Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk Scouting Report

CONTEXT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OFFENSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEFENSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


[1] DOB: 6/10/1997

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] According to RealGM

[4] According to Ken Pomeroy

[5] According to RealGM

[6] According to hoop-math

[7] According to RealGM

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

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

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Malik Newman Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Malik Newman was the 10th-ranked prospect in the 2015 high school class[1].

After playing his freshman season at Mississippi State, he transferred to Kansas and was a key part of the team that went to the National Championship game last season.

The 21-year-old[2] has accumulated 2,037 minutes in 68 NCAA appearances. Other experiences include 286 minutes with the United States National Team at the 2013 U16 FIBA Americas and 2014 U17 FIBA World Cup and 57 minutes at the 2013 adidas Nations[3].

Most recently, the six-foot-three off guard averaged 17.9 points per 40 minutes[4] on 60.6% true shooting and compiled a 18.3 PER in 39 appearances this past year.

Kansas played the second-toughest schedule in the country[5] and had a +18.4 pace-adjusted point differential in his 1,234 minutes[6].

His role on offense was as a weak-side floor-spacer who also had some responsibility turning the corner off dribble handoffs and isolating against his man in emergency situations late in the shot clock – logging just 20.8% usage rate and taking 51% of his shots from three-point range.

But Newman also proved he is able to create shots in transition, especially with regards to half-decent capability on stop-and-pop pull-up three-pointers off a sprint.

On the other end, he acted as a weak-side defender for the most part – stunting in-and-closing out and rotating in to pick up the roll man or crowd the area near the basket. Newman didn’t show a knack for making a tangible impact creating events or offering versatility in terms of guarding different types of players, though.

OFFENSE

He took most of his three-point shots on spot-ups. Newman doesn’t have rigid up-and-down balance, showing a fondness for kicking his legs forward, but it works fine for him. He sets himself well catching it on the hop, launches the ball from a high release, has a quick trigger and gets pretty good arc on his shot – nailing 41.5% of his 205 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 6.6 three-point shots per 40 minutes.

His 83.5% foul shooting on 115 free throws also offers comfort that the touch and shooting base are there for him to be just as good a shooter in the pros as well.

Newman took some shots on the move; sprinting to a spot in transition, relocating around the wing, drifting to the corner and coming off pindown screens for one-dribble pull-ups. He wasn’t moved around all that often, though, so it’s unclear to which level he could be good at those.

There were chances for him to turn the corner and get downhill off hand-offs into pick-and-rolls on the side of the floor.

Newman doesn’t have particularly impressive burst but moves very fluidly on a straight line, though with only so-so ability to maintain his balance and his momentum forward through contact, mostly dependant on if he was driving at a similarly-sized guard or a taller wing. Given his 189-pound frame, he could probably use some more bulk to absorb contact better.

Newman can euro-step to maneuver his way through traffic but mostly in transition and isn’t an explosive leaper off one foot going up in a crowd – taking just 29.1% of his shots at the rim[7] and earning just 3.7 foul shots per 40 minutes last season.

He flashed some ability to finish on his way down and glimpses of dexterity using his left hand on speed layups if the rim protector forced him to but for the most part he was an up-and-down finisher unable to finish through contact who had a strong preference for shooting finger-roll or scoop layups with his right hand – converting just 59.8% on 117 attempts at the basket.

Newman didn’t show if he has a floater to score over length from the in-between area.

In isolation, he doesn’t blow by his man often but does a pretty good job of getting to his spots for stop-and-pop pull-ups. Newman has a decent handle, some shiftiness and has developed neat resources to create separation; left-to-right between the legs, behind the back in a pinch, suddenness with hang dribbles, crossovers, hesitation.

He is a decent but not great shot maker just yet – nailing 38.8% of his 80 two-point shots away from the rim last season.

Newman can make a drop-off pass, a pass over the top and a kick-out off dribble penetration but didn’t show to have anything special in terms of court vision at this point of his development – assisting on just 11.1% of Kansas’ scores when he was on the floor last season and posting a lousy 1.4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

As is, it’s unclear if he could be tasked with creating for others off pick-and-roll more often, something that would help his career because at his size, most teams will probably prefer to have him run point.

