Amazon Contextual Product Ads

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

2013 Shooting Guard Prospects By The Numbers + Rankings

% of Shots at the Rim

BJ Young - 46%
Archie Goodwin - 45%
Jamaal Franklin - 29%
Michael Snaer - 25%
Reggie Bullock - 23%
Tim Hardaway Jr - 21%
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - 21%
Allen Crabbe - 19%
Tony Snell - 18%
Brandon Paul - 18%

FG% at the Rim

Tim Hardaway Jr - 71%
Allen Crabbe - 71%
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - 70%
BJ Young - 69%
Reggie Bullock - 68%
Archie Goodwin - 65%
Brandon Paul - 64%
Michael Snaer - 62%
Jamaal Franklin - 61%
Tony Snell - 53%

% Assisted at the Rim

Reggie Bullock - 56%
Jamaal Franklin - 54%
Tim Hardaway Jr - 48%
Allen Crabbe - 45%
Tony Snell - 43%
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - 39%
BJ Young - 35%
Archie Goodwin - 29%
Michael Snaer - 28%
Brandon Paul - 24%

Analysis: These numbers are very disappointing for a guy like Tony Snell. Even though he will be asked to be a 3 and D guy at the next level, his strength and toughness is a concern. His play at the rim isn't encouraging in that regard. His biggest competition as a 3 and D guy, Reggie Bullock, posted respectable numbers here even though he may be the worse of the bunch in terms of driving all the way to the rim.

For the non-shooters of the group - Archie Goodwin and BJ Young - they both were unsurprisingly at the top of the first category. Their games right now revolve around getting to the rim and they have a great natural ability at doing it. They both create a lot of their shots at the rim and finish at a very solid rate when you factor in how much of these drives they are creating through traffic. Game film backs up their ability to get to the rim and I believe they might be the two best natural slashers in the draft. The rest of their game is what holds them back right now.

Michael Snaer's numbers look similar to Jamaal Franklin's, although Franklin has a lot more of his buckets at the rim assisted. Snaer's splits look more like a slasher than a shooter, even though he is a solid jump shooter. It shows how much of a role change Snaer was forced to play this season. He was asked to be a creator and slasher with the ball in his hands and that dropped his overall FG%. He continues to be one of the most underrated players in this draft and I don't believe there is a great gap between him and Franklin. As of now, it looks like Franklin will cost you a first round pick while Snaer may slip to the end of the second round.

For an athletic guy, Brandon Paul didn't get to the rim much nor did he end up on the receiving end of a lot of assists. He's a guy who needs to ball in his hands to be effective and likes to settle for jumpshots. For a streaky shooter who shot less than 33% from 3-pt range these last 2 years, thats not very good.

Hardaway Jr, Crabbe, and Caldwell-Pope all did fairly well in this area which holds true to the belief that they are currently the three most well rounded SGs in the group.

% of Shots 2-pt Jumpers

Allen Crabbe - 43%
Archie Goodwin - 37%
Tim Hardaway Jr - 36%
Jamaal Franklin - 35%
Tony Snell - 34%
Michael Snaer - 31%
Brandon Paul - 30%
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - 26%
BJ Young - 25%
Reggie Bullock - 20%

FG% on 2-pt Jumpers

Allen Crabbe - 45%
Tony Snell - 43%
Reggie Bullock - 38%
Brandon Paul - 38%
Jamaal Franklin - 37%
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - 36%
Tim Hardaway Jr - 35%
Michael Snaer - 31%
Archie Goodwin - 27%
BJ Young - 25%

% of Assisted 2-pt Jumpers

Tony Snell - 52%
Reggie Bullock - 46%
Allen Crabbe - 44%
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - 41%
Tim Hardaway Jr - 28%
Jamaal Franklin - 26%
Archie Goodwin - 20%
BJ Young - 20%
Michael Snaer - 6%
Brandon Paul - 6%

Once again, Archie Goodwin and BJ Young are on a different playing field than the rest. They are both just so raw as shooters and decision makers that even with all their talent, they will need a few years in the D-League before contributing. While they both have intriguing potential, its real hard to justify considering picking them in the first round. The second round, where there is no risk, is perfectly fair game to take them over other prospects however.

The biggest standout in this area is Allen Crabbe, who I believe is the best overall player in this bunch. Not only does he shoot the highest percentage of his shots from the mid-range area, he also makes the highest percentage. In the NBA, that will only be magnified more.

Brandon Paul and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are both guys that did OK in this category, but their mid-range game is comprised of a lot of long 2-pt pull up jumpshots. There isn't a whole lot of savvyness to their play inside the arc.

Hardaway Jr and Franklin both take a good amount of their shots in the mid-range area and they create a lot of them as well. These two guys play like veterans inside the arc and have a knack for throwing opponents off balance. Franklin scores by getting to the line, while Hardaway has more of a finesse game working to his advantage.

Snell and Bullock had the highest percentage of their jumpers assisted, which goes right along with the kind of players they are. Don't look for them to create many of their own shots, although Snell has more potential in this area.

Snaer's mid-range game has always been poor, which is surprising given his skills and feel for the game. The fact that a player who generally should be an off guard only had 6% of his mid-range shots assisted, though again speaks for how tough of a role he was put in this year.

% of Shots 3-pters

Reggie Bullock - 58%
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - 52%
Brandon Paul - 52%
Tony Snell - 48%
Michael Snaer - 45%
Tim Hardaway Jr - 43%
Allen Crabbe - 38%
Jamaal Franklin - 37%
BJ Young - 28%
Archie Goodwin - 18%

3-pt FG%

Reggie Bullock - 43%
Tony Snell - 39%
Tim Hardaway Jr - 38%
Michael Snaer - 38%
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - 37%
Allen Crabbe - 34%
Brandon Paul - 33%
Archie Goodwin - 27%
Jamaal Franklin - 26%
BJ Young - 24%

% of Assisted 3-pters

Reggie Bullock - 94%
Tim Hardaway Jr - 90%
Allen Crabbe - 88%
Tony Snell - 85%
BJ Young - 76%
Archie Goodwin - 71%
Michael Snaer - 67%
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - 61%
Jamaal Franklin - 57%
Brandon Paul - 57%

By now I dont think I need to point out the differences between Goodwin/Young and the rest of the group, but at least Goodwin kept his 3-pt shots to a minimum. Young, however, took way too many threes.

You can say the same thing for Franklin, who took about the same percentage of 3s are Allen Crabbe. Thats just a lot of bad shots by Franklin and its not like he was the only offensive option on his team. His team was able to create good looks when they got into their offense.

You especially don't want to see Franklin creating so many of those shots - his amount of assisted jumpers tied Paul for the lowest. One thing you can notice is that Paul, Franklin, and Snaer all shot worse from three this year than in previous seasons. That appears to be because they took a lot of low percentage shots. I think all three are better shooters than their numbers this year show.

Caldwell-Pope had to create a lot of his jumpers as well, but it was in a little different way. KCP came off screens a lot and took one or two dribbles which took away assists, but it still doesn't show that he is able to create his own 3-pt shot. For the difficulty level and the amount of shots he took however, he did shoot a very respectable percentage.

Bullock and Snell both did a lot of what they will be doing in the pros in college. They shot a lot from deep, hit a lot, and didn't create much. They are spot up shooters and seem to be pretty good in that role.

Its amazing how much better Hardaway Jr has gotten throughout his career as a spot up shooter. He's even gotten better throughout the season as he shot 40% in conference play (last year in Big Ten play he shot 26%).

Crabbe only ranks as a middle of the road scorer, but its impressive how much his game has involved. Last year 51% of his shots were from beyond the arc. This season its at a modest 38%. Im not worried about his shooting at all - he always been a shooter and seemed to just suffer from fatigue at the end of the year. Im actually more encouraged by his numbers because he showed the ability to adapt and has developed a complete offensive repertoire now.

SG Rankings

1. Ben McLemore (top 5)
2. Victor Oladipo (top 10)
3. Allen Crabbe (late lottery to mid first)
4. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (mid to late first)
5. Reggie Bullock (late first)
6. Jamaal Franklin (late first to early second)
7. Tim Hardaway (late first to early second)
8. Tony Snell (late first to early second)
9. Michael Snaer (early to mid second)
10. Brandon Paul (mid to late second)

The first 5 in my rankings are pretty firmly set in that order. Im not a huge fan of KCP, but he has too much potential to put him below the rest of the players who project as role players. Of the role guys, Bullock is my favorite and I believe he would be perfect on a playoff team picking towards the end of the first round.

The guys ranked 6-8 are all fairly equal in my book and I could flop opinions on them depending on the day. But they are all different kind of players and it really just depends on the system fit. 

I left out Archie Goodwin, BJ Young, and Ricky Ledo from my list for a reason. They are so far away from contributing, I'm not sure if any of them are worth a first round pick. They will all likely be at the end of their first contract before they actually start seeing some of their potential. Its also hard to rank these guys with the rest because they are kind of on a different playing field. If they first 5 guys are off the board and we are in the second round, I think they are all fair game to be picked above the guys 6-8 on the list. They are a big risk, but in the second round, there really isn't much downside. As for which of the three I would prefer to role the dice on - Archie Goodwin would be my target. Ledo may have the most potential, but he's a huge unknown.

Scouting Report: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope spent two years at Georgia, after electing to stay with his hometown school despite being named a McDonald's All-American. The decision has kept it from the spotlight, but it didn't make scouts forget about his natural ability to shoot the basketball. Caldwell-Pope earned SEC Player of the Years honors this season - his sophomore year - and scored in double digits every game of the season. In one of the most dysfunctional offenses in a Big 6 conference, KCP still found ways to score every single game.

