Zion Williamson Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Zion Williamson was the second-ranked prospect in the 2018 high school class and is currently considered the seventh-ranked prospect in the 2019 draft class.

The 18-year-old has a remarkable frame for someone his age, as Duke currently lists him at 285 pounds. All that mass is reasonably well distributed within his six-foot-seven height and led to him consistently overwhelming competition at the high school and AAU levels.

Williamson looks like he could be dropped into an NBA game right now and belong just fine from a physical-standpoint, though all that bulk at his young age does raise concerns over his conditioning for the near future.

On top of that general size, he is very nimble for someone his weight and an explosive leaper off two feet, without needing to load up to go up. Thanks to that ability to act as a constant threat above the basket on both ends and his strength, Williamson projects as a big man at higher levels.

However, the lefty had quite a few opportunities to handle the ball at Spartanburg Day and with SC Supreme, flashing some very intriguing potential as a shot creator from the perimeter – invoking comparisons to LeBron James on some corners of the internet.

Williamson is well-coordinated for someone with his body type and very few players in his age group were able to contain his bulldozer drives. But his skill level is still early in its development and the teenager hasn’t yet shown the flashes of geniality we’ve seen from James, so those comparisons appear to be misguided and unfortunate.

As is, his time at Duke should offer more clarity in terms of what can be reasonably expected of Williamson once he fits into a team that also has to worry about accommodating all the other high end talent around him. It will also illuminate us on his true level of commitment to defense.

He looked quite bored more often than not and rarely played with the sort of intensity you’d like to see from an athlete of his caliber.

With his combination of size and athleticism, Williamson has the potential to be a dominant defender, both on the ball and acting as a weak-side helper. But regular effort and attention to his responsibilities executing the scheme are also part of the equation, and in those areas he still has plenty of room to improve.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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RJ Barrett Scouting Report

CONTEXT

RJ Barrett was the top prospect in the 2018 high school class and is currently considered to be the top prospect in the 2019 draft class.

From a physical-standpoint, the 18-year-old looks like someone who could log NBA minute right now due to his chiseled six-foot-seven, 202-pound frame. As a result of his advanced athletic development, he has already debuted for the Canadian National Team at the senior level in the latest World Cup Qualifiers window – in appearances against the Dominican Republican and the Virgin Islands.

In large part thanks to that overwhelming edge in athleticism in comparison to his age group, the swingman dominated in high school and led Montverde Academy to a “mythical” national championship in late March.

Barrett handled the ball in middle high pick-and-roll a lot less than when he’s had the chance to play with the Canadian National Team at the youth level but got plenty of opportunities to create against a set defense in isolation out of ball reversals and jogging to the ball for dribble-handoffs on the side of the floor. As a weak-side floor-spacer, his shot remains a mixed bag.

On the other end, Barrett acted mostly as a weak-side defender and used his length to fly around passing lanes from time-to-time. His position defense was solid as well and he put in the effort to execute the scheme. More interestingly, perhaps, Barrett picked up smaller players on switches every once in a while and showed he has room to become a capable defender at the point of attack.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

Wendell Carter, Jr. Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Had a great year. If not for Marvin Bagley III on the same team taking away the spotlight, would probably be even more highly touted by now.
  • Has the physical profile (six-foot-10, 259 pounds[1]) of a pure center in a time where pure centers are devalued but showed the skill he was previously known for and surprised with his nimbleness out in space.
  • Has a good deal of high level experience for a just-turned 19-year-old[2]:
    • 997 NCAA minutes with Duke;
    • 206 minutes defending the United States National Team at the 2015 U16 FIBA Americas and 2016 U17 FIBA World Cup;
    • 82 minutes at the 2016 adidas Nations;
    • An appearance at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit.
  • Averaged 20.2 points per 40 minutes[3] on 62.8% true shooting and compiled a 26.3 PER in 37 appearances last season[4].
  • Duke played the 15th-toughest schedule in the country[5] and had a +33.3 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor, which was the best net rating on the team among rotation players[6].
  • Played primarily center, though shared the court with Marques Bolden some.
    • Got most of his touches in the post.
    • Didn’t roll hard often but flashed a catch-and-shoot three-pointer out of the pick-and-pop.
    • Guarded pick-and-rolls mostly below the foul line during the first half of the season.
    • Defended the front of the basket when Duke went to a full time zone during the conference part of the schedule.

