3D Point Guard, Pure Shooter

Malik Monk Scouting Report

CONTEXT

After that remarkable first month-and-a-half of the season that I profiled in December, Malik Monk came down to Earth a little bit the rest of the way but nothing happened to dissuade most people from the notion that he is the most potent scorer in this draft class – currently ranked sixth in Draft Express’ top 100.

A sick shot maker who proved himself a valuable chess piece that can be moved all over the floor to stress the defense, Monk averaged 24.8 points per 40 minutes on a .543 effective field goal percentage, while 79.6% of his attempts were taken away from the basket. Able to profit of the space he created with his presence, Kentucky averaged 118.3 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.

Viewed as a potential lead ball handler in high school, Monk didn’t have many opportunities to run half-court offense in Lexington. Even when De’Aaron Fox was out of the game, Isaiah Briscoe was the one responsible for bringing the ball up and triggering their sets at the point of attack.

Maybe there is more to Monk’s shot creation potential than he showed at Kentucky. Devin Booker and Jamal Murray are two recent examples of off guards who didn’t have enough chances to showcase their off dribble skills there. But in instances where he found himself in need of penetrating against a set defense, Monk didn’t impress a whole lot.

His defense was at best a mixed bag. At no point he flashed any ability to be an impact player on that end of the court and his awareness away from the ball is suspect but Monk did show some promise defending smaller players in the pick-and-roll when he got help from his big man, which was meaningful.

Because of his below average physical profile for a wing (six-foot-three height, 197-pound frame, six-foot-six wingspan), Monk’s future in the pros very well could be as a 3&D point guard who supplements ball-dominant wings by guarding opposing point guards and spacing the floor on offense when those guys run offense.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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Shot Creator

De’Aaron Fox Scouting Report

CONTEXT

De’Aaron Fox is now perceived as the third best point guard in this draft class — ranked fifth overall in Draft Express’ top 100, after leading Kentucky to 32 wins in 38 games and within two points of a Final Four appearance.

Malik Monk will be a lottery pick as well and Endrice Adebayo still has some chance of ending up a first round choice but the six-foot-three point guard was the undisputed best player on that team, the engine of the Wildcats’ 12th-ranked offense and the top playmaker on their seventh-ranked defense.

As we will go through later, how highly regarded a defender the 19-year-old should be is up for debate but Fox’s performance on offense was no doubt impressive, especially when you consider spacing the floor to create clear driving lanes for his point guards has never been much of a priority for John Calipari, who prefers size at all positions instead.

The Wildcats had seven players logging over 600 minutes last season but only two of them (Monk and stretch big Derek Willis) took over 100 three pointers. Mychal Mulder shot 96 of those for a superb average of 11.4 attempts per 40 minutes but he only logged 338 minutes, a good chunk of them in garbage time.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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Pure Shooter

Malik Monk Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM.)

CONTEXT

Malik Monk has exploded over the first month and a half of the season. He’s currently averaging 29.6 points per 40 minutes on 58.9% effective shooting and logged impressive performances of 23 points on 12 shots against Michigan State, 24 points on 19 shots against UCLA and 47 points on 28 shots against North Carolina.

This eruption of high volume scoring matched with elite efficiency has elevated his draft status, as Draft Express currently ranks him fifth in its 2017 board.

Monk was already known for this sort of explosive output at the AAU level and Kentucky has put him in good position to succeed. The 18-year-old (who turns 19 in February) has a quick release. All he needs is a clean catch to get his shot off and the Wildcats have done that with consistency over the non-conference part of their schedule.

That said, the development in other areas of Monk’s offense is not being showcased as much in games. Though he’s handled the ball some in transition, he’s not been given much opportunity to try creating against a set defense in the half-court and there isn’t a lot of room for cutting[1].

Defensively, De’Aaron Fox’s presence as an elite defender who not need to be hidden off the ball and Kentucky’s general standard approach without a lot of switching have prevented Monk from showing if he has any sort of versatility in terms of guarding different types of players.

SHOT MAKING

Monk has proven himself able to make shots on the move, which makes more valuable than the average one-dimensional gunner. He adds gravity not only standing on the weak-side as a spot-up threat but also sprinting to the ball on dribble hand-offs and running off screens. Able to set his feet quickly and get his shot off in a pinch, Monk has nailed 39.4% of his 99 three-point shots this season – according to our stats database.

But more impressive, perhaps, has been Monk’s proficiency off the bounce. Even when a defender prevents a catch-and-shoot attempt, his numbers are still off the chart pulling up from mid-range. He rises off the ground quite fluidly and well balanced on stop-and-pop or step-back situations. According to hoop-math, Monk has hit 50.9% of his two-point jumpers, with less than a quarter of them assisted.

His field-goal percentage on such looks will come down but he’s looked like the sort of shooter who can make those on an above average diet, assuming he’s a part of a reasonably healthy offense and not one where he’s forced to try shooting over multiple defenders.