Its hard to get a read on how good of a feel Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has for things on the offensive end. There weren't many talented players on Georgia's offense and the Bulldogs lacked any kind of rhythm on that end of the court. Their most effective offense play was to get their star player coming off of a screen near the arc in order to set up a long jumper off of either one or two dribbles. It was very ugly basketball, but with a shooter like KCP, he was able to bail them out quite a few times.

While KCP's shot selection has been questioned, it was more a product of the players around him. He did take some bad contested shots in transition, but it was because he knew that was the best look he'd get at the rim the entire possession. Georgia didn't ever create easy looks for themselves and Caldwell-Pope constantly had a man in his face in the halfcourt. The only play Georgia really had to get him open was the aforementioned screen play at the top of the arc and that was extremely predictable.

Smart defenders were able to give KCP a hard time on those plays because KCP generally took one or two horizontal dribbles to his left before shooting a long range jumper. There wasn't much creativeness in his game. Just a constant display of how talented KCP is in making extremely tough shots. Surely Georgia could have done a lot better job getting him open, but KCP could have also done a better job himself moving without the ball. He was forced to post up outside the 3-pt line a lot of the ball or catch the ball 5 feet beyond the arc to even get a touch. Watching Crabbe yesterday to do his scouting report, there is a stark contrast in their feel for the game and ability to move off the ball.

Again, part of this has to do with coaching and teammates. And its up to teams to figure out how much Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can improve with good coaching. But if you look at Caldwell-Pope on the defensive end, it doesn't seem like he has a great feel for the game on that end either. Thats not a positive indicator.

Caldwell-Pope is a faceguarder on defense and gets caught up on overplaying his man. He loses track of the ball very easily and doesn't understand help defense. While Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can be a tenacious defender and take a guy out of the game, he doesn't understand the team concept of defending. He doesn't have a huge wingspan to be a lockdown type in the NBA, so he's really going to have to improve his court awareness.

Compared to Crabbe, he gives a lot more effort but doesn't have the same awareness. Crabbe is kind of the opposite - he can get too caught up in ball watching and lose his man. Crabbe has a perfect frame as a defender, but doesn't have the mentality to be a big time defender. To me, their defense is kind of a wash. You aren't drafting either of these guys because of their defensive abilities.

In terms of offensive skills, Caldwell-Pope struggles to handle the ball. When teams aggressively trap when he's coming off of a screen, he often either makes a bad pass or is forced to pick up his dribble. If he doesn't get to his spot in two dribbles, he has a habit of just picking up the ball. He also doesn't feel comfortable attacking the pick and roll inside the arc, choosing instead to just pull up for jumper after jumper. His dribbles often doesn't get him anywhere vertical - they are more horizontal to the basket.

He does have a good first step and a nice jab step to set up his jumpshot. And he is very good shooting off of one or two dribbles, even when he doesn't get the greatest separation. He especially loves to shoot moving towards his left. KCP isn't a guy that will isolate and use a crossover to create separation however.

His jumpshot is extremely balanced and he gets it off very quickly. He is able to pull up in transition and has the range to pull up from beyond NBA territory. His balance is something you generally don't see from players of his age.

But his balance on his jumpers also has a downside. He doesn't seem to have the ability to shoot in a fluid motion coming off of a screen. He doesn't ever fade from the basket which is something all the great shooters are able to do to get off their shot. KCP is always straight up and down with his shot. With the screens Georgia had to use to get KCP open, its a wonder if a NBA team can/will be willing to put in that much of an effort to create a shot for him. Or if he will be able to improve his game to be able to do it for himself.

Creativity is certainly something he lacks and he appears to be very stiff in the hips. He plays the game very upright and combined with his short arms, it seems to limit his ball handling ability. Caldwell-Pope has good enough hands to get into the lanes - but a lot of that is because of his first step. He is a straight line driver with not much in between game besides his balanced pull up jumpers. Lots of his shots going towards the rim end up being low percentage shots because he doesn't do a good job of gathering himself and slowly plays down. He is, however, able to be an effective finisher in college because of his explosive athleticism.

Passing wise, he makes a lot of lazy passes and doesn't have great vision. He looks to be very one-dimensional as a playmaker. On transition opportunities, he seems just as content to pull up for a quick transition 3 ball versus trying to get all the way to the rim.

There is a lot of intrigue with Caldwell-Pope and in a draft like this, teams are desperate to find guys with enough talent to be taken in the lottery. KCP can be one of those guys that at least looks the part and has the shooting ability. He is athletic, a great shooter, can hit off the dribble, and has the ability to be a good finisher at the rim. He also gives good effort and there is a mystery to him about how much better he can get with improved coaching/teammates. He is viewed to have more potential than other shooting guards ranked below him because he has the best combination of shooting ability and athleticism.

Thats the basis of the hype around him. A more likely scenario for Caldwell-Pope is him turning into a guy like Nick Young. Someone who lacks a high basketball IQ and takes a lot of ill-advised jumpers. These kind of guys are very one dimensional and only add scoring, but don't even always do so in an efficient matter.

The more I look at these shooting guard prospects, the more I am convinced that Allen Crabbe is a better pick than Caldwell-Pope. Crabbe isn't as easy of a sell as a lottery pick, but he is the better overall player. And if you can get Crabbe 20th versus Caldwell-Pope in the lottery, you are getting a LOT better value.

To read my previous scouting report on Caldwell-Pope from last summer, click here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Examining The Power Forward Class (Sans Anthony Bennett and Cody Zeller)

In today's NBA, the power forward role has grown to be the most diverse position in the NBA. There are still some throwback post up guys, but there are plenty of more athletic combo forwards flying up and down in transition. You also have the energy guys, the big bodied rebounders, the stretch forwards, defensive specialist, and guys that contribute a little from each of the group. Because of the wide variety of power forwards, it can be hard to rank them. Different teams prefer different things based on style of play, need, and if they are ready to win right away.

In my opinion, ranking these players may not be the best way to do things. I feel it will be easier to divide them in groups and break them down that way and allowing the reader to decide which power forward would fit best for their teams needs.

At the top, there are two clear lottery talents that definitely lead the way in Anthony Bennett and Cody Zeller. I've covered both extensively already and feel that the gap between Bennett and Zeller is a lot smaller than what it is perceived by others. Kelly Olynyk is also in this group, although he isn't a lock for the lottery like Bennett and Zeller are. He could go there, but his floor certainly looks like the mid to late first round. Either way, Id like to use this platform to talk about the other power forwards in this draft who don't have much first round buzz.

*Names in italics represent a player having at least a 50/50 shot at getting drafted.*

The Bruisers

Richard Howell 
Trevor Mbakwe 
Jack Cooley
Reginald Buckner

These are the type of guys who use their physical strength to their advantage. They aren't the most skilled players, but they rebound the ball with great efficiency. There has been a history of these guys getting undervalued, but the league is steering away from the more with the evolution of the more perimeter oriented forwards. There are plenty of these guys spread throughout Europe and the D-League. Without much of an upside, it begs the question if they are even worth a second round pick given that you can pick up a more experienced one on the market somewhere. These are guys like Darnell Jackson, Josh Powell, Jeff Adrien, DJ White, Rick Jackson, and Richard Hendrix.

In my personal opinion, Richard Howell is the best of the bruisers this year. His biggest competition is Trevor Mbakwe, but Howell didn't disappear from games and his motor never stopped running. Thats what you look for in a bruiser. Howell is younger, more durable, more skilled, and doesn't have the character concerns Mbakwe has. Mbakwe though, is the bigger physical presence and has shown he can be a terror to stop at times.

The Stretch Fours

Erik Murphy
Ryan Kelly
Kenny Kadji
Grant Jerrett
Brock Motum
Christian Watford

The stretch four has came along as teams have looked to spread the court more. These guys are asked to knock down shots from behind the arc consistently, but help out in other areas enough so they are a liability. Certain teams use them more than others and good defensive systems help hide their weaknesses. They also generally need to play next to a rim protector and/or big time rebounder. Like with the bruisers, there are guys in the D-League and overseas that can perhaps do the job just as good if not better, while possessing more experience. These are guys like Maarty Leunen, Justin Harper, Rob Kurz, and Craig Brackins.

Of the guys on the list, I give Murphy the edge over Ryan Kelly because he's a better rebound and more of a fluid athlete. I also think you can make a very good argument that Murphy is the best shooter of the group as well. Along with those two, Grant Jerrett could be worth a draft pick although he is a couple of years away. Why waste a pick on a regular old stretch forward who can't contribute right away when you can sign a guy like Harper or Brackins for the minimum contract out of the D-League? Its a question to ponder when selecting in the second round.

*I covered Deshaun Thomas and Robert Covington with the small forward group, but both could also spend some time playing stretch forward in the league.

The Raw Athlete

CJ Leslie (Lacks BBIQ, strength, motor/consistency)
Tony Mitchell (Lacks motor, subpar production vs low-majors)
Amath M'Baye (Lacks skillset, position)
Norvel Pelle (Lacks skillset, experience, strength, BBIQ)
Deshawn Painter (Nondescript PF, lacks production for mid-major, strength, post game)

These are guys that possess the NBA level length and athleticism to make scouts drool, but for one reason or another, just aren't as good of players as their athleticism suggests. Whether it is energy, IQ, strength, offensive skills, or position - there is something missing that keeps these guys from being a lottery pick. Lots of teams draft these guys looking for a defensive stopper, but not all of them have that mentality to own that role. The intrigue of these guys comes from the perceived upside. Among the plethora of guys that fit this mold that are currently without a NBA contract are: Shawn James, Willie Reed, Stephane Lasme, and Chris Wright (Dayton).

Of these guys, Tony Mitchell has the best chance to make an impact in the NBA. He played in a bad situation that arguably effected his performance and could turn it on in the right situation in the NBA. He's a better gamble than CJ Leslie who has proved time and time again that he doesn't have the energy or IQ to be effective at the next level. Mitchell has more potential defensively than any other power forward in this draft.

