Quade Green Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Quade Green was the 24th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].
  • Through the first 14 games of the season, the six-foot tall point guard has averaged 17.3 points per 40 minutes on 59.8% true shooting and assisted on 24.6% of Kentucky’s scores over his 339 minutes[2].
  • Within Kentucky’s rudimentary offense, the lead guard is tasked with breaking down the defense in challenging conditions. Without a lot of space to get into the lane often, the bulk of Green’s job is to take pull-ups out of the pick-and-roll and in isolation late in the shot clock.
    • As he’s spent some time together with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as well, Green has also gotten some catch-and-shoot looks spacing the floor when the Canadian point guard is running the offense.
  • On the other end, the 19-year-old[3] lacks the physical traits to be an impact player. He puts in decent effort to slide laterally and stay in front but would have to play with crazy tenacity in order to make up for his limitations in terms of size, which is not the case.
  • He was not ranked on ESPN’s top 100 as of December, 12th.

SHOOTING

  • Green is a good shooter off the catch, not just spot-up on the weak-side but also relocating around the perimeter after setting up Kevin Knox running around a pindown screen or PJ Washington in the post.
    • He fully extends himself for as high a release he can get, goes through his mechanics comfortably and quickly enough and has nice touch on his shot.
    • Green has nailed 39.5% of his 38 three-point shots, at a pace of 4.5 such attempts per 40 minutes. He’s also hit 22 of his 27 foul shots.
    • He hasn’t been able to show how much versatility he has in his shot, as Kentucky doesn’t have him running around staggered screens or back-screening in Spain pick-and-rolls.
  • Almost half of his shots come from the mid-range area[4]. Green is not an elite level pull-up shooter but is a legit threat on these stop-and-pop jumpers. Though he struggles operating against length, Green is a savvy ball-handler getting to his spots at the elbow and can hit side-step pull-ups against defenders with a hand in his face.
    • Green has shown a running floater to score over rim protectors from the in-between area.
    • He’s hit his 49 two-point shots away from the basket at a 49% clip.

DRIVING

  • Green doesn’t have an explosive first step or top end speed with the ball but can get his defender off balance with a combination of shiftiness and dribble moves.
    • He keeps the ball in a string, has side-to-side shake to get by his man a fair amount and a euro-step to weave his way through traffic.
  • Green is not an explosive leaper, hasn’t shown much ability to hang or adjust his body in the air and needs to develop his left hand as an asset. Without many resources to score among the trees and a lot of space to go for speed layups, he rarely puts pressure at the rim.
    • Green has taken just 20.9% of his shots at the basket and averaged only 3.2 foul shots per 40 minutes.
  • He is an adequate passer on the move spotting cutters and making a drop-off or a kick-out pass against the defense collapsing to his drive. He has also flashed the ability to make a pass across the court to the opposite end.
    • Green struggles passing over the top, though, as his height compromises his vision and his ability to deliver in traffic. He’s turned it over on almost a fifth of his possessions.

DEFENSE

  • Green can get skinny to go over screens in the pick-and-roll and has decent lateral quickness to stay in front for a few slides in isolation.
  • But he lacks strength in his 184-pound frame to contain dribble penetration and length to contest shots effectively or reach around his man to strip him of the ball.
  • He is a poor defender chasing his man around screens and his closeouts are ineffective.
  • He lacks length and hasn’t shown many instincts making plays in the passing lanes – just three steals in 14 appearances.
  • His contributions on the defensive glass are marginal.
  • Green has the worst defensive rating on the team among rotation players, by a lot[5].

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] DOB: 5/12/1998

[4] According to hoop-math

[5] According to sports-reference

READ MORE: Trevon Duval | Collin Sexton | Cassius Winston

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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Sacha Killeya-Jones Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Sacha Killeya-Jones was the 24th-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class[1] but was out of the rotation by the conference part of the schedule – averaging just 6.9 minutes per game in 14 appearances as a freshman.
  • As a sophomore, the six-foot-10 athletic big has been a more prominent part of the team due to Jarred Vanderbilt’s absence – averaging 15.6 minutes per game in his 13 appearances so far.
  • Killeya-Jones gets most of his touches on garbage baskets. 42.1% of his shots at the rim have been putback attempts and 71.4% of his scores within close-range have been assisted[2], though he has gotten a few catch-and-shoot looks out of the pick-and-pop here and there.
    • His 13.3% usage rate attests he’s not a high priority within the offense.
  • On the other end, the 19-year-old[3] has shown to be a more versatile contributor. His mobility and agility for someone his size affords his coach flexibility on how to defend the pick-and-roll and his quickness and leaping ability in help defense have translated into effective rim protection.
    • His defensive box plus-minus ranks second on the team[4].
  • He was ranked 81st on ESPN’s top 100 on December, 12th.

