Laker Scouting Reports

Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby KareemTheGreat33 on Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:55 am

Very helpful stuff. I always return here. Must read
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby rydjorker121 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:16 am

Dwight Howard:
Position: C
Height: 6’11”
Weight: 265
Age: 26
Contract: $19,261,200 (’12-13)
Nickname: Superman
Years With Team: 0
Years With League: 8
Previous Teams: Orlando
Acquired: Four-way trade involving Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson, Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Christian Eyenga, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Andre Iguodala, Chris Duhon, Earl Clark and four future 1st round picks (August '12)
Spoiler:
Strengths: Game-changing defensive presence/excellent defensive playmaker, Elite rebounder (particularly defensive boards), Elite around the basket (top notch foul drawer/dunker/finisher), Top notch physical force (strength+height+mobility+athleticism), Very good durability (excellent for his size), Good offensive game within 10 feet, Positive demeanor/good work ethic/still improving/loves the game
Weaknesses: Horrible foul shooter exacerbated by number of attempts, Doesn't see the floor well off double teams, petulant immature behavior as a result of over-coddling (see technicals/Orlando management problems)


Dwight plays good defense, more or less, but this is considered a letdown because the past four seasons with Orlando, he's played a cut above very good defense, so at this stage he's not even close to the DPOY he once was. Still, he's the Lakers' second best defender, although a distant second behind Jodie Meeks, and in the aggregate he's 69th-121st out of 270 NBA players. Dwight particularly struggles against stretch 4's, defending near at-rim shots best but struggling some against mid-range jumpshooters and in particular against corner three point shooters. It's a disappointment because he used to be a fixture in even top ten defensive lists among centers, and this season he's nowhere to be found there. Similarly, while Dwight's a very good defensive rebounder (6th among 54 centers), the past three seasons he was leading the league in this defensive rebounding, so it's disappointing. Dwight's also a good stealer (11th) and shotblocker (12th), and overall defensive playmaker (10th), but all these categories have also went through a slight decline. Believe it or not, Dwight's average in fouling among centers-it only feels like he's foul prone, because, once again, he hasn't fouled this much in six years. So the whole narrative is that Dwight's good defense coupled with good defensive playmaking and rebounding with average fouling are useful, but the fact of the matter is that rebounding and defense used to be very good to elite with far fewer fouls, so it's quite disappointing overall.

Offensively, Dwight is a fairly high usage center (13th out of 54 centers) and operates as a hybrid who is set up as much as he creates his own shots. Dwight in general is a poor ballhandler (15th in turnover rate) and not much of a passer (37th in assist rate), but considering the slew of free throws that he draws, his handles aren't as bad as they appear to be at first glance, because he almost always loses the ball around the basket area rather than elsewhere. In fact, among centers, which is not saying much, he might be a very good ballhandler as a result. Dwight by and large plays in the paint area of the basket, ranking 7th among 54 centers in shots taken at 3-9 feet, and is 16th in conversion rate here; he also takes two-thirds of his shots directly at the rim (15th among centers) and is 17th in conversion rate. In fact, half of his made attempts at the rim are dunks. He's only an average offensive rebounder among centers (24th) but despite the awful foul shooting, Dwight's best proposition is at the rim because scaling for foul drawing, his at-rim shots rank 2nd out of 54 centers.

The thing about Dwight is that he's still very good, but compared to his past season, almost everything feels like a letdown, particularly defensively. As mentioned, he's rebounding and defending less, and fouling more, even if the rebounding and defending are still good. On offense, his finishing has become relatively average among centers and his finishing this season is by far the worst it has been in seven years. And considering his high rate of free throws, he's also hitting free throws at a career low pace, although it started last year in Orlando. The suffering athletic markers--finishing, rebounding, and defense--all reeks of aging traits, and Dwight's also attributing this to his injuries. But it feels like he's already seen his peak already because so many attributes are declining with none increasing, so overall it feels like a letdown.

Spoiler:
Dwight's legend has always been rooted in the fact that he's a game-changing defensive force. Before this season, he's played minutes in the mid to high 30s for the past six years with the Magic, while never missing more than four games. During that period, the Magic were 6th, 6th, 1st, 3rd and 3rd in defensive efficiency. He's clearly a transformative figure on defense--always making a huge impact in team defense, as he has the lateral quickness (particularly for his size) and anticipation down pat, and needless to say with his build and athleticism he's an imposing figure to shoot over. His man defense is much the same way--he completely neutralizes the opposing starting center, severely snuffing out their field goal percentages and outrebounding them badly. He's rapidly improved his defense over the past several years, and as mentioned above, the results show team-wise--the Magic weren't known for having any good defenders at all besides Dwight, and he was able to single-handedly elevate the team on that end. You can count the number of players on one hand who are able to do that in the league. Dwight is one of them. He has three DPOYs under his belt to further validate that fact.