DEFENSE

Newman proved to be attentive to his responsibilities executing the scheme as a weak-side help defender via rotating inside regularly to pick up the roll man and crowd the area near the basket, though he was not an asset to help finish possessions through steals or blocks in volume or make an impact with deflections due to the fact he has only a six-foot-five wingspan[8] and isn’t an explosive leaper off two feet.

That said, he was a key contributor on the defensive glass, given Kansas played with a single pure big in the lineup on a given time for most of the season – collecting 15.2% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

Newman did a poor job on closeouts. They were either weak or he sold out to run the shooter off his shot, easily beaten by a shot fake and exposing the defense behind him.

On the ball, he bends his knees to get down in a stance and has a couple of lateral slides in him to stay in front in individual defense but doesn’t play with enough intensity to be considered any sort of an ace stopper. Newman also can’t get skinny to go over screens at the point of attack and doesn’t hustle back to try making an impact challenging or contesting shots and passes from behind.

As far as offering versatility, it’s hard to view him as an asset to switch or cross-match onto bigger players given his lack of bulk and length.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 2/21/1997

[3] According to RealGM

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to RealGM

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to the measurements at the 2018 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

Josh Jackson Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

For as much thought as we put into overanalyzing the draft, we really don’t know anything.

Every year there is a player with jaw dropping physical talent and some skill that suggests he might have superstar potential but who also possesses an undeveloped area that might be a fatal flaw and cap such potential.

If that player can make the sort of substantial improvement that will push him into superstardom tends to depend on things we cannot predict; such as if he will have the work ethic necessary, even though he will be earning a lot money that will afford him other types of time-consuming opportunities, or if he is drafted by a team that knows how to teach him right or puts him in the best position to limit the effects of his weaknesses.

This year, that prospect seems to be Josh Jackson.

I’ve profiled the six-foot-eight combo forward for this website in January and added a note about his hot shooting streak on our look at the top 10 draft prospects whose teams qualified for the tournament but for the tl;dr crowd, here are the basics:

  • Jackson is a very impressive athlete. The Kansas alumni has an explosive first step to blow by his man in isolation (especially attacking off grab-and-go’s on ball reversals or off a live dribble) and can bounce off the ground furiously off one foot to dunk with power. He’s also proven himself able to adjust his body in the air to score around rim protectors with reverses and up-and-under’s, finishing his 184 attempts within three feet at a 69% clip[1].

Defensively, Jackson has shown pretty good lateral quickness to guard smaller players out on an island. He is not yet polished enough to navigate over ball screens consistently, though, so he should add flexibility as a defender who can switch onto smaller players late in the shot clock rather than picking them up on a full possession-basis, at least for the immediate future.

Jackson has also shown the sort of strength needed to guard big men for stretches and might have a future spending most of his time on the floor as the biggest wing on four-out lineups, which is how he played a lot as at Kansas.

  • Defending as a big, Jackson was required to rotate off the weak-side as the last line of defense and impressed with his recognition skills. Aside from showing explosiveness elevating off two feet to act as a shot blocking threat, Jackson also did little things that went unrecognized on the boxscore (like bumping the roll man, crowding the area near the basket and clogging driving lanes to prevent dribble drivers from getting to the rim) but that contributed a lot to Kansas ranking 24th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency[2].

On offense, his intelligence shined through his court vision. He can make thread the needle-type of passes in transition, passes across his body to the opposite end of the court out of playing with pace in the pick-and-roll, lob tosses in traffic, pitch-backs going downhill in the pick-and-pop and drop-offs to his center at the dunker’s spot penetrating the lane in isolation or off attacking a closeout – assisting on 18% of Kansas’s scores when he was on the floor[3].

  • Jackson did most of his shot creation handling in transition and playing the second side or attacking closeouts in the half-court, and he was exceptional at it. Aside from his pure quickness, he also showed some polish in terms of change of direction and stop-and-start moves that consistently helped him reach the basket and put maximum pressure on the defense – taking 42.9% of his shots at the rim and averaging 6.4 foul shots per 40 minutes[4].