The Skilled Big (Back to the Basket)

Brandon Davies
Jackie Carmichael

This is kind of your throw back power forward, the type that actually showed off a post game in college basketball. These aren't guys who are just bangers inside or undersized forwards, these guys have solid size and a legitimate post game to go to. In today's NBA, their games don't directly translate unless they are dominant with their back to the basket, but their skillset can be valuable on the right team. These guys usually come from college teams that featured them on offense and have a good feel for the game. Guys like Lawrence Roberts, Draymond Green, and Ryan Gomes all were this type of player in college.

For these guys to succeed at the next level, they have to be able to transform to bigger threats facing up. Guys like Gomes and Green have been able to translate their saavyness in the post to other parts of their games. Brandon Davies has already shown the same ability at Portsmouth and Carmichael also has shown the ability to pick and pop.

Undersized Energy Guys

Andre Roberson
Arsalan Kazemi
Ed Daniel
DJ Stephens
Taylor Smith
Elias Harris

There is some overlap with the bruisers in the sense that they earn their money through rebounding, energy, and defense. The difference is these guys are usually shorter and less bulky, while possessing more versatility on the defensive end. They can get up and down the court, move very well laterally on defense, and rebound the ball. These guys also generally lack much offensive skill at all, generating most of their offense off fastbreaks, cuts, and offensive rebounders. These are guys like Quincy Acy, Taylor Griffin, Demarre Carroll, and plenty more.

Andre Roberson and Arsalan Kazemi have the best chance at getting drafted as they have been two of the best rebounders in college basketball this season. They also both have experience playing the small forward spot. While neither have shown the offensive skills to play SF, they both have shown the versatility to make you believe they can cover both forward spots on defense.

Faceup PFs

Mike Muscala
Kelly Olynyk
Romero Osby
Laurence Bowers
Keith Clanton
Mouphtaou Yarou
Dante Taylor
Jared Berggren

This is a group with more diversity than others as you have some guys on the list that are closer to combo forwards while the top guys have legit big man size. Some of these guys are considered faceup fours because they don't have the range to be a stretch forward or any other noticeable attribute to fit any of the other categories. For most of these guys, they are pretty nondescript as players with the thought of playing in the NBA as a long shot. There are countless amounts of these types that have flirted with being drafted.

For guys like Muscala and Olynyk however, they are on this list because along with shooting from the outside, they can also take defenders off the dribble or work in the most. Unlike the other ones who aren't stretch forwards because they lack range, these two aren't stretch forwards because they can offer teams more than simply shooting from beyond the arc. And since the faceup PF is the most common among all the PFs in today's NBA, Muscala and Olynyk both already have their role carved out for them. Their transition to the NBA is a lot easier to see than a lot of guys in other groups, which is why both of them could potentially go in the first round.

Summary:

Overall, none of these guys look like potential stars and few will end up as starters. But there is value in each of the draftable players that a coach can make use of if he understands what they bring to the table. In today's game, a starting power forward is generally a guy that you can put in multiple categories from above. Whether it is a bruising power forward that plays with a relentless amount of energy (Faried, Millsap), a skilled big with a faceup game (David West), a bruising rebounder who can stretch the floor (Kevin Love), an athlete with tenacious energy (Kevin Garnett, Josh Smith), a skilled big with a bruising body (Al Jefferson), or an athletic forward with a faceup game (Thaddeous Young). Lots of these guys could be thrown into even more of the categories and that is what makes them special players.

In this draft (excluding Zeller and Bennett), maybe there are some players that are able to bring multiple things to the table and become starters. Muscala and Olynyk could both develop into even better shooters and become even more deadly with added NBA 3-pt range. Tony Mitchell could be a Josh Smith-type if he adds the necessary energy to his game. Richard Howell already is a bruiser with a relentless motor, but does he do anything else at a NBA level? Jackie Carmichael is certainly a skilled post player and could evolve to a nice do-it-all type of player ala David West? These are the guys that have the potential to break out be at least key rotational guys, if not good starters.

Scouting Report: Allen Crabbe

Allen Crabbe always been a shooter dating back to his high school days. Throughout the years, Crabbe has slowly but surely became a more complete player to the point where he is now one of the most well-rounded offensive players in this years draft.

Crabbe showed his improved all-around offensive game more and more as the season went along. When Pac-12 defenses tried to chase him off the 3-pt line, he finally had an answer this season. He ended up shooting only 33.6% from deep in conference play but still scored over 17 points per game. Between being asked to play 35 minutes per game in conference play and all the attention he received, Crabbe may have not had his legs under him for his jumpers. That didn't stop him and his team from getting hot at the end of the season to advance to the NCAA tournament for the second straight year. He found other ways to score and get his teammates involved.

The Golden Bears took after their star player and won games based on their offensive play, not their defense. Even though Mike Montgomery was at the helm, he struggled to get his team to play effective defense and Cal ended up having to play a lot of zone. Getting Crabbe to buy in on the defensive end as always been a question mark and given that respected former NBA coach Mike Montgomery couldn't get him to buy in 100%, it still remains one of his biggest question marks.

Crabbe is certainly an offensive minded player and he sees his scoring being the biggest asset he can bring to a team. There are concerns with his mental toughness. He shows bad body language on the court at times, avoids physical play, and gets noticeably frustrated when things don't go his way. This was evident all season long - up until the last game of the season where Crabbe made some mental errors and proceeded to take it out on the referees. There is also the shoving incident that occurred when he and Coach Montgomery got into an argument on the sideline. Another concern may be the laidback vibe he gives off - the Cali vibe. Scouts will wonder just how much he is willing to compete.

These are the red flags with Crabbe. He may never reach his potential defensively and it will be interesting how he handles the inevitable struggles in the NBA.

However, there are plenty of things to like about Crabbe to get teams considering taking him as high as the late lottery.

His offensive game is excellent and he continues to show improvement each year. This shows that Crabbe is indeed willing to work and he does seem to have a chip on his shoulder to prove doubters wrong.

He started as just a shooter and that remains his biggest strength and what his game centers around. Even though he struggled to shoot the ball in conference play, his shooting at the next level is of little concern. He gets his feet set extremely quick, has unlimited range, and is able to get room for his shot. He's a dynamic shooter who can stay hot for an entire game.

With all the attention he has drawn for his shooting, Crabbe has been able to work on the rest of his game. Even though he slumped a bit shooting towards the end of the year, his confidence in the rest of his game seemed to be at an all time high. He was fine with teams playing him hard at the 3-pt line and took what they would give him. He didn't hesitate to drive the lane.

As a driver, Crabbe isn't a guy that will cross you up and drive past you all the way to the rim in an isolation situation. Much of his game revolves around screens and he uses them very well. He glides around screens with long strides and moves without the ball nonstop. At Cal, they ran a lot of down screens for him which he used effectively to score in the mid-range area. He curled around those screens near the baseline heading towards the foul line and showed off great touch with his floater.

He is very sleek and quick in these situations and the floater is deadly. He can hit the floater with either hand and off one or two feet. He can also stop and pop for a short mid-range jumper. He had a large amount of his offensive come in this area - 43% according to hoop-math.com - and hit a very good 45% of his shots in this area. His mid-range game is something to take note of.

Back to Crabbe as a driver. As I said, he's not the kind of guy who will break you down off the dribble. He does, however, use hesitations and ball fakes well. He also has a quick, long first step and is able to rip through the defender. More often though, Crabbe has a running start coming off an off ball screen when he receives the ball and can turn the corner into the lane that way.

Crabbe prefers to avoid physical contact inside and thats why he often passes the ball or chooses to attempt a floater in the lane. He also isn't super explosive off of one foot or strong with the ball at the rim. He needs to do a better job at staying more compact if he wants to step up his game at the rim in the NBA.

Due to his lack of finishing at the rim though, Crabbe has become an excellent passer. Instead of trying to finish for himself, he does a great job at finding teammates with wrap around passes around the rim or with other types of passes. He's a creative passer and gets a lot of zip on the ball. He seems the court well and does a nice job keeping his head up.

He's especially dangerous coming off of screens because he can handle the ball well with either hand. He isn't ultra crafty with the ball but with his first step and mid-range game, he generally just needs two dribbles to get to his spot on the floor. He is also able to handle it in the open court with either hand and does a nice job pushing the ball after a rebound. He has great top end speed and loves to get out and run.

Crabbe started the break a good amount at Cal because he was a great rebounder for a shooting guard. Crabbe is a lot better jumping off of two feet than one and could be one of the best rebounding 2 guards in the league. He would have gotten even more boards at Cal if he was willing to battle inside and get physical, but he generally relied on strictly his athleticism on the glass - which is very impressive.

Crabbe also has a great frame with wide shoulders that he has slowly began to fill out. You can notice the changes in his body from the beginning of the year up until he was last seen at the Chicago combine. He has the kind of frame that can put on weight, although its very questionable if he will ever use his frame the way he should. Crabbe also has outstanding length with a wingspan at 6'11.5. Those arms should allow him to continue to have a very effective floater game in the NBA and also be a very good defender if he ever chose to dial it in.

Even though I'm not counting on him to ever reach his defensive potential, I still see Crabbe as arguably the best shooting guard prospect after Victor Oladipo and Ben McLemore. The race is between him and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and while Caldwell-Pope may have more potential, Crabbe is the better player right now. Both are two of the most talented scorers in the draft, but Crabbe is so much better when it comes to moving without the basketball. Crabbe also has a better overall skillset.

Still, the questions remain about his mental game and could prevent him from being the third shooting guard off the board. He reminds me some of Klay Thompson, who also had red flags because of his laidback attitude and a marijuana charge. They both are great shooters with a very good feel for the game who improved their ball skills before entering the draft. Klay might have the edge as a shooter and in terms of creating his own shot, but Crabbe appears to have the edge in terms of his physical profile. I'd also argue that Crabbe is a better ball handler than Klay when he left Washington State.