People always rave about Dwight's combination of speed, strength, and athleticism and say he's the most "ripped" person in the league, and that's obviously a big factor in his success. Where Dwight excels at is in clearing the defensive boards--over the past six years, he's absolutely been league-leading material in this end. He's the best in the business at forcing misses and then clearing the subsequent board--this is important because too often we see bad rebounders/defenders who go for every block, or guys who don't bother contesting shots who go for every board. Dwight does both, and for 34-38 minutes a night. Because of this, over the past six years, he'd be in the top one or two in overall rebounding among centers. Dwight's defense and rebounding are absolutely transformative aspects of his game--he's arguably the best in the business right now on those fronts.

Dwight's defensive playmaking numbers have tailed off a bit, particularly in the shotblocking front, but over the past several years he's jumped into the top six-eight among centers in steals--he's developed quite a nose for poking at the ball. He's still a good to excellent shotblocker, however, needless to say with all those highlight reels populating youtube. Ironically, for a Lakers team that is severely lacking in steals, he might actually be one of the major pluses on that end. On the whole, he's in the top seven-twelve among big men in making defensive plays. However, unlike many of the big men above him in defensive playmaking, Dwight ranks the highest in defensive plays/foul ratio, so he knows how to judiciously make defensive plays without jeopardizing his minutes on the court (the only one who is better than him in that is Ben Wallace, although Chris Andersen is in the periphery). Needless to say, many of those big men play minutes from the low teens to mid 20s, as a result of their foul trouble. So even Dwight's reduced defensive playmaking can be construed as a positive. But defensive playmaking is useful only if it is coupled with the actual defense and rebounding, which as mentioned above, Dwight is absolutely the cream of the crop in this area. Coupled with the defensive discipline he's shown in the past few years, that makes him an even bigger factor. Only six centers, including now former Laker Andrew Bynum, average fewer fouls per minute, but Bynum didn't rebound as well as Dwight nor did he play defense at that level either.

Again, with the exception of this season (which we'll talk about later), Dwight's offensive efficiency for a big man is top five material, and what's more is that he creates these shots on his own accord (five of the past six seasons, he was in the bottom five in shots assisted). Dwight's a good offensive rebounder, but not even as close as good as he is on defensive rebounding (which speaks to how great that attribute of his game is), so he isn't always just getting tip-ins. Dwight's more than just a catch-and-dump player in the post--he's good at creating his shot there, even if the way he gets off his shot doesn't look completely orthodox as say, Andrew Bynum. He's always largely been in the top five in finishing around the basket, and is an extremely prolific dunker who always ranks in the top five in dunks per 48 minutes every season. He's never averaged less than two dunks a game since his rookie year, and by and large he's the most prolific dunker since Shaq, and this is another area where he bests Bynum in. He also made the most AND-1 plays the past year, and ranked second in AND-1 percentage, which is not a surprise as he can easily finish through contact. Also, he ranked first in the league as the roll man in pick-and-roll plays, and considering Steve Nash led the league in pick-and-roll passes this season, this is a pairing made in heaven, and can see Dwight get more than his average in dunks as a result. Of note is that Dwight's 2008 season saw more of his shots assisted far more than his norms, and as a result he shot significantly better at the rim and drew more fouls. So there's precedence that Nash can improve those areas.

The path of lesser resistance is to foul Dwight given his high finishing ability around the basket, and that's what teams do--he's mostly in the top, sometimes second, in free throw drawing over the past half decade. It's a way better proposition to have Dwight shoot 58.8% from the line (his career average) rather than consistently finish at 74% around the basket. But even though Dwight's prone to getting hacked at the end of close games, getting to the line is still an easy way to manufacture points, and it comes with the bonus of getting opposing frontcourts in foul trouble, which Dwight is the best in the business at doing.

