Dmitry Kulagin Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • 26 years old, DOB: 7/1/1992.
  • Moscow native.
  • After just 1,024 minutes with CSKA Moscow the previous two seasons, logged 866 minutes in his first year with Lokomotiv Kuban[1].
  • Key rotation player on the team that got to the Eurocup Finals and won 17 of 24 games in the VTB United League regular season (before getting swept by Khimki in the quarterfinals).
  • Averaged 18.1 points per 40 minutes on 56.3% true shooting and compiled a 15.8 PER in 36 appearances last season.
  • Six-foot-six point forward who ran a lot of offense: logged 24.4% usage rate and assisted on 26% of Lokomotiv Kuban’s scores when he was on the floor;
    • Can grab-and-go to push the ball up the floor in transition, trigger motion offense in the half-court, post-up smaller matchups in a pinch and run middle high pick-and-roll against a set defense.
  • Was relied on to defend different types of players and proved he offers quite a bit of versatility on the other end as well;
    • Can credibly defend smaller players at the point of attack, stay in front of similarly sized wings, chase shooters around the second side of the floor and put up a fight against bigger players in the post or under the glass.

OFFENSE

  • Pretty good shot creator for others out of pick-and-roll: can make well-timed pocket passes against drop defense, hit the dive man over the top against hedges or traps, toss up lobs in traffic off deep dribble penetration and launch crosscourt passes to the opposite end against hard shows cutting him off from turning the corner.
  • Turnover prone: attempts a lot of passes in traffic and is too aggressive trying to thread the needle in a few instances – giving up the ball on 19.9% of his possessions last season.
  • Doesn’t have an explosive first step but is quite resourceful with the ball in his hands: can go left off the pick and has a hesitation move, an in-and-out dribble and the ability to go behind the back in a pinch to create forward momentum or separation one-on-one.
  • Up-and-down finisher at the basket who can’t go up strong off one foot in traffic, rarely finishes through contact and attempts basic righty speed layups most of the time but who can also go to a shot fake off a jump-stop to get rim protectors in the air and a lefty finger-roll finish every once in a while;
    • Put a good deal of pressure at the rim: averaged 7.1 foul shots per 40 minutes last season.
  • Can post-up smaller matchups in a pinch: has a shot fake to get his man in the air to draw shooting fouls and can set a turnaround fade-away jumper but does best finding cutters and spot-up shooters out of working with his back to the basket.
  • Capable but poor shot maker off the dribble. Can create enough separation for step-back fade-away jumpers in isolation and side-step one-dribble pull-ups off the pick-and-roll but the ball doesn’t go in a whole lot;
    • Shot just 48.5% on 175 two-point attempts last season.
  • Capable but poor floor-spacer on spot-ups;
3P% 3PAs SEASON
29.9% 107 2017-2018
29.3% 92 2016-2017
29.2% 48 2015-2016
30.6% 147 2014-2015
28.9% 39 2013-2014
20.9% 91 2012-2013
28.9% 114 2011-2012

DEFENSE

  • Bends his knees to get down in a stance and has several lateral slides to stay in front of similarly sized players in isolation, though doesn’t use his 211-pound frame to chest up and contain dribble penetration through contact.
  • Puts in the effort to slide around off ball screens and chase shooters around the second side of the floor. Works hard to deny on dribble-handoffs.
  • Gets caught ball watching and gives up backdoor cuts from time-to-time but generally can execute the scheme as a weak-side defender: attentive enough to switch on the fly, rotates in to pick up the roll man, positions himself to guard two opponents off ball, steps up to help protect the rim when he is positioned as the last line of defense;
    • Good instincts and reactions to get into passing lanes: 1.6 steals per 40 minutes last season;
    • Contributes some on the defensive glass: collected 12.6% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.
  • So-so at closeouts: sometimes flies by but there are also times when he is able to run the shooter off his shot and stay balanced.
  • Can credibly pick up smaller players on switches: works to go over screens at the point of attack and hustles in pursuit to challenge shots or passes from behind.
  • Can credibly pick up bigger players on switches: tenacious enough to front the post and box out whomever is close by.

OUTLOOK

Kulagin is a very interesting player: a wing who can run offense and create for others in volume due to the versatility of his passing, while also being able to credibly defend different types of players. Someone with that combination of skills can be very valuable these days, as a chess piece who can unlock lineups in both sides of the extremes in terms of size.

His inability to make a shot is what’s preventing him from being considered a potential impact player at higher levels, though. His true shooting percentage was only about average this past year because he got to the foul line in volume and hit 82.6% of his free throws but the team still scored more efficiently without him on the floor both in the Eurocup[2] and the VTB United League[3].


[1] According to RealGM

[2] According to RealGM

[3] According to RealGM

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

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Luka Doncic Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Luka Doncic just finished a remarkable season on Tuesday.

After playing a key role on the Slovenian National Team squad that won the 2017 Eurobasket, the 19-year-old[1] went on to win Euroleague and Spanish ACB MVP honors, while leading Real Madrid to continental and domestic titles.