OFFENSE

  • Advanced post game for someone his age:
        • Power moves;
        • Head fakes;
        • Shot fakes;
        • Fake pivot move;
        • Pivot move to pass;
        • Turnaround, fadeaway jumper;
        • Most often looking for right handed hook but has a counter finishing with his off hand;
        • Struggled with touch during the second half of the season.
          • Shot 36.8% on 95 two-point attempts away from the basket[7].
        • Decent passer out of hard double teams with good court vision but not some exceptional passer and turned it over a displeasing amount;
          • Assisted on 12.9% of Duke’s scores when he was on the floor.
          • Averaged three turnovers per 40 minutes while logging 22.6% usage rate.
        • Prefers to rely on skill but doesn’t shy away from contact;
          • Averaged 6.8 foul shots per 40 minutes.
    • Didn’t roll hard to the basket often out of setting ball-screens:
      • Part of the problem was Bagley, III not always spacing out to the three-point line and Trevon Duval being a poor shooter but part of it was due to lack of explosiveness;
      • Can play above the rim as a target for lobs in transition and sneaking behind the defense with time to load up but can’t go up strong off two feet in traffic;
      • Proved to be coordinated enough for instances where he needed to catch, take a dribble for balance and go up for a finish with a defender between him and the basket;
      • Has decent touch on non-dunk finishes;
        • Shot 70.2% on 178 attempts at the rim.
    • Only a capable open shot shooter at this point of his development:
      • Fluidity of release improved the second half of the season, though it remains not quick enough to get a good look off when rushed by a closeout or over a contest;
      • Flashed quick shots out of the pick-and-pop and out of roll-and-replace but most suited for spot-ups as of now;
      • Touch was OK, though it can certainly improve;
        • Shot 73.8% on 168 free throws.
      • Shooting percentage indicates he certainly can become a real asset as a floor-spacer down the line but was not perfectly reflective of how real a long range shooter he is right now, as most of his misses were considerably short;
        • Nailed 41.3% of his 46 three-point shots, but at a pace of just 1.9 such attempts per 40 minutes.
    • Doesn’t play with a particularly impressive motor or toughness disentangling himself from boxouts but was pretty effective crashing the offensive glass.
      • Has a seven-foot-four wingspan[8] to rebound outside of his area.
        • Collected 12.7% of Duke’s misses when he was on the floor.
      • Decent second jump fighting for tip-ins.
        • Shot 75% on his 41 putbacks attempts.
    • Flashed a dribble drive from the elbow down, lacking an explosive first step but able to maintain his balance through contact, but isn’t suited to attack closeouts and hasn’t yet develop an in between game in terms of stop-and-pop jumpers, step-back jumpers, running floaters or floaters off jump-stops.

DEFENSE

  • Effective rim protector when he was able to hang back and patrol the lane, which was less challenging for him to do once Duke installed a full time zone:
    • Has decent short area lateral quickness;
    • Was proactive stepping up the front of the basket as the last line of defense;
    • Not an explosive leaper off two feet in a pinch but acted as a shot blocking threat thanks to his nine-foot-one standing reach.
      • Averaged 3.1 blocks per 40 minutes.
    • Challenged shots via verticality very well. Has a thick frame some guards will just bounce back off on impact, though at a risk of getting into foul trouble;
      • Averaged 4.2 personal fouls per 40 minutes.
    • Proved himself a willing charge drawer;
    • Was able to stick with ball handlers from the foul line down in college;
    • When he had less ground to cover, developed some awareness shadowing isolations and making preventive rotations that kept the dribble driver from getting all the way to the rim, which he didn’t show earlier in the year when Duke was guarding man-to-man.
  • When forced to guard out in space, flashed some decent nimbleness but doesn’t figure to be suited to venture far away from the basket in the pros.
    • Was able to influence ball handlers on hedges but can’t hustle back to contest effectively at the rim.
    • Unclear how well he can keep action in front if asked to show hard at the three-point line.
    • Can bend his knees to get down in a stance some and keep pace on straight line drives in a few matchups but isn’t agile enough to stay in front of shifty types.
  • Used his length some to get into passing lanes, though nothing at a difference making level.
    • Averaged 1.2 steals per 40 minutes.
  • Stout post defender.
  • Was attentive to his boxout responsibilities but not exceptionally quick chasing the ball off the rim.
    • Collected 23.1% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.
  • Had the best defensive rating among rotation players on a team that ended up ranked ninth in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.

