3D wing, Pure Passer, Shot Creator, Tall Passer

Luka Doncic Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Luka Doncic has the most impressive résumé of a teenage basketball phenom walking around the Earth right now, having earned 1,613 minutes of EuroLeague and Spanish ACB[1] experience last season. The 18-year-old[2] was not just a rotation cog but also a viable option to finish games for Real Madrid – a dominant powerhouse that enters every game with the expectation it is supposed to win.

The Slovenian is a giant shot creator[3]whose biggest value is as someone who runs offense on lineups that go super big across the perimeter but who can also share the floor with a smaller point guard and space the floor or create against a scrambling defense as a conventional wing. 48.3% of his live ball attempts were three-pointers last season.

The biggest issue for teenagers at the pro level is dealing with the physical nature of the game, which often makes them a liability on defense. But there is no such problem with Doncic, who has even proven himself strong enough to hold his ground in the post against veterans a decade older than him.

That said, there are concerns regarding his ability to defend on the ball, which as a result opens up questions about who exactly he needs to be surrounded with.

[1] Which Next-Step Basketball ranks as the best domestic league in Europe

[2]Who only turns 19 in February

[3] Real Madrid lists him at six-foot-six, 218 pounds

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

Standard
Shot Creator, Tall Passer

Abdoulaye N’Doye Scouting Report

CONTEXT

France disappointed and placed seventh at the 2017 FIBA World Championships U19 in Cairo, Egypt a few of weeks ago. This isn’t the quite same group that won the 2016 FIBA European Championships U18 last December, as the very prominent Frank Ntilikina and Sekou Doumbouya were unavailable due to injury. But this team still had a couple of highly regarded prospects on it, including Abdoulaye N’Doye — currently ranked 27th on Draft Express’ top 60.

The six-foot-seven 19-year-old[1] is being developed as a tall point guard and had the opportunity to run offense full time in Cairo with Ntilikina absent but was for the most part very underwhelming.

N’Doye is a decent passer for someone his size but struggles as a scorer from every area of the court at this point of his development, which makes it tough for him to draw two to the ball and get his teammates open consistently. According to RealGM, France averaged just 83.4 points per 100 possessions in his 172 minutes on the floor.

His potential on the other end seems closer to real, though. The vision is for him to become a defender who offers switch-ability. That’s how France used him and N’Doye responded by showing plenty of signs to suggest he might get there down the line. According to FIBA.com, France was +50 with him in the lineup and that profit was earned for the most part due to his positive impact in prevention.

DEFENSE

N’Doye doesn’t consistently bend his knees to get down in a stance, which makes him vulnerable to getting shook side-to-side and led to him getting blown by in isolation defense a couple of times.

He also lacks the strength to contain dribble penetration by similarly sized players as of now, currently possessing a thin 198-pound frame in the context of his six-foot-seven height.

But N’Doye did impress with his ability to keep pace with smaller players on straight-line drives and using his length to contest shots effectively, even in instances where he had to pick them up out on an island, as his long strides help him cover a lot of ground very quickly.

And he also did a very good job using his reach[2] to make plays on the ball and in the passing lanes, collecting 1.8 steals per 40 minutes at the Worlds U19.

That said, N’Doye’s most impressive plays in individual defense were against the pick-and-roll. He put in the work to go over ball-screens at the point of attack and did a reasonably good job navigating them cleanly enough, which is often tricky for big point guards like him. As is the case, N’Doye’s length makes a huge impact as he tracks his man from behind and acts as a threat to block shots or deflect passes.

It was also nice to see him already showing a decent understanding of how to ice side pick-and-rolls at such a young age.

N’Doye was asked to pick up big men on switches some and though he lacks the strength and toughness to hold ground against them, he put in the work to try fronting the post consistently, which often did the trick because players in that age group aren’t very adept at entering the ball to the low block from odd angles and just don’t even try when faced with such situations.

As a weak-side defender, N’Doye showed some burst and agility to run spot-up shooters off their shots with his closeouts and subsequently slide laterally to stay in front of them as they attempt to take him off the bounce. He also proved himself attentive to his responsibilities rotating inside when called upon to act as the last line of defense, though he didn’t show any explosiveness to help protect the rim — blocking no shots in his seven appearances in Cairo.

His effort on the glass was a bit disappointing for someone his size as well, as he collected just 12.1% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

PASSING

N’Doye’s most developed skill on offense at this point of his development is his passing.

He’s proven himself a smart player who is naturally inclined to pass ahead in transition to speed up the pace of the game and move the ball quickly in the half-court when he’s operating off the ball.

