as the sixth best domestic league in the continent

[3] Which was shorter than the distance he’ll face in the US

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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