[1] According to Duke’s official listing

[2] DOB: 4/16/1999

[3] According to sports-reference

[4] According to RealGM

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to RealGM

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to measurements at this year’s NBA 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

Gary Trent, Jr. Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • One of those prospects who would have been better off going straight from high school to the pros if he had that option.
    • Was the 8th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1] but is now expected to go in the second round.
  • Has accumulated a decent deal of experience for a 19-year-old[2]:
    • 1,253 NCAA minutes at Duke;
    • 276 minutes defending the United States National Team at the 2015 U16 FIBA Americas and 2016 U17 FIBA World Cup;
    • 399 minutes at the 2015 and 2016 adidas Nations and the 2015 Nike Global Challenge;
    • An appearance at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit.
  • Averaged 17.2 points per 40 minutes[3] on 52.7% effective shooting and compiled a 15.9 PER in 37 appearances last season[4].
  • Duke played the 15th-toughest schedule in the country[5] and had a +22.2 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor[6].
  • Six-foot-six wing whose primary role was to space the floor for Marvin Bagley III’s and Wendell Carter, Jr.’s post-ups but had opportunities to take shots on the move coming off screens and sprinting to the ball on dribble hand-offs as well. Also got the eventual isolation from time-to-time.
    • Reasonably high 19.4% usage-rate for someone who was assisted on 68.9% of his field-goals.
  • Acted as a weak-side defender earlier in the season, one not stressed to do much. Did poorly when forced to guard on the ball. Has below average length for someone his height and doesn’t fly to create events.
    • Was part of the problem that led to Duke installing a full time zone defense for the second half of the season, despite the handful of high end prospects that team featured.

OFFENSE

  • Other than weak-side spot-ups, relocating around the wing and drifting to the corner, proved he is able to take shots on the move; coming off screens, sprinting to the ball on dribble hand-offs and slipping to the three-point line as the screener on the pick-and-pop. Sets feet quickly, has a quick trigger and fully extends himself for a high release.
    • Nailed 40.2% of his 241 three-point shots, at a pace of 7.7 such attempts per 40 minutes.
    • Hit 87.6% of his 97 foul shots.
  • Can run a basic side pick-and-roll to keep the offense moving but hasn’t shown much of anything in terms of court vision.
    • Assisted on just 6.7% of Duke’s scores when he was on the floor.
  • In isolation, can go behind the back in a pinch and pivot into a well-coordinated spin to create separation or gain momentum forward to launch step-back jumpers, floaters off jump-stops and running floaters, though isn’t all that efficient at them.
    • Hit 33.6% of his 131 mid-range shots[7].
  • Has difficulty getting all the way to the basket off the dribble. Has a loose handle, isn’t very quick with the ball and can’t bully his way forward through contact.
    • Took just 12.9% of his shots at the rim and earned just 3.1 foul shots per 40 minutes.
  • Isn’t an explosive leaper in traffic but can adjust his body in the air for acrobatic finishes around rim protectors and play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense on backdoor cuts.
    • Converted his 36 shots at the basket at a 65.5% clip, with 17 of his 36 makes assisted.
  • Low turnover player due to role as a gunner.

DEFENSE

  • Too spaced out in isolation defense, lacking the lateral quickness to stay in the front and not using the strength in his 209-pound frame[8] to contain dribble penetration through contact.
  • Dies on picks at the point of attack and doesn’t hustle back to try making plays challenging or contesting from behind.
  • Struggles chasing shooters off screens and flies by on closeouts, exposing the defense behind him.
  • Has a below average six-foot-eight wingspan[9] for someone his height but showed decent instincts jumping passing lanes for deflections and interceptions.
    • Averaged 1.4 steals per 40 minutes.
  • Not always attentive to his responsibilities rotating in to crowd the area near the basket and isn’t much of an asset to help protect the rim.
  • Contributed only marginally in the defensive glass.
    • Collected 10.2% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.
  • Had the third worst defensive rating on the team.