The biggest appeal is his potential as a shot creator off dribble penetration, though. N’Doye isn’t one of those geniuses who anticipate passing lanes a split second before they come open but has some resources to get his teammates good looks when he is operating in pick-and-roll with a spaced floor or gets the chance to attack off a live dribble against a scrambling defense.

He protects the ball on the move (which is vital for tall dribble drivers who are in constant danger of getting it stripped from them in traffic), is inclined to post up smaller players in a pinch in order to try drawing double-teams and shows good court vision spotting breakdowns on a collapsing defense.

Aside from simple drop-offs to big men at the dunker’s spot or kick-outs to shooters spot-up on the strong-side, N’Doye can make well-timed pocket passes and pass across his body to the opposite end of the court in traffic — assisting on 24.5% of France’s scores when he was on the floor at the Worlds U19, though at only a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

He’s flashed the ability to play with pace as well, showing some dexterity for keeping his dribble alive on slower developing plays, changing speeds and making use of re-screens to try eating some ground as opponents consistently went under.

SCORING

But ultimately, N’Doye’s inability to punish opponents for playing off him when he is on the ball prevents him from maximizing the potential of his passing.

He took a few stop-and-pop jumpers from the elbow area off snaking the pick-and-roll and didn’t look bad. N’Doye can get up in rhythm, fluidly and quickly but has no touch in his shot, which also proved to be a problem on floaters and non-dunk finishes as well — as he converted just 40% of his 40 two-point tries.

He flashed some ability to adjust his body in the air for reverses against rim protection but didn’t show much explosiveness elevating off one or two feet in traffic and lacks the strength to be able to finish through contact or on his way down.

N’Doye generally struggles to get good looks for himself to begin with — logging an unimpressive 20.1% usage rate on a team that needed him to be more aggressive. Equipped with only a hesitation move to get by his man one-on-one and having not yet developed much versatility to his handle, he lacks change of direction suddenness or a crossover to shake his defender side-to-side and strength to maintain his balance through contact.

His best hope for scoring at this point of his development is driving into a heavily packed lane and drawing contact, which he did do successfully in Cairo, as he averaged six free throws per 40 minutes. N’Doye missed 16 of his 26 foul shots, though, which is a bad sign for his development as an outside shooter as well.

His spot-up catch-and-shoot jumper does not look particularly broken or anything but he missed 13 of his 15 three-point attempts and consistently puts up bad percentages in every event he participates.

[1] Who turns 20 in March

[2] Seven-foot-two wingspan, according to Draft Express

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

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

Abu Kigab Scouting Report

CONTEXT

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

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

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

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

SHOT CREATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FLOOR SPACING

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

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

DEFENSE

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

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

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

[1] Who turns 19 in November

[2] According to Draft Express

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

Standard
Shot Creator, Tall Passer

RJ Barrett Scouting Report

CONTEXT

RJ Barrett has taken yet another step forward.

The just-turned 17-year-old[1] led Canada to the title of the 2017 FIBA World Championships U19 in Cairo, Egypt in remarkable fashion, earning MVP honors after he averaging 28.2 points per 40 minutes on 28% usage-rate and ranking 15th in the tournament in defensive rating – according to RealGM. Canada was +126 in his 214 minutes, according to FIBA.

Though perhaps more impressive than his statistical profile and the fact he was a lot younger than the cutoff age was how he dominated that tournament. The lefty wing has developed into a legit shot creator for himself and others who feels comfortable operating in high pick-and-roll against a set defense.

On the other end, the six-foot-seven wing has the combination of physical profile and athletic ability to develop into an impact defender who can switch across all positions. That hasn’t yet materialized but he’s able to create events all over the place and helps finish possessions that way, which is why he ranked so high in defensive rating.

PICK-AND-ROLL OFFENSE

Barrett didn’t impress much in one-on-one instances in this event. He didn’t show a particularly diverse set of dribble moves or the side-to-side shake he had in the past, relying on a hesitation + burst sequence to get by his man when he could.

When he couldn’t, Barrett sometimes opted for a spin move to get all the way to the basket but mostly relied on the strength in his 193-pound frame to maintain his balance through contact and his momentum forward, though it would sometimes lead to him driving into a crowd.

With that as the case, Barrett did most of his offense operating in middle high pick-and-roll and wowed with his development controlling the offense 25-feet away from the basket. The improvements he made to his passing were particularly pleasing.

Barrett showcased the ability to play with pace against the opponent showing hard or hedging at the point of attack and gearing up to crowd his path to the basket, slowing down, keeping his dribble alive and subsequently displaying nice court vision to make passes over the top to the big sneaking his way to the basket.