SHOT CREATION

Most of Monk’s shot creation comes via driving off a live dribble or in isolation when the opponent runs him off the three-point line or forces him to catch-and-hold since, as mentioned above, he’s not been given much opportunity to handle the ball downhill in pick-and-roll.

Monk has not flashed the dribble moves he was advertised to have a whole lot as of this point, most often trying to get by his man on speed. And he hasn’t shown much in terms of passing skills either, though his 27-to-23 assist-to-turnover ratio seems about right for the role he’s been asked to play.

His handle isn’t particularly impressive but it’s not of significant concern for him to get the shots he’s best at getting, considering he doesn’t do a lot of driving in traffic, as only 22.4% of his shots have come at the rim and most of them have materialized in transition[2].

Monk has flashed some ability to post up smaller matchups in a pinch but it only ever results in a turnaround, fade-away jumper and never in a double team draw and a kick-out to a three-point shooter.

The one area Monk has excelled creating for himself and others is in transition. He’s quite fast up the court with the ball and has shown pretty good feel for when attacking the basket himself or hit a trailer. According to Synergy Sports, Monk was shooting 60% of two-point shots in transition as of last Sunday.

DEFENSE

Monk only kind of exists out there on defense. He is not that bad but he’s definitely not good either – at least not in a way that is meaningful.

As mentioned above, Monk has not been asked to guard opposing point guards because of Fox’s presence, so it’s hard to say if he can do it. If so, that would be of great help trying to fit him in a lineup that aspires to be good on defense, given he’s undersized to match up with most of the true wings in the NBA.

Monk has a well-distributed 197-pound frame in the context of his six-foot-three height but he doesn’t play with a lot of force. When engaged, he can move his feet laterally and stay in front but he’s been unable to contain dribble penetration through contact.

Monk is prone to some poor off ball defense, as he can get caught ball watching from time-to-time, but he’s done enough right that makes you think he’s not just one of those guys who completely zones out on defense.

Monk has the quickness and puts in the effort chasing shooters around screens or run spot-up shooters off the arc but lacks length to contest shots effectively and gives up a path to the goal on closeouts.

He can make some plays in the passing lanes and has made rotations but his contributions through steals, charges, blocks and defensive rebounds are very small.

[1] For all the expectation of Derek Willis playing a bigger role this season, he’s only sixth on the team in minutes and hasn’t gotten enough shots up to make a real impact with regards to their spacing concerns.

[2] Other than the fact that he’s not getting to the basket a whole lot in the half-court, it’s significant Monk is averaging just 3.6 foul shots 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

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7-footer

Isaac Humphries Scouting Report

CONTEXT

It’s hard to remember the last guy who got out of Kentucky better than when he got in. Isaac Humphries is just the latest prospect who stagnated after going through the John Calipari experience.

He’s still pretty young, as he’ll only turn 19 in January, but year two hasn’t gone much better than year one and there aren’t a lot of signs that a year three would get things back on track. And if he were to declare for the draft after this season, Humphries would maybe be a mid-second round pick if lucky and probably end up in D-League purgatory like Stephen Zimmerman.

Draft Express currently ranks him 58th in their 2018 board.

DEFENSE

Humphries’ calling card at this point of his development is his defense, mostly thanks to his combination of general size (seven-feet, 260-pound frame) and rather appealing mobility for someone with his physical profile.

He is a stout post defender and consistently attentive to his boxout responsibilities, also proving himself able to grab contested boards in traffic, collecting 17.7% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor – a figure that might seem unimpressive at face value but that should be considered within the context that Kentucky has many other prolific defensive rebounders.

Humphries is not a high leaper and has a below average standing reach (eight-foot-11) for someone his height but makes rotations in help-defense, is a generally tough presence to finish around and takes some well-times swings at the ball. He’s averaging 3.9 blocks per 40 minutes, according to basketball-reference.

On the other hand, Humphries also makes a lot of contact on his contests. And while he often tries to jump up vertically, officials pretty much never give him the benefit of the double. Humphries is averaging 6.8 personal fouls per 40 minutes, which have limited his playing time to just 11 minutes per game.

When forced to guard beyond the foul line, Humphries has flashed the ability to wall off dribble penetration in pick-and-roll defense with his lateral mobility and even pick some smaller players on switches, as he’s able to keep pace on straight-line drives and block or effectively contest their shots at the rim – though he’s not built to matchup against more talented types who could shake him side-to-side.

OFFENSE

Humphries uses his size well to obtain great position in the low post but isn’t very productive with the touches he gets. His moves are very robotic; his footwork is quite mechanic, his touch on turnaround hooks is iffy and he doesn’t have any sort of explosiveness elevating out of two feet for some dunks after knocking the opponent back. Due to those issues, Humphries has posted a thoroughly disappointing .463 effective field-goal percentage and earned just 3.3 foul shots per 40 minutes.