There is a common misconception that Dwight is super turnover prone and that he's easy to strip the ball from--and many teams use double teams largely to force turnovers in this fashion. He's been above the league average for centers several times over the past decade, but also been below the average several times, such as this season. He isn't as bad a ballhandler as many would like to believe, and he's actually made inroads in this area. Among centers with usage rates above 20, Nene, Derrick Favors, Chris Kaman and Tiago Splitter were worse this season.

Where it's easier to criticize Dwight on is his passing--he's oscillating between very bad to bad, but still he's definitely subpar after eight years in the league, and for that usage rate it stands out. That's also a reason teams double team him, because he can't find the open man, and teams wish that it would lead to a turnover rather than a forced shot. But the reality is, there are quite a few big men playing in the 20s in minutes who don't pass the ball well and accrue turnovers at a similar pace (JaVale McGee, Marcin Gortat, Derrick Favors, Andrew Bynum to name a few) and they all contribute in various ways, so this issue isn't as big as it should be made to be. As a roll man finisher, he wouldn't need to think and hold on to the ball as often, so issues like this would be less important as well.

Howard's game is largely centralized within 10 feet, and he virtually will never take a shot beyond that, so he knows is limitations (as seen by his free throw percentages). He's steadily increased his shot attempts from that range--about 2/5ths of his shots come from there, well above the norms for most centers. Roy Hibbert, Al Jefferson, and Andrew Bynum take as many shots from this distance and hit them better, but Dwight hits them at a pretty good 41-44% clip, above the average for centers, which helps to optimize his post up game. He also creates quite a few of these shots for himself as well, so he has an assortment of moves here. Overall, between his prolific and almost-indefensible-without-fouling at the rim game and an underrated 3-9 foot game, he's quite underrated offensively, even if aesthetically he doesn't look as smooth as many offensive-minded centers. But still, he gets it done, and has elite attributes (dunking/free throw drawing) that no other big can boast of, and which gives him a big advantage. In the mid to late 2000s, he's also posted very good offensive +/- numbers, so he's capable of being a first offensive option.

In a league where big men are most prone to injuries, Dwight played all 82 games in his first four seasons and never missed more than four games for his next three--he was as close to an "iron man" in this league as anyone, between his ability to stay healthy and his physique. He had back problems and subsequent surgery this year, but still, his track record for health still appears to be very good, and on top of that he's staying on the floor better (reducing fouls while maintaining his defense).

Dwight's demeanor may be a bit of a concern. He got injured this year, yes, but there were complaints that he was coasting because he wanted to be traded--the Magic's D only ranked 13th this year, largely because Howard wasn't applying himself. Also, Howard wasn't as active blocking shots, wasn't drawing as many fouls as he did in the past, and also he shot a career low from the free throw line (49.1%) within the past six years, which reduced his scoring efficiency from years past. So there's that factor that when he's dissatisfied, he won't fully apply himself, although before that he was rapidly improving (particularly on defense) and not really regressing in any factor of the game, so this could be a one-time blip. He is quite immature, though, although with the daily beatings he's taking on offense (he's first-second in free throw rate in the league, with a top three-four usage rate as mentioned) he's taken to retaliation against the refs a lot--he's had 58 technicals over the past four seasons, which is definitely on the excessive side. Still, he's personable and charming, is always seen with a big smile on his face and you can tell he loves the game and means it (seen by his improvements) and doesn't have any real off-the-court baggage.

What this all means is that Dwight is just indecisive, petulant and immature when the going gets rough. He won't bring it on the court as hard, and his indecisiveness really put Orlando's management in a state of flux, leading to the firings of their coach and GM. Dwight essentially held the organization hostage to his whimsies. He isn't exactly egotistical, but he seems to be trying to explore his newfound power in free agency to the fullest, but he doesn't exactly know how to handle it. The Magic really seemed to lack a steadying presence, whether in the form of management or players, and appeared to have coddled him too much. The Lakers have a lot of alpha males and while it will be interesting to see how Dwight reacts as a likely reduced offensive option, but at the same time the Lakers have many vets who can react properly if Dwight starts to show discontent.