There has never been a player who accomplished as much by such a young age.

The Ljubljana native has accumulated 4,404 minutes of pro experience over the last four years, defending Real Madrid in the two toughest leagues outside the United States and his country in the most competitive tournament among nations.

Most recently, the six-foot-eight passing wizard averaged 22.5 points per 40 minutes on 59.2% true shooting and compiled a 22.8 PER in 73 appearances last season[2].

With Sergio Llull injuring his knee during the summer and subsequently missing the vast majority of the year, Doncic was the top shot creator on the team and was relied on to run a ton of offense – logging 26.8% usage rate and assisting on 30.5% of Real Madrid’s scores when he was on the floor.

Most people view him as best suited for a role as secondary shot creator but Doncic showed this year, at the highest level of European basketball, that he is capable of doing more than just breaking down a scrambling defense or running offense for short stretches. And soon we will get to see to which extent his shot creation prowess can translate to the NBA.

On the other end, Doncic regressed. Tasked with a larger burden on offense, his commitment to off ball defense declined. And it was once again proven true that he is not suited to defending at the point of attack, consistently needing to be paired with a smaller player capable of handling opposing point guards.

There were still glimpses of intelligent help defense, though. And his contributions on the glass continued to be pretty strong.

PASSING

Creating for others remains the best part of his skill-set.

Doncic has remarkable court vision on the move and can anticipate passing lanes a split-second before they become evident. He excels in transition as well but the true foundation of his game is operating in pick-and-roll.

Doncic enjoys an advantageous point of view thanks to his height but has also developed the ability to freeze help defenders with his eyes. I can’t believe there are teams that still hedge against him, as he’s proven time and time  again that he can absolutely destroy them seeing over the top, spotting whomever is over in the blink of an eye and firing bullet passes no big man can outrun.

Off dribble penetration, Doncic has shown he can pass across the court to the opposite corner against the momentum of his body, make wraparound pocket passes and toss up lobs in traffic – averaging 7.1 assists per 40 minutes last season.

Just as a significantly, Doncic has really improved his ability to take care of the ball. A reckless passer who was constantly trying to thread the needle earlier in his career, he turned it over on just 15.3% of his possessions this past year – an acceptable rate for someone with his high usage and assist rates.

SHOOTING

Doncic took a step forward as a catch-and-shoot shooter. One year ago in the 2017 Euroleague Final Four, Fenerbahçe beat Real Madrid in the semifinal in large part by playing off Doncic when he spaced the floor. Such a strategy was no longer viable last season, as he improved into a more consistently capable open shot shooter, if not yet a knockdown one.

His catch-and-shoot stroke looks good more often than not, as he does great shot prep, rises up in balance and has compact mechanics. His release gets a little bit quicker every year, though the fact he gets little elevation off the ground and his launch point out in front might cause him to struggle a little bit more against lengthier NBA wings closing out to him.

Doncic took some shots coming off pindown screens and coming to the ball for dribble hand-offs from time to time but doesn’t have a dynamic enough release to take shots on the move with regularity at this point of his development.

He nailed just 31% of his 348 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 7.5 such attempts per 40 minutes. That percentage was so poor because Doncic had to create a large portion of his long bombs off the bounce, including a good deal of them late in the shot clock.

He showed development as a shooter off the dribble as well, taking them in very diverse ways; raw step-back pull-up off suddenness and going between the legs into a step-back pull-up in isolation, turnaround fade-away jumper in the post, stop-and-pop and pull-back pull-ups out of the pick-and-roll, shot fake into a one-dribble side-step three-pointer escaping a closeout.

Doncic has range out to the three-point line on some of these shots but for the most part these tough looks were responsible for his lousy percentage from beyond the arc. However, he established himself a good shot maker from mid-range. Doncic hit 58% of his 370 two-point shots, while making most of his living on these pull-ups.

There is some skepticism regarding his ability to create good enough separation in isolation to make as good a living on these looks at the NBA level, though. Doncic doesn’t have an explosive first step, a particularly advanced handle or a whole lot of shiftiness. His best resource for setting himself up so far has been leaning into his man as he initiates forward momentum and then taking a hard step-back, with the exception of when he is able to destabilize the opponent by going between the legs into his step-back – something that can be taken away from him if the defender is on top of the scouting report.

FINISHING

Doncic can get deep into the lane off pick-and-roll by playing with pace and putting his man in jail. He can also mix in the eventual spin move to gain some ground as he charges forward.

Doncic can go up off two feet with power if he has some space to load up but isn’t an explosive leaper off one foot in traffic. He also hasn’t shown much ability to over-extend around rim protectors, lacking elite length for someone his height.

But Doncic is a fairly resourceful scorer on finesse finishes; spin move into lefty finger-roll layup, lefty speed layup, shot fake off stopping on a dime into a righty scoop finish, neutralizing shot blockers by wrong footing his leap or stepping through, running floater, floater off a jump-stop.

His large 228-pound frame also invites contact, as Doncic averaged 7.7 foul shots per 40 minutes last season.