He hasn’t been given a lot of opportunities in pick-and-roll offense but in those few instances, Humphries has shown so-so hands catching the ball on the move, no ability to roll hard to the basket or to play above the rim as a target for lobs and an iffy touch on non-dunk finishes – converting just 58.5% of his shots at the rim, according to hoop-math.

Despite a short seven-foot wingspan that isn’t much of an asset helping him rebound outside of his area, Humphries has done well in the offensive glass, collecting 18.6% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor, thanks to his ability to set inside position under the rim. But without possessing any sort of a quick second jump or touch finishing around length, he’s shot just 50% on put-back attempts.

Humphries has flashed some ability facilitating offense from the high post, averaging 1.8 assists per 40 minutes – a figure that could be higher if Kentucky had more shot makers – but it’s unclear where exactly his passing instincts are at this point of his development, since it’s not as if Kentucky runs a Warriors-type of offense.

He’s also flirted with a catch-and-shoot jumper from mid-range that looks workable; he gets the ball off slowly but the release doesn’t look hopeless. That’s a long way from materializing into a real asset, though, as he’s hit just five shots away from the rim so far this season and has shot just 61.5% on foul shots for his career in Lexington.

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

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Catch&Score Finisher

Endrice Adebayo Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Draft Express currently ranks Endrice Adebayo 15th in its 2017 board and it seems about right. The six-foot-10 center hasn’t shown the sort of skill level that suggests there is a foreseeable path for him to become a superstar but he is an impressive athlete who fits a clear role in a league where the spread pick-and-roll and switching are becoming prevalent.

DEFENSE

From a physical-standpoint, Adebayo has proven himself able to do just about everything on defense.

The 19-year-old (who turns 20 in July) can step into the front of the rim or come off the weak-side in help-defense and elevate out of two feet to protect the basket, as he’s averaged 2.6 blocks per 40 minutes – according to basketball-reference. And though he’s prone to leaving his feet and making himself vulnerable to fouling from time-to-time, Adebayo is averaging just 4.2 personal fouls per 40 minutes, which is a very acceptable number.

He is a stout post defender, possessing plenty of strength in his 258-pound frame to hold his ground, and looks to boxout in the defensive glass. Adebayo has collected just 16.6% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor, which is an unimpressive figure for someone his size, but watching him play, there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with his defensive rebounding. He doesn’t pursue the ball with as much energy as he does on the offensive glass but it’s not as if he doesn’t give a crap either. My theory is that De’Aaron Fox and Wenyen Gabriel have played a role in that figure.

Away from the basket, Adebayo has shown adequate mobility to wall off dribble penetration in pick-and-roll defense and has picked up smaller players on switches with some regularity, even if that’s not a primary strategy Kentucky employs. In these instances, Adebayo bent his knees to get in a stance and proved himself able to keep pace with these smaller players on straight-line drives to block or effectively contest their shots at the rim with his nine-foot standing reach – though he doesn’t appear to have the lateral quickness needed to stay in front of more talented players who are able to shake him side-to-side.

Whether or not he will develop into an elite defender who can anchor a top 10 defense by himself should depend on how smart he is picking up the more subtle nuances of pro-level defense.

OFFENSE

Adebayo gets quite a few touches in the post but hasn’t yet developed the skill level needed to support the decision of feeding him the ball with his back to the basket.

If he is matched up against a player who is smaller or generally weaker, Adebayo is able to knock them back and explode out of two feet for some thunderous dunks. Those are impressive.

But for the most part, his footwork is still very mechanical at this point of his development and his touch on turnaround hooks is iffy. His inefficiency in the post explains why his .564 effective field-goal percentage is so anticlimactic.

Kentucky has also handed him the ball in the high post some and he’s impressed on a few occasions, hitting cutters working around him and identifying spot-up shooters coming open. Adebayo is averaging just 1.4 assists per 40 minutes so far but that has looked like a workable skill he might have and that figure could be higher if Kentucky had more shot makers.

Another skill he’s flashed that has looked workable is his catch-and-shoot jumper. His touch is iffy and his release is slow but he didn’t look hopeless in his attempts. That said, Adebayo is currently shooting just 61.1% on his foul shots and hit just nine shots away from the basket the entire season, so this might be just a mirage.

Much like on defense, how Adebayo truly excels on offense is from an athletic standpoint. He’s a decent screener who looks to draw contact, can play above the rim as a target for lobs out of the high pick-and-roll and crashes the offensive glass with prolificacy. Possessing a seven-foot-one wingspan that helps him rebound outside of his area, Adebayo has collected 14.7% of Kentucky’s misses when he’s been on the floor.

His touch on non-dunk finishes is suspect but he’s shooting 73.3% at the basket so far this season, per hoop-math, thanks to his explosiveness helping him transform almost everything into a dunk attempt and his quick second jump helping him convert 75% of his put-back attempts.

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

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