In the aggregate, Dwight is an absolute game-changer on defense, both being elite in rebounding and completely changing the team's defensive culture by playing elite man-to-man and team defense. He's also vastly underrated on offense, with elite dunking/finishing and foul drawing ability, and an underrated game within 10 feet. He also has a nearly clean slate with health, and has made improvements in defense, turnovers and reducing his fouls. The only downside is the slight immaturity, but with so many elite attributes, he's definitely a superstar and likely HOFer when all is said and done.
Last edited by rydjorker121 on Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby KareemTheGreat33 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:28 am

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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby rydjorker121 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:51 pm

Jodie Meeks:
Position: SG
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 208
Age: 24
Contract: $1,463,120 (’12-13), $1,633,440 ('13-'14~Team option)
Nickname: N/A
Years With Team: 0
Years With League: 3
Previous Teams: Milwaukee, Philadelphia
Acquired: Free Agent '12
Spoiler:
Strengths: Low usage-high efficiency three point bomber/good primary spot-up shooter, Surprisingly very good man-to-man defense without fouling, Side element of possible foul drawing, Limits turnovers, Knows role
Weaknesses: Undersized and unathletic, Cannot/unwilling to put the ball on the floor to score or pass, Mixed team defense, Nonexistent mid-range game, Rarely attacks basket


Meeks is an established three point shooter (39.7% this season, 37.3% career) who has made some inroads in rounding out his personal offense this year, although there have been quite a few tradeoffs (defense). Judging this season in the context of his career, though, those tradeoffs appear to be worth it because he's showed more dimensions to his game, a key component for growth. In other respects, he's the same old--low usage(43rd of 66 SGs), bad rebounder (55th) and passer (60th).

Meeks has always been a high volume spot-up three point shooter--over his career, 46-65% of his shots have been from long range, and as mentioned, he's adept at hitting them. There are times where he's just very streaky, particularly last season with the Lakers, but that isn't quite the case this season. This three point-encouraging offense has played to his three point gunning tendencies, and with a career 87.6% free throw percentage, this shot is legitimate.

This season, Meeks has cut back on those shots--50%, low! for his tendencies--and slashed more, both on and off dribble. Slightly over a quarter of his attempts are now directly at the rim; while over two-thirds of them are assisted via off-ball cuts or leak outs in transition, 10.8% of them are off his own drives. In fact, for a purported shoot-only player, only 12!!! SGs have a higher layup rate than he has, and he's slightly above the top third in layup conversion, a huge improvement from the Derek Fisher-like layup tendencies he had in previous years. He's also in the top third of SGs among dunks this season, surprising opponents with his two-foot approach via off ball cuts. Meeks has also added a few wonky at-rim attempts to his game, being in the top two of Lakers in reverse layups, floaters and running shots, although he's most adept by far with the reverses. While there is a certain recklessness in his approach--he likes to cherrypick and leak out for easy layups even before an opponent's shot is fired--it works for him, since he was a bad rebounder to begin with. Even more than that, he's soon a proportional boon in foul drawing with the increased drives; he's actually displayed this ability during one year in Philadephia, and it's an excellent little wrinkle to have for a shooter, especially since he's such a good foul shooter. Overall, Meeks has really worked around his lack of passing and handles by really improving his off-the-ball skills and finishing. His turnovers have risen a little with the increased driving, but it's still within the top third of SGs, and with all the gains he's made at-rim, the trade off has been worth it with respect to this.

At this point, Meeks' major weakness on offense is just his mid-range game: he's allocated fewer threes into a few more spot-up inclined mid-rangers, which now comprise a fifth of his shots. Considering this part of his game has been non-existent in years past, it's not that surprising to see him not shooting well--31.6%. Forcing to resort to mid-rangers off curls is a good option for the defense to go to. Of note is that with the Lakers' injuries this season, Meeks has been forced into emergency PG--over those games, Meeks has completely underperformed--he has shot far worse and has had a major bloom of turnovers, even if his assists went slightly up. With his career assist rates, he should never be forced to play PG, ever again.

Meeks' defense has been awful this season: under D'Antoni's emphasis on spacing the floor, the Lakers put their worst foot forward on defense almost every night, and that has had trickle down effects on players like Meeks. First, the "relative" plus: Meeks has misplaced his energy into gambling, as he's now surprisingly in the top quarter of steal rate among SGs, after being fairly average in other seasons. But that's what it is. Gambling. The result is that he's steadily eroded a pretty good man-defense reputation he's had in the past, and his already sketchy team defense has become even worse. Because only five SGs corral the defensive boards worse than he does, Meeks is at a major liability without the actual defense. As mentioned, Meeks has had to guard PGs, and embarrassingly, he's done even worse on the boards against opposing PGs (-3) then he has against his regular SG matchups (-2.3). Opposing PGs also have a field day racking up assists against Meeks. But against SGs, he contests their shots worse. On a night to night basis this season, Meeks has had trouble putting a lid in the scoring and passing rates of opposing guards, and because he's such a weak rebounder he also gets exposed on that front. The Lakers are significantly better on defense (nearly 7 points) with him off the court.

