Post Scorer, Undersized Big

John Collins Scouting Report

CONTEXT

John Collins was not perceived as a draft prospect at the start of last season. His first appearance on a mock draft at Draft Express was in January and he was slotted 35th. Six months later, he’s now ranked 12th on the website’s top 100 and projected to be drafted in the lottery tomorrow night.

The six-foot-nine big man shot up the boards in the last half-a-year after leading the NCAA in PER and guiding Wake Forest to an NCAA Tournament berth, averaging 1.68 points per shot and leading a team in offensive rating that ranked seventh in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency.

His measurements are unimpressive for a big man prospect and he played a back to the basket style that is unlikely to translate to the pros. His awareness on defense is also a serious concern for someone who will almost surely be viewed as a center in today’s game, given he’s yet to develop perimeter skills.

But Collins is an impressive athlete and posted a really strong statistical profile last season – averaging 28.8 points per 40 minutes on 30.4% usage while being responsible for creating most of his own shots, as 51.5% of his field goals were unassisted. He did so while playing the entire season at age 19, given his September birthday, despite being a sophomore.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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Undersized Big

Noah Dickerson Scouting Report

Noah Dickerson seemed at Montverde like he could develop into an interesting player; a potential stretch five with enough mobility to guard pick-and-rolls above the foul line regularly and protect the rim by leveraging his size, if not necessarily as a constant threat to block shots.

But this has not materialized in his time at Washington.

Dickerson has taken just five three-point shots in his 51 appearances in college and isn’t used to help facilitate offense from the elbows, despite the fact he’s flashed some semblance of ball skills that could be of use on dribble hand-offs.

Dickerson doesn’t have enough explosiveness elevating off two feet to play above the rim as a target for lobs but could do well enough as a finisher out of pick-and-roll because he’s a good screener who looks to draw contact, has nice touch around the basket and can finish through contact. But he’s spent most of his minutes this season with another big in the lineup, so there’s often not enough space for him to roll hard to the basket.

Dickerson’s post game hasn’t improved much either. Often matched up against power forwards, the 245-pounder can get a deep seal below the foul line and rely on power moves to bully his way into short attempts near the basket or draw fouls – averaging 7.1 foul shots per 40 minutes so far this season, according to basketball-reference.

His footwork can also look fluid at times but for the most part he’s quite robotic with his moves and hasn’t shown anything in terms of a turnaround jumper or passing out of the low post – assisting on just 6% of Washington’s scores when he’s been on the floor.

Dickerson is just fourth on the team in usage rate, finishing only a fifth of the team’s possessions when he is in the game. When he’s not screening for the ball-handler, Dickerson mostly spots up on the baseline and waits for drop-offs. As mentioned above, he doesn’t have a lot of vertical explosion to go up strong in a pinch but can finish through contact – converting his 66 shots at the basket at a 66.7% clip, according to hoop-math.

Positioned close the rim, Dickerson can also make an impact on the offensive glass. He could play with a higher motor to be more of a difference maker but can consistently set inside position against college power forwards and has a seven-foot-one wingspan to rebound outside of his area – collecting 11.2% of Washington’s misses when he’s been on the floor. Dickerson doesn’t have much of a second jump to go back immediately, though, transforming just 62.5% of his second chances into putbacks.

Defensively, Dickerson doesn’t always get low to defend the pick-and-roll in a stance but still has appealing mobility for a big man – able to extend his coverage beyond the foul line and wall off dribble penetration, though he still hasn’t developed enough quickness to pick up smaller players on switches regularly.

Dickerson makes his rotations from time to time but is not consistent enough making himself a presence to crowd the area near the basket regularly, can’t act as a credible shot blocking threat and is foul prone – as he’s averaged 4.5 personal fouls per 40 minutes.

His biggest impact comes on the glass, where he is attentive to his boxout responsibilities and shows good instincts tracking the ball off the rim, collecting 24.1% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor.

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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Catch&Score Finisher, Undersized Big

Cheick Diallo Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

Diallo is similar to European prospects in the sense that he’s declaring for the draft without much recent evidence available of his talents, as he logged an almost impossible to believe 202 (TWO HUNDRED AND TWO) minutes last season. He was suspended for the first couple of months due to an NCAA investigation and never proved to have the sort of skill-level that fits Bill Self’s preferences, which makes it absurd Self recruited him in the first place.

Diallo lacks strength to establish deep position and bully opposing big men in the post, doesn’t have the combination of footwork and touch to get any good looks when he did get the ball with his back the basket, has no jumper to do anything with the ball from the mid-range and has never shown any passing instincts.