He is not as capable of getting to the basket one-and-one, though. The most concerning aspect of his game is his inability to get by big men on switches, even unathletic types. His lack of shiftiness and explosiveness really hurts him here.

DEFENSE

While he is capable of running point on a full time basis on offense, Doncic is not suited to defend the point of attack on defense. He is too big to be able to get skinny over picks at the point of attack and while he has shown some hustle to try making plays in pursuit in the past, that sort of tenacity seems to have gone away.

Doncic also struggles to stay in front of smaller players out in space, so he is not a good option to pick up these types on switches either.

Against similarly sized players, he can bend his knees to get down in a stance, has multiple lateral slides in him to try staying in front, can leverage his bulk to chest up and contain dribble penetration by less physical types, and can use his eight-foot-nine standing reach[3] to contest shots.

However, his post defense, once stout, has regressed, as he no longer put up that much of a fight when wings took him to the block.

His effort away from the ball was the biggest issue, though. His closeouts left a lot to be desired and he lost his man from time-to-time, aside from the fact he struggled to navigate screens chasing around shooters who get their looks off movement. Doncic also doesn’t play with enough intensity to fly around disrupting plays in the passing lanes.

But there were still glimpses of potentially elite help defense here and there. When he is locked in, Doncic can execute the scheme, rotate in to pick up the roll man and go up off two feet to contest shots via verticality or even pick up the eventual block every once in a while – recording 27 blocks last season.

And he remained an elite defensive rebounder for a perimeter player – collecting 20.9% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.


[1] DOB: 2/28/1999

[2] According to our stats’ database

[3] According to ESPN’s Mike Schmitz

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

Jerome Robinson Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Jerome Robinson was the 308th-ranked prospect in the 2015 high school[1].

But after three productive years at Boston College and what seems to be a workout tour for the ages, he’s now expected to be picked in the lottery on Thursday’s Draft[2].

The 21-year-old[3] enters the NBA with 3,118 NCAA minutes under his belt but has no other meaningful experience, in terms of participating in prominent offseason events or defending the United States National Team in FIBA events.

Most recently, the six-foot-five combo guard averaged 23 points per 40 minutes[4] on 60.7% true shooting and compiled a 20.2 PER in 35 appearances last season[5].

Boston College played the 48th-toughest schedule in the country[6] and had a +8.8 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor[7].

Robinson has a skill-set similar to Devin Booker’s on offense. He is a very good shooter who also proved he is able to create for himself and others out of the pick-and-roll. Luckily for him, he was given the chance to showcase the full extent of his capabilities, as Boston College got him looks on the move in diverse ways and let him run offense against a set defense with Ky Bowman off the floor.

Robinson logged 27.3% usage rate, assisted on 19.5% of Boston College’s scores when he was in the game and was assisted on just 46.9% of his field goals[8].

His production was far less inspiring on the other end. He was mostly hidden on defense but Boston College switched some and he defended on the ball from time-to-time. Robinson does the basics but doesn’t play with any energy or intensity and lacks the physical profile and athletic ability to make a positive impact when he does try harder on occasion.

SHOOTING

His top skill is his shooting.

Robinson has as pure a catch-and-shoot stroke you are ever going to find, featuring fluid mechanics, a quick trigger, perfect balance as he rises up and a high release thanks to the amount of elevation he gets and the fact that he fully extends himself – consistently being able to shoot over closeouts by players with similar length.

Besides basic weak-side spot-ups, he also took shots coming to the ball for dribble hand-offs, relocating around the wing, coming off pindown screens and sprinting around staggered screens. The only thing missing was deploying him as the back-screener in Spain pick-and-rolls or as the screener in small-small pick-and-pops.

Robinson nailed 37.6% of his 423 three-point shots over his three years at Boston College, including 40.9% of his 198 long bombs at a pace of 6.3 such attempts per 40 minutes last season. He also hit 75.5% of his 408 free throws, creating the expectation that he will be just as good a shooter in the pros.

Perhaps more impressively, Robinson has shown to be almost as versatile and capable a shooter off the dribble.

When the opponent prevents him from firing right away off the catch, he is able to shot fake into a side-step three-pointer or rise up for jumpers off a rip through move.

In terms of creating his own shot, Robinson took stop-and-pop pull-ups off the pick-and-roll often and flashed a pull-back three-pointer off a sudden stop. He also has multiple mid-range jumpers he can get to in isolation; a basic two-dribble pull-up working his way to a spot near the baseline, a step-back fade-away jump-shot off a spin move and a pull-up off a between the legs crossover.

Robinson established himself a good shot maker – hitting 43.4% of his 166 two-point jumpers, at a pace of 2.2 such makes per 40 minutes.

PASSING

The second most impressive aspect of his game is his passing.

He can create for others reasonably well for a gunner and part of his appeal is the ability to run offense in a pinch.

Robinson doesn’t have an explosive first step and isn’t very fast with the ball but impressed with his ability to play with pace in pick-and-roll – patient enough to keep his dribble alive when a path to attack right away wasn’t available and employing hesitation moves to try creating an opening a second or two later.