Meeks has discovered a lot about the boundaries of his game playing with the Lakers this season, and there's some good: he really has found a way to meld his off-ball slashes and couple them to his prolific three point bombs, which has made him a more dynamic offensive player. There's still going to be structural limitations since he can't create his own shot, has no mid-range game and will never be able to pass, and he's likely maximized his offensive upside completely, but what he has right now is a very viable setup that has a place in nearly every team in the league. On defense, however, if he can rededicate himself to his man defense, especially since we know the energy is already there, that will elevate the overall picture of his game to another level. This season he's just been an excessive gambler that's hemorrhaging on nearly every defensive attribute nightly, and if he keeps this up he'll be a source of frustration for competitive teams. But given his past history and work ethic in general, that should normalize. He's appealing because most shooters don't have the off-the-ball slashing and foul drawing ability he has, with potentially decent man defense, and that's the picture we are getting over the course of his career.

Spoiler:
Meeks, throughout most of his career, has been consistent in representing himself as a player--an undersized but eager-to-learn shooting guard who is a low usage three point shooter with very low rebounding and passing rates, but who brings a gerbil-like energy and good disposition on defense. Somewhat interchangeable especially with the severe lack of upward mobility due to his limitations, but good enough to be provide somewhat of a 3's/D cog that's needed in all decent to good NBA teams. This season? Meeks has benefited from an outgrowth of 3's in D'Antoni's schemes, but just like every D'Antoni-ized guard, they taketh away at the other end: the defense has really fallen. The net takeaway is that while his numbers are inflated, without the defense, there is less appeal to Meeks.

First, the positives on offense: Meeks is in the top fifteen in spot-up three point attempts in the league, and also in the fifteen in conversion: he can fire them from anywhere, as his current hotspots are with left corner threes, straightaway and right wing threes. Based on what we have seen, in five-man lineups, optimizing Meeks requires an aggressive pass-first point guard in a free flowing motion offense where the ball does not stop, because when unconscious, Meeks has a quick trigger, and a stellar spot-up three pointer, knowing how to navigate to his spots off the ball. But under bogged down offenses, Meeks becomes very streaky, because he has a tendency to rush his shot and lacks ballhandling skill to get separation when forced into pull-ups of any sort (25.0% on pull-ups, 30.3% on mid-range jumpers this year compared to 45% from spot-up threes). In spot-ups, he can be affected by duress from defenders and duress from the shot clock, which is why career-wise, despite being a career 87.9% foul shooter, he has only been a good, but not great, three point shooter. Of note is that also, teams are going more towards the corner three trend, and Meeks takes very few of those--most of his threes come from the wings or on straightaways.

Meeks has also developed a surprisingly robust slashing game this season to complement his three point shooting. He is slashing to the basket more this season, and finishing far better, especially in leak-out semi-transition situations, where he leads all Lakers in fast break points per game, and is in the top third of all NBA guards. Last year, he was a complete empty trip driving inside of the three point line, but this year he's utilizing a very aggressive, decisive first step and leveraging his body to finish better. He also has become a sneaky good cutter along the baseline off the ball. He has noticeably stepped up into a scoring role in the wake of the Lakers' injuries, increasing his usage and even starting to draw fouls on his slashes, which is a nice wrinkle for a shooter to have and something he actually did in his fourth year in Philadelphia as well. Still, his drives are by and large awkward, because he lacks the pull-up jumper and the passing (67th among 69 SGs) to optimize this part of his game, and on top of that he is a straight line driver with very limited ballhandling ability (which is why his usage rate has always been on the low side--51st). In general, he lacks craftiness and athleticism, needing to propel off both feet to get a shot at the rim, and the slightest disturbances last season led to some out of control ventures. This year, while he's slashing more, the flip side is that the usually turnover-averse Meeks has had a higher rate to those norms. Still, it's very commendable for Meeks to maximize his limited athleticism and really find a way to manufacture points at the rim. However, Meeks has more value simply as a shooter type: early on, the Lakers were three points better offensively with him on the court; now, as a scorer who draws fouls, the Lakers are three points worse.