Aside from that, Jackson also contributed on offense by improving his spot up shooting as the season went on – eventually finishing the season nailing 37.8% of his 90 three-point attempts and averaging 1.33 points per possession on open shots[5].

However, Jackson’s catch-and-shoot shot still doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. He has a low release and is very mechanical, as rising up and the actual act of shooting look like two unconnected motions. The ball doesn’t come off easy, so Jackson passed up a lot of good spot-up looks, even as he was on fire the last couple of months – averaging only 3.3 three-point attempts per 40 minutes. The fact he shot 56.6% on 173 foul shots also suggests the hot streak that made his three-point percentage rate above average might be a mirage.

  • Jackson’s superstar potential is dependent on his ability to create shots against a set defense. I think more highly of his handle than I did when I wrote about him in January but on the other hand I find his decision making a little more suspect. His 1.07-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio is particularly concerning.

But the most troubling issue regards Jackson’s pull-up shooting. He is pretty terrible at it at this point of his development and it afforded opponents the opportunity to duck under screens when he handled in the pick-and-roll and sag off him when he isolated against a defender on a standstill stance. As a result, Jackson averaged just 0.54 points per possession in the pick-and-roll and 0.61 points per possession in isolation[6], which are remarkably poor figures for anyone, let alone someone who will be picked in the top five.

IMMEDIATE FITS

Draft Express ranks Jackson third in its top 100 and under that scenario, these are the five teams expected to draft him – according to Tankathon:

Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn, 17.8% chance at the third pick): Having drafted someone with a very similar profile at this exact same slot last year, it would be surprising if Boston picked Jackson. However, there might never be such a thing as too many wings given the way the game is played these days.

Adding Jackson to an already impressive collection that features Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown and Avery Bradley could give Brad Stevens a ton of lineup flexibility to go against Cleveland the next couple of years. The upside would be all on defense, though, as Jackson figures to be someone who will struggle to adjust to the NBA three-point line early in his career and won’t solve Boston’s long-standing issue of generating offense when Isaiah Thomas rests.

Nonetheless, the moment the Celtics draft Jackson, I expect people will be more interested in speculating him as a trade chip on a potential swap involving Jimmy Butler or Paul George rather than considering his role in the rotation.

Phoenix Suns (17.1%): Phoenix has a vacancy on the wing – with PJ Tucker gone and TJ Warren never really totally securing that spot alongside Devin Booker as his – and Jackson figures to be a welcomed addition to a defense that ranked 28th in scoring allowed per possession.

He wouldn’t be the best possible fit on offense alongside Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker right away, due to his inability to shoot, but Phoenix could be building a team with incredible switching-ability and versatility on defense if Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender develop in the long run.

Los Angeles Lakers (15.6%): If the Lakers maintain this group together for a little while longer, Jackson is probably the exact sort of piece they need. He could enjoy opportunities to work off a live dribble in Luke Walton’s motion-oriented offense and add someone with potential to develop into a difference-maker defender in the future – which this group currently lacks.

But much as is the case with the Celtics, the expectation is that as soon as Jackson is drafted, more attention will be paid as to whether he can serve as the centerpiece of a potential swap involving Paul George.

Philadelphia 76ers (13.3%): Jackson wouldn’t be a great immediate fit in Philadelphia. Even if they go through with the plan of having Ben Simmons play as a pure point guard (running offense and then defending the opposing lead ball handler on the other end), the minutes vacated at one of the combo-forward spots need to go to a low-usage floor spacer, which Jackson is not yet.

Orlando Magic (10.7%): Much like Boston, Orlando has also drafted a similar prospect a short while ago in Aaron Gordon. Like Gordon, Jackson’s best possible role is probably as the biggest wing on four-out lineups.

But if they learn how to shoot, at least to a point where it’s possible to accommodate them in the same lineup, having these two combo forwards together would offer exceptional flexibility on defense.

[1] According to hoop-math

[2] According to kenpom.com

[3] According to our stats database

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to research by Draft Express’ Mike Schmitz

[6] According to research by Draft Express’ Mike Schmitz

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

Josh Jackson Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

I wrote about Jackson in January, detailing his athletic prowess in the open court and above the rim and his intelligence passing on the move and in help defense. Those remain his best attributes but he’s shown some signs of improvement regarding one of the gaps in his game: his shooting.

