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)

Advertisements

Troy Brown, Jr. Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Troy Brown, Jr. was the 12th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class.

In his one year at Oregon, the 18-year-old accumulated 1,093 minutes of NCAA experience. Prior to it, he logged 86 minutes at the 2015 Nike Global Challenge, 122 minutes at the 2016 adidas Nations, 169 minutes with the United States National Team at the 2016 U17 FIBA World Cup and 16 minutes at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit.

Most recently, the six-foot-seven swingman averaged 14.5 points per 40 minutes on 49.4% effective shooting and compiled a 15.8 PER in 35 appearances last season.

Oregon had a +4.9 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor but played only the 84th-toughest schedule in the country.

Brown looks like the 3&D wing every single team is looking for these days.

He isn’t quite that player on offense, though. Brown shot poorly from long range in his one year in college and didn’t get up as many three-point shots as you’d like for someone in his role (weak-side floor-spacer), instead showing a stronger preference for putting the ball on the floor to attack closeouts and isolating out of ball reversals.

When Payton Pritchard was out of the game, Brown was tasked with bringing the ball up the floor and triggering ball movement sequences but didn’t have many, if any, chances to run high pick-and-roll against a set defense. He was a point guard in high school and flashed some nice passing on side pick-and-rolls, so there might be some hidden potential for shot creation there.

On the other end, Brown proved he is able to execute the scheme as a weak-side help defender and has the physical profile to be expected to offer versatility picking up bigger players on switches. He doesn’t appear to have the lateral quickness needed to develop into an ace stopper and isn’t suited to defend smaller players for longer stretches, though.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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)

Josh Okogie Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Josh Okogie was the 182nd-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class.

In two seasons at Georgia Tech, the 19-year-old accumulated 2,014 minutes of college basketball experience. But other than that, he has just 90 minutes at the 2015 Nike Global Challenge and 93 minutes defending the United States National Team at the 2017 U17 FIBA World Cup under his belt.

Most recently, the six-foot-four off guard averaged 20 points per 40 minutes on 55% true shooting and compiled a 21.3 PER in 24 appearances last season.

Georgia Tech played the 51st-toughest schedule in the country and had a +8.8 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor.

Okogie logged 27% usage-rate and had the opportunity to show a somewhat diverse skill-set in terms of the ways he can contribute to an offense; bringing up the ball to trigger motion offense, isolating out of ball reversals and late in the shot clock, curling off pindown screens, attacking off dribble hand-offs and spacing the floor on spot-ups. He took about a third of his shots from each of the three levels and was assisted on less than half of his field-goals.

The native of Lagos, Nigeria had the chance to showcase his versatility on the other end as well, as Georgia Tech often ran a matchup zone that tested its players’ recognition skills and switched a little more aggressively towards the end of the season. Okogie impressed with his ability contribute as a help defender, especially in rim protection, but his individual defense was only so-so, which is somewhat disappointing for someone with his physical profile.

Okogie measured really well and turned up his intensity during the scrimmages at the 2018 Combine, though. And after a strong showing in Chicago, he appears to have consolidated his status as a late first rounder, unless the grade 1 right adductor strain he suffered while working out for the Grizzlies turns out to be a bigger problem than it’s currently known.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

Mikal Bridges Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Mikal Bridges is a college basketball purist’s dream.

After redshirting his first year, the six-foot-seven wing improved year-over-year the next three seasons, graduated and now leaves Villanova as a two-time National Champion.

Most recently, he averaged 22 points per 40 minutes on 65.5% true shooting and posted a 25.2 PER in 40 appearances last season. Villanova played the sixth-toughest schedule in the country and had a +35.3 pace-adjusted point differential in Bridges’ 1,286 minutes.

Other than his 3,172 minutes of NCAA experience, Bridges also has 103 minutes at the 2017 adidas Nations under his belt.

The 21-year-old had a few chances to isolate against his man out of ball reversals and sealing his man for catches in the extended elbow area. But for the most part he operated as a weak-side floor-spacer, while also flashing some ability to aid the shot creation with movement.

On the other end, Bridges started most possessions matched up on similarly sized wings, as a weak-side defender, but Villanova switched aggressively, not just on screens but on movement as well, and he found himself picking up smaller and bigger players quite often.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

Wenyen Gabriel Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Wenyen Gabriel averaged 11.8 points per 40 minutes on 56.1% true shooting and posted a 14.3 PER[1] in 37 appearances last season.
  • Kentucky played the 12th-toughest schedule in the country[2] and had a +15.1 pace-adjusted point differential in Gabriel’s 854 minutes[3].
  • The six-foot-nine energy big not only sustained his three-point percentage over the second half of the season but even flashed some versatility to his shooting, as he continued to be used as a floor-spacer who also managed to make a decent impact on the offensive glass considering his role.
  • On the other end, the native of South Sudan wasn’t as effective in terms of creating events through the conference part of the schedule but his intensity and versatility maintained him a very effective presence.
    • He had the second best defensive rating on the team among rotation players.
  • Other than his 1,526 minutes of college basketball over the past two seasons, the 20-year-old[9] also has 201 minutes at the 2015 adidas Nations of experience under his belt.