It will be interesting to see where Allen Crabbe ends up on draft night because he is one of those guys who could end up sneaking into the lottery or find himself slipping near the second round. In this draft, I think it will be a mistake to let him slip past 20. 

The Case for Otto Porter

Otto Porter took the road less traveled to Georgetown, by choosing not to participate in AAU basketball during the summers. Instead, Porter played pickup games with his uncles and dad. He got tougher and learned how to play the game against grown men. Porter didn't spend his summer traveling and competing for a higher spot on recruiting rankings - he spent it honing his skills in his small town in Missouri.

He still got noticed by plenty of colleges and chose to play in the nation's capital for the Hoyas. He went to a school that emphasizes team play, passing, and versatility. It proved to be a perfect fit for his style. He's established a reputation as one of the safest draft picks in his class and an upper end role player. But is that all he can be? Most seem to cut off his potential at just being a good starter in the league - the next Tayshaun Prince has been a popular comparison.

Personally, I think Porter's potential is being overlooked. A lot of it has to do with his prep and college situations. He never played in a open system that has allowed him to showcase his skills. Thats what AAU or less structured offenses like Georgetown are for. Georgetown is famous for its slowed down tempo and team play - and has done a good job of hiding talented players in the past. Georgetown was a good fit for Porter in terms of style, but it did hide his potential.

The system at Georgetown did the same with Greg Monroe and even Roy Hibbert in the past. Coming out, they were viewed as solid pros that lacked aggressiveness and athleticism. It proved to be more of a system thing as both have greatly overachieved their draft stock since entering the NBA. Right now, Otto Porter is dealing with the same questions as they were coming out. With Monroe, scouts were able to come around to him having more potential than shown at Georgetown because they were able to look back into his AAU career. With Hibbert, they didn't have that same luxury because he was extremely raw coming out of high school. And for Porter, he didn't even play AAU.

Like Greg Monroe, Otto Porter also lost in the round of 64 in the NCAA tournament. Did that have any implications on Monroe's career? No, because Georgetown's offense isn't an offense that allows you to take over and dominate a game through scoring. Its why they consistently struggle in the NCAA tournament and it has nothing to do with the players - moreso the system.

If you go back and look at game film, there are very little holes in Porter's game - if any. And most will admit that he has a very good mid-range game, is an excellent passer, handles the ball well, and can finish at the rim.

The one major knock on his skillset is his ability to shoot 3-pters. But I already made a case why I dont believe that is legitimate previously:

A lot of people think Otto Porter's shooting is a fluke because only shot 22% from 3-pt range his freshman season. While that is reasonable, people are missing how great Porter was shooting mid-range jumpers his first season. Porter didn't play AAU and the 3-pt ball wasn't stressed to him as much as most kids. Instead, shooting mechanics were a priority and his are very consistent. According to hoop-math.com, Porter shot an outstanding 51% on 2-pt jumpers last season. This season he worked to extend his range back a few feet which resulted him him taking twice as many threes while making 42.2% of them. Porter will have to adjust even farther to the NBA line, but make no mistake that he can shoot the ball. His situation from year one to two is a lot like a young power hitter who didn't hit a lot of homers his first season, but had a lot of doubles. You know the power is there, it was just shown in a different way.
So even with all the questions answered about his skillset, there are still questions about his potential. No, he isn't an elite athlete but he has skills that elite athletes will never be able to obtain. He has a feel for the game that isn't common. And he has plenty of size and length to make up for his "average" athleticism.

I don't even think Porter is that bad of an athlete. He's not a one on one player who will over dribble and attempt to beat you with his quickness. But thats not always a good thing either. Porter beats you in ways you want your players to beat you. He thinks the game. He lets the game come to him and doesn't need the ball to be effective. At the same time, there is nothing in his skillset that says he can't take over a game. He did it at Georgetown against Syracuse through his passing, but he will have freedom to be a more aggressive scorer in the NBA.

Porter may not cross guys up and create his own shots from a traditional perspective, but he had no problem getting to spots and taking guys off the dribble in college. Porter can drive with either hand and understands angles extremely well. He is able to attack the defense through drives like a point guard - he doesn't necessarily get to the rim, but knows how to draw defenses and change speeds. He doesn't force anything with the ball in his hands. And he's a great passer who can drive and kick and make skip and lead passes. His unselfishness is one of his best traits and was magnified by Georgetown's Princeton offense.

But again, don't let that make you believe he can't be a good scorer. Don't make the same mistake scouts made with previous Georgetown players. I'm still looking for a reason why he won't be able to score in the NBA and can't find one.

He's certainly creative and crafty enough to score. Its no secret that Porter is crafty, but imagine him in an offense that allows him to show that. Porter can do many things with the ball, changes directions way too well for a man of his size, and really showed off this ability in transition. You want to see what Porter is capable of? Watch him at Georgetown in transition plays. He had a knack for getting fouled, finding a teammate on the run with a lead pass, crossing someone on the move, or making an acrobatic finish. His body control in these situations is amazing.

With his body control, Porter is able to be a good finisher. No, he isn't the next LeBron James or even Paul George when it comes to finishing at the rim. You won't see him throwing down many powerful dunks at the next level. But he has very good touch and finishes well with either hand. He is also very underrated when it comes to toughness and strength. He has a frame that could stand to add weight, but he is one of the toughest players in the draft. He loves playing inside and boxes out/crashes the offensive glass at all opportunities.

The best part of his offensive game is his mid-range game, something he showed quite often at Georgetown. He ate up the Syracuse zone twice by working the high post area. The mid-range game in college basketball is a dying breed, but Porter still managed to make it effective. Thats a testament to how good his mid-range game is. In the NBA, the mid-range game is so much more important and its scary to think what Porter could do with the much space to dissect a defense. His mid-range game is worlds ahead of most small forwards at this stage.

He is nearly impossible to cover in the mid-range area because he can beat you in multiple ways. The first is with his passing. He was the director of the offense at Georgetown and understands the game so well. He has outstanding vision in the high post, utilizes bounce passes, and can see over the defense. Finding a cutting teammate is always his first thought when getting the ball in the lane.

Porter also is a very polished jump shooter in the high post though. He has a turnaround jumper in the post, a faceup fadeaway jump shot, and a pullup jumper off the dribble. His release is quick and high. He gets his shoulders squared to the basket and gets good elevation through leg power. With his size, his shot is very hard to contest and he makes a very high percentage of these shots. Its why I trust that he can continue to shoot well from beyond the arc as well.

Porter is extremely versatile on the offensive end and understands mismatches for not only himself, but for his teammates as well. In the NBA game, his ability to see and take advantage of these mismatches will be even more valuable.

His ability to play without the ball in his hand will be valuable as well. He can play alongside a poor handling backcourt because he is such a good ball handler and passer for a 3, but he can also play next to ball dominant guys because he does a lot of his work off the ball. He will never be an isolation guy.

Porter works so hard off the ball, he usually gets to the foul line at least once a game simply because he was fouled without the ball in his hands. Whether a defender is trying to battled him in the post, keep him off the boards, or contain him on a screen Porter keeps his defender working. He knows how to come off screens, find soft spots in the defense (again, see Syracuse regular season games), cut to the rim, run the give and go, and get the ball off the rim.

Just because the most comparable player in terms of style may be Tayshaun Prince, it doesn't mean that is where Porter's upside ends. He is more advanced than Prince at this age and has a better frame. There really isnt a player better than Prince that you can compare to Porter in terms of style, but Porter has a clear advantage from a talent and upside perspective. If you compare Porter's sophomore year numbers to Prince in his senior year, Porter has the advantage (make sure you use pace adjusted numbers due to Georgetown's slow pace).

In my opinion, Porter will safely be a top 10 SF in the league. He won't surpass the top guys like LeBron, Melo, KD, Paul George, and say Andrew Wiggins but he will be right behind them. He doesn't have the ability to dominate like any of those guys, but he can help a team win more than any other small forward in the league other than that group.

Thats just him on offense. From a defense perspective, Otto Porter should be very good as well - if not better. The biggest knock on him as a defender is he lacks top notch lateral quickness to stay in front of quicker small forwards. But what he lacks in lateral quickness, he makes up for with his length and anticipation skills. I dont think we will have to worry about him being consistently beat off the dribble by many players, but for those ones that do - Porter does a great job funneling them into the teeth of the defense.

Defense these days is mainly about versatility and Porter should be able to switch on a lot of screens to cover bigger forwards and even some guards. He does a good job keeping his balance against quicker guys and recovering to contest shots. He communicates on defense, knows when it is appropriate to switch or gamble, and provides excellent help defense. He has a very high basketball IQ and it really shows on both ends of the court. Porter also rebounders very well. He boxes out and doesn't hesitate going into a crowd with stronger players.

Otto Porter has as much of a chance to be an all-star at the next level than anyone else in this draft and should be in consideration for the #1 pick. Cleveland was a big fan of Porter when they were projected to pick third in the draft, but things do change a bit at the #1 spot. Noel has to be considered heavily, but if they choose to be weary of his injuries, Porter should be the only other guy they consider. He is a perfect fit next to Kyrie Irving. If he slips past Cleveland, the Wizards will be in prime position to get him at #3 but could look to choose Anthony Bennett over him. If they do, that means Porter could slip to #5 or even farther which would make him a huge steal in this draft. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Scouting Report: Richard Howell

Richard Howell led a solid North Carolina State recruiting class in 2009, a class that also brought in sharpshooter Scott Wood. Howell and Wood helped lay the foundation for a North Carolina State team that enjoyed a rise into the top half of the ACC during his 4 year tenure. After Howell and Wood came in, the Wolfpack brought in an even talented class with more star potential, with the likes of Lorenzo Brown and CJ Leslie joining the team in 2010. The addition of a couple of potential stars allowed Richard Howell to settle into a role as the garbage man, a role that he has crafted into an artform over the years.