The six-foot-eight combo forward nailed 48% of his 25 three-point shots over the last 10 games. That hot streak led to him finishing the conference part of the schedule with a 43.5% three-point percentage and the overall season at 37.7%.

Those are palatable percentages, for sure, but probably shouldn’t be blown out of proportion. Jackson still only averaged 3.2 three-point shots per 40 minutes and shot only 58% from the foul line against Big 12 competition.

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

Josh Jackson Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM.)

CONTEXT

Josh Jackson started the season as the top prospect in Chad Ford’s top 100 but has fallen off the conversation for the number one pick since then. The six-foot-eight wing has a very appealing combination of size and intelligence but hasn’t yet developed an outside shot, which limits his star potential, especially considering he’s older than the average freshman, as he’s about to turn 20 in February.

It speaks volumes to how impressive his athletic ability and skill set are that Jackson remains highly thought of despite this substantial cause for concern, though. Ford currently ranks him third in his top 100, as shooting really is the one thing preventing Jackson from being considered the perfect player for this versatility-driven era of basketball.

ATHLETICISM

He is not a perfect athlete but a pretty great one who effectively translates his athletic ability into production all over the floor.

Jackson can elevate off two feet to play above the rim as a target for lobs on weak-side cuts or filling the lane in transition and going up for some thundering putback dunks or tip-ins. He has strength to maintain his balance through contact off the bounce and can adjust his body in the air to finish around rim protectors.

Defensively, Jackson has no trouble getting low in a stance and impresses with his lateral quickness – as he’s proven himself able to pick up smaller players on switches and staying in front of them in isolation. That said, he is probably not suited for being assigned such guards on a full time basis because he struggles navigating over ball-screens due to his larger frame and would be manipulated in the pick-and-roll with some ease.

Jackson is a much more impactful asset defending bigger players, though. Kansas has deployed him as their second biggest player on the floor almost full time since the beginning of conference play and he can be a real difference maker in this role. Aside from the fact this is working out great so far at the college level, Jackson had already been effective as a big in smaller lineups in high school and with the United States Junior National Team, as I profiled prior to the season.

Jackson has the strength to hold up from a physical-standpoint. He’s proven not to be any sort of liability defending the post and boxing out matching up with true big men – collecting 17.3% of opponents’ misses in his 166 minutes of Big 12 play, according to basketball-reference.

But where he’s impressed the most has been as a rim protector. Jackson’s eight-foot-three standing reach isn’t that big an asset on its own but he has pretty great explosiveness bouncing off the ground off one foot coming off the weak-side in help defense and even off two feet in front of the basket, as he’s averaged 2.1 blocks per 40 minutes.

BASKETBALL IQ

His athletic prowess is impressive but Jackson’s awareness shouldn’t be downplayed. He’s often in position to make those plays at the basket because he’s very attentive to his rotation responsibilities, not just affecting the game by going up to get some blocks but also by doing the little things that go unnoticed in the boxscore like bumping the roll man, crowding the area near the basket and clogging driving lanes to prevent dribble drivers from getting to the rim at all.

Eventually, if Jackson grows even bigger in three or four years, he might be a viable option to play center for stretches of a game. He doesn’t have the length Draymond Green has but could conceivably play bigger than his height in the same manner due to his leaping ability and recognition skills, being able to make plays at the basket or walling off dribble penetration to prevent the need for them in the first place.

There are doubts Jackson will grow much bigger than what he is now, though, given his body hasn’t changed much over the last two years and he doesn’t have the sort of broad shoulders that indicate his frame could fill out some more.

As a pure wing, Jackson has also shown pretty great instincts generating some turnovers. He doesn’t have reach to pick the pockets of the opposing wings defending on the ball and can’t shut down passing lanes on length alone, so the plays he’s making are based on his anticipation skills, which have earned him 2.2 steals per 40 minutes on average.