Turning the corner or attacking downhill, Barrett also impressed with his passing on the move. Not only in terms of drop-offs to a big at the dunker’s spot or kick-outs to the strong-side as the defense collapsed to him but also making well-timed pocket passes and passes across his body to the opposite end of the court – assisting on 29% of Canada’s scores when he was on the floor in Cairo.

His handle has improved as well. It’s hard to say he keeps the ball out on a string or something but it’s pretty decent for someone his size, as he turned it over on just 12.8% of his possessions at the Worlds U19. He can go right from time-to-time but has shown a strong preference for driving to his dominant hand’s side.

Barrett is an explosive leaper out of one foot or two feet, including taking flight in a crowd. He’s also proven himself strong enough to score through contact, despite consistently playing against older age groups. But his touch on non-dunk finishes is only so-so and although he’s flashed a running floater and a shot-fake + pivot + floater off a jump-stop sequence, Barrett hasn’t yet shown much versatility to his finishing.

With that as the case, his best method of interior scoring remains his ability to get to the foul line. His frame invites a lot of contact as he bullies his way to the basket. Barrett averaged 11.4 free throws per 40 minutes in Cairo and improved his efficiency at the charity stripe, nailing them at a 75.4% clip at the Worlds U19 after converting just 59.7% of such shots at the Worlds U17 last year.

That development in set shooting carried over to his pull-up shooting too, as he has become a lot more comfortable taking stop-and-pop jumpers from mid-range. Barrett looked fluid rising up and pulling the trigger and was reasonably efficient on those, converting 51.1% of his 88 overall two-point shots despite the fact he took a steady diet of such looks.

SPACING THE FLOOR

Barrett shot an easy ball on his 38-point performance against the United States in the semifinal but struggled as a floor-spacer for most of the tournament. His catch-and-shoot release looked more methodical and mechanical that I had remembered and he missed quite a few open looks — nailing just five of his 21 three-point shots.

And that was simply as an open shot shooter. Barrett didn’t have any opportunities to showcase if he has any versatility to his shot, though his release on spot-ups suggest he hasn’t yet developed much ability to come off staggered screens, come off pindown screens, sprint to the ball to launch long bombs off dribble hand-offs or act as a pick-and-pop screener on small-small pick-and-rolls.

DEFENSE

Barrett defended well against opponents his own size in isolation. He got down in a stance, shuffled his feet laterally, used his strength to contain dribble penetration and used his eight-foot-six standing reach to contest pull-up shots effectively.

Barrett also did well as a weak-side defender. He used his six-foot-10 wingspan to make plays in the passing lanes, averaging 2.2 steals per 40 minute, and his burst to run shooters off their shots with his closeouts.

Barrett is prone to losing his man relocating to the corner or an open spot around the wing as he locks in to what’s going on in the strong-side, as it tends to be the case with most teenagers. But other than that, he proved himself attentive to his responsibilities rotating inside to crowd the area near the basket as Canada played quite a bit of zone in the latter parts of the tournament, though it was disappointing he got no blocks in his 214 minutes considering his athletic prowess.

His most tangible impact on defense were his contributions on the defensive glass, as Barrett impressed with his commitment boxing out bigger players when Canada went with smaller lineups and just consistently crashing the glass – collecting 16.5% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

The biggest concerns regard his ability to play pick-and-roll defense or pick up smaller players on switches.

Barrett works to go over screens but struggles to negotiate them cleanly, falling behind or completely erasing himself out of these plays. And when he found himself on a guard type out on an island, Barrett was too spaced out and got blown by badly in a couple of instances.

[1] His birth is listed as June of 2000

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

 

 

Standard
Shot Creator, Stretch Big

Michael Porter, Jr. Scouting Report

CONTEXT

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

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

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

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

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

[1] RIP, Draft Express

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

Standard
3D wing

Cedi Osman Scouting Report

CONTEXT

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported yesterday that Cleveland reached an agreement with Cedi Osman on a three-year, $8.3 million deal. The Turkish wing was the 31st pick of the 2015 Draft and has accumulated 4,860 minutes of EuroLeague and Turkish BSL[1] experience for Anadolu Efes over the last four years.

Efes always built expensive teams that sought to compete for titles[2] during his tenure there, so the 22-year-old[3] transfers to the United States accustomed to playing a complementary role, as he was not given much opportunity to expand his skill-set as a shot creator.

The six-foot-eight, 215-pounder was consistently used as an off ball floor spacer, who flashed some ability to make shots on the go but who was not moved around the floor to leverage the threat of his shot a whole lot. He was for the most part a standstill weak-side spot-up threat but merely a capable one at that.