[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 1/18/1999

[3] According to sports-reference

[4] According to RealGM

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to RealGM

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to Duke’s official listing

[9] 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

Trevon Duval Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Disappointing year in college. Arrived at Duke as the sixth-ranked player in the 2017 high school class[1] but should end up a second round pick.
  • Averaged just 13.8 points per 40 minutes[2] on 21.2% usage rate due to a very lousy .473 effective field goal percentage and compiled a below average 13.0 PER in 37 appearances last season[3].
  • Reasonably experienced for a 19-year-old[4]:
    • 1,100 minutes of NCAA experience;
    • 242 minutes at the 2015 and 2016 adidas Nations;
    • An appearance at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit.
  • Duke played the 15th-toughest schedule in the country[5] and had only a +2.1 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor, which was the second-worst net rating on the team[6].
  • Six-foot-three lead guard who as the triggerman of an attack that focused more heavily on getting its two dominant big men the ball in the post and its shooters touches off screens on the side of the floor.
    • Was relied on to space the floor upon giving up the ball but struggled to make shots away from the basket, losing his place in the starting lineup at one point before eventually recovering it.
    • Kept things moving and got to the rim very well in pick-and-roll with a spaced floor, though shot poorly there as well.
    • Averaged 29.8 minutes per game on a team that ranked third in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency.
  • Given his combination of size and athleticism, was expected to be a good-to-great defender but that wasn’t the case at all.
    • Wasn’t the only problem but it’s fair to say he was part of the reason why Duke installed a full time zone for the second half of the season, despite the fact it had five guys who will be given multiple chances to fail in the pros.

OFFENSE

  • Possesses a very appealing combination of skill and quickness off the dribble, with or without the aid of a pick. Has an explosive first step and is sudden enough to split double teams at the point of attack. Shifty; can go between the legs in a pinch, crossover into burst and euro-step to maneuver his way through traffic in the lane. Has a good handle and decent upper-body strength to maintain his balance through contact against defenders who can stay on his hip.
    • Took 44.5% of his shots at the rim[7], though earned just 3.2 free throws per 40 minutes.
  • Did some advanced work in pick-and-roll; proved able to pass over the top out of traps, play with pace against hedges waiting for driving lanes to open up and snake his way back to a spot around the foul line.
  • Not a genius who anticipates passing lanes a split-second before everyone else but proved to be a good passer on the move; can kickout, drop-off, deliver a pocket pass and make a wraparound pass among the trees.
    • Assisted on 30.2% of Duke’s scores when he was on the floor.
  • High turnover player due to attempting high risk passes as times.
    • Averaged 3.7 turnovers per 40 minutes.
  • Disappointing finisher; used his length to over-extend around rim protectors on finger-roll finishes, can finish through contact and flashed a floater to finish over length from the in-between area but isn’t an explosive leaper off one foot going up in traffic, can’t hang in the air and struggled with his touch at rim level.
    • Shot 55.8% on 154 attempts at the rim, with over a fifth of his makes assisted.
  • Couldn’t make a shot; off the dribble, off the catch and from the foul line. Mechanical release, doesn’t always launch the ball from the same spot and struggles with his touch.
    • Shot 29% on 107 three-point shots, at a pace of 3.9 such attempts per 40 minutes;
    • Shot 36.5% on 85 two-point shots away from the basket;
    • Shot 59.6% on 89 free throws.

DEFENSE

  • In his most engaged moments, proved capable of keeping pace in one-on-one defense and chasing opponents off screens.
  • But for the most part, too spaced out and often gets blown by out in space. Doesn’t use the strength in his 186-pound frame[8] to contain dribble penetration and gambles for strips on reach-around’s.
    • Averaged two steals per 40 minutes.
  • Flashed decent pick-and-roll defense earlier in the year; iced the action towards the sideline and got skinny navigating over screens on the middle of the floor.
  • Gets burned backdoor from time-to-time and does poorly on closeouts more often than not.
  • Wasn’t asked to switch or cross-match onto bigger players, whether it’s wings or big men. Has a six-foot-nine wingspan[9] to potentially be able to do it but frame needs to mature some more.
  • Contributed very little on the glass, even for a point guard.
    • Collected just 4.9% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.
  • Had the worst defensive rating on the team

[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] According to RealGM

[4] DOB: 8/3/1998

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to RealGM

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to Duke’s official listing

[9] 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

Marvin Bagley, III Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POST GAME

Despite his well-distributed frame, Bagley doesn’t have a lot of toughness trying to set deep position. He is often pushed further away from the low post and is yet to show anything in terms of power moves, even against smaller players on switches.