Defensively, Meeks' desire is limited enough by height, quickness and athleticism (57th in defensive rebounding, tied for worst in block rate), and ideally, several good rebounders are needed around him to mitigate his lack of rebounding. First, the positives: the Lakers defend threes over two percent better with Meeks on the court, and Meeks himself, per nba.com stats, does a pretty good job spotting corner three point shooters. He never fouls, as usual, and has an average steal rate. He appears to give 100% effort on defense. Now, the negatives: pretty much everywhere else, as opponents dunk more, attempt more tip ins, hit over four percent better with their layups, and hit over one percent better with their mid range jumpers with Meeks on the floor. Nbawowy data shows that opponents are about two percent more efficient with Meeks on the floor. Per nba.com stats, Meeks is not necessarily awful at any one spot on defense, but at rim shots and above break threes have posed more of a concern with him this season.

The Lakers are already a very poor defensive outfit, and while Meeks' team defense was always somewhat questionable, his issues with off ball rotations are even more brutal this season. His man defense in the past was very good, particularly with ability to contest shots accurately, but those were with structured teams with defensive lynch-pins. This year? Those numbers have also taken a tumble, and Meeks has taken a beating in particular when asked to guard opposing points. With Meeks, he always gives energy on defense, but it appears that energy only adds to teams that are capable of playing defense, but does not do much with teams that just do not have structure on that end. It might be a fluke of D'Antoni's schemes, given his past defensive trends, but for someone already at a physical disadvantage at defense, and lacking a multifaceted component on offense, he needs the defense to stay up to maintain value.

Overall, Meeks is a viable NBA player in the aggregate, but the tradeoff in D'Antoni's schemes is questionable: more offense, less defense. Meeks gets to indulge in his trigger happy shooting, but the bottom line is affected, both for player and team.

Spoiler:
Meeks by far is the best defender on the Lakers: in general, he's decent from everywhere with no real flaws, but he particularly excels at forcing misses around the basket, although he's quite weak at defending runners and shots from no man's land. He also does a good job defending mid-range J's and above the break threes, but is susceptible at corner threes. In fact, In reality he's 65th out of 270 NBA players, but that's far better than the Lakers' next best defender this season (Dwight at 121st), which is why scaling for team-wide noise, he stands out against many Lakers, and could be the 10th best shooting guard defender in the league (21st to 65th is his range out of 270 NBA players). Still, Meeks is a subpar defensive rebounder (35th out of 62 SGs) and nonexistent shotblocker (59th), leading to subpar defensive playmaking (37th), although he does a good job of avoiding fouls (22nd). Meeks ultimately is substance above style on this end, which is what counts: he plays excellent defense while avoiding fouls, despite lacking in the more memorable defensive metrics.

On offense, Meeks operates by and large as a spot-up specialist--he's relatively low usage (34th out of 62 shooting guards), but two-thirds of his shots are from three point land, fourth among SGs. He's good, but not great, at 37.6% for the season, 24th out of 62 shooting guards.

The rest of Meeks' offense is horrid. He's an awful ballhandler for a spot-up shooter (one of ten spot-up SGs in my ranking), but he's also an awful passer--he's 57th out of 62 SGs in assist rate. But Meeks seriously hurts himself in his drives to the basket. While he differentiates himself from most specialists by attacking the rim, 29th among SGs, he struggles to draw fouls considering the frequency of attacks (only 41st among SGs). Most of all, he's a horrid finisher, though, which takes away a lot of the allure though (58th among SGs). Meeks could seriously help his offensive efficiency if he slashed less to the basket. This is why Sixers fans routinely covered their eyes when Meeks did anything on offense that wasn't a three. Meeks completely eschews runners and mid-range shots, which helps a lot with his offensive efficiency.

Overall, Meeks' allure is the three point shooting and the defense. Defensively he's incredibly underrated, especially for a long range bomber. He's not a lights out bomber, but his defense does more than enough to offset it to make him a viable NBA role player.