"Do what you do the best that you can do it". Thats what Howell has done and it has enabled him to have a good shot at getting drafted this year. Often times Howell was one of the least talented players on the court for the Wolfpack, but found a way to be the most valuable. On a team with plenty of offensive talent, Howell ended up being their second leading scorer this year despite not having any plays ran for him. He was also their best rebounder (all four years), highly efficient, and was actually their leading scorer at one point in the season. Because of how physical and tough he plays, Howell got a little banged up as the season went on and a knee injury slowed him down in the final month of play.

Even though North Carolina State had a disappointing season - they entered the year ranked 6th in preseason polls but ended up losing in the Round of 64 - Howell was the one guy on the team who never disappointed and raised his draft stock through his play this season. He was the one guy whose energy was never questioned as well as the most consistent decision maker.

Playing for a talented North Carolina State team might have been the best thing for him to prepare him for the next level. The role he played at North Carolina State will be very similar to what he will do in the NBA. That is rebound, finish inside, and bring energy and toughness. Howell has plenty of experience playing without the ball in his hands and knows how to impact that game without getting touches. He worked for the ball by attacking the offensive glass. The things he was asked to do - he did them just about as well as anyone could. He excelled in a role and that is very appealing to NBA coaches. All coaches need a lunch pail type guy.

Offensively as a I mentioned, he does his best work on the offensive glass. You have got to make sure you put a body on him because he will be running to the rim every time a shot goes up. He's physical and a solid athlete for his size. He's quicker off his feet than he looks and also moves pretty well. He has good body control in the air and excellent touch and hands on putbacks at the rim.

Often times, Richard Howell will snatch an offensive rebound powerfully in the air and put the ball on the floor with one power dribble to gather himself. He's not necessarily a guy who will just rebound the ball and rise above everyone and dunk on them. He doesn't have that kind of vertical, size, or length. He's quick off the ground, but isnt a high/above the rim leaper.

Constantly bringing the ball down in the NBA may not be as easy as it was in college. But he does do a good job of using his body to create space - more space than even his size would suggest - and seeking out contact. He finishes well for a below the rim player, but will struggle against NBA athletes at the rim.

Howell even has trouble finishing over college players at times, but when he does miss, there is nobody better at chasing down his own shot. He is relentless and knows where to be to get the ball. He attacks the ball and is constantly moving which other college players really struggle with. If Howell doesnt make his first attempt, there is a good shot he will get the ball back and have another opportunity. Thats the level of his motor. It also shows that he is fairly quick off of his feet and can rebound outside of his territory.

From a skilled perspective, Howell isn't necessarily that bad. No, you won't see Howell getting many - if any - touches with his back to the basket. He has good footwork and a nice spin move, but he is better facing up. With his back to the basket, he hasn't shown a hook shot or turnaround jumper to consistently score the ball.

But as a face up player, Howell is pretty good from the high post. He's a turn and face guy when he gets it with his back to the basket. Part of the reason for his decent skill level with the ball may date back to his high school days when he was viewed as a tweener forward. There was talk that he was perhaps too small to play inside. He developed decent handles and has a pretty good first step to the rim.

His handles have improved throughout his college career and has helped him improve his field goal percentage in the process. He is able to now be more aggressive getting to the rim when he gets the ball in the high post. Howell doesn't like to settle for jumpshots anymore and is constantly looking for the highest percentage shot. He is right hand dominant, but is able to spin off the dribble to get defenders off his back. Its very hard to stay in front of a good spin move. He has a strong power dribble and likes to steady himself with a big jumpstop once he gets near the rim. His off the dribble game won't be featured in the NBA, but he does have some skills in this area.

He has enough skills where he should be able to play in the high post area. In addition to his handles, he also has good vision as a passer and a solid jumpshot. If he is able to his from 15 feet consistently - which is possible - he could have a career as a Udonis Haslem type.

Howell also has a good feel of sneaking around in open space to get easy buckets. He also rim runs in transition and gets down the court well for a big, bulky guy. North Carolina State wasn't pick and roll heavy, but Howell looked like a solid option as a pick and pop threat. He also did a good job coming off screens and rolling towards the basket. The jumpstop he has is really valuable to help him gather himself - something that Howell has a habit of doing. Between the jumpstop or one dribble, it seems Howell feels the need to get his legs underneath him before going up for a shot at the rim.

Howell is a high IQ player on the offensive end and most importantly, unselfish and willing to do the dirty work. His IQ carries over on the defensive end too. He is a saavy defender who is able to beat drivers to their spots on the court. He's a guy without a ton of lateral quickness, but is smart enough to get in good position to draw a lot of charges. He is certainly not afraid to give up his body. Howell may struggle against quicker PFs, but did average a steal per game in college. He will be able to hold his own in post defense, although his 8'9.9'' standing reach will make it easy to shoot over him. Howell also isn't a shot blocking threat.

Howell will make his worth on defense as a team defender. He does a very good job covering the pick and roll and recovering to his man. He also can get out and contest the guard if he decides to shoot. Drawing charges and controlling the defensive boards will help him carve out a role as a junkyard dog type guy. Something he is more than OK with doing.

He is the 6th best rebounder in my top 100, trailing only Mike Muscala, Trevor Mbakwe, Jack Cooley, Colton Iverson, and Andre Roberson. Considering Muscala and Iverson are both small school guys, Mbakwe is already 24, and Roberson is more of a combo forward - Howell's numbers look even better.

Overall, Howell isn't a guy who is very flashy or exciting. He doesn't have the same allure to teammates CJ Leslie or Lorenzo Brown who are also in the draft. All of them look like second rounders right now, but Leslie and Brown both could work their way into the first round. For Howell, he just isn't sexy as a first round pick. However, there is reason to believe that Howell will end up being the best North Carolina State player out of this draft. He was arguably their most valuable player this year and showed more improvement year to year than either of the other two. So while everyone may get caught up in the potential of Leslie and Brown, it seems as if Howell is doing a better job of improving himself as a player. Howell is the only one who has already shown that he can play a role in the NBA and excels as a rebounder - the most easily translatable stat from college to the pros. He will be a guy any NBA coach will be happy to have on their team and should most definitely get drafted in the second round.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Scouting Report: Erik Murphy

Coming out of high school, Erick Murphy was a consensus top 50 recruit. He decided to come to Florida where he spent his first two seasons behind Alex Tyus, Vernon Macklin, Chandler Parsons, and Patric Young but his patience paid off. Unlike many players you see today, Murphy didn't transfer when he saw he wouldn't be able to see consistent playing time. He decided to stick it out, build up his strength, and then he was able to play a big role for the Gators in his final two years. 

It was a good choice for his draft stock as well. Florida's offense has produced many pros like Murphy - skilled offensive players who really have a good feel for the game. Florida runs a very pro-style system with lots of movement and spacing, complete with pick and pop scenarios and an inside-out attack. As a stretch forward, Murphy thrived in the offense.

The best part of Murphy's game and obviously his calling card in the NBA will be his ability to stretch the floor. Murphy has a pure stroke from deep and hit 45.3% of his 3-pt attempts in conference play this season. He's very much a pure shooter, but can continue to work to speed up his release. He had games where he simply was unable to miss. He hit 5 3-pters in a game twice and in addition, had a perfect 10-10 field goal night against Wisconsin, many of them coming on jumpers. Along with shooting above 40% from deep each of his three seasons, Murphy also shot above 75% at the free throw line as well.

In Florida's system, Murphy was able to get plenty of good looks from deep. Their offense does a great job of preparing guys for the pros, forcing players to make reads and react. Its a system with a lot of freedom and spacing, running very much like a NBA offense. Its helped plenty of former Gators transition into the NBA as offensive guys. Brad Beal, Matt Bonner, David Lee, Mike Miller, Al Horford, Chandler Parsons, Udonis Haslem, and other prominent names have been able to come in right away and find a fit on offense. There are plenty of shooters and offensively skilled guys that come out of college each year, but Billy Donovan's guys usually come out of school with an edge over most that carries over to the next level. He's seen a lot of his players overachieve for their draft position.

With Patric Young occupying space down low, Murphy was able to play the stretch forward role he will be asked to play in the NBA. Playing alongside three guards who could also shoot, Florida's offense was extremely dangerous and shared the ball well. Murphy was perhaps the most valuable and versatile part of the attack. Murphy forced big men to come out and play them. If they didn't, he would hit the trail 3 with ease. If they did, Murphy could take them off the dribble.

Murphy isn't very quick off the bounce, but he is a good ball handler and uses his body well. His strength and willingness to play physical is an underrated part of his game that helped him get to where he needed to be with the ball in his hands. He has good balance on his drives and is always under control. Murphy doesn't always seek to get all the way to the rim, but if he can just get to the foul line, he usually finds a way to get up a good shot.

A lot of times, that good shot is a hook shot. And almost always, its with his right hand. Murphy has very good footwork and if he gets to the free throw line, he can post up and create a scoring opportunity. He has counter moves in the post and can fake either way multiple times, but his moves are always intended to finish a shot going over his left shoulder. 

While he has propensity to go right, I think Murphy has more of an ability to go to his left than he has shown. Around the basket, he uses his left hand to finish without a problem. His combination of footwork, touch, ability to use both hands, and added strength has made him a very good finisher at the rim in college. 

In the pros, Murphy doesn't have the length or athleticism to finish consistently inside, but its good to see he has other ways to finish. He's not very quick off the floor and lacks foot speed. His wingspan is short at only 6'10.5, but he has a surprisingly high standing reach at 9 feet. With that kind of physical profile, you can't expect Murphy to be anywhere close to effective at the rim as he was in college.

His little right handed hook also won't be as good. In college, Murphy seeked out contact whenhe shot it by going into defenders bodies. It wasn't as graceful of a hook shot as you'd expect from a guy like Murphy. It was more of his only way to get to the foul line. Murphy never was able to get to the line on straight drives from the perimeter or closer in - the fouls he drew were more of the more physical variety.