His court vision and his timing were also impressive. Besides basic drop-offs and kick-outs against a scrambling defense, he can make a pocket pass, deliver a wraparound pass in traffic to a big man close by, pitch back to a stretch big man in the pick-and-pop and pass across the court to the opposite corner on the move.

Robinson averaged three turnovers per 40 minutes last season but those giveaways represented just 13.8% of his possessions – quite a low rate in the context of his high usage rate and the risks he took with the passes he attempted.

FINISHING

Though the jump-shot is the pinnacle of his game, Robinson got deep into the lane a decent amount.

His one-on-one game most often results in a jumper, as he isn’t shifty or explosive, hasn’t yet developed a set of dribble moves and isn’t strong enough to maintain his balance and his momentum forward through contact regularly.

But Robinson can get all the way to the basket off pick-and-roll. He isn’t fast enough to blow by the big man turning the corner but has an in-and-out dribble to destabilize him, can go in either direction and protects the ball in traffic – taking 29.2% of his shots at the basket and averaging 5.6 foul shots per 40 minutes last season.

Though he flashed an explosive two-foot leap with some space to load up from time-to-time, Robinson is more of a below the rim finisher in traffic and can’t finish through contact due to his weak 188-pound frame in the context of his height.

But he can adjust his body in the air and finish with either hand. Despite his unimpressive length, Robinson proved he is able to complete reverses and over-extend for scoop finishes around rim protectors – converting 64% of his 150 shots at the basket last season.

He also unleashed a floater off a shot fake to finish over length from the in-between area every once in a while and was an option to play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense on a wheel cut – as more than a third of his makes at the rim were assisted.

DEFENSE

Robinson is a bad defender, on and off the ball.

He does bend his knees to get low in a stance and there are times where he is locked in, works to slide laterally and manages to stay in front of less explosive smaller players.

But for the part Robinson didn’t offer much resistance. Boston College often hid him but it also switched some, so there were plenty of times he had to guard on the ball and his inability to play with any force or intensity showed.

Robinson doesn’t get blown by all the time but can’t chest up to contain dribble penetration through contact, doesn’t have much of a reach to try reaching around for strips and is unable to contest shots effectively due to his eight-foot-two standing reach[9].

Despite a frame that suggests he should be able to, Robinson doesn’t get skinny to navigate over picks at the point of attack and doesn’t hustle back in pursuit. That was also a problem when he had to chase shooters around.

Things weren’t much better away from the ball. He was often caught ball watching and lost his man, lacks the length and instincts to make plays in the passing lanes, and his closeouts were pretty weak.

Robinson rotated in to pick up the roll man and tried crowding driving lanes and boxing out bigger players from time-to-time but wasn’t an effective help defender – lacking the physicality and intensity to matter even when he was in the right place at the right time. His contributions through steals, blocks and defensive rebounds were marginal and he didn’t make any impact in the hidden areas of the game.

He had the second worst defensive rating on the team among high-minutes players and Boston College defended a lot better without him on the floor[10].


[1] According to 247Sports

[2] According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony

[3] DOB: 2/22/1997

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to our stats’ database

[6] According to Ken Pomeroy

[7] According to our stats’ database

[8] According to hoop-math

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

[10] According to our stats’ database

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

Robert Williams, III Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Robert Williams, III was the 50th-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class[1].

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[2] 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[3].

Most recently, the six-foot-10 hyper athletic big man averaged 16.2 points per 40 minutes[4] 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[5] and had a +22.2 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor[6] – 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.

FINISHING

Williams got to finish out of rolls to the basket just nine times all of last season[7]. In those few instances, he showed to be a decent screener who plants his feet and looks to influence the on-ball defender. Williams also flashed some quick recognition skills setting drag screens in transition.

But other than that, he had more than a few opportunities to prove he is an explosive leaper off two feet and can play above the rim as a target for lobs – in transition, sneaking behind the defense roaming around the baseline at the dunker spot and going up in traffic without needing to load up on cuts across the lane.

More impressively, perhaps, he has proven to be coordinated enough for instances where he needed to catch the ball on the move, take a dribble for balance and score around rim protectors on non-dunk finishes.

His touch on non-dunk finishes was pretty impressive as well, as Williams converted his 128 shots at the rim at a remarkable 83.6% clip[8].

He can crash the offensive glass hard and stress the defense as a putback threat. Williams has a seven-foot-four wingspan[9] to rebound outside of his area and a quick second jump to fight for tip-ins or 50-50 balls – collecting 10.3% of Texas A&M’s misses when he was on the floor and converting 75% of his 38 putback attempts.

PASSING

After his finishing ability, passing is the most developed aspect of his skill-set on offense.

Williams has shown he is an adept passer on kickouts to the perimeter even when trapped against the baseline, out of working with his back to the basket in the low post and in instances where the defense collapsed to him when he caught the ball, dribbled for balance and went forward – assisting on 11% of Texas A&M’s scores when he was on the floor last season.