On offense, Jackson has shown exceptional court vision on the move. He can make thread the needle-type of passes in transition, passes across his body to the opposite end of the court out of playing with pace in the pick-and-roll, lob tosses in traffic, pitch-backs going downhill in the pick-and-pop and drop-offs to his center at the dunker’s spot penetrating the lane in isolation or off attacking a closeout. According to our stats database, Jackson has assisted on 19% of Kansas’ scores when he’s been on the floor this season.

SKILL LEVEL

Jackson could develop into someone who runs offense against a set defense on a full time basis if he improves his handle, which is not very tight at this point of his development, as he’s averaged 3.3 turnovers per 40 minutes.

Aside from the passing skills, Jackson has a couple dribble moves (crossover, between the legs) to change direction with some suddenness and shake his defender off balance to create an advantage to go by him or get separation. According to hoop-math, 43.2% of his field goal attempts have come at the basket and he’s averaged 7.3 foul shots per 40 minutes.

Jackson has shown great touch on non-dunk finishes and flashed a floater to finish from the in-between area, converting his shots at the rim at a 69.6% clip – including 28 unassisted, non-putback makes that average out to 2.2 unassisted makes per 40 minutes.

But Jackson’s scoring is badly limited by his inability to shoot. Opponents can go under screens against him in the pick-and-roll, sag off him a few feet in isolation and not guard him when he’s spotting up on the weakside. He’s missed 76.3% of his 38 three-point attempts, 61.4% of his 83 two-point jumpers and 47% of his foul shots, adding up a below average .529 true shooting percentage.

His mechanics will probably need to be reworked and his confidence will need to be worked, as he’s averaged just three three-point shots per 40 minutes and consistently passed up open looks over the last month.

That inability to make shots is tangibly damaging. Despite the fact he’s a great passer and close range scorer, Jackson has the worst offensive rating on the team among rotation players, according to our stats database.

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

Udoka Azubuike Scouting Report

It’s unfortunate Udoka Azubuike is going to the miss the remainder of the season after undergoing wrist surgery. The 17-year-old[1] born in Nigeria posted impressive numbers in his 142 minutes through the non-conference part of Kansas’ schedule and might have remained an active part of the rotation throughout the year, even if in a limited role – as he was averaging just 13 minutes per game and posting a 21.1% usage rate.

Despite his age, the seven-footer managed to dominate low level competition[2] due to his strength and physicality. Kansas lists the teenager at 280 pounds and he right away managed to translate his general size into consistently great position below the foul line and the ability to bully opponents into short attempts near the basket. According to hoop-math, he shot 20-for-29 at the rim and earned 8.2 foul shots per 40 minutes – per basketball-reference.

Azubuike will probably have a size advantage against just about every opponent he faces at the college level but when he eventually makes it to the pros, he’ll need to improve his skill level, which is still in its infancy. There will be players who can elevate out of two feet in a pinch and block his shot, so Azubuike needs to develop footwork for some counters, touch for his hooks, an escape dribble and passing skills against double-teams[3].

Being an ace post scorer should be essential for his odds because Azubuike doesn’t project as much of a finisher out of the pick-and-roll, as he doesn’t have enough explosiveness to play above the rim as a target for lobs. There is, of course, always the chance that he becomes a Tiago Splitter-type of rim-level finisher but Azubuike hasn’t shown that sort of nimbleness in his rim runs.

He also hasn’t yet shown anything in terms of an outside jumper, given he probably never had to work on that in high school, so there is no indication he could one day become a potential pick-and-pop threat years down the line, especially considering he converted just 11 of his 29 free throws this season.

So other than scoring with his back to the basket, the only area Azubuike can make an impact on offense at this point of his development is grabbing some offensive rebounds. He is not a high leaper but can set inside position, should be a pain to boxout if he plays with some energy and has a seven-foot-five wingspan to rebound outside of his area. Yet, Azubuike collected just 10.5% of Kansas’ misses when he was on the floor, which is not quite a disappointing mark but also not a particularly impressive one for someone with his measurements.

Defensively, Azubuike also produced the most close to the basket thanks to his size. He showed decent awareness rotating to the front of the rim when he only needed a step or two, proved himself able to get off the ground well enough for his length to make a difference and looked attentive to his boxout responsibilities – averaging 5.1 blocks per 40 minutes and collecting 25.1% of opponents’ misses when he was in the game.