Despite improved physical play, Murphy will never be one of those tough rebounders down low who can get easy baskets. His toughness shows that he can play and rebound in the NBA - perhaps better than other stretch four candidates like Ryan Kelly and Grant Jerrett, but nothing more.

Luckily for Murphy, his jump shots are often just as good as layups. And he has the makings of a finesse mid-range game as well, complete with a very smooth turnaround jumper. He knows how to square up, use jab steps, and get the defender to pause just long enough to get the shot off. He also is a good passer, especially from the perimeter where he sees the court very well. He makes quick decisions, keeps the ball moving, and does a good job moving without the ball after he passes it. Being a good passer as a stretch 4 is important because you will be expected to pass from the perimeter like a guard a lot and it also helps free yourself up.

Murphy was a mismatch nightmare in college - able to post up smaller defenders and able to take bigger guys off the dribble. In the NBA, he will still be able to provide mismatch problems to a degree. More importantly, he will be able to spread the floor and consistently hit jumpers. He will fare very well as a pick and pop threat and a guy who fits trail threes. 

Defensively, Murphy will be lucky to be average at best due to his lack of lateral quickness and overall athleticism. He will struggle to stay in front of quicker guys, doesn't have the length to contest shots, and will still be weaker than the scoring post players in the league. Murphy is a decent rebound and displays a very good set of hands.

Overall, Murphy looks like the best stretch forward prospect in the second round. He has competition from Ryan Kelly, Grant Jerrett, Kenny Kadji, and other guys likely to go undrafted, but Murphy seems like the most well-rounded and ready to contribute of the group. I also think he is the best shooter of the group - which is perhaps the most important thing. The Florida pedigree won't hurt his draft stock either. Look for him to go somewhere in the second round and potentially have a Matt Bonner-type career in the right situation. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Scouting Report: Brandon Davies

At one point in time, Brandon Davies was more known for being Jimmer Fredette's teammate and his violation of BYU's honor code. Playing alongside Jimmer, Davies was an afterthought in scouts minds watching BYU games at the time, but has slowly maneuvered himself into potentially being selected in the 2013 NBA Draft. He's done so through improvement and an increased role - a role that features him as a rare playmaker and go to guy in the post. If a team is looking for the next Draymond Green in this draft, he's the closest thing to him you will find in terms of style of play. He possesses a true post game, toughness, craftiness, high IQ, good footwork, and a strong passing ability.

Since the season has ended, Davies has seen his stock increase with good showings at both Portsmouth and Chicago. He was the MVP of the event in Portsmouth. The previous two MVPs, Jimmy Butler and Kyle O'Quinn both went on to be drafted. At Chicago, he helped himself by showing more of a faceup game and measuring with legitimate power forward size.

Showing well at these events has been big for Davies because his role is certain to change in the NBA. Its unlikely that Davies will ever be featured as a go to player offensively in the post, so he will have to show that his game can transition to more of a face up threat. He will be used more in pick and roll/pop situations and showing that he can knock down the mid-range jumper consistently will be key. Neither are things that he got to do much of at BYU, although he did fare well shooting jumpers from 15 feet. Davies was even able to hit 5 of 14 college 3-pt attempts this year.

Even though he will need to play a different style in the NBA, Davies post game is far from worthless. For one, seeing him in a featured role has also forced him to become a decision maker. In that aspect, Davies has done a great job making decisions from the post.

Davies also shows plenty of patience in the post and handled the double teams he routinely saw with relative ease. He's an excellent passer from the high post and its not him just simply kicking it out to the open man. He founded cutters consistently, adjusted shots in midair to instead pass to a teammate, and developed all sorts of crafty ways to deliver the ball to teammates.

Davies ability to work hard off the ball is also evident through his post game. He constantly worked for deep position inside and sealed off his defender uses that solid base of his. He seeks out contact and is always looking to put his body on someone. His teammates did a great job rewarding him for his hard work by the way of post entry passes. Unlike most teams nowadays, Davies was able to kick the ball back out of the post, reestablish better position, and be confident that he would get the ball back. He is a natural with his back to the basket and really thrived as the focal point of an inside-outside attack.

In terms of post moves, Davies has them too. He uses his pivot foot as well as anyone and his footwork overall is excellent. He's shown off a little "dream shake", numerous up and under moves, a quick face up move off the bounce, and plenty of other moves. When it comes to having a bag of tricks to go to, Brandon Davies is your man in this draft. He definitely has an old school post game.

He does tend to be overly predictable. While he has plenty of flare, he almost always ends up going over his left shoulder. In college, players are more prone to flail at all the style and fall into Davies' trap. In the NBA, the scouting report will eventually catch up to him to the point where he will need to establish more moves going over his right shoulder. He has shown that he can hit shots with his left hand, he just needs to get more comfortable making moves towards that side of the basket.

Another one of Davies moves is a big time pump fake, one that will draw comparisons to Sam Young's back at Pitt. Once again though, it will be far less effective in the NBA due to scouting reports and smarter players. He does his pump fake with only one hand and it should be obvious that he isn't going to shoot out of that position. Its just a reaction thing, but NBA players will know to look for it and be more disciplined on not biting on it.

Still, that is just one of Davies' crafty moves and its a good example of just how creative he is. Its a big part of his game and some of it certainly will translate and help him in the NBA. With all his hesitation moves, he will be able to at least keep shotblockers at bay. Thats big for Davies because he isnt the most explosive player around the rim. With his strength and moves though, he was able to convert 76% of his shots at the rim - a very high number. Davies understands how to attack shotblockers by going right into their body. He also will do a lot of reverse finishes to use the rim to help shield his shot from getting blocked.

Davies is also able to make quick reads in the post and make some deceptively quick moves to the basket off the bounce. He's a solid ball handler from the power forward spot and while he won't blow by a lot of guys, he does know how to use one or two dribbles effectively to get him a better shot. Davies attacked the rim off of one or two dribbles a lot this year.

His transition to the NBA will actually be similar to Cody Zeller's. Davies too was asked to play around the rim and attack a lot, while showing that he struggled to finish against good athletes. They both showed passing skills, high IQs, and flashed the ability to play more of a stretch forward role when they had the chance. Davies isnt as quick as Zeller, but he is tougher and more skilled with his back to the basket.

Davies is certainly a guy that you have to watch his best games and balance them out by watching his worst games. At this best, he looks unstoppable in the post. But Davies wasn't always facing the greatest competition. When he did, you could really see his struggles finishing inside. Davies still scored plenty against top competition, but was inefficient in two games against Baylor and Gonzaga, as well as Iowa State and Notre Dame (to his credit though, Davies was still able to get to the line against these opponents, something he does very well).

He's also a guy that the more you watch him play, the more you appreciate him simply because he shows more and more creativity each game. Whenever you watch Davies, you are bound to see him bust out a new move or make a pass you usually don't see anyone else make.

Defensively, Davies struggled a lot with foul trouble. He plays the game physically on defense as well and is aggressive, but it ends up taking him out of games too much. Way too much for a star player like Davies. Davies, however, also had to deal with playing behind a very weak perimeter defense that forced BYU to switch to zone defense a lot later in the season. Watching Davies in the zone, you can see just how coordinated he is and how well he understands where to be on defense. He is not the quickest guy laterally, but his coordination will help him hang with quicker power forwards in the league. As will his strong frame and 7'2 wingspan.


He came up with a very high amount of steals for a power forward which is indicates that his athleticism may be a bit underrated. While Davies won't be a playmaker or a intimidating presence on defense, he does project as a solid positional defender as long as he keeps his fouls down.

In terms of rebounding, Davies isn't your typical second round steal at PF who puts up huge rebounding numbers. He did exceed 10 rebounds per 40 minutes each of his past three seasons however. He does a good job rebounding in his area and pulls down the ball with power. He's a guy you can trust to come down with the boards he should. He always boxes out and throws his body to his man and is a great team rebounder, who is more focused on just helping a teammate get the rebounder than simply being out to pad his own stats.

Overall, Davies will need to make a transition offensively in the NBA, but it is something he has already shown he will be able to make if his play at Portsmouth and Chicago are any indication. He seems to be a better shooter than the numbers indicate and his craftiness should translate to the pick and roll game as well. He certainly is already does a good job setting hard screens.

While Davies was a star at BYU, he has great qualities of a role player and should have no problem changing roles - just as Draymond Green did this year for the Warriors. He's unselfish, has a high IQ, plays with energy and toughness, knows how to set up his teammates, and is a high character guy by all accounts. He seems to be willing to do whatever his team needs him to do in order to win. At BYU, it was to be the focal point of the offense out of the post. In the NBA, his role will be more confined, but could be just as important to a playoff team. Right now, Brandon Davies is looking like a solid second round steal with the ability to come in and make an impact right away.