He struggled when crowded and doubled hard in the post, though, yet to show dexterity putting the ball on the floor for an escape dribble. His average of 2.7 turnovers per 40 minutes was sky-high for someone with a 19.3% usage rate and his 0.8 assist-to-turnover ratio was quite lousy.

POST GAME

Williams doesn’t use his 241-pound frame[10] to set deep position often and doesn’t play with a lot of toughness looking to back his man down with power moves.

He also didn’t show a particularly deep skill level in terms of trying to get his defender out of position with the use of head fakes, shot fakes, pivot moves or turnaround fade-away jumpers.

Williams can set up basic right handed hooks and was a so-so proposition in these looks – hitting 40% of his 80 two-point shots away from the basket last season, but doesn’t appear to consider his left hand a real option, as he was often seem contorting his body on awkward-looking baby jumpers when his defender forced him to his off hand.

SHOOTING

Williams was once envisioned as a potential unicorn – a center capable of protecting the rim on one end and spacing the floor out to the three-point line on the other, but he hasn’t developed as a shooter.

He gets little elevation off the ground but fully extends himself to launch the ball from up top, so his release is high and he brings the ball up fluidly, even if a bit slowly. The touch on his jumper is iffy, though, and his biggest problem is getting enough arc on his shot with some consistency.

Williams missed all 12 of his three-point shots last season, after missing 16 of his 18 such attempts the year before. More of an indictment in his potential as a shooter, perhaps, is the fact that he hit just 54.1% of his 170 free throws over his two years in college.

RIM PROTECTION

Williams made more of a tangible impact on defense when he had the chance to patrol the lane. His explosiveness off two feet translates in him acting as a constant shot blocking threat and Williams flashed some awareness making a lot of corrections on breakdowns around him, alongside pleasing effort on plays that required multiple efforts.

It’s fair to point out that he sold out for blocks at times and bit on more than a few shot-fakes from time-to-time, aside from not yet having developed the ability to make preventive rotations that keep the opponent from getting to the rim at all.

But Williams made a lot of positive plays rotating all the way in from the weak-side in help-defense, stepping up to the front of the rim acting as the last line of defense and blocking shots on the ball keeping pace with smaller players or face-up big men from the foul line down – averaging 4.1 blocks per 40 minutes last season.

He is not a stout post defender but used his reach to make plays on the ball for strips, which was also the case when a face-up big man took him off the dribble – averaging 1.2 steals per 40 minutes.

Williams puts a body in the closest opponent somewhat regularly but isn’t very physical with his boxouts and tougher big men can push him out of the way. However, he is very quick chasing the ball off the rim and can highpoint it in a different stratosphere than a lot of his matchups – collecting 27.2% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season.

Thanks in large part to his ability to create events in volume, Williams led a team in defensive rating that ranked 14th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.

PERIMETER DEFENSE

Logging most of his minutes alongside Tyler Davis, Williams was forced to extend out to the perimeter often.

Against face-up big men, he did well closing out to the three-point line in pick-and-pop defense and on stunt-and-recover’s to spot-up floor-spacers, not only blocking quite a few jumpers but also showing on a few instances that he is able to closeout, run the shooter off his shot and stay balanced as he forces that opponent to put the ball on the floor.

His performance on hedges was far less impactful, as Williams often showed subpar effort and didn’t influence ball handlers out in the perimeter with any regularity, though his hustle returning to the middle and spotting someone open to cover was OK.

Against smaller players on switches, Williams doesn’t bend his knees to get down in a stance but has long strides and can keep pace on straight line drives, at least well enough to block or effectively contest shots from behind.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 10/17/1997

[3] According to our stats’ database

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to our stats’ database

[7] According to research by ESPN’s Mike Schmitz

[8] According to hoop-math

[9] According to Draft Express

[10] According to Texas A&M’s official listing

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

Troy Brown, Jr. Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Troy Brown, Jr. was the 12th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].

In his one year at Oregon, the 18-year-old[2] 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[3].

Most recently, the six-foot-seven swingman averaged 14.5 points per 40 minutes[4] 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[5] but played only the 84th-toughest schedule in the country[6].

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.

OFF BALL DEFENSE

Brown impressed with his attention and awareness.

He keeps his stance off the ball, can switch on the fly, rotates in to help crowd the area near the basket, comes off the weak-side to bat away or prevent simple passes to the roll man and knows how to position himself to try guarding two men when Oregon blitzed an action on the opposite side.

Brown knows not to help one pass away off the strong-side corner and is a proactive communicator on those switches.

He is not an explosive leaper off two feet and doesn’t act as a threat block shots regularly but can help protect the rim in help defense by planting his feet and effectively contest shots with his eight-foot-nine standing reach[7].

Brown was also an asset finishing possessions by collecting 18% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor and leveraging his six-foot-10 wingspan to get into passing lanes, as he averaged two steals per 40 minutes last season.

His struggles off the ball were when he had to chase shooters off screens and closeout to spot-up shooters. He is not very quick disentangling himself from traffic and needs to sell out to run the shooter off his shot, allowing an easy path off the bounce and exposing the defense behind him.