Defensively, he hurts the team with his inability to defend the post (which is a bigger problem in college) and can have a hard time boxing out true centers, as he’s only six-foot-nine and 218 pounds. Diallo is also extremely undeveloped from a team defense perspective (lost against the pick-and-roll) and showed poor extremely instincts in situations where he needed to think quickly, often making himself vulnerable to fouling, resulting in an average of 7.5 personal fouls per 40 minutes last season.

The reason why Diallo is going to end up a first round pick anyway is his athletic ability, which really is impressive.

He has nice hands to catch the ball on the move and can explode off the ground in a pinch to play above the rim as a target for lobs in transition, in the dunker spot and out of the pick-and-roll. Diallo can also make an impact an impact in the offensive glass, where his seven-foot-four wingspan helps him rebound outside of his area – collecting 10% of Kansas’ misses when he was on the floor.

Defensively, while Diallo struggled with the timing of his rotations, when he made them right, he proved himself an excellent rim protector, able to cover a lot of ground in a pinch and not only block shots in volume elevating out of one foot but also out of two feet defending on the ball – averaging 4.6 denials per 40 minutes.

As mentioned above, Diallo struggled boxing out behemoths, but he still managed to produce on the defensive glass, utilizing his athleticism to pursuit the ball off the rim relentlessly – grabbing 27% of opponents’ misses when he was in the game.

That prolificacy chasing after the ball is, perhaps, a bigger deal than his inability to hold ground below the glass because Diallo should be relied to pick up smaller players on switches quite a bit in his early days as a pro – unless he develops some team defense instincts at an unprecedented rate. And he is expected to be up for the task, as he can bend his knees to get low in a stance and possesses the sort of agility to keep pace with not just wings but also guards.

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, Stretch Big, Undersized Big

Ben Bentil Scouting Report

If Ben Bentil was two inches taller, I’m fairly certain he could declare for the NBA draft right now and he’d be picked somewhere in the second round.

That’s the case because Bentil is developing into the sort of multi-dimensional scorer the league is looking for in its centers these days.

He is not a particularly good jump-shooter yet, converting just 26.6% of his 64 attempts from three-point range and 38.5% of his 96 mid-range shots this season – according to hoop-math. His 81.6% foul shooting suggests he could develop into a more capable outside shooter in time, but that time is not now.

Nevertheless, Bentil has proven himself enough of a threat from the perimeter that he must be accounted for stepping outside, not just spotting up on the weak-side but also catch-and-shooting out of the pick-and-pop. He has then offered Kris Dunn plenty of space to attack the lane off the bounce.

Most of his production originates in the interior, though. Bentil has lower-body strength in his 230-pound frame to get a deep seal, fluid (if not necessarily fully polished) footwork with his back to the basket and pretty good touch on turnaround hooks over this left shoulder and on face-up jumpers from the baseline. Opponents don’t have the option of switching a smaller player onto him.

He has not proven able to play above the rim as a constant target for lobs but has shown nice touch on non-dunk finishes around length, converting 65% of his 123 shots at the rim this season.

Bentil has an appealing offensive skill-set for a center but he is also six-foot-eight, which is why it’s tough to project him as an NBA prospect right now. His physical profile is similar to Paul Millsap’s but he is not the sort of dominant rebounder Millsap was when he first got his foot on the door.

Bentil is collecting just 13.5% of available misses, including just 16.8% of opponents’ misses – per basketball-reference, which is disappointing when you consider he is the only true big on Providence’s rotation.

Part of this is that Dunn is a great rebounder for a point guard and profits of Bentil doing the dirty work boxing out opponents, but he has nonetheless not shown he can be a dominant rebounder so far. Providence has played three NBA-caliber frontlines this season and Bentil was so-so in these matchups. He did well against Michigan State, OK against Marquette and poorly against Arizona.

Bentil has enough athletic ability to rotate off the weak-side and pick up some blocks coming from behind but he has not shown to be the sort of rim protector an NBA team would feel comfortable relying on to anchor its defense for consistent stretches. Providence has not asked of him to pick up smaller players on switches, so I can’t tell if he could potentially be an asset in that role.

Bentil simply lacks enough size or superior athleticism to project as even a zero defender at best as a center in the NBA. So, he will have to move down a position and play “power-forward” (whatever that means these days) but he doesn’t yet possess a polished enough perimeter-oriented skill-set to play that position in the new four-out Era.

Bentil isn’t a good enough shooter to space the floor consistently, doesn’t have much of a floor game to take more athletic players off the bounce and hasn’t shown many passing instincts facilitating offense from the elbows or making plays for others out of the short roll.

He is, however, someone worth keeping track of over the next couple of seasons.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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Catch&Score Finisher, Undersized Big

Marcus Lee Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Marcus Lee has finally become a real rotation player in his third year at Kentucky and pretty much confirmed what he was thought of to be as a player this whole time.