Post Lottery 2013 Mock Draft

Updated 5/24/13
  1. Cleveland Cavaliers - FR Nerlens Noel, F/C, Kentucky
  2. Orlando Magic - SO Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
  3. Washington Wizards - SO Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
  4. Charlotte Bobcats - FR Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
  5. Phoenix Suns - JR Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
  6. New Orleans Pelicans - SO Alex Len, C, Maryland
  7. Sacramento Kings - FR Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
  8. Detroit Pistons - SO Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse
  9. Minnesota Timberwolves - FR Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
  10. Portland Trailblazers - SR CJ McCollum, G, Lehigh
  11. Philadelphia 76ers - SO Cody Zeller, PF, Indiana
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder - 1992 Rudy Gobert, C, International
  13. Dallas Mavericks - 1994 Dario Saric, F, International
  14. Utah Jazz - 1993 Dennis Schroeder, PG, International
  15. Milwaukee Bucks - 1994 Sergey Karasev, SF, International
  16. Boston Celtics - SO Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
  17. Atlanta Hawks - FR Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
  18. Atlanta Hawks - JR Allen Crabbe, SG, California
  19. Cleveland Cavaliers - 1994 Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, International
  20. Chicago Bulls - JR Reggie Bullock, G/F, North Carolina
  21. Utah Jazz - JR Kelly Olynyk, PF, Gonzaga
  22. Brooklyn Nets - JR Gorgui Dieng, F/C, Louisville
  23. Indiana Pacers - SR Erick Green, PG, Virginia Tech
  24. New York Knicks - SO Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
  25. Los Angeles Clippers - 1991 Glen Rice Jr, G/F, D-League
  26. Minnesota Timberwolves - JR Tim Hardaway Jr, SG, Michigan
  27. Denver Nuggets - SR Mason Plumlee, C, Duke
  28. San Antonio Spurs - 1993 Alex Abrines, SG, International
  29. Oklahoma City Thunder - 1993 Livio Jean-Charles, F, International
  30. Phoenix Suns - SO Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
  31. Cleveland Cavaliers - 1994 Mouhammadou Jaiteh, C, International
  32. Oklahoma City Thunder - JR Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
  33. Cleveland Cavaliers - FR Ricky Ledo, SG, Providence
  34. Houston Rockets - SR Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
  35. Philadelphia 76ers - JR Tony Snell, SF, New Mexico
  36. Sacramento Kings - FR Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
  37. Washington Wizards - JR CJ Leslie, PF, North Carolina State
  38. Detroit Pistons - SR Solomon Hill, SF, Arizona
  39. Portland Trailblazers - SR Jackie Carmichael, PF, Illinois State
  40. Portland Trailblazers - 1991 Nemanja Nedovic, PG, International
  41. Memphis Grizzlies - SR Nate Wolters, PG, South Dakota State
  42. Philadelphia 76ers - JR Ray McCallum, PG, Detroit
  43. Milwaukee Bucks - SO Myck Kabongo, PG, Texas
  44. Dallas Mavericks - JR Andre Roberson, F, Colorado
  45. Portland Trailblazers - JR Deshaun Thomas, SF, Ohio State
  46. Utah Jazz - SR Michael Snaer, SG, Florida State
  47. Atlanta Hawks - SR Pierre Jackson, PG, Baylor
  48. Los Angeles Lakers - SO Adonis Thomas, SF, Memphis
  49. Chicago Bulls - SR Isaiah Canaan, PG, Murray State
  50. Atlanta Hawks - SR Muke Muscala, PF, Bucknell
  51. Orlando Magic - SR Richard Howell, PF, North Carolina State
  52. Minnesota Timberwolves - FR Grant Jerrett, PF, Arizona
  53. Indiana Pacers - SO BJ Young, G, Arkansas
  54. Washington Wizards - 1991 Bojan Dubljevic, F/C, International
  55. Memphis Grizzlies - SR Erik Murphy, PF, Florida
  56. Detroit Pistons - SR Brandon Davies, PF, BYU
  57. Phoenix Suns - JR Phil Pressey, PG, Missouri
  58. San Antonio Spurs - SR Colton Iverson, C, Colorado State
  59. Minnesota Timberwolves - SR Ryan Kelly, PF, Duke
  60. Memphis Grizzlies - JR Lorenzo Brown, PG, North Carolina State

Monday, May 20, 2013

Scouting Report: Grant Jerrett

Grant Jerrett was part of Arizona's very talented recruiting class this past season, when they brought in three big men all in the top 15 by RSCI rankings. As expected, playing time was a problem and Jerrett ended up splitting time at power forward with fellow freshman Brandon Ashley. By the end of the year, playing time was still inconsistent for Jerrett and it looked more like Ashley would earn the starting spot heading into next year. With two more talented forwards coming to Tuscon next year (Aaron Gordon and Rondae Jefferson), Jerrett's playing time situation didn't look like it would improve much. So instead of settling for another year of playing 20 minutes a game at the most, Jerrett decided to declare for the NBA Draft.

It is an interesting decision for sure. Generally, if you have to leave your college team because of playing time, that isn't a good sign. But this Arizona Wildcat team is very talented up front and filled with multiple NBA prospects. Ashley, Tarczewski, and incoming forwards Rondae Jefferson and Aaron Gordon may have more upside than Jerrett, but Jerrett has NBA size and a skillset fit for the power forward position.

This year at Arizona, Jerrett was mainly a pick and pop threat. He has an odd looking shot, but a very consistent stroke without any unnecessary movement. He also has a fairly high release point and his jumper looks similar to the Spurs' Matt Bonner. Over half of his shot attempts this season were three point attempts, which should give you a good idea of what kind of player he projects to be as a pro.

He shot 40% from 3-pt range and 82% at the line, both very impressive numbers for a freshman big man. He has a big body that helps him set screens and he does a good job getting himself open when popping out behind the 3-pt line. He doesn't force up any shots and has a very pure, balanced stroke.

As an athlete, Jerrett doesn't have the body you'd expect from a NBA player. He looks very unathletic, uncoordinated, and out of shape. He's a little chubby, has high shoulder, and will never be the most explosive or quickest big on a team. But Jerrett is more athletic than he looks and moves pretty well once you can get past looking at his awkward running style.

The biggest asset he has physically is his size. Even though his frame isn't that of a normal basketball player, he does have a body that can take up space and bang inside. At this point, Jerrett shies away from contact and doesn't have much of a post game, but that can change once he gets stronger. Its obvious that his frame hasn't had any kind of weight training and he gets backed down in the post too easily for a guy his size. His height may never be used to its full capabilities inside, but it will allow him to get his jumper off with ease.

Unsurprisingly, Jerrett was just an average at best finisher at the rim. He didn't show he could finish with contact nor was he very explosive. But he did show good touch around the rim and the ability to move around the baseline without the ball. You have to keep in mind that Jerrett wasn't featured in the offense much this year so there may be some things he is capable of that he just hasn't shown yet.

Still, up to this point there is no notable mid-range game or post game. He shot poorly on his 2-pt jumpers, although they were scarce.

Jerrett does have a fairly good feel for the game though and is able to put the ball on the floor when the defense closes out on him. He is a skilled player who can finish with both hands as well. Compared to Brandon Ashley, Jerrett relies on his size and skills more while Ashley lives more off of athleticism and feel for the game.

In the NBA, Jerrett will be more suited for a team that wants to spread the court and run pick and pop plays. Unlike other stretch 4s, he isn't a guy who can also beat you in transition, so a halfcourt offense is more suited for his needs. His conditioning needs a lot of work as he was seen with his hands on his hips and breathing heavily often at Arizona.

Defensively, Jerrett doesn't have the strength to handle back to the basket guys yet, but did a surprisingly good job getting out and defending the pick and roll in space. His footwork improved throughout the year and he did a good job recovering and picking up block shots. He averaged 2 blocks per 40 minutes which is a testament to his timing and ability to not take himself out of defensive plays. There is also some truth that defenders weren't intimidated by his presence inside.

Overall, Jerrett isn't your typical one and done prospect despite his high ranking out of high school. It was a shock to see him enter the draft and while it may not have been the wisest decision, it is now too late to turn back. Getting an invite to the Chicago combine was a good sign and he was able to show his size and shooting ability there. He was said to be one of the best shooting big men at the event.

When it comes to stretch 4s, I like his upside more than Kenny Kadhi or Ryan Kelly, but teams don't usually look to develop a stretch 4. Teams generally take a stretch 4 with the idea of them contributing to their team sooner than later. For Jerrett, he still needs to gain plenty of experience and get himself in shape before contributing. Thats what makes his draft stock interesting - I don't think a team wants to use a first rounder on a stretch four that will be in the D-League the next two years. Its more likely to see Jerrett go towards the mid to late second round range. His game actually fits Europe well so that could be a good option for him to develop the next couple of years if he believes he has the maturity to play overseas. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Scouting Report: James Ennis

In his second and final year of playing Division One college basketball, James Ennis showed a lot of improvement and has placed himself in a fairly favorable spot to get drafted. Ennis has always possessed outstanding athleticism and starred in the high jump in junior college in addition to playing ball. After transferring to Long Beach State from Ventura College in his junior year, Ennis seemed to gain even more confidence this season and became a more aggressive player.

Ennis's game is based around his outstanding athleticism and he does a great job of using it in game situations. He really gets after it on the defensive end and averaged 2 steals and 1.5 blocks per 40 minutes this season (pace adjusted). Ennis plays with a lot of energy and is one of those guys who can come out of nowhere to block shots. He chases guys down in transition for blocks and is aggressive when it comes to playing help defense. He is very intimidating when he closes in on you and he was very aggressive when it came to double teaming opponents. He forced a lot of bad passes just by bringing defensive pressure and also came up with a lot of steals. He plays the passing lanes very well, has cat-like reflexes, and very good length for wing defender.

Ennis is a lanky, wiry strong guy and pulled down 7.5 boards per 40 minutes (pace adjusted) which was up from 5.6 his first season with the team. He has good hands and was able to go over defenders backs and tip the ball to himself. His aggression and effort on defense carries over to the boards.

His team was also undersized and needed him to provide a paint presence. They looked to get up and down the court as fast as any team in the nation. Ennis was able to start breaks right out of rebounds, but showed shaky ball handling skills.

At this point, he can create plays off the dribble but only because of his elite athleticism. His athleticism at the mid-major level allowed him to mask his shortcomings as a ball handler, as he is most definitely poor in that area. He didn't let that stop him from attacking the basket though, although he was often forcing up circus shots. He was unable to drive into the lane in a controlled matter and most of the shots he put up ended up being really awkward. The only way he got them off was because of his elevation.

Because of his lack of ball handling or control, Ennis has no mid-range game of which to speak of. His team as a whole performed poorly in the halfcourt and they lacked structure. Ennis' shots off the dribble were pretty much freestyled attempts without much rhyme or reason. One thing he did do well was going inside without the ball and capitalizing on offensive rebound opportunities. He is able to control the ball well on tip-in plays.