ON BALL DEFENSE

Brown bends his knees to get down in a stance, has two or three lateral slides in him to stay in front of similarly sized players out in space and puts in the effort to contest pull-up shots effectively, though he doesn’t use the strength in his 208-pound frame to chest up and contain dribble penetration through contact often.

Oregon switched somewhat aggressively, not just on screens but on people movement as well, and Brown was asked to defend players of different sizes from time-to-time.

He has just about enough agility to pick up less explosive smaller players midway through the shot clock but isn’t suited to cross-match onto them for entire possessions due to his inability to get skinny over screens at the point of attack.

He did well against bigger players, though. Brown showed some tenacity late in the season trying to front the post and prevent easy entry passes. He can also play stout post defense and box out softer big men, though he is not very physical and tougher types can still push him out of the way or rebound around his boxouts.

But his most impressive work was probably in pick-and-roll defense. Brown looked good in drop defense keeping pace with a ball-handler attacking downhill, stepping up to the front of the basket acting as the last line of defense and on short closeouts against shooting big men in the pick-and-pop.

OFFENSE

Odds are that in order to make it in the pros, Brown will need to be a shooter. His one year in college wasn’t very promising, though.

He missed 70.9% of his 110 three-point shots, at a pace of just four such attempts per 40 minutes, though his 74.3% foul shooting on 105 free throws offers hope that this was an unusually poor year instead of one reflective of his low potential as a shooter.

Brown likes setting up his catch-and-shoot jumpers off 1-2 footwork, takes a pronounced dip for rhythm and has a bit of a long release. Given these issues, he hasn’t yet developed a quick trigger and doesn’t always get a great arc on his shot. He took a few shots drifting around the wing but for the most part didn’t show much in terms of being able to take shots on the move.

Rather than pulling the trigger aggressively, Brown showed a stronger preference for operating off the bounce.

He doesn’t have a quick first step out of triple threat position, isn’t fast with the ball, lacks shiftiness and showed only a rudimentary handle – averaging 3.1 turnovers per 40 minutes.

But he got all the way to the basket often by leveraging his strength to maintain his balance and his momentum forward through contact, while mixing in the eventual light hesitation move. 40.4% of his shots were at the rim and he earned 3.8 free throws per 40 minutes – a decent, if not necessarily impressive, mark.

Brown isn’t an explosive leaper off one foot in traffic but can use his length to over-extend on finger-roll finishes and his strength to finish through contact – converting his 131 shots at the rim at a 63.4% clip[8]. He also flashed some ability to adjust his body in the air elevating off two feet after loading up to go up.

Brown wasn’t as efficient when forced to stop his drives short. He hasn’t yet developed into much more than a capable shot maker on step-back pull-ups and didn’t show much in terms of running floaters or floaters off jump-stops to finish over length from the in-between area – hitting just 34.6% of his 81 two-point shots away from the basket.

He is inclined to post up smaller matchups every once in a while. His turnaround fade-away jumper is OK but the best outcome out of him operating with his back to the basket tends to be his shot creation for others, as Brown has flashed appealing vision making cross-court passes after escaping a double team.

Passing is his most developed skill, by the way. He passes ahead in transition to speed up the pace, makes the extra pass around the horn to keep it moving, delivers shovel passes when he spots cutters coming across the lane and proved to be an adequate passer off dribble penetration – yet to show much in terms of passing across his body to the opposite end on the go but able to kick-out and drop-off against a collapsing defense.

Brown also had the chance to run some side pick-and-roll to keep the offense flowing and proved he can make the skip pass to the big relocating to the three-point line in the pick-and-pop and hit the roll man with passes over the top – assisting on 18.6% of Oregon’s scores when he was on the floor last season.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 7/28/1999

[3] According to our stats’ database

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to our stats’ database

[6] According to Ken Pomeroy

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

[8] 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

Kevin Huerter Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Kevin Huerter was the 49th-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class[1].

In his two years at Maryland, the 19-year-old[2] accumulated 2,071 minutes of college basketball experience. Other than that, he has 184 minutes with the United States National Team at the 2016 U18 FIBA Americas and 2017 U19 FIBA World Cup under his belt[3].

Most recently, the six-foot-seven swingman averaged 17.1 points per 40 minutes[4] on 64% true shooting and compiled an 18.4 PER in 32 appearances last season.

Maryland played the 50th-toughest schedule in the country[5] and had a +17.3 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor[6].

His stock has been on the rise over the last month and after a very strong appearance at the 2018 Combine, he is now expected to end up a top 20 pick.

Huerter was given the chance to showcase a very versatile skill-set on offense. He took 54.3% of his shots from three-point range and was assisted on 59.8% of his field goals[7] but did more than just spot-up as a weak-side floor-spacer, proving he is able to nail shots on the move and create for others off side pick-and-roll as well.

On the other end, the native of Clifton Park, New York acted as a weak-side defender for the most part, though he found himself guarding on the ball when Maryland switched aggressively on ball screens against select opponents. He is a so-so individual defender and lacks elite athleticism to fly around in terms of creating events in volume but proved to be exceptional at executing the scheme.