Bagley also hasn’t yet developed dexterity incorporating fakes to get his man out of position and is very left-hand dependant on his finishes.

But his agility is very impressive, as he’s able to set up turnaround lean-in hooks over his man, scoop shots around him, floaters off jump-stops and explosive dunks off pivot moves in a split second.

He’s shown a stronger preference for facing up his man, though.

Bagley doesn’t have dribble moves and his handle isn’t particularly tight as of now, as he is prone to getting the ball stripped in traffic – averaging 2.7 turnovers per 40 minutes last season.

He is almost always simply trying to drive past his man on quickness and it has proven to be more than enough up until this point. Bagley has long strides, a spin move and a euro-step to get all the way to the basket just about every time. An improvement he should make in the near future is incorporating a no-dribble jumper into this routine, which should force opponents to have to play up on him.

His touch is excellent as well, as Bagley finished his 251 shots at the rim at a 76.9% clip and hit 41.2% of his 131 two-pointers away from the basket, with just 53.8% of his total field-goals inside the arc assisted[6], which is notable for a big man.

He proved himself able of handling double teams reasonably well, patiently going to an escape dribble to give himself room to pass out of it, even flashing some appealing court vision on cross-court passes to the opposite corner from time-to-time, while also showing to have last-second drop-off passes off drives in him. As his 8.4% assist rate indicates, he is not the next coming of Nikola Jokic but at least he’s proven he is not a black hole without any feel for the game either.

FINISHING & SHOOTING

Bagley didn’t have many opportunities to roll hard to the basket out of the ball-screen because of the way Duke played offense but projects to be a very good pick-and-roll finisher in the pros.

He is not only an explosive leaper going up off one foot sneaking behind the defense but has also proven himself able to go up strong off two feet in traffic. Bagley is also very coordinated and figures to handle well instances where he is forced to catch, take a dribble for balance, and finish around a defender between him and the basket, given he has the touch for it as well.

He also plays with nice energy on the offensive glass. Bagley puts his explosive leaping ability to work going up to get the ball at a higher point than his opponents, while also possessing a quick second jump to go back up strong and fight for tip-ins or 50-50 balls – collecting 13.7% of Duke’s misses when he was on the floor last season and converting his 69 putback attempts at a 74.1% clip.

In addition to his ability to get there off the dribble, all that activity near the rim also led to Bagley living at the foul line, as he averaged 7.5 foul shots per 40 minutes, while posting a 48.6% free throw rate[7].

As an outside shooter, Bagley impressed with the fluidity of his release and the touch in his jumper – nailing 39.1% of his 58 three-point shots, at a pace of 2.1 attempts per 40 minutes.

He wasn’t given many chances to showcase the versatility of his release, though. Bagley didn’t do any work out of the pick-and-pop or coming off pindown screens, taking his three-pointers on spot-ups (which he didn’t do enough of, by the way) and as the trailer in the secondary break. As is, he can only be considered an open-shot shooter at this point of his development.

And there is also some reason for skepticism over how close to a real 40% shooter he is even in these instances, considering he hit just 62.7% of his 209 foul shots.

DEFENSE

Bagley was a disappointing defender in college for the most part.

He struggled in pick-and-roll coverage when Duke played man-to-man during the first half of the season, as he proved to not yet know how to control the action in front of him, in terms of finding the right mix between backpedalling to prioritize preventing the ball handler from getting downhill but not giving away so much space that he has such an easy pull-up that most guys at the highest level of college ball could make. The game against Boston College was the low point.

Bagley was also an ineffective rim protector as a help defender and stepping up to the front of the basket as the last line of defense. All that explosiveness he showed in lob finishes and putback dunks didn’t translate into blocks or effective contests via verticality on the other end, as he averaged just one block per 40 minutes and his individual defensive rating was higher than the team’s overall.

Even within the zone Duke played in the ACC part of the schedule, Bagley was underwhelming, at times over-helping off the strong-side when Carter already had the middle clogged and never really leveraging his athletic prowess into getting into passing lanes and running shooters off their shots.

The two things he did well on defense were picking up smaller players on switches and finishing possessions on the defensive glass.