Ennis also scored baskets by cutting towards the rim once a teammate had the ball in the post. There wasn't much structure in these plays or cuts, but they were effective. In the pros, Ennis may benefit from a system that will focus more on getting him open off of these plays. He's a great finisher at the rim due to his athleticism, strength, and also his creativity. His creativity hurts him on perimeter drives because he is completely out of control once he reaches the rim, but it works to his advantage off cuts without the ball.

As a shooter, Ennis is able to hit a good percentage of his long range shots when he has the time to get them off. He shot a respectable 35% from behind the arc each of his two season at Long Beach State. The bigger problem for Ennis shooting the ball is his release. He isn't a guy you have to worry much about from behind the arc because it takes him too long to get off the shot. In the NBA, defenders close out quickly and he will need to really work on speeding up his shot.

Although it doesn't project to be a big part of his game at the next level, Ennis did show some potential creating his own jumper off of one or two dribbles. His ball handling is too shaky for anything more, but he has a really quick stepback crossover move. With more repetition  he could develop more confidence to use it more often. But he has to use it smart - a lot of his stepback moves resulted in long 2-pt attempts just inside the 3-pt arc.

Ennis is also a good teammate who looks to get others involved. He can make some impressive passes, but turns the ball over too often because he makes things too difficult. He had a negative assist to turnover ratio this year, which again speaks to how poor of a ball handler he is.

Overall, Ennis will have to make a name for himself on the defensive end but he has all the tools to do just that. He showed on a consistent basis that he can be an impact defender in college and with his athleticism, he will still be one of the better athletes in the NBA. He will need to improve his focus and really key in on his man to man defense instead of being a guy who is all over the court. Teams will certainly likely his defense as well as his rebounding ability.

In the end though, he will need to be able to prove he can space the court as well as play smarter. He hasn't played in a structured offense up to this point so there will be a learning curve. He will also have to adjust to playing without the ball in his hands and against better competition. He did benefit from playing the likes of North Carolina, Ohio State, UCLA, Syracuse, USC, and Baylor in one of the nation's toughest non-conference schedules this year.

In terms of his ranking among other small forwards, I see him behind other second rounders like Solomon Hill and Adonis Thomas due to his lack of potential and polish. But compared to Carrick Felix - a guy who is projected to be the same kind of defensive player - I like Ennis better because he's an even better athlete. Ennis hasn't locked up a draft spot in the second round, but he has improved his stock since college ended with strong showings at both Portsmouth and the combine in Chicago. He could end up being a guy like James White who had to spend years in the D-League before getting a legit shot in the NBA.

2013 Small Forwards Prospects By the Numbers

A week ago, we took a loot at the point guard prospects by the numbers. Now we will see how the small forward prospects grade out based off the numbers provided by hoop-data.com. I excluded Otto Porter from this study as I view him as the best small forward prospect by a considerable margin.

*For Glen Rice Jr, I used his data from his previous year at Georgia Tech.

% of Shots at the Rim

Carrick Felix - 43%
James Ennis - 35%
Solomon Hill - 27%
Robert Covington - 25%
Shabazz Muhammad - 24%
Glen Rice Jr - 21%
Deshaun Thomas - 20%
Adonis Thomas - 18%

FG% at the Rim

Glen Rice Jr - 76%
Deshaun Thomas - 74%
James Ennis - 72%
Carrick Felix - 71%
Shabazz Muhammad - 65%
Robert Covington - 64%
Solomon Hill - 63%
Adonis Thomas - 62%

% Assisted at the Rim

Adonis Thomas - 58%
Shabazz Muhammad - 58%
Carrick Felix - 56%
Deshaun Thomas - 48%
Robert Covington - 44%
James Ennis - 41%
Glen Rice Jr - 34%
Solomon Hill - 14%

% Shots 2-pt Jumpers

Adonis Thomas - 59%
Shabazz Muhammad - 53%
Deshaun Thomas - 45%
Robert Covington - 40%
Glen Rice Jr - 37%
Solomon Hill - 31%
James Ennis - 24%
Carrick Felix - 19%

FG% 2pt Jumpers

Solomon Hill - 40%
Glen Rice Jr - 40%
Adonis Thomas - 39%
Deshaun Thomas - 39%
Shabazz Muhammad - 37%
Carrick Felix - 34%
James Ennis - 31%
Robert Covington - 25%

% 2-pt Jumpers Assisted

Adonis Thomas - 54%
Shabazz Muhammad - 47%
Deshaun Thomas - 43%
Robert Covington - 41%
Carrick Felix - 32%
Solomon Hill - 23%
Glen Rice Jr - 17%
James Ennis - 14%

% of 3-pt Shots

Solomon Hill - 42%
Glen Rice Jr - 42%
James Ennis - 41%
Robert Covington - 38%
Carrick Felix - 37%
Deshaun Thomas - 35%
Adonis Thomas - 24%
Shabazz Muhammad - 23%

3-pt FG%

Solomon Hill - 39%
Carrick Felix - 38%
Robert Covington - 38%
Shabazz Muhammad - 38%
Deshaun Thomas - 35%
Glen Rice Jr - 34%
James Ennis - 33%
Adonis Thomas - 29%

% of 3-pt Shots Assisted

Shabazz Muhammad - 100%
Carrick Felix - 96%
Deshaun Thomas - 96%
Adonis Thomas - 92%
Robert Covington - 87%
Solomon Hill - 82%
James Ennis - 68%
Glen Rice Jr - 68%

Observations

James Ennis - James Ennis stands out in this group as a finisher which comes to no surprise. He's the best athlete among the 8 prospects and his team pushed the ball with every chance they could get. You can tell that his team lacked any kind of halfcourt structure on offense which forced Ennis to create more than he should have to. Even though Ennis isn't a good ball handler, he was forced to create a large amount of his jumpshots. He does have a quick step back jumper move, but that isnt his game. Playing in a halfcourt setting in the NBA will be a big adjustment for him. He doesn't have a mid-range game and relies on circus shots in the lane. He will have to improve his jumper. He hit 3s at a good rate but his release has to get quicker.

Carrick Felix - Felix is the most similar to Ennis and both of their strengths are more on the defensive end. Felix played in a much more structured offense however, which complimented his strengths well. He didn't have to create at all and while he also lacks a middle game, he wasn't put in a situation where he had to score off the dribble. Like Ennis, he is a real solid finisher at the rim. He has also turned himself into a good spot up 3-pt shooter. I view Ennis as a better prospect than Felix because of his athletic edge and added playmaking ability.

Solomon Hill - Hill is one of the worst finishers at the rim in the group, but makes up for it with his polished mid-range game. He has the best floor game of the group and has the most versatile offensive attack. He doesn't have to get all the way to the rim to score. He also tested out as the best shooter in the group by leading in both 2-pt% and 3-pt% while taking a higher volume of 3s than anyone. He's a good spot up shooter but also can get his shot off the dribble.

Glen Rice Jr - The more you look at Glen Rice Jr, the more you see how much the situation at Georgia Tech prevented him from showing his true potential. Rice Jr had to create almost all his shots at Georgia Tech as he was near the bottom in assisted shots in all 3 categories. He was also the best finisher at the rim and in the mid-range area, despite not having the advantage of getting any easy baskets. The one area Rice Jr doesn't show well here is 3-pt shooting, but he might actually be the best shooter out of the 8. He proved this year in the D-League that he has no problem with the NBA 3-pt line.

Shabazz Muhammad - There is a big concern with Shabazz's ability to get to the rim based off these numbers. He was in the bottom half in terms of % of shots at the rim while receiving more assisted plays at the rim than anyone. Considering Shabazz also scored a lot of offensive rebounds, the numbers prove the Muhammad was unable to put the ball on the floor and get all the way to the rim at UCLA. He also seemed incapable of creating room for his jump shots. All of his 3-pt makes were assisted and he trailed only Adonis Thomas in most 2-pt jumpers assisted. His mid-range game, however, does show promise.

Deshaun Thomas - Thomas didn't really standout in any one category. We know he can shoot the ball, but he didn't shoot it at an exceptional clip. And there is a big concern with his ability to get shots off at the next level. A lot of his shots were assisted and he doesn't really have any reliable moves to get his shot up. As a small forward at the next level, he will struggle to shoot over longer defenders due to his lack of quickness and height. He did convert well at the rim in limited attempts, but that isnt his game.

Adonis Thomas - Thomas' numbers at the rim couldn't be any more. Despite shooting less at the rim than anyone and having the highest percentage of his shots assisted, Thomas still was last in converting at the rim. Thats a red flag and very puzzling for someone with his size and athleticism. These numbers scream lack of aggression. He did fair well in the mid-range area, which passes the eye test when watching him as well. Thomas will also need to improve his range as he shot worse from 3 this year than anyone.

Robert Covington - For a guy his size and playing against the competition he did, Covington really didn't show as well at the rim as you'd like to see. More concerning was his FG% on 2-pt jumpers since he projects to be a jump shooter at the next level. He ranked last in that area by a fair margin. Tennessee State needed a guy who could create shots this season and he proved that he struggled in that area. Still, Covington brings a nice combination of athleticism and outside shooting that could eventually get him into the NBA.

After watching more film on each of these prospects and taking a look at them by the numbers, here are my personal revised rankings:

1. Glen Rice Jr (late lottery to mid-first round)
2. Shabazz Muhammad (mid-first round)
3. Solomon Hill (early second round)
4. Adonis Thomas (early second round)
5. James Ennis (second round)
6. Deshaun Thomas (second round)
7. Carrick Felix (second round to undrafted)
8. Robert Covington (second round to undrafted)

Others worth noting: James Southerland, Rodney Williams, Will Clyburn