SHOOTING

Besides basic weak-side spot-ups, Maryland created shots for Huerter off his movement as well. He got looks coming off pindown screens, staggered screens, off dribble hand-offs, off roll-and-replace and as the trailer in transition.

Huerter catches it on the hop, has compact mechanics and pulls the trigger very quickly. For the most part he manages to get his shots off comfortably prior to or over closeouts but his low release, launching the ball out in front, can be costly against closeouts by wings with elite length. Sometimes he doesn’t get that great an arc on his shot and his misses tend to be short.

Huerter nailed 39.4% of his 350 three-point shots over his two years at Maryland, at a pace of 6.8 such attempts per 40 minutes. Other than the types of shots he takes, his 74.8% foul shooting on 127 free throws also creates the expectation that he will be a very good shooter in the pros as well.

SHOT CREATION & FINISHING

To keep the defense honest, he can put the ball on the floor attacking closeouts, curl off pindown screens, turn the corner off a live dribble on hand-offs and run side pick-and-roll to keep the offense moving.

Huerter can maintain his balance through contact and euro-step to maneuver his way through traffic but lacks an explosive first step and isn’t particularly fast with the ball. As a result, he took just 20.5% of his shots at the rim and earned just 3.6 foul shots per 40 minutes last season.

Huerter can go up strong off two feet with some space to load up but isn’t an explosive leaper off one foot in traffic. He flashed some ability to hang in the air and finish through contact but was a basic up-and-down finisher with a strong preference for laying it up with his right hand for the most part – making just 23 unassisted shots at the rim all year.

Huerter did convert 71.2% of his 66 total shots at the rim but half of them were assisted, as he proved to be an instinctive cutter off post-ups and reading his defender overplaying the likelihood of him sprinting to the perimeter for a catch off a pindown screen.

But his best skill off dribble penetration is his passing, as Huerter proved he is very versatile in the ways he looks for others off the bounce – assisting on 20.2% of Maryland’s scores when he was on the floor last season.

He is not only able to execute drop-offs and kick-outs against a collapsing defense but after getting deep into the lane off a hesitation move and tying up the help defense, he can deliver well-timed bounce passes and wraparound passes to the roll man or find shooters on crosscourt passes to the opposite end, including against the momentum of his body at times.

Some of that high level passing came at the cost of higher risk but part of his turnover rate (2.9 turnovers per 40 minutes) can also be explained by his struggles handling pressure, as Huerter was often seen picking up his dribble as soon as a path to drive off the ball-screen wasn’t immediately available.

In instances where he was tasked with creating against a set defense late in the shot clock, Huerter flashed a between the legs crossover and a spin move to try shaking his defender off balance or charging his way forward on momentum. He can unleash floaters off jump-stops and 1-2 footwork but the results were mixed.

As he lacks an explosive first step and doesn’t have a lot of shiftiness, Huerter more often than not looked to create separation for stop-and-pop pull-ups or step-back fade-away jumpers in isolation. Showing some nice shot making ability, he nailed 51.9% of his 81 two-point shots away from the basket last season.

Huerter also showed he can take smaller matchups into the post in a pinch, though only basic righty hooks came out of it for the most part.

DEFENSE

His primary role was as a weak-side defender and he excelled at executing the scheme.

Huerter proved he is attentive to his responsibilities rotating in to bump cutters or roll men, clogging driving lanes, helping crowd the area near the basket on actions on the side of the floor, coming off the weak-side in help defense to challenge shots at the rim and reversing switches on the fly.

He is not an impact player, though.

Huerter hustles on closeouts but isn’t fast enough to run the shooter off his shot often and can’t contest shots effectively with his eight-foot-five standing reach[8]. He flashed some nice instincts reacting to the ball but his six-foot-seven wingspan doesn’t help him get steals in volume. He can leap off two feet in a pinch but isn’t a real shot blocking threat for the most part.

Huerter was active trying to front the post against Keita Bates-Diop in the game against Ohio State but generally doesn’t seem suited to offer versatility in terms of being able to pick up bigger players on switches due to his unimpressive 194-pound frame and below average length for someone his height.

He is also probably not a fit to exchange onto smaller players regularly. Defending on the ball, Huerter proved he has multiple lateral slides in him to stay in front of similarly-sized players out in space but hunches rather than bends his knees to get down in a stance, doesn’t contain dribble penetration through contact and can’t get skinny negotiating screens at the point of attack.

His contributions on the glass were good but also not particularly special, as he collected just 14.3% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor over his time at Maryland.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 8/27/1998

[3] According to our stats’ database

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to our stats’ database

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to the measurements at the 2018 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

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is remarkably experienced for a 20-year-old[1], having already accumulated in his brief career:

  • 3,070 minutes in 135 appearances at Kansas over the last four years;
  • 470 minutes defending the Cherkasy Monkeys in the Ukrainian Superleague in the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons;
  • 92 minutes at the 2016 adidas Eurocamp;
  • 33 minutes with the Ukrainian National Team at the 2014 FIBA World Cup;
  • 1,160 minutes with the Ukrainian National Team at the 2012 U16 FIBA European Championships A, 2013 U16 FIBA European Championships A, 2014 U18 FIBA European Championships B, 2016 U20 FIBA European Championships A and 2017 U20 FIBA European Championships A.