DEFENSE

  • Killeya-Jones has pretty light feet for someone with a 222-pound frame and has proven himself able to defend out in space:
    • Though often flat-footed, he’s coordinated enough to show out to the three-point line against a pull-up threat and backpedal to drop-back after the on-ball defender recovers;
    • He can also pick up smaller players on switches and keep pace with them on straight line drives well enough to use his length contesting shots effectively.
  • Killeya-Jones should be an asset to defend shooting big men on spot-ups and the pick-and-pop but his closeouts are only so-so – promising at times but half-assed at others.
  • As the last line of defense, Killeya-Jones has shown nice attention executing the scheme coming off the weak-side to pick up the roll man and stepping up to the front of the basket against dribble drivers turning the corner or attacking downhill, and he’s been active looking to challenge shots.
    • He’s quick elevating off two feet and has a nine-foot-one standing reach[5] to block shots or contest them effectively via verticality – averaging 2.2 blocks per 40 minutes this season[6].
  • Killeya-Jones struggles with the most physical aspects of the game. Despite his frame, he’s yet to show a lot of toughness or inclination to play with some force.
    • He played surprisingly stout post defense against Duop Reath in a couple of instances in the game against Louisiana State but up until that point has always needed to front the post.
    • He is attentive to his boxout responsibilities but isn’t very effective and can get pushed off his spot – collecting just 12.9% of opponents’ misses over his 203 minutes.

OFFENSE

  • Killeya-Jones is a pretty good finisher around the basket, scoring at a 73.7% clip so far this season:
    • Able to play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense;
    • Possessing soft hands to catch the ball on the move and nice touch on non-dunk finishes;
    • Coordinated enough to catch, take a dribble and go up off two feet with pretty good lift.
  • He has a seven-foot-two wingspan[7] to rebound outside his area and a quick second jump fighting for 50-50 balls – collecting 13.9% of Kentucky’s misses when he’s been on the floor this season.
    • He’s not explosive enough gathering and going back up strong in a crowd – finishing his eight putback attempts at a 28.6% clip.
  • Killeya-Jones is not an option to participate in the shot creation process other than screening for the ball.
    • He doesn’t play with enough force trying to set up deep position in the post, always gets pushed away from the rim when he tries backing his man down and hasn’t shown much in terms of working his man out of position with shot fakes, head fakes or spin moves.
    • He is yet to show any ball skills creating off the bounce or facilitating offense for others – six of his seven two-point makes away from the basket were assisted and he’s assisted on just 6.3% of Kentucky’s scores when he’s been in the game.
  • Killeya-Jones has a reasonably fluid release for someone his size on catch-and-shoot jumpers and has even flashed the ability to set his feet quickly popping to a spot in the perimeter after setting a ball-screen. He launches the ball from a high point that could become really tough to contest as he develops more speed in his release and his touch is OK.
    • He’s missed 15 of his 22 mid-range shots and nine of his 18 free throws this season, though.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to hoop-math

[3] DOB: 8/10/1998

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to Draft Express

[6] According to sports-reference

[7] According to the measurements at the Kentucky Combine

READ MORE: Wenyen Gabriel | Marvin Bagley, III | Jaren Jackson

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

Kevin Knox Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Kevin Knox, II was the 10th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].

Through the first 14 games of the season, the six-foot-nine big wing has averaged 17.6 points per 40 minutes on 50.6% effective shooting and 22.8% usage-rate[2].

His role on the team is as a shot maker who relies on his teammates and the offense to get him in a position to take good shots, given he hasn’t had the chance to run pick-and-roll or isolate against his man regularly.

Although he does post up a smaller matchup every once in a while, his touches are mostly coming with him spotting up on the weak-side, coming to the ball for dribble hand-offs and curling around pindown screens.

His 15.0 PER is a cause for concern regarding his ability to make a tangible impact in the game other than scoring, though.