Lee has been productive enough this season that if he were to miss games, his absence would be felt. But he is no impact player, even at the college level, and projects as a specialist in pros – a pick-and-roll diver and switch defender who needs to be put in the right context to bring something to the table.

ATHLETIC ABILITY

What’s appealing about Lee is his athletic ability. He combines a six-foot-nine, 224-pound frame with coordination and agility moving space.

That’s best maximized on offense when he runs the floor in transition and when he gets the opportunity to dive down the lane to finish plays at the rim with explosiveness and crash the offensive glass in the half-court.

Lee would be perfect for a spread pick-and-roll attack. He is a poor screener at this point – rarely drawing contact and possessing a thin frame in the context of his height that does not make it tough for on-ball defenders to navigate around. But he can cut to the basket in a pinch and has proven able to play above the rim as a target for lobs. Even though he lacks touch on non-dunk finishes, Lee has converted 77% of his 61 shots at the rim – according to hoop-math.

Kentucky does not run that sort of fluid offense, though, so most of Lee’s impact is felt when he creates second chances and converts those into putbacks, doing so in 18 of his 44 offensive rebounds so far this season. He plays with good energy tracking the ball off the rim and possesses a seven-foot-three wingspan to help him outside of his area – collecting 16.1% of Kentucky’s misses when he’s been on the floor, according to basketball-reference.

Defensively, Lee has excelled when required to contain dribble penetration in space. He’s shown able to hedge and recover smoothly high in the perimeter and cut off drives to the basket when Kentucky’s guards can’t keep the opponent from getting the middle. He has length to contest mid-range shots effectively and even flashed the ability to pick up smaller players on switches – impressively keeping pace with Brandon Ingram for an iso in the game against Duke.

Lee’s mobility also makes him an asset to play above the rim as a shot blocker, as he can rotate to the front of the rim coming off the weak-side and elevate off the ground in a pinch. He’s only so-so reading when his help is essential and often sells out for the block, leaving his man in prime position to collect a potential offensive rebound. Lee has, nonetheless, blocked 26 shots in his 14 appearances and Kentucky is allowing just 93.7 points per 100 possessions with him in the lineup – the best defensive rating on the team.

Being a slimmer, more mobile big helps Lee in space but has hurt his ability to hold his ground in the defensive glass and in the post, though. He is already inattentive to his boxout responsibilities by nature but even when engaged, a mammoth like Marshall Plumlee can push him off his spot below the rim. Tony Parker, another mountain, also exposed how vulnerable Lee is trying to hold his ground in the low block.

SKILL LEVEL

Lee has not developed much skill to this point.

He lacks strength to set deep position in the post and even when he does manage to get the ball with his back to the basket, Lee rarely does anything of substance with it.

Kentucky also never really puts him in a position to flash his jump-shot – neither spotting up on the weak-side nor working out of the pick-and-pop, or show whether he can be an asset passing out of the short roll or help facilitate offensive from the elbows.

Lee has missed 14 of his 19 two-point jump-shots this season. He’s recorded just 18 assists in his 78 appearances at Kentucky and his 13.6% turnover rate is sky-high in the context of his 16.9% usage rate.

Lee has flashed a so-so handle to take opposing centers off the bounce in emergency situations and can go from the top of the key to the rim in just a couple dribbles thanks to his long strides but lacks touch on non-dunk finishes.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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Catch&Score Finisher, Undersized Big

James Michael McAdoo Scouting Report

(Originally posted at Upside & Motor)

Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears first reported on Sunday that the Golden State Warriors have reached an agreement on a 10-day contract with James Michael McAdoo. The 6-foot-9 forward also received interest from the Memphis Grizzlies, which likely pushed Golden State into adding him to the roster. The Warriors currently have no minutes available and aren’t in pressing need of an emergency option at his position, yet they’ve invested 658 minutes in his development through their single D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, and don’t want to see another team collect a potential reward.

As he reaches the NBA (for now, at least), McAdoo concludes one of the most unlikely paths to the pro level I can remember. He was a highly touted prospect out of a high school, and rated by Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony as a potential lottery pick when he enrolled at North Carolina. His freshman season was spent mostly by backing up Tyler Zeller and John Henson but he was still valued highly had he opted to declare for the draft. Yet, McAdoo elected to return to Chapel Hill. His stock consistently declined over time and after a couple more years, he went undrafted.

In his 20 D-League appearances, McAdoo impressed by leveraging his athleticism into production. He’s a fluid runner in transition and has even flashed the ability to handle the ball on the break. Those ball skills were also on display on face-up drives, where McAdoo was able to get to the rim against this level of competition due to his long strides but struggled to get separation and finish around length. Most important for his fit on the next level, perhaps, is that he flashed some passing instincts on post-to-post action and entering the ball from the foul line to Ognen Kuzmic on high-low action, assisting on almost 10 percent of Santa Cruz’s scores when he was on the floor.

