Monday, March 11, 2013

Scouting Report: Durand Scott

Durand Scott has always been a polarizing prospect. Possessing solid athleticism and size to go along with a good skillset, Scott certainly looks the part of a pro. In high school, he beat out Lance Stephenson for the NYC high school player of the year - and it just so happens that Stephenson is one of the most comparable current NBA players to the senior guard.

Scott proved ready for college by averaging double digits his first season at Miami and getting named to the All-ACC Freshman team. Unlike Stephenson, Scott chose to stay in school and work on his game. And here we are, three years after his freshman season ended, with much of the same things to be said about Scott that could have been said then. He's in between positions on both offense and defense and hasn't shown much improvement. He's a good player, but does he make his teammates better? Can he play PG? Will he ever learn how to shoot?

One thing to take note of this year, that is different from prior years, is that he is playing for a winning team. In his freshman year, the Hurricanes went 4-12 in ACC play. Since then, they have won at least two more conference games than the year before - culminating in the ACC regular season title this season. So while Scott hasn't turned into a superstar that has led this team from the bottom - he has seen an increase in the talent around him. Among the notable players was Shane Larkin, who has officially become the face of Miami's basketball team and primary ball handler.

Larkin leads the team in both points and assists. Scott actually is third on the team in scoring, despite leading the team in the category last year and placing second the year before. One positive thing you can say about this situation is the way that Scott has handle it. There has been no sign of jealousy or discontent from the senior as he watches Larkin get all the attention. Not only has Scott lost the leading role on the team, but he has also had his point guard duties stripped from him - giving little chance at a last ditch effort to prove to NBA teams that he is a point guard.

By now though, nobody expects Scott to be an effective NBA point guard. What this season may prove to teams though is, 1) Scott is a team player who puts winning first and 2) Scott is able to play without the ball in his hands.

And furthermore, the Hurricanes have the potential to advance deep in the NCAA Tournament and even win the title, which would be great for Scott's draft stock. Even for a senior, exposure and ending your career on a high note will help your stock and leave a good final impression on decision makers minds.

In terms of Scott's playing style, he is very much a combo guard on offense that is wired to score. He has a solid frame and stands about 6'4'' tall with good length and a solid build. Scott is able to get into the lane with long strides, solid hesitation moves, and an expanding feel of how to change speeds.

His playmaking ability hasn't really advanced much since when he was labeled as a combo guard coming out of high school. He still has a tendency to dribble with his head down and pound the ball into the floor while wasting seconds on the shotclock. Scott has ability to breakdown the defense as a drive and kick guy, and does find teammates through this way from time to time, but he more often gets himself in trouble when facing help defense.

Scott is only an average finisher for a guy with this creativity and athleticism around the rim. According to, he shot just 57% on shots around the rim - the lowest among all Miami regulars. This has a lot to do with his ability to deal with help defenders. For one, he has tunnel vision driving to the lane and doesn't kick it out enough when defenders begin to close in - creating a tough shot for himself. In addition, Scott shies away from contact and prefers to use acrobatics to avoid defenders and convert spectacular, yet low percentage, finishes. Scott can be a very flashy finisher in the lane, but he needs to focus more on getting to the line and finishing through contact. His frame can handle some added bulk.

Scott also would do himself good to improve his free throw shooting, which perhaps is one reason he does try to avoid contact. Scott is shooting just 72% this year at the line. Both his FT% and FTA have fallen each of the past two years as he has been asked to do less playmaking due to the presence of Shane Larkin.

In terms of any revelations of playing without the ball, Scott has done an adequate job spacing the floor and making hustle plays. But he still doesn't have much skill in moving without the basketball and his shooting ability from 3-pt range leaves a lot to be desired. Scott will hit some of the toughest jumpers possible, but fails to hit any kind of jumper with regularity. On a positive note, his mid-range game has potential to be a strength of his and he's had good success both creating and making jumpers from inside the arc.

Overall, Scott is a guy who can carry an offense at times, but is far too inconsistent to be a primary scorer. He doesn't have the size or shooting ability as a shooting guard and lacks the feel for the game to play point guard. He's a guy in between positions on offense, but does have potential to provide scoring off the bench.

Defense will have to be his ticket into the NBA, though. Scott was named to the ACC-All Defensive team today and it was much deserved. He did a fine job defending guards such as Seth Curry, Rasheed Sulaimon, Michael Snaer, and Erick Green during ACC play and showed great intensity doing so. Scott has a reasonable amount of strength and lateral quickness and has the wingspan to keep shooters within reach. He also has been a more opportunistic defender than in years past, averaging 1.6 steals a game.

I believe in Scott's ability to be a good defender, but he still is in between positions on the defensive end too. His effect on defense will be dependent on matchups as he won't be able to lockdown bigger wings or quicker point guards.

Whether Scott has an NBA or future or not will be easier to dissect once his official measurements come out. He's listed anywhere from 6'3 to 6'5 and if he has a wingspan over 6'8, that would give some merit to his defensive abilities. A strong vertical would be a good sign as well. Iman Shumpert flew up draft boards after his combine and Scott projects to be a similar player stylistically. I wouldn't dare call Scott as great of an athlete or physical speciman as Shumpert, but they share plenty of similarities (poor shooters, lack of PG skills, strong defenders, good size and athleticism, struggled on poor ACC teams when they led offense) that could make Scott a poor man's version of him.

Durand Scott is a potential 2nd round pick who will have a chance to either boost or hurt his stock in both the NCAA tournament and NBA combine. He's a mix of Lance Stephenson and Iman Shumpert. He is somewhere in the middle between them as athletes while having Stephenson's flair and Shumpert's defensive mentality. He lacks the strength of Stephenson or the athleticism of Shumpert and is in the same area overall as a point guard and shooter.

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