His 215-pound frame and six-foot-11 wingspan[3] make him suited to play as a big on smaller lineups but Kentucky rarely plays that way, so Knox has been a wing defender for the most the part.

He’s proven himself agile enough to guard out in space in the perimeter and attentive enough to execute the scheme as a help-defender. But for someone with his physical traits, Knox hasn’t created many events, posting low steal and block rates and grabbing defensive rebounds at an average rate.

He’s ranked 10th in ESPN’s top 100.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] According to Draft Express

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

Wenyen Gabriel Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Wenyen Gabriel was the 14th-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class[1] but struggled to earn a prominent role in his first year at Kentucky – averaging just 17.7 minutes per game as a freshman.
  • As a sophomore, the six-foot-nine energy big has been a more meaningful contributor – averaging 22.8 minutes per game through his first 14 appearances and finishing a few close games.
  • Gabriel does not participate in the shot creation process, other than setting ball-screens, and Kentucky does not leverage his athleticism enough in terms of setting him up for lob finishes. But he’s managed to carry his weight on offense by spacing the floor out to the three-point line and battling for second chances in the offensive glass.
  • His biggest impact is on the other end. The 20-year-old[2] leverages his length and quickness into creating events making plays in the passing lanes and in help-defense, while also doing well when stressed out in space, offering his coach flexibility on how to defend the pick-and-roll.
    • The native of South Sudan still struggles with the most physical aspects of the game, though.
  • I might be in the minority seeing him as a potential star role player. He’s not ranked on ESPN’s top 100.

DEFENSE

  • Gabriel has excellent agility for someone his size, which makes him an asset to pick up smaller players on switches. He can bend his knees to get down in a stance, slide laterally several times to stay attached stride-for-stride and use his length to effectively contest or intimidate shots at the rim.
  • Gabriel is also quick enough to defend shooting big men in the pick-and-pop, able to cover a lot of ground in a pinch going from preventing the ball handler from turning the corner right away and then closing out effectively to the shooter at the three-point line.
  • He’s been a proactive help-defender coming off the weak-side and can get off the ground in a split-second off one or two feet to protect the basket – averaging 2.4 blocks per 40 minutes[3] this season.
    • He’s also proven himself a willing to draw charges.
  • Gabriel has a six-foot-11 wingspan[4] to clog up passing lanes and reach around to strip the opponent of the ball one-on-one – averaging 1.9 steals per 40 minutes this season.
  • Thanks to the fact he’s created events in volume, Gabriel has the best defensive rating on the team among rotation players[5].
  • He is attentive to his boxout responsibilities and has held his ground in the post competently at times but Gabriel has a thin 205-pound frame in the context of his six-foot-nine height and a lot of room to improve his general toughness.
    • He’s collected just 17.7% of opponents’ misses in his 297 minutes.

OFFENSE

  • Gabriel has a fluid stroke on his catch-and-shoot three-pointer and a reasonably quick release for someone who is not a pure shooter. He is mostly only a capable open shot set shooter at this point of his development but has also flashed the ability to set his feet quickly and take shots out of the pick-and-pop, though his free throw percentage gives you some pause.
    • After hitting 31.7% of his 63 three-point attempts last season, he’s nailed 42.4% of his 33 such shots through the first 14 games this season, at a pace of 4.1 three-point looks per 40 minutes.
    • But he’s only hit 60% of his 80 foul shots through his year-and-a-half at Kentucky, including 56% of his 25 free throws this season.
  • He struggles when forced to put the ball on the floor attacking a closeout, which he does way too much for someone with his combination of loose handle, clumsiness with the ball and lack of core strength maintaining his balance and his momentum forward through contact.
    • He’s turned it over on 16% of his possessions, which is too high for someone with his 14.6% usage rate and 5% assist rate.
  • Kentucky rarely has him diving hard to the basket in the pick-and-roll.
    • Combining this and his inability to get all to the goal off the dribble, he’s taken just 26.4% of his live ball attempts at the rim and four of his 10 makes have been putbacks[6].
  • Gabriel is unable to get a deep seal in the post, even against wings.
  • Opponents can’t just switch smaller players onto him without consequence, though. He plays with a high motor and crashes the offensive glass. Despite taking 45.8% of his shots from three-point range, Gabriel has collected 10% of Kentucky’s misses when he’s been on the floor.
  • He struggles with this touch on non-dunk finishes around length protecting the basket – converting just 52.6% of his 19 shots at the rim.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] DOB: 3/26/1997

[3] According to sports-reference

[4] According to the measurements at the Kentucky Combine

[5] According to sports-reference

[6] According to hoop-math

READ MORE: Marvin Bagley, III | Jaren Jackson, Jr.