Most recently, he averaged 16.9 points per 40 minutes[2] on 55.6% effective shooting and compiled a 16.1 PER in 39 appearances last season[3].

Kansas played the second toughest schedule in the country[4] and had a +11 pace-adjusted point differential in his 1,346 minutes[5].

The six-foot-seven sniper took some shots out of screening for the pick-and-pop but wasn’t moved around much for the most part. His primary role was as a weak-side floor-spacer on spot-ups. He put the ball on the floor a little more last season, due to the respect opponents showed him on closeouts, but still took 54.9% of his shots from three-point range and was assisted on almost two-thirds of his field goals[6].

Mykhailiuk is responsible for shot creation when he plays with the Ukrainian National Team at the youth level. He has never shown to be particularly great at creating high quality looks for himself due to a lack of explosiveness but proved to be a much better passer off pick-and-roll than he had the chance to show in his time at Kansas. It’s possible he is able to run a functional offense in a pinch.

On the other end, the native of Cherkasy, Ukraine has a rough time making a positive impact. He puts in the effort to execute the scheme but lacks the length, athleticism and instincts to create events in off ball defense and the reach, strength and tenacity to get stops in individual defense – he had the worst defensive rating on the team among rotation players[7]. He also offers no versatility.

OFFENSE

Mykhailiuk has a quick trigger and a high release, can get his shots off prior to or over closeouts, and gets good arc on his shot – nailing 40.9% of his 579 three-point shots over his four years at Kansas, at a pace of 7.5 such attempts per 40 minutes. His touch is pretty good too – hitting 74.5% of his 134 foul shots over the span.

He wasn’t asked to come off pindown screens and sprint around staggered screens but figures to have a dynamic enough release to be leveraged in such ways. The shots he took on the move came from sprinting to a spot in transition and acting as the screener in the pick-and-pop, which makes one assume he should be a great asset as the back-screener in Spain pick-and-rolls as well.

Mykhailiuk could side-step around fly-by closeouts more often, as he often dribbles in for pull-up for lower value mid-range jumpers in these instances.

When he had to isolate against his man late in the shot clock, Mykhailiuk still has a rudimentary handle, lacks a first step to blow by his man on speed and doesn’t have the shiftiness to shake him side-to-side.

Aside from being unable to get to the rim in volume and seek contact in traffic, taking just 26.9% of his shots at the basket and earning just 1.7 free throws per 40 minutes last season, he also lacks the length and flexibility to finish around rim protection when there – converting his attempts at the basket a 52% clip.

Mykhailiuk is prone to getting the ball stripped in traffic as well – averaging 1.9 turnovers per 40 minutes, despite his low 20.9% usage rate.

He almost always ends up with a step-back pull-up creating on the ball, often off crossing over into his shot. Not much separation comes off it, though, and he struggled with shot making last season – hitting just 27.9% of his 86 two-point jumpers.

Mykhailiuk was not tasked with creating for others but has shown decent court vision on drop-offs and kick-outs when he did manage to draw two to the ball or the defense collapsed to him attacking a closeout, though most of his assists came off him making the extra pass around the perimeter – assisting on 13.4% of Kansas’ scores when he was on the floor.

DEFENSE

He’s proven he can execute the scheme, as he is attentive to his responsibilities switching on the fly, working hard to deny dribble hand-offs and rotating inside to pick up the roll man.

Mykhailiuk is not an asset to help finish possessions via events as a weak-side defender. He can jump a passing lane from time-to-time but has only a six-foot-four wingspan[8] and lacks quick leaping ability to contribute near the rim, unable to act as any kind of a threat to block a shot when crowding the area near the basket.

His contributions on the glass were marginal, despite the fact he was the second tallest player on smaller lineups at almost all times last season – collecting just 8.6% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

His closeouts are also poor. He can’t contest shots effectively due to his eight-foot-four standing reach and gets easily beaten off the dribble when he does manage to run the shooter off his shot.

Mykhailiuk has decent lateral movement to stay in front for more than a few slides against similarly-sized players but lacks strength in his 211-pound frame to contain dribble penetration through contact and the reach to contest stop-and-pop or step-back jumpers effectively.

He is not suited to guard wings who can handle from the top due to being unable to navigate over screens at the point of attack.

On top of everything, he offers no versatility; not suited to guard smaller players due to this inability to go over picks and bigger players because he doesn’t have the bulk or play with enough force.

Perhaps more concerning, Mykhailiuk figures to struggle chasing shooters off screens at the pro level, where the sprints are more decisive.


[1] DOB: 6/10/1997

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] According to RealGM

[4] According to Ken Pomeroy

[5] According to RealGM

[6] According to hoop-math

[7] According to RealGM

[8] According to the measurements at the last week’s 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