He fouled a ton, though. Azubuike flashed some ability to jump up vertically challenging shots the basket but was rarely given the benefit of the doubt in his first year, being called for 8.7 personal fouls per 40 minutes on average.

But the real big concern regards his mobility. Azubuike didn’t look as good when he needed to come off the weak-side in help-defense, often unable to get there in time. And he’s not suited to guard above the foul line, which might make him unfit for this new era where more and more ball-handlers are starting to develop a pull-up three-pointer out of the pick-and-roll to punish big men who can’t venture beyond the lane.

[1] Udoka only turns 18 in September, so he’s ineligible for the 2017 draft

[2] Kansas ranked only 37th in strength of schedule through the non-conference part of it, according to CBS Sports

[3] Azubuike had just two assists in 11 appearances and averaged 4.2 turnovers per 40 minutes

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

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk Scouting Report

CONTEXT

It took two years but Sviatoslav Mykhailiuyk has finally become a more prominent rotation player at Kansas, as he’s averaged 26.9 minutes per game this season.

He still hasn’t been given any opportunity to handle the ball against a set defense, though. His role on this team is as a weak-side spot-up shooter without any sort of shot creation responsibility, posting only a 18.1% usage rate.

The six-foot-eight wing impressed running offense at the Eurocamp last summer and had already shown some potential on the ball prior to joining Kansas. But since it’s unclear how well his skill-set has developed over the last two-and-a-half years, his draft stock has consistently declined over time, despite his size and youth (he’ll still only turn 20 in June).

Draft Express currently ranks him 46th in its top 100.

WEAK-SIDE OFFENSE

58.8% of his shots have been three-pointers this season. His release is not as lightning quick as you’d expect for a specialist like him but he tends to get the ball off comfortably enough before an opponent can closeout and contest his shot effectively.

Mykhailiuk’s flashed the ability to come off screens and hit pull-up three-pointers off side pick-and-rolls but is mostly only used on spot-ups. He’s nailed 42.5% of his 87 three-point shots this season, while averaging 7.6 attempts per 40 minutes. Through his 1,197 minutes in college, Mykhailiuk’s been a 38.5% three-point shooter on 7.7 attempts per 40 minutes.

He can’t turn the corner on dribble-handoffs but attacks closeouts very fluidly and gets all the way to the basket against a scrambling defense a fair amount considering his role, as he’s averaged 3.2 shots at the rim per 40 minutes – according to data researched at hoop-math.

Mykhailiuk lacks lift to get up strong off one foot in traffic, lacks length for reverses or extended finishes against rim protectors and hasn’t shown anything in terms of being able to finish through contact – converting just 59.5% of his shots at the basket and averaging only 1.8 foul shots per 40 minutes.

He’s proven himself to be a very good passer on the move, though. Mykhailiuk has pretty good court vision sucking in the defense and kicking out to a spot-up shooter on the strong side or dropping off to a big man at the dunker’s spot – assisting on 10.8% of Kansas’ scores when he’s been on the floor throughout his collegiate career, according to basketball-reference.

Mykhailiuk is also an asset on baseline cuts, showing very good feel to take advantage of an unaware defender. He can play above the rim as a target for lobs elevating out of two feet and more than half of his 22 makes at the rim have been assisted.

DEFENSE

Mykhailiuk is a decent team defender, always with a foot in the lane when he’s guarding on the weak-side and rotating in to help crowd the area near the basket. He lacks the athletic ability to make much of an impact, though – unable to run shooters off the three-point line consistently, lacking length to contest shots effectively and contributing very little through blocks and defensive rebounds.

Mykhailiuk also doesn’t have much athleticism to do well as an individual defender. He gets on a stance and has decent lateral quickness to stay in front of similarly-sized players but can’t contain dribble penetration through contact and is not a viable option to pick up smaller players on switches, as he’s unable to go over screens that well.

At his height, Mykhailiuk could be considered an option to spend some minutes at stretch four on smaller lineups but lacks strength in his 205-pound frame hold ground in the post or boxout true big men.

According to basketball-reference, he has the second lowest defensive rating on the team among rotation players.

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