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

PJ Washington Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • PJ Washington was the 12th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].
  • Through the first 13 games of the season, the six-foot-seven post-up big has averaged 15.6 points per 40 minutes on 52.9% effective shooting but posted only a 16.6 PER[2].
  • He is getting his touches in the low post with his back to the basket and at the elbow area within Kentucky’s horns set. Though he’s shown a lack of lift and explosiveness with the ball, the 19-year-old[3] has managed to generate efficient offense down low thanks to the strength in his 243-pound frame.
  • On the other end, Washington is more effective close to the basket as well, though his rebounding has been subpar. And despite looking like an athlete who should be able to defend out in the perimeter, he’s struggled to stay in front and closeout to the three-point line properly.
    • His defensive rating is second worst on the team among rotation players[4].
  • ESPN ranks him 40th in its top 100.

BELOW THE FOUL LINE

  • Washington uses his strength well to get a deep seal in his spots, also being aided by having spent most of his time on the floor with Nick Richards in the lineup, as few opponents have two big men strong enough to matchup with both.
    • He’s posted 20.2% usage-rate over his 334 minutes.
  • Almost always relying on power moves to back his way into close range attempts, he doesn’t seem to have much versatility in his post game, yet to show anything in terms of shot fakes, head fakes and spin moves.
  • Facing up his man, Washington also plays bully-ball more often than not, though he has flashed a jumper off sizing up his man. His first step isn’t very quick and he hasn’t shown side-to-side shake or dribble moves, though he attempts a behind the back dribble every once in a while.
  • His brute force has been effective at the collegiate level. Able to maintain his balance and his momentum forward through contact, he’s taken 51.8% of his shots at the basket and converted them at a 70.5% clip[5], despite the fact he lacks explosiveness elevating off one foot or two feet in traffic.
    • Washington has also shot 7.8 free throws per 40 minutes, while posting a 76.5% free throw rate.
    • He has struggled feeling double teams, though – turning it over on 20% of his possessions.
  • When he’s been kept from getting a good look at the basket, Washington has struggled with his touch on floaters to finish over length from the in-between area – missing 22 of his 33 two-pointers away from the basket.
    • He has, however, shown to be an adequate passer making a drop-off or a kick-out pass against the defense collapsing to him – assisting on 15.2% of Kentucky’s scores when he’s been on the floor. He’s also been an asset operating from the foul line inside zone defenses.
  • Washington doesn’t play with a high enough motor to be a volume offensive rebounder – collecting just 8.5% of Kentucky’s misses when he’s been in the game. But he has enough strength to win inside position and a seven-foot-three wingspan[6] to rebound outside his position, aside from showing a decent second jump, so when he goes for it, he can be productive.
    • A quarter of his shots at the basket have been putback attempts and he’s converted them at a 100% clip.
  • Washington has been a proactive rim protector, whether it’s stepping up to the front of the basket or coming off the weak-side in help-defense. He’s a quick leaper off two feet and has an eight-foot-nine standing reach[7] to challenge shots at the basket – averaging 1.9 blocks per 40 minutes.
  • Washington is often inattentive to his boxout responsibilities and though he does have long arms, he is not a high leaper to consistently chase the ball at a higher point than his opponents – collecting just 13.2% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor.

ABOVE THE FOUL LINE

  • Washington has started spacing out to three-point line a little more over the last few games but it’s still pretty rare. He has a decent catch-and-shoot stroke but a methodical release and poor touch on his shot. Opponents play off him and pack the lane.
    • He’s missed six of his eight three-point attempts and shot just 61.5% on 65 free throws.
  • Washington bends his knees some and has decent lateral quickness for someone his weight defending out in space but doesn’t get all that low in a stance and doesn’t slide laterally multiple times to stay in front all the way.
    • Though he looks like someone who should be an asset to pick up smaller players on switches, Washington needs to make more multiple effort plays in order for that to be the case.
  • Washington can run shooters off their shots at the three-point line but sells out to do so, sometimes even leaving his feet, which gives the opponent a free path to attack off the bounce and compromises the defense behind him.
  • Despite great length, he hasn’t shown many instincts many plays in the passing lanes or using his reach to make plays on the ball defending in the perimeter. His contributions through steals have been marginal.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] DOB: 8/23/1998

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to hoop-math

[6] According to the measurements at the Kentucky combine

[7] According to nbadraft.net

READ MORE: Nick Richards | Marques Bolden

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

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the 35th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].
  • Through the first 13 games, the six-foot-six combo guard has averaged 16.2 points per 40 minutes on 55% effective shooting and assisted on 24.9% of Kentucky’s scores over his 372 minutes[2].
  • Gilgeous-Alexander has alternated between running point when Quade Green is out of the game and playing off the ball alongside him.
    • The native of Hamilton, Ontario can make an open jumper and is a quick decision maker putting the ball on the floor off the catch but his best work has been done running middle high pick-and-roll.
  • On the other end, the 19-year-old[3] has also alternated between defending the point of attack and as a wing defender while accommodating Green.
  • He has great assets in terms of height, length and quickness to be expected to develop into an elite defender who offers his coach a lot of flexibility on how to place him in the lineup and the fact that he already puts in the effort is a great sign. He needs bulk up, though, possessing a weak 182-pound frame at this point of his development.
  • ESPN ranks him 47th in its top 100.

SHOT CREATION

  • Gilgeous-Alexander has an almost complete package in terms of athletic abilities running pick-and-roll:
    • Speed turning the corner or getting downhill to drive deep into the lane;
    • The ability to play with pace, mixing in change of speeds to wait for driving lanes to clear on slower developing plays;
    • A height advantage over the average opposing point guard, which helps him to make passes over the top.
  • But he still has a lot of room to refine his actual skill level working off a ball-screen:
    • Being prone to having the ball stripped in traffic – turning it over on 19.2% of his possessions;
    • Having not yet developed dynamic enough pull-up jumpers or floaters to force opponents to play up on him – missing 26 of his 39 two-pointers away from the basket up until now[4];
    • Able to make a kick-out and a drop-off pass against the defense collapsing to him but yet to show advanced court vision in terms of making passes across his body to the opposite end of the court.
  • Gilgeous-Alexander can breakdown the defense without the aid of a screen. He has dribble moves (crossover, in-and-out, behind the back, hesitation) and side-to-side shake to get by his man and attack the basket in straight isolations or on catch-and-go’s off ball reversals and dribble hand-offs.
    • He’s taken 43% of his 100 live-ball attempts at the rim and averaged 5.1 foul shots per 40 minutes.
  • Given his height, it’s tempting for a coach to play him as a wing but Gilgeous-Alexander is a legit point guard, having shown good feel for controlling the rhythm of the game, in terms of finding the right balance between passing ahead to speed up the pace or walking the ball up to run organized half-court offense.

SHOOTING & FINISHING

  • Gilgeous-Alexander is a below-the-rim finisher at this point of his development, lacking explosiveness off one foot to go up strong in traffic. But he’s flexible enough to adjust his body in the air and finish around length on reverses or stretching out his long arms on side toss-ups.
    • He’s converted 69.8% of his 43 attempts at the rim, even proving himself able to finish with his left hand.
  • Gilgeous-Alexander is only an open-shot shooter at this point of his development. He is almost a set shooter, getting little elevation and launching the ball from a low point. His release is also slow and mechanical as of now. But his mechanics seem like a decent foundation to build upon and he certainly has touch on his shot.
    • He’s nailed eight of his 18 three-point attempts and 87.2% of his 47 foul shots so far this season.

DEFENSE

  • Gilgeous-Alexander has shown to be a disciplined individual defender. He bends his knees to get down in a stance and can slide laterally several times to stay in front. He lacks strength to contain penetration but uses his length to contest shots effectively.
  • He has also shown to be an excellent pick-and-roll defender:
    • Able to get skinny to go over the pick;
    • Showing a sense of urgency to hurry back to his man in order not to compromise the integrity of the scheme behind him too much;
    • Using his seven-foot wingspan[5] to block, deflect and effectively challenge shots and passes from behind as the trailer.
  • His height and length suggests he could be an option to pick up bigger players on switches but he is not strong or tenacious enough for that just yet.
  • Gilgeous-Alexander has shown a knack for using his length making plays in the passing lanes and reaching around to strip opposing point guards of the ball in individual defense – averaging 3.2 steals per 40 minutes.
  • His contributions in the defensive glass or coming off the weak-side to crowd the area near the basket have been marginal.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] DOB: 7/12/1998

[4] According to hoop-math

[5] According to the measurements on Kentucky’s Combine

READ MORE: Trevon Duval | Collin Sexton | Cassius Winston

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

Nick Richards Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Nick Richards is ranked 28th on ESPN’s top 100.
  • Through the first 13 games, the seven-foot center averaged 17.3 points per 40 minutes on 61.3% effective shooting and 13.7 rebounds per 40 minutes[1].
  • Despite being a true freshman, he just turned 20[2] last month.
  • Richards has posted 18.1% usage-rate over his 227 minutes. He gets the ball in the post some but isn’t a go-to option in Kentucky’s offense by any means. They have him setting ball-screens but don’t offer enough spacing for the guards to hit him rolling to the basket regularly.
    • His most reliable way to get touches tends to be what he can get for himself in the offensive glass. Almost a fifth of his live ball attempts have come on put-backs[3].
  • On the other end, the native of Kingston, Jamaica has played with better intensity than what was expected based on his reputation. He’s been an effective rim protector when well positioned, while also flashing decent agility to defend out in space.

DEFENSE

  • Richards is quite athletic for someone his size and can venture far beyond the foul line to hedge-and-recover against the pick-and-roll.
  • He hasn’t been asked to pick up smaller players on switches a whole lot but has shown foot speed tracking ball handlers attacking downhill.
  • Richards is a proactive help defender stepping up to the front of the basket as the last line of defense and looks to challenge everything he is close by. He is very effective when well positioned and can block shots in volume thanks to his quickness elevating off two feet and his nine-foot standing reach – averaging 3.3 blocks per 40 minutes this season.
    • In large part thanks to that shot blocking prowess, Richards ranks second on the team in defensive rating among rotation players[4].
    • That high activity in rim protection has come at the cost of him being prone to biting on shot fakes and making himself vulnerable to whistles, as he’s averaged 5.5 personal fouls per 40 minutes, which have limited his playing time to just 17.5 minutes per game.
  • Richards is yet to develop into a help defender who makes preventive rotations that keep the opposing ball handler from getting to the basket in the first place and despite his shot blocking prowess, he hasn’t really acted as a deterrent.
  • Given his quickness, he should be suited to guard shooting big men but has struggled to closeout to the three-point line effectively.
  • Richards is attentive to his boxout responsibilities and is a tough body to move out of his rebounding area thanks to his 245-pound frame, collecting 22% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor this season.

OFFENSE

  • Richards hasn’t yet shown a particularly advanced post game in terms of working his man out of position patiently with head fakes, shot fakes and spin moves. He’s mostly looking to set up a simple turnaround righty hook, though he’s flashed a face-up jumper as well. His touch is iffy, though, as he’s missed 17 of his 27 shots away from the basket.
  • He is a good screener who looks to draw contact but has so-so hands catching the ball on the move and has struggled to finish a few alley-oops in traffic. Richards can elevate off two feet to play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense but hasn’t shown the same explosion going up strong in a crowd.
  • He is coordinated enough to catch and take a dribble to gather himself before going up with better balance or more power out of a standstill position. His touch from the in-between area is iffy but he’s been a very good finisher near the basket, converting his 35 such looks at an 80% clip.
  • Richards has been asked to help facilitate offense from the high post every now and again. He’s able to hit cutters on pre-arranged reads but that’s about it as of now, as he’s assisted on just 5.6% of Kentucky’s scores when he’s been on the floor.
  • Richards has flashed a catch-and-shoot jumper off the pick-and-pop, showing a reasonably fluid release for someone his size and a high arcing shot but Kentucky doesn’t run that pick-and-pop often and rarely has him spotting up on the perimeter, so it’s unclear how real of an asset his jumper could really be at this point.
    • For whatever it’s worth, he’s nailed 22 of his 30 foul shots.
  • Richards has collected 14.4% of Kentucky’s misses when he’s been on the floor, showing a knack for chasing the ball off the rim and using his seven-foot-three to rebound outside of his area.

[1] According to sports-reference

[2] DOB: 11/29/1997

[3] Based on the numbers available at hoop-math

[4] According to sports-reference

READ MORE: Marques Bolden | Wendell Carter, Jr.

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