In the fast-paced, three-point oriented environment of the D-League, Santa Cruz stands out as one of the teams that focuses on running some semblance of a half-court offense and go to the post from time to time. McAdoo got touches in the block quite often but struggled to set deep position due to a lack of core strength and was often pushed closer to the wing for his catches. When he got his shot off, the touch on those finishes was only OK. McAdoo has flashed an outside shot, both off the bounce and on a couple of three-point attempts from the corner, but it’s not much of anything at the moment and accounted for just 31 of his 234 total attempts, per NBA.com.

The vast majority of his scoring came around the rim, where he was superb. McAdoo is a good scorer out of the pick-and-roll. He’s not a great screener, with on-ball defenders managing to navigate around his picks without much struggle due to his lean frame. But he has soft hands to catch the ball on the move and can play above the rim as a target for lobs, finishing his 203 attempts at the basket at a 63 percent clip. McAdoo also played with very good energy on the glass, and was able to reach the ball at a higher point than the average competition he faced thanks to his leaping ability, collecting 10 percent of Santa Cruz’s misses. As a constant threat around the goal, he also drew shooting fouls at a high rate and converted them well.

His value on the other end also came around the rim. One would assume McAdoo, due his mobility, could be a versatile defender who provides his team with the flexibility of trapping pick-and-rolls way high on the perimeter or switching comfortably, but that’s not the case at the moment. Santa Cruz had him guard the ball-screen flat, dropping to the foul line, and Jermaine Taylor drove around him rather comfortably on several occasions. What McAdoo does best is use his quickness rotating off the weak-side to protect the rim. He has proven able to play above the goal as a shot blocker, leading the D-League in total blocks (52) and averaging 2.8 per 36 minutes.

Protecting the glass, McAdoo relies on his athleticism to track the ball off the rim quickly and outjump the competition rather than box out diligently. That worked fine in the D-League, enough for him to collect 19 percent of opponents’ misses, but it’s something he will need to tighten up at the next level.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.

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Catch&Score Finisher, Undersized Big

Marcus Lee Scouting Report

Marcus Lee is the least heralded rotation player on Kentucky’s frontline. That’s unusual for a player ESPN.com ranked as the 25th best high school prospect when he enrolled at Lexington in 2013, but there’s little debate the players ahead of him are simply better and should therefore get more playing time. Lee logged just 156 minutes as a freshman and has only had the chance to log 179 in this one due to John Calipari’s platoon system. Calipari has often taken him out of the rotation on second halves.

Lee’s top skill is as an offensive rebounder – collecting 15 percent of Kentucky’s misses throughout his college career. He is unable to establish inside position like Dakari Johnson or Karl-Anthony Towns do but has a seven-foot-two wingspan to rebound outside of his area and great quickness tracking the ball off the rim. However, Lee does not have great strength and power to gather himself and go up a consecutive time to score – transforming just seven of his 23 offensive rebounds into putbacks, according to hoop-math.com.

Draft Express’ Josh Riddell profiled in the summer most of his scoring was attained in transition and off cuts last season. That remains the case this season. Kentucky doesn’t run many pick-and-rolls and Lee rarely gets a touch in the post. He’s taken just nine shots away from the rim this season. And when he’s gotten the ball for some semblance of shot creation, he’s turning the ball on over a sky-high 20.4% of Kentucky’s possessions, according to basketball-reference.

Lee is a fluid runner in transition, has shown good hands to catch the ball on the move and can play above the rim as a target for lobs. He’s improved the strength in his frame by 21 pounds since enrolling at Lexington and has grown able to finish through contact when attacking the basket with momentum. Lee has converted 18 of his 23 shots at the rim.

Though he improved his physical profile, Lee continues to have a lean 220-pound frame in the context of his six-foot-nine height. He struggles boxing out big men with legit size and has collected just 12.5% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor, though it’s meaningful to acknowledge Dakari Johnson is rebounding at a really high rate this season.

Yet, he defended Montrezl Harrell with a lot of toughness in the post. Lee was able to hold his ground better than one would expect in that matchup and used his eight-foot-11 standing reach extremely well to contest Harrell’s hooks.

Lee was asked to defend the pick-and-roll flat against Texas and looked comfortable defending in space. He’s shown good quickness rotating off the weakside to protect the basket and can play above the rim as a volume shot blocker, averaging three blocks per 40 minutes in his limited playing time. Lee has also shown able to pace with a smaller, slower guard like Marcus Paige in isolation and exhibited pretty good closing speed to contest shots in the perimeter.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here and at BballBreakdown or at Upside & Motor, a couple of websites where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.

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