Bagley didn’t really bend his knees to get down in a stance and didn’t use his strength to contain dribble penetration but his agility translates into lateral quickness and he proved himself able to staying in front in isolation out in space, though it’s worth mentioning he was a bit too jumpy and prone to biting on fakes.

His effort on the board was a similar story. He was not all that fundamentally sound, often inattentive to his boxout responsibilities, but his athletic prowess was enough for him to make a difference – collecting 21.3% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 3/14/1999

[3] According to Duke’s official listing

[4] According to our stats’ database

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to hoop-math

[7] Defined as number of free throw attempts per field goal attempt

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

Marques Bolden Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Marques Bolden was the 16th-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class[1] but logged only 157 minutes in his first year at Duke, missing the first month due to injury and then struggling to make a positive impact once he did get on the court.
    • He averaged just 6.5 minutes per game as a freshman and logged more than seven minutes in just one of his last 12 appearances in the season.
  • The 19-year-old[2] is off to a much better start as a sophomore, having already logged 151 minutes in his first 12 appearances over the first month-and-a-half.
  • The six-foot-11 center is a bruising old school type who is only effective near the basket on both ends, yet to develop perimeter skills or to show enough nimbleness to defend above the foul line.
  • Though the pro game is going away from players with his profile, dominant forces near the goal can still have a small role in the backend of the rotation. But they have to be dominant. Bolden is not there yet but players with his combination of size and strength at his age are the ones with a shot of developing into such types down the line.

SIZE & STRENGTH

  • Bolden uses the strength in his 245-pound frame to get a deep seal in the low post consistently and relies on power moves to back his way into close-range looks.
  • 50% of his live ball attempts have been at the basket this season and he’s converted them at a 70% clip[3].
    • Disappointingly, he’s only averaging 3.7 foul shots per 40 minutes[4], though.
  • Bolden is not a high energy big but can set inside position in the offensive glass and has a seven-foot-six wingspan[5] to rebound outside of his area – collecting 13.5% of Duke’s misses when he’s been on the floor this season.
    • He’s shown a decent second jump but doesn’t have much lift going back up strong in a crowd – converting his seven putback attempts at only a 60% clip.
  • Bolden can hold his ground in the post and is a tough presence to finish around when he is well set, given his decent quickness elevating off two feet out of a standstill position and his nine-foot-four standing reach.
    • He’s averaged 3.2 blocks per 40 minutes this season.
    • Thanks to his effectiveness close to the basket, Bolden is second on the team in defensive rating among rotation players[6].
  • Bolden is attentive to his boxout responsibilities but doesn’t pursue the ball with a lot of intensity often – collecting just 16.6% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor.

SKILL LEVEL & MOBILITY

  • He’s yet to show a particularly diverse set of post moves in terms of working his man out of position patiently with shot fakes, head fakes and spins. His footwork isn’t all that fluid either.
  • His touch on turnaround hooks is iffy, as he’s converted his 20 shots away from the rim at a 30% clip.
    • He’s also missed six of his 14 foul shots this season.
  • Bolden is not a very good option as pick-and-roll finisher. He is a good screener who looks to draw contact but doesn’t roll hard to the basket often and can’t play above the rim as a target for lobs going up in traffic, though it’s fair to point out Duke doesn’t space the floor very well, rarely stretching Marvin Bagley, III or Javin DeLaurier out to the three-point line when one of the two is out there with him.
    • Bolden is more effective setting ball-screens to roll into post position.
  • He is yet to show much of anything in terms of shooting range or being able to facilitate offense from the elbows.
  • Given the specificity of how he can make a positive impact, Bolden has the second worst offensive rating on the team among rotation players.
  • Bolden isn’t all that quick coming off the weak-side in help-defense to challenge shots at the basket.
    • Often a step too late and prone to biting on shot fakes, Bolden is averaging five personal fouls per 40 minutes.
  • He hasn’t yet developed feel for making preventive rotations and keeping dribble drivers from getting to the basket in the first place.
  • Given his frame and iffy mobility, Bolden is not suited for guarding pick-and-rolls above the foul line, nor does he project as an asset to pick up smaller players on switches.
  • He struggles to closeout to the perimeter, so matching up with stretch big men figures to be a problem as well.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] DOB: 4/17/1998

[3] According to hoop-math

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to Draft Express

[6] According to sports-reference

READ MORE: Wendell Carter, Jr. | Marvin Bagley, III

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