OFFENSE

  • Gabriel’s catch-and-shoot stroke continued to look good; fluid and quick when he was spot-up in the corner. He also flashed some ability to set his feet quickly and make shots on the move; drifting around the wing, out of the pick-and-pop and coming to the ball on dribble hand-offs.
    • 53.8% of his shots were three-pointers last season.
    • Gabriel nailed 39.6% of his 106 three-point shots, at a pace of five such attempts per 40 minutes[4].
    • He hit just 62.5% of his 56 free throws as a sophomore, after hitting 61.8% of his 55 foul shots as a freshman – which gives you some cause for concern over how good a shooter he really is.
  • Gabriel hasn’t yet developed any dexterity putting the ball on the floor out of triple threat position and has no in-between game at this point of his development; no stop-and-pop jumper and no floater. Gabriel can also only get to the rim on straight line drives unimpeded and has no versatility to his finishing going up off the bounce.
    • His average of 1.9 turnovers per 40 minutes is sky high for someone with a 15.2% usage rate.
  • Gabriel is a well-coordinated athlete with quick leaping ability but was not given opportunities to dive to the rim out of the pick-and-roll. He also didn’t do much as a cutter, not just because there wasn’t much space but because he showed an inclination for staying static off the ball.
    • He took just 25.4% of his shots at the rim last season[5].
    • Just 12 of his 30 makes at the rim were assisted.
  • Gabriel leveraged his athleticism and nine-foot-one standing reach[6] on the offensive glass pretty well when you consider he wasn’t always in good position to battle for second chance opportunities. He was also a putback threat, thanks to his quick second jump.
    • He collected 9.1% of Kentucky’s misses when he was on the floor last season and converted his 32 putback attempts at a 63.6% clip.
  • Gabriel has sort of a thin 205-pound frame[7] in the context of his height and isn’t able to set deep position in the post. When he has gotten the ball with his back to the basket, Gabriel relied on a face-up jumper that isn’t much of an asset yet.
    • He hit just 36.6% of his 41 two-point shots away from the basket.
  • Gabriel is yet to show much of anything in terms of helping facilitate offense.
    • He assisted on just 4.1% of Kentucky’s scores when he was on the floor and posted a 0.4 assist-to-turnover ratio.

DEFENSE

  • Gabriel plays defense with great intensity; with effort, hustle and energy.
  • He is proactive coming off the weak-side in help defense and can leap off one foot quickly to play above the rim as a shot blocker. He is also able to leap off two feet and block shots stepping up to the front of the basket as the last line of defense or even defending on the ball.
    • He averaged 1.9 blocks per 40 minutes.
  • Gabriel can bend his knees to get down in a stance and has enough lateral quickness to pick up smaller players on switches, as he’s able to keep pace with them stride-for-stride on straight line drives, though he doesn’t use his frame to contain dribble penetration.
    • He’s not an option to cross-match onto smaller players for entire possessions, though, as he’s unable to navigate over screens at the point of attack.
  • Gabriel has a six-foot-11 wingspan[8] to make plays in the passing lanes and reach around smaller players for strips defending on the ball.
    • He averaged 1.4 steals per 40 minutes last season.
  • Gabriel can cover a good amount of ground quickly, which makes him effective running shooters off the three-point line on closeouts; both spot-ups and pick-and-pops.
  • His focus away as a weak-side defender can be iffy, as he is prone to giving up a backdoor cut from time-to-time and is a so-so decision maker in terms of which player to prioritize when guarding two on the weak-side.
  • He is attentive to his boxout responsibilities but doesn’t have enough strength to erase many opponents out of the play.
    • He collected just 16.1% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season.

[1] According to RealGM

[2] According to Ken Pomeroy

[3] According to RealGM

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to hoop-math

[6] According to Draft Express

[7] According to Kentucky’s official listing

[8] According to the measurements at the Kentucky Combine

[9] DOB: 3/26/1997

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

Marvin Bagley, III Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Marvin Bagley, III was the top prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].

Even though he was a late addition, not making his decision to reclassify and join Duke until mid-August, the 19-year-old[2] adapted right away to the highest level of college basketball and was the number one priority in the offense from day one.

Though he projects as a center in the pros, the six-foot-11, 234-pounder[3] played just about every minute with another true big man in the lineup. As a result, opponents matched up their stronger big on the pure center and often designated lighter, smaller types to guard Bagley, which Duke consistently viewed as an opportunity to explore getting him to work mostly below the foul line.

His 25.9% usage-rate led the team and he proved to be worth of those touches. In his 1,118 minutes in Durham, Bagley averaged 24.8 points per 40 minutes on 64% effective shooting and had the highest offensive rating on a team[4] that ranked third in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency[5].

And yet, so much of the intrigue over him isn’t over his production but the way he looks. Bagley is incredibly smooth for someone his size, which influences how he is often seeking to take opposing big men off the dribble.

He is not the sort of modern prototype who can draw his man to the perimeter and shake him side-to-side but Bagley has a very quick first step for a big man and has proven he can get by his man from the high post down.

On top of that, he is an explosive leaper and figures to be an excellent pick-and-roll finisher, while also flashing a three-point shot that looks very fluid.

The concerns regard the other end, where many people question his ability to protect the rim, which in turn lead to questions over his ability to anchor an above average defense. His shot blocking numbers were underwhelming and he didn’t show particularly impressive instincts anticipating rotations.

Duke’s struggles on defense through the non-conference part of the schedule led to Mike Krzyzewski installing a full time zone during the second half of the season, which was incredible to see, given that team had a handful of players who will be given multiple chances to fail in the pros. Bagley wasn’t the only reason why they eventually resorted to that strategy but he was part of the problem.

If he doesn’t develop and has to play with a center by his side more often than not, Bagley probably won’t be considered as much of a difference maker, though it might end up being the most appropriate end game. Thanks to his athletic prowess, he impressed in instances where activity was required of him and projects as someone who will offer flexibility by picking up smaller players on switches often.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 3/14/1999

[3] According to Duke’s official listing

[4] According to our stats’ database

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy