Kerwin Roach, II Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Kerwin Roach, II was the 47nd-ranked prospect in the 2015 high school class[1].

In his three years at Texas, the 21-year-old[2] has accumulated 2,624 minutes of college basketball experience.

Most recently, the six-foot-four combo averaged 14.8 points per 40 minutes[3] on 50.6% effective shooting and compiled a 14.9 PER in 32 appearances last season[4].

His primary role was to space the floor, given the team lacked other reliable shooters after Andrew Jones left the team to battle leukemia. But Roach, II also had the chance to create on the ball quite a bit, not just on side pick-and-rolls but middle pick-and-rolls against a set defense as well, and impressed with his ability to get to the rim in volume and create for others a fair amount.

On the other end, the Houston native spent most of his time as a weak-side defender, mostly matched up against smaller off guards due to his thin 180-pound frame. While limited in individual defense due to his lack of strength, he offers nice potential flying around to create events.

SHOT CREATION & FINISHING

Roach, II got plenty of touches creating off a live dribble on handoffs and against a set defense on pick-and-rolls or in isolation.

He has an explosive first step to blow by his man on speed, not just off triple threat position but out of a standstill as well, and also proved to have quite a bit of side-to-side shiftiness – able to dribble behind the back in a pinch or pivot into a well coordinated spin move in the blink of an eye.

Roach, II can’t maintain his balance through contact but is very quick with the ball and can euro-step to maneuver his way through traffic – taking 34.7% of his shots at the basket[5], though he earned just 4.1 foul shots per 40 minutes.

While he is unable to absorb and finish through contact, Roach, II is an explosive leaper off one foot in traffic, has a finger-roll lefty finish when forced to his off hand and can adjust his body in the air for acrobatic finishes around rim protectors – converting 63.4% of his 111 shots at the rim, with just 14 of his makes assisted.

Roach, II has also proven himself a very willing passer on the move. He can play with pace in pick-and-roll, keeps the ball in a string and keeps his dribble alive to probe around the defense when a pocket pass isn’t immediately available.

Besides basic drop-offs and kick-outs against a collapsing defense, Roach, II has also shown pretty good court vision to toss up lobs in traffic – assisting on 21.3% of Texas’ scores when he was on the floor, though his average of three turnovers per 40 minutes is quite high for someone with his 21.8% usage rate.

SHOOTING

Roach, II can create separation by using hang dribbles into a nifty crossover move but hasn’t developed into an efficient shot maker off the bounce just yet – missing 70.5% of his 88 two-point jumpers last season and 76.4% of his 72 such attempts the season before[6].

He was a lot more capable off the catch. Roach, II took some shots coming to the ball for dribble-handoffs but got most of his looks as a weak-side floor-spacer on spot-ups, flashing some pretty deep range at times. He launches the ball from a low release out in front, almost at forehead level, but gets monster elevation off the ground and has compact mechanics to shoot over or prior to closeouts more often than not.

Roach, II nailed 36.4% of his 121 three-point shots last season, though at a pace of just 4.5 such attempts per 40 minutes. He nailed just 63.6% of his 360 foul shots over his three years at Texas, though – hitting the breaks on some of the excitement over his potential as a shooter.

DEFENSE

Roach, II bends his knees to get down in a stance and can get skinny to go over screens. He leverages his agility to shuffle his feet laterally and stay in front but lacks strength to chest up and contain dribble penetration through contact.

Roach, II also lacks particularly impressive length to contest shots effectively, though he can explode off the floor to block some shots on the ball from time-to-time.

He makes more of a contribution on defense off the weak-side. Roach, II has shown to be quite instinctive making plays in the passing lanes and is attentive to his responsibilities rotating inside in help defense, unable to crowd the area near the basket effectively due to his thin frame but able explode off the ground to block shots from time-to-time – averaging 1.8 steals per 40 minutes last season and picking up 24 blocks in his 97 NCAA appearances.

He also pitched in some in the defensive glass – collecting 10.1% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor this past year.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 10/24/1996

[3] According to sports-reference

[4] According to RealGM

[5] According to hoop-math

[6] According to hoop-math

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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Mohamed Bamba Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Mohamed Bamba was the fourth-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].

In his one year at Texas, the seven-foot center accumulated 906 minutes of college basketball experience, while posting a 26.3 PER, averaging 17.1 points per 40 minutes on 59.3% true shooting, collecting 28.3% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor[2] and ranking fourth in the country in total blocks.

Bamba projects as a catch-and-score finisher in the pros but didn’t get the benefit of playing with someone who would set him up very well very often. There were two other NBA prospects on the team, Andrew Jones and Kerwin Roach II, but neither is a particularly special ball handler and Jones only played the first third of the season before leaving the team to battle leukemia.

Texas put in the effort to space the floor but stretch-four Dylan Osetkowski is more of a shot taker than a shot maker and Jones was the only true above average shooter the team had. As is, the Longhorns ended up rating below average in three-point attempts, makes and percentage, which didn’t offer the 19-year-old[3] many opportunities to look as great as he’s expected to be rolling hard to the rim.

Nonetheless, the Harlem, New York native still made a living getting looks near the basket, sneaking behind the defense and on put-backs, while mixing in the eventual post-up attempt here and there. Bamba also took three-pointers out of the pick-and-pop fairly aggressively. His release looks promising enough for him to keep working on it but he is not yet a real threat to make these shots often.

On the other end, Bamba also made more of an impact near the goal, not just thanks to his remarkable length but also due to good rim protection instincts. He has a lean frame within the context of his height and got bumped off his spot from time-to-time but wasn’t really exposed in the post and the defensive glass all that often, suggesting he might become a steady presence in these areas once his body matures some more.

Bamba is quite mobile for someone his size and Texas tried leveraging this by having him show high above the three-point arc or hedge against the pick-and-roll somewhat frequently. He was also asked to pick up smaller players on switches every once in a while. Bamba has physical talent to be expected to develop into an effective defender out in space but for now isn’t as much of an asset as you’d assume.

INTERIOR DEFENSE

Bamba’s top skill at this point of his development is his effectiveness as a rim protector, as he averaged 4.8 blocks per 40 minutes last season[4]. He’s also shown versatility in terms of rim protection, able to block shots coming off the weak-side in help defense, stepping up to the front of the basket as the last line of defense and defending on the ball.

Bamba is almost always alert to his responsibilities roaming around the basket, can move quickly in short areas, leaps easily off the ground out of one or two feet, has a massive nine-foot-six standing reach[5] and puts in the effort to challenge almost everything he is close by, not just via shot blocking but via verticality as well, though his explosiveness has left something to be desired in instances where he’s been asked to venture far away from the basket and then hustle back.

The fact that he contests so many shots so actively while averaging just 3.4 personal fouls per 40 minutes is also very impressive.

Bamba showed to be attentive to his boxout responsibilities, though he rarely got very physical trying to erase his man off the play. He has a lean 225-pound frame[6] in the context of his seven-foot height and is prone to getting pushed out of the way by tougher, more relentless opponents.

Nonetheless, Bamba had an athletic advantage against just about everyone he played against at the collegiate level. Thanks to his quickness reacting to the ball off the rim and ability to pursue it at a higher level than most of the competition, his defensive rebounding percentage ranked 10th in the NCAA.

Such an impact close to the basket showed up in the bottom line: Bamba averaged 30.2 minutes per game on a team that ranked 12th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency[7].

An area where he has room for improvement in terms of interior defense is developing anticipation instincts to make preventive rotations that clog driving lanes and intimidate ball-handlers from getting to the rim in the first place.

PERIMETER DEFENSE

Texas had Bamba hedging or showing hard at the three-point line a few times last season, depending on how capable of pulling up from long range the opposing point guard was.

He is certainly well coordinated out in space and has shown some ability of being able to harass and influence ball-handlers 25 feet away from the basket but is only so-so at keeping track and recovering back to this man after the blitz.

When asked to pick up smaller players on switches, Bamba has proven himself able to bend his knees to get down in a stance, keep pace off the dribble on straight line drives and block or intimidate shots defending on the ball at the basket. He’s not an option for every matchup out on an island, though, as shiftier types can shake him side-to-side and get by him.

Bamba has a remarkable seven-foot-nine wingspan but hasn’t yet learned how to shut down passing lanes around him. His average of one steal per 40 minutes is kind of a disappointment.

As is his defense against stretch big men at the three-point line. Despite his athletic ability, Bamba wasn’t very good at running shooters off their shots on closeouts.

INTERIOR OFFENSE

On offense, he is expected to earn his money in the pros as a threat on catch-and-finishes at the basket. Bamba is an explosive leaper off two feet and can play above the rim as a target for lobs, though it’s still unclear how well he can catch the ball in traffic, given Texas didn’t manage to hit him on pocket passes very often.

And because he wasn’t always very well set up, there were times Bamba had to catch the ball, take a dribble to balance himself and go up for a non-dunk finish with a body between him and the basket and in these instances, he showed appealing coordination and decent touch on non-dunk finishes – converting his 132 shots at the basket at a 78.8% clip[8].

Bamba is also very effective on the offensive glass, where he has a knack for disentangling from his man and can use his length to rebounding outside of his area – collecting 12.2% of Texas’ misses when he was on the floor. Bamba also proved himself able of translating these second chance opportunities into immediate scores often thanks to his quick second jump and explosiveness on putback dunk attempts – finishing his 49 putback attempts at a 73.7% clip.

Bamba was activated in the post quite a bit, mostly in order to ignite weak-side movement where shooters and cutters tried to free themselves of their defenders. After showing to be a more capable passer during Texas’ preseason tour in Australia, he didn’t impress as much in terms of passing instincts in the regular season, mostly only spotting wide-open teammates on evident reads – assisting on just 3.6% of Texas’ scores when he was on the floor.

Bamba struggled to set deep position in the post due to his lack of strength, often getting pushed further away from the spot he intended to catch the ball in the first place. His feet are light but he is not particularly well coordinated bumping against stronger opponents, doesn’t have much feel for handling double teams and is not very secure with the ball. His average of two turnovers per 40 minutes is too high for someone with a 21.3% usage rate.

He doesn’t have any power moves and hasn’t yet developed the use of shot fakes, head fakes, ambidexterity as finisher or turnaround jumpers at this point of his development. When he manages to get a shot off, Bamba usually goes for the basic right-handed hook over the defender’s left shoulder or a face-up jumper.

PERIMETER OFFENSE

Bamba ended up taking fewer long range bombs than I expected when I wrote about him in the preseason but he was still an above average shot taker for a center, getting up 51 three-point attempts in 30 appearances, at a pace of 2.3 such shots per 40 minutes.

He established himself as a capable open shot shooter for now, able to take three-pointers from the top of the key joining the offense late as the trailer in transition and from around the wing out of the pick-and-pop if left wide-open by the defense.

His release has become a bit more fluid, one without a particularly quick trigger but with somewhat comfortable mechanics for someone his size. He doesn’t often get good arc on his shot and his touch is only so-so, though.

Overall, Bamba is not yet any sort of a real floor-spacer. The ball still doesn’t go in a whole lot, as he nailed just 14 three-point shots the entire season. His 68.1% shooting on 119 free throws also put into doubt how real his potential as a shooter truly is.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to our stats’ database

[3] DOB: 5/12/1998

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to Draft Express

[6] According to Texas’ official listing

[7] According to Ken Pomeroy

[8] According to hoop-math

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

Mohamed Bamba Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Mohamed Bamba is known for his physical profile and athletic ability. The 19-year-old[1] measured at seven-feet and 216 pounds with a remarkable seven-foot-nine wingspan at this year’s Nike Hoop Summit, where he looked like the prototypical center for this pick-and-roll driven era of basketball due to his explosiveness leaping off the ground in a pinch to finish lobs and block shots.

But the Harlem, New York native used Texas’s preseason trip to Australia to show people his skill level is ahead of expectations as well. He was very aggressive unleashing jumpers from the elbows on post-ups and from three-point range out of the pick-and-pop, showed to have some feel for the game in terms of helping facilitate offense and looked to bring the ball up himself whenever he could after collecting a defensive rebound.

These long bombs don’t go in the basket a whole lot yet and he isn’t really one of these new age big men who can initiate offense from the perimeter but Bamba did quite a bit in that four-game trip to suggest his ceiling now goes beyond the easy comparison to DeAndre Jordan that most people like to make.

Defensively, he is a very impactful player close to the basket due to his physical prowess and hinted he might offer his coach flexibility in terms of how to defend the pick-and-roll, given his level of comfort shuffling his feet out in space but hasn’t yet developed into the sort of player who can lift his unit above its means, as Texas got lit up by two of the three Australian NBL teams it faced during the trip.

SKILL LEVEL

What Bamba did the most during preseason was catch the ball on the elbow area on either side of the floor, as Texas entered it to him on post-ups a fair amount. Unable to set deep position as of now, he showed a strong preference for turning and facing his defender. Most opponents sagged off him, unaware or unafraid of his potential to hurt them from range, and Bamba responded by being quite an aggressive shot taker when given the space.

His release is a bit methodical and a bit mechanical but Bamba elevates with decent balance and has enticing touch on his shot.

When his defender played up on him, Bamba often tried to drive around him. His handle is very decent for someone his size and he’s well coordinated but lacks the strength to maintain his balance and his momentum forward through contact.

The few times here and there that Bamba tried to back down his man, he worked to set up a turnaround right-handed hook over the defender’s left shoulder. His footwork was not particularly impressive but Bamba at least showed he doesn’t have cement feet. His touch is only OK, though.

But in the game against Melbourne, when a defender forced him to turn to his off hand, Mamba attempted a right-handed push shot in awkward balance, instead of opting for a left-handed hook or a turnaround, fadeaway jumper, suggesting he doesn’t yet have these assets in his arsenal at this point of his development.

His passing is a lot more advanced than expected, though. Texas played through him a little bit in the high post, on plays designed for him to catch, turn, face his man and then enter the ball to a perimeter player cutting to the area near the basket made vacant by Bamba drawing his man out. He also flashed some ability to hit cutters out of doubles with his back to the basket and kick-out to spot-up shooters out of the short roll.

He’s projected as a pick-and-dive threat out of the pick-and-roll but whenever Bamba set ball-screens in Australia, he mostly popped out the three-point line and wasn’t shy of letting it fly. He needs to speed up his release but proved he can take open shots rather comfortably. He also made a habit of hanging back changing ends, so he could get an open three up as the trailer in the transition.

Much like his no-dribble jumper out of triple threat position, his catch-and-shoot release looked a bit mechanical and methodical, though his touch seemed very decent. He gets off the ground a decent amount for a seven-footer, it’s not a set shot, but lets the ball go from the side, instead of out in front.

Though the threes he made and how confident he was at taking them were a bit stunning, the most surprising skill Bamba showed was the ability to grab and go off a defensive rebound. His handle is OK and he looked well coordinated bringing the ball up. He even flashed a light hesitation dribble to get by his man in transition and tried to take it end-to-end a couple of times but his touch on non-dunk finishes is only so-so at this point of his development.

ATHLETIC ABILITY

Bamba didn’t roll to the basket a whole lot and when he did, a weak-side defender rotated in to take away the lob but he had chances to finish a couple of alley-oops sneaking behind the defense. Bamba can explode off the ground with some space to take flight and has a massive nine-foot-six standing reach to play above the rim.

But from an athletic-standpoint, Bamba struggles in plays that require strength and physicality of him due to his lean frame. He can’t set deep post position in the post, has no power moves and lacks force to go up strong through contact off a standstill after collecting offensive rebounds.

Defensively, Bamba struggles to hold his ground in the post and though he is attentive to his boxout responsibilities, it was rare to see him completely erase an opponent out of a battle under the glass.

But while he doesn’t grow into his body, Bamba can rely on that massive standing reach to contest shots effectively defending the post, even when the opponent knocks him back some, and he’s proved to have quick instincts chasing the ball off the rim, aside the fact he has that remarkable seven-foot-nine wingspan to rebound outside his position.

That said, what’s enticing about Bamba’s agility is his potential defending the pick-and-roll extending above the foul line and covering a lot of ground in help-defense. When these pro teams ran pick-and-roll with the center as the screener, Texas didn’t ask Bamba to go meet the ball-handler at the point of attack but had him step up to prevent the opponent from turning the corner right away, which he proved very comfortable doing out in space.

Texas didn’t have him picking up smaller players on switches at any moment but Bamba seems to be the exact sort of big who has a shot of keeping pace with such types out on an island, though it’s unclear if that’s truly the case yet.

What it’s clear is that Bamba will be a constant shot blocking threat near the basket, elevating out of two feet stepping up to protect the front of the rim and out of one foot coming the weak-side in help-defense. The expectation is he should average about three blocks per 40 minutes at the college level.

[1] Who turns 20 only in March

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

Mohamed Bamba Scouting Report

  • Bamba scored 14 points on 14 minutes on Texas’ 96-84 win against the Dandenong Rangers — a team from Australia’s second division, on Tuesday.
  • His first score was on a catch-and-shoot three-pointer off a pick-and-pop on Texas’ second offensive possession of the game. His release looked a bit mechanical and methodical, though with very decent touch. He gets off the ground a decent amount for a seven-footer, it’s not a set shot, but lets the ball go from the side, instead of out in front.
  • Bamba was very aggressive pulling the trigger from the outside.
    • He took another three-pointer after making sure to space beyond the arc against Dandenong’s zone that missed;
    • Then he missed an uncontested turnaround right elbow jumper off the catch in the middle of Dandenong’s zone;
    • Then he made a no-dribble jumper from the left elbow turning and facing his defender on a post-up;
    • Then he missed a one-dribble pull-up fading to his left on the right side of the mid-post area after also turning and facing his defender.
  • Bamba got most of his touches in the post and showed a strong preference for turning, facing his defender and launching a jumper[1], with the exception of one possession at the start of the second quarter when he set decent position in the mid-post, took a dribble to set himself up and launched a right-handed turnaround hook over the defender’s left shoulder that went in. His footwork was not particularly impressive but Bamba at least showed he doesn’t have cement feet.
    • There was also a play where Bamba caught in the elbow area, turned and faced his defender, spot a cutter working baseline and delivered a nice pass that his teammate bobbled and lost out of bounds.
  • Texas did not put him in the pick-and-roll but Bamba proved himself able to play above the rim as a target for lobs with his massive nine-foot-six standing reach on a play where he sneaked behind the defense and finished an alley-oop.
  • Bamba’s most impressive plays from a skill-standpoint were when he drove from the top of the key to the rim and earned two free throws attacking out of triple threat position after trailing behind a play in transition and when he collected the ball after a deflection and took it end-to-end for a short jumper from just outside the restricted area. The exciting part of that grab-and-go is that it wasn’t on a straight-line; Bamba had to escape a steal attempt at half-court and then contain his momentum not to commit an offensive foul when an opponent challenged his shot. His coordination on both plays were equally as impressive as his ball-handling.
  • Bamba was only stressed in pick-and-roll defense once, showcasing decent agility for someone his size showing-and-recover to his man in a timely manner.
  • He proved himself a proactive help defender coming off the weak-side to act as a shot blocking threat, able to come off the ground with ease, aside from having such a giant reach.
  • Bamba also put his length[2] to use rebounding outside of his area, which will be key for him on the defensive glass as much as on the other end because while he seemed attentive to his boxout responsibilities, Bamba only plays with so-so physicality and sometimes doesn’t completely erase the opponent off the play or gets pushed out of his position.

[1] Bamba has a lean 216-pound frame in the context of his seven-foot height, so it’s understandable why he doesn’t look to play a physicality-oriented style

[2] Seven-foot-nine wingspan

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

Myles Turner Scouting Report

(Originally posted at Upside & Motor)

CONTEXT

Myles Turner was a very interesting prospect out of high school – the rare seven-footer with a combination of the long wingspan to protect the rim and the touch to hit outside shots.

But despite being a heavily touted prospect, Turner only logged 22.2 minutes per game last season due to intense competition for playing time on Texas’s frontcourt.

Turner also wasn’t used in a way that maximized his skill-set. Texas attempted to run a motion offense that emphasized moving the ball from side-to-side to bend the defense but possessions often ended with Isaiah Taylor isolated on the top or one of the big men isolated on the block.

Then on defense, Turner shared a lot of his playing time with Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh, two true centers that forced him away from below the rim – which is where he could have been more impactful.

I think it is fair to say he was drafted 11th by the Pacers on Thursday mostly due to that interest he generated back in high school than based on any sort of development he showed at Texas.

SHOOTING

What separates Turner from the average seven-footer is his three-point range and he is likely to be a full time stretch big man in his first couple of years at the pro level. He has a smooth shooting stroke and solid mechanics, flexing his elbows comfortably and keeping the off-arm pointed up on the follow through. Turner doesn’t have much lift off the ground but doesn’t need to for a high release point thanks to his seven-foot height and the speed of his release.

Of more significance is the fact that Turner has shown the ability to shoot on the move. He can work out of the pick-and-pop, floating to an open spot and repositioning his body to shoot quickly off the catch. It is quite unfortunate Texas didn’t use him this way as much as it should, especially considering how great a slasher Isaiah Taylor is at the college level.

Turner’s picks can be effective even if he’s a so-so screener who doesn’t disrupt the on-ball defender off his path very much because the threat of his shooting can put the opponent under a great deal off stress as it must make a split-second decision between containing the driver and staying attached to Turner.

He has also proven able to hit shots as the trailer in transition. That is huge for Turner because he does not sprint up the court to fill the lanes in transition fluidly, and making himself an option on the secondary break as he jogs behind the play is how he can add value to a team that attempts to play uptempo.

Nevertheless, as good as the touch on his jump-shot looks, Turner really only hit 27.4 percent of his 62 three-point attempts and 31 percent of his overall jump-shots last season – according to Synergy Sports. Texas didn’t run many plays to get him open, though, and it is likely his percentage improves simply because his looks will now be created by Paul George and George Hill.

RIM PROTECTION

Roy Hibbert is not a very mobile big man but Frank Voegel coached him into the league’s best rim protector by leveraging his size close to the basket. The four defenders around him were told to focus on pressing ball-handlers and taking away their ability to go side-to-side, funneling them towards Hbbert’s help-defense.

There is a lot of hope Voegel can do the same for Turner, who is a far more capable shot blocker with drivers running at him than rotating off the weak-side quickly.

Turner is not explosive off the ground and is not a high leaper but can elevate fairly easy for someone with his mobility issues and has a nine-foot-one standing reach to block the goal. He is also smart in individual defense, using his length extremely well to challenge opponents’ attempts on turnaround hooks. According to basketball-reference, Turner blocked 12.3 percent of opponents’ shots in his 755 minutes – which ranked him ninth in all of college basketball.

GAPS

He becomes a liability on defense if he is forced away from the lane, though. Turner lacks quickness to rotate inside to make plays at the rim in time if he gets too stretched out along the baseline, often getting there a step too late. He struggles to move fluidly in space and is absolutely not an option to pick up guards on switches.

In comparison to the average lottery pick, Turner is a fairly poor athlete. He is not much of an option to score out of the pick-and-roll, as he’s unable to dive down the lane with the sort of speed that can stress the defense and can’t play above the rim as a constant threat for lobs. He also does not have any sort of a floor game to attack closeouts.

With his back to the basket, Turner lacked strength to hold his position on the post against high level competition. Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl Towns, Jr. consistently pushed him off his spot in the game against Kentucky, as Draft Express’ Mike Schimitz detailed in this video, and Stanford’s Stefan Nastic also successfully denied him the ball.

When he caught it below the foul line, Turner looked hesitant to create separation by backing opponents down, often opting for quick turnaround hooks or fadeaway jump-shots. According to Draft Express, 47 percent of his post-ups ended on turnaround jumpers. He shot 47 percent on his post-ups, according to Synergy Sports, but most of those numbers were obtained against low level competition.

Texas played a really tough schedule – Berkeley, Connecticut, Kentucky, Stanford, Kansas twice and Iowa State three times. Turner only had 22 two-point field goals and 19 free-throw attempts on 199 minutes against these opponents.

On the glass, Turner is a very disciplined rebounder – one who looks to box out diligently and can catch the ball at a high point thanks to his seven-foot-four wingspan. Because of that, he made a killing on uncontested rebounds and collected 25 percent of opponents’ misses last season. But Turner struggled badly to muscle his way into inside position against Kentucky’s seven-footers, which raised some concerns regarding his toughness against NBA-level competition.

UPSIDE

Turner has the potential of being the rare center who contributes with floor spacing on offense and rim protection on defense. There aren’t many of those out there.

But that can only be the case if he becomes an actual good shooter rather than simply a shooter who looks good and if Voegel can maximize his size and minimize his mobility issues the same way he did with Hibbert’s.

It must also be said Turner has looked for help trying to fix his mobility issues and some clips have circulated of him running far more fluidly than he ever did at Texas, raising the possibility that an improvement in athleticism might actually be on the table.

RISK

The risk associated to Turner regards him not developing any sort of power moves in the post. If he cannot keep opponents from going small against him, Turner could become unplayable considering how much a liability he is defending away from the lane.

FIT

Indiana’s roster is a bit fluid at the moment. David West has opted out and is not expected to return unless the Pacers overpay. Hibbert has opted in but Larry Bird has suggested the team would like to move on from him and play a bit faster. George has commented on a couple of interviews he expects to play more time as a power forward next season.

The Pacers probably view Turner as the long term option at center but that might not necessarily mean the future starts now. Hibbert will be tough to move, especially if Indiana is reluctant to give him up for free or for a very small return, and Ian Mahinmi is still under contract. Voegel also has a history of not playing rookies right away. It is quite probable we won’t see Turner as part of the rotation in his first year.

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

Myles Turner Scouting Report

(Originally posted at Upside & Motor)

Texas closed its non-conference schedule on Monday with an 11-point win over Rice at home, featuring one of Myles Turner’s best performances to date. The six-foot-11 freshman scored 16 points on seven shots in 22 minutes, hitting both of his three-point attempts in the process.

Turner hasn’t been particularly impressive against high level competition this season, with non-descript performances against California Berkeley and Connecticut, a struggle against Kentucky and an OK outing against Stanford. But his skill-set remains very appealing and he has done just enough to continue being viewed as a lottery-rated prospect over these first two months of the season.

Turner projects as a floor spacing big man at the pro level. He has a smooth shooting stroke and solid mechanics, flexing his elbows comfortably and keeping the off-arm pointed up on the follow through. Turner doesn’t elevate off the ground much but doesn’t need to for a high release point thanks to his six-foot-11 frame and the speed of his release. He has hit eight of his 20 three-point attempts and entered Monday’s game having hit 42.8 percent of his 42 two-point jump-shots, according to Hoop Math.

His other most intriguing skill is his passing. Turner has flashed a very high basketball IQ, doing little things such as swinging the ball quickly when he catches on the perimeter in non-shooting position to make sure the offense keeps moving. He also tends to post up his man to tie up a rim protector when one of Texas’ guards opts not to enter the ball to the post but rather drive towards the basket.

Turner is an excellent asset for high-low action, proving able to assist a teammate below the rim by flashing to the foul line or from the perimeter after popping off a ball-screen. He’s also flashed the ability to pass out of the low post. I don’t feel like Texas is using his passing ability enough but even as is, Turner has assisted on almost 12 percent of Texas’ scores when he has been on the floor, per Basketball Reference. When he is in the lineup, the team plays at a noticeably faster pace.

Other areas of his offensive game aren’t as developed, though. On the pick-and-roll, Turner is a decent screener who looks to draw contact but can’t dive hard to the front of the rim due to an inability to move fluidly in space. He hasn’t been able to finish strong in traffic or finish through contact.

On the low post, he has struggled establishing deep position against high level competition. Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl Towns, Jr. consistently pushed him off his spot, as Draft Express’ Mike Schimitz detailed in this video. Stefan Nastic also successfully denied him the ball last week. When he has caught it below the foul line, Turner has looked hesitant to create separation by backing opponents down, often opting for quick turnaround hooks or fadeaway jump-shots. He has a lean 240-pound frame in the context of his six-foot-11 height and doesn’t play with much strength, which also makes him unable to push people off the way on the offensive glass.

Although Turner functions well as a floor spacer, he often settles for contested looks in an attempt to get his shot off quickly. His high shooting percentage at the rim (67.7% on 31 shots prior to Monday’s game) is mostly a result of him making a killing against low level opponents. His lack of explosion has held him back against better teams. Although he did get to the foul line fine against California Berkeley, Connecticut, Kentucky and Stanford (15 free throws in four games), Turner was limited to just five two-point baskets in his 82 minutes.

As I mentioned in his offseason profile, Turner looked uncomfortable defending in space in the FIBA Americas U18, so it was expected this was also going to be the case at the college level. Texas has played some zone to maximize the effectiveness of his seven-foot-four wingspan and limit the amount of ground he’s asked to cover. But when they’ve switched to man-to-man, Turner hasn’t looked particularly quick rotating off the weak side to protect the rim, leaving the impression he might be a step too late at the next level.

His 35 blocks are a virtue of his prolificacy blocking shots in individual defense. Turner is a disciplined defender in the post, holding his ground and using his length extremely well to challenge opponents’ finishes.

Turner is very active going after uncontested rebounds, showing decent jumping ability and good instincts tracking the ball off the rim. His long wingspan gives him a big rebounding area as well. But as Mike Schimitz also documented on that video, Turner struggled badly establishing inside position to collect misses against Kentucky’s frontline. He just didn’t look strong enough to fight against that level of athleticism. Turner did much better against Stanford, making sure he boxed out Reid Travis diligently, but that remains a concern with regards to his pro prospects.

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

Myles Turner Scouting Report

(Originally posted at Upside & Motor)

The third play of the 2014 McDonalds All American game features Myles Turner hitting a deep three-pointer from NBA range off a pick-and-pop. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see more of that in the 2014 FIBA Americas U18, as Turner took a single three-pointer all tournament; one from the corner off a baseline inbounds pass in the third quarter of the championship game, with the outcome already decided. Billy Donovan had him playing the vast majority of his minutes as a true center, rather than using him as a stretch big, which limited his contribution on offense.

That’s because Team USA was a perimeter oriented team, with five wings posting usage rates over 20%, per realGM.com. Turner only got a touch in the block here and there, despite showing himself able to set decent position at this level. He flashed some intriguing passing skills but mostly tried to set up his right handed running hook, looking mechanical. And he was not provided an opportunity to show much out of the pick-and-roll. Turner proved himself a good screener, who looked to draw contact. Against this competition, the American guards needed a minimum of separation to just attack off the bounce and Turner was often not given the chance to dive to the basket and show whether or not he can catch the ball on the move. He finished only 13.1% of Team USA’s possessions with a shot, foul drawn or turnover. Nine of his 36 points came out of the foul line (mostly on cheap fouls by the overwhelmed opposition), where he showed an excellent release.

Turner performed particularly well protecting the rim, blocking 21.2% of opponents’ shots when he was on the floor, by far the best block rate in the tournament. Team USA pressed a ton (as it often does at the youth level in order to leverage its edge in athleticism) and Turner was often put in a difficult position, having opponents running at him with momentum. However, he did very well in those spots. He doesn’t explode off the ground to block shots but leaping isn’t a chore for him either as he actually looks quite comfortable doing it and his nine-foot-one standing reach was a dominant force at that level.

In the half-court, Donovan had Team USA hedging on the pick-and-roll and Turner didn’t do well, looking slow and uncomfortable in space. He possesses a lean 240-pound frame in the context of his seven-foot height, but still had a rebounding area above average for that level. Turner looked to box out more often than not and showed the ability to get the ball at a higher point than his opponents. He ranked outside the top 20 in defensive rebounding rate but that can be justified by him playing with two very good rebounding wings in Stanley Johnson and Justise Winslow.

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