The team did try stretching him a little defensively, using his combination of size, length and quickness to have him defend smaller players at the point of attack at times but he hasn’t yet developed into a real asset at that. He also lacks the strength to play up and defend bigger players at this point of his development.

Combining unimpressive shot making with defense that didn’t particularly move the needle, Osman’s on/off metrics were pretty bad among Europe’s elite last season. According to overbasket.com, Efes was -70 with him in the lineup and +49 with him on the bench against EuroLeague competition.

OFFENSE

Osman got the ball in the post against smaller wings and point guards from time to time, where he looked to back them down for short-range makes and even flashed a turnaround short jumper leaning into his defender.

Osman has also shown he can run a side pick-and-roll to keep the offense moving and even take advantage of a scrambling defense that allows him to the get to the middle, as he’s able to play with pace off the ball-screen and make a pocket pass.

If left unchallenged in emergencies late in the shot clock, he can step into an uncontested pull-up three-pointer off middle high pick-and-roll as well.

But for the most part Osman didn’t show much in terms of being able to create shots against a set defense. Having not shown a particularly diverse set of dribble moves yet, he is only a straight-line driver who doesn’t have an explosive first step to get by his man on speed and struggles to turn the corner.

As was the case, Osman had no shot creation responsibility, logging only 20% usage-rate and assisting on just 7% of Efes’ scores when he was on the floor last season – according to RealGM.

He sprinted around staggered screens some and proved himself able to make shots relocating to the next open spot around the perimeter but mostly acted as a standstill spot-up threat, providing floor spacing for Thomas Heurtel’s and Jayson Granger’s pick-and-rolls.

Osman releases the ball from the front of his forehead but gets good elevation and the ball comes out easy. His trigger seems reasonably quick but he struggles when he is rushed and his misses can look particularly gruesome.

Osman nailed 36.4% of his 735 three-point shots over the last four seasons but it’s questionable how much of that can translate to the United States right away, given the further out three-point line. He also still has room to improve in terms of getting open, sending his three-pointers up at a pace of 6.7 attempts per 40 minutes last season[4].

Osman looks fluid attacking closeouts and has some explosiveness elevating out of one foot on free paths to the goal, though the floater he’s shown to score over rim protection from the in-between area is perhaps for impressive. He hasn’t yet developed dexterity getting to the foul line, as he averaged just 3.5 free throws per 40 minutes last season, but converted his two-pointers at a 54.7% clip.

DEFENSE

Osman is a decent one-position defender who makes tangible contributions.

He can slide laterally to keep pace with similarly sized wings in isolation defense, lacking the strength to contain penetration but using his length to contest shots effectively, and he can run shooters off the three-point line a fair amount with his closeouts.

Osman can also execute the scheme — proving himself attentive to his responsibilities rotating inside to bump the roll man, looking to guard two players when Efes packed the strong-side against a pick-and-roll and getting to the front of the basket when he was called upon to act as the last line of defense.

Osman’s shot blocks are mostly of the exciting chasedown variety in transition but he can make plays in the half-court using his length in the passing lanes and pitching in on the defensive glass, averaging 1.9 steals per 40 minutes and collecting 14.8% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season.

He hasn’t yet developed a lot of versatility, though.

Osman was asked to defend smaller players at the point of attack from time to time but didn’t show to be particularly good at it. He puts in the effort to go over ball-screens and recover to his man quickly but struggles to navigate picks cleanly. As is the case, he stresses his big man to extend to the top of the key to prevent the ball-handler from turning the corner right away or pulling up from deep range uncontested, increasing the chances of a breakdown behind the play. Olympiacos went out of its way to seek him and put him in the pick-and-roll in the fourth quarter of game three of the EuroLeague quarterfinals.

In individual defense, Osman kind of hunches rather than bends his knees to get low in a stance, so smaller players have been able to go around him despite his lateral agility – something that figures to be a bigger problem in the US.

Given his height and length, Osman has room to develop into someone who can play as the second biggest player for his team in smaller lineups but lacks the strength and toughness to do so at this point of his development.

[1] Which Next-Step Basketball ranks as the second best domestic league in Europe

[2] Though they haven’t been particularly successful at that

[3] Who only turns 23 next April

[4] Osman will have a great opportunity at that watching Kyle Korver work from up close

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

Standard
Catch&Score Finisher, Stretch Big

Daniel Theis Scouting Report

CONTEXT

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

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

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

DEFENSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

OFFENSE

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

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

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

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

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

[1] Who only turns 26 next April

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

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

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

Standard