Spoiler:
Meeks is an efficient scorer--in the 2010-2011 season alone, he was fourth in efficiency, and over the past three years he's been no worse than 17th among SGs, and quite above the league average. For the Lakers' purposes, he's particularly useful because given all the ball-dominant alpha males on the team: he doesn't need the ball, as he's had bottom 15 usage rates among SGs for the past two years. Also, he spots up or gets dished for everything--he's in the top two for shots assisted the past two years, and only Raja Bell exceeded that this year. In line with that role, Meeks doesn't pass the ball--at 6'4", he's tenth from the bottom the past two seasons in assist rate--but the other plus is that he doesn't turn the ball over either--he had the second lowest turnover rate this year, which only Daequan Cook bested, and his career numbers are in line with that. Meeks largely has had the role of staying out of the way, and when he receives it, he doesn't dribble or pass--he lets a jumper rip, with highly efficient results. That makes Meeks a "resourceful" player--he fades into the limelight and lets the alpha dogs do the talking, but he's able to make the most of his scoring opportunities. He has a similar scoring rate to Evan Turner for instance, but has a far less usage due to his efficiency, and the rate is in the ballpark of players like Courtney Lee and Dahntay Jones--so he clearly is an adequate bench scorer, or a possible fifth option scorer for starting lineups.

So how does Meeks score? His scoring is very three point heavy--whereas most SGs take a third of their shots as threes, Meeks takes 50-60% of his shots as threes. Meeks loves to set up shop from distance--over the past two years, nearly all of his threes are assisted. He's a very good three point shooter, having shot 38% and 39.7% from distance in the past on a sizable number of attempts, and he's a career 37.1% three point shooter. He could be excellent in this area--he's a career 88.4% free throw shooter, and shot 90.6% this past season, so clearly he has the shooting chops.

Meeks' ability to rain threes and be efficient is clearly his calling card, because he completely lacks an in-between game. Meeks virtually never uses a pull-up jumper off the dribble if defenses fly at him, and as mentioned, doesn't handle the ball--and he rarely spots up for mid-range jumpers, if at all. His percentages appear decent from mid-range, so it's just a matter of him developing or gaining confidence in a slight dribble game to perhaps optimize his three point shooting. He can certainly shoot, but defenses appear to play him for the three rather than the drive, and that might have hindered his percentages.

Meeks will rarely attack the basket or even go for a floater in the lane--only about a fifth of his shots come from within 10 feet--and he's just an OK finisher. Not surprisingly, he's extremely deficient in athleticism--he's only had 11 career dunks in 200 career games, and his four dunks this season actually matched his career high. Surprisingly, however, he gets to the line at an OK rate. In fact, in 2010-2011, he was actually showing some surprising "mutual exclusion" type properties on offense--he was in the top 15 of SGs in foul drawing, despite being such a heavily inclined three point shooter. That was really what buoyed up his scoring efficiency, because he could hit threes and draw fouls. His foul drawing has become slightly subpar again, but he appears to have a slight knack for drawing fouls for a jumpshooter, and this is an element that many inclined shooters simply don't have. It's an interesting wrinkle to his game that helps to optimize his turnover-free scoring.

Meeks is definitely a subpar rebounder and has even been in the bottom ten in the past in this category, and to further illustrate that severe lack of athleticism, Meeks is routinely bottom twenty among SGs in making defensive plays (he was in the bottom ten this year, even). The major issues are that he's nonexistent as a shotblocker, obvious given his height, but also he doesn't really have quick reflexes, as a subpar stealer. Despite only standing at 6'4" and having subpar athleticism, he's actually seen success defending opposing starting SGs in Philadelphia. Doug Collins actually optimized his defense, as Meeks started 114 of the past 140 games he played, and he played significant enough minutes such that for the past two years, Philly ranked 3rd and 6th in defensive efficiency. Yes, a lot of that can be attributed to Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand, but Meeks more than held his own as a man-to-man "contain" defender--he's held down his man's overall efficiency, particularly in shooting the ball. His team defense is more of a mixed bag, but Meeks was highly regarded as even the best SG defender this year by 82games.com. He also plays good man-defense without fouling, having bottom ten foul rates the past two years, so he definitely has his uses here.

Meeks is a very useful player particularly for a team like the Lakers--his offensive "resourcefulness", comprised of staying out of the way until he can spot up for threes, is pretty much what the doctor ordered. The Lakers need shooters, and they don't need ballhoggers: Meeks fits the bill on both fronts, and that's all he'll be required to do to keep defenses honest. His side attribute of foul drawing is a side wrinkle that also puts him in better regard compared to most shooters. His inability or unwillingness to dribble or pass is completely neutraized with the Lakers. On defense, he's undersized, unathletic, lacks reflexes and has a mixed bag in team defense, which one might immediately equate to being a defensive liability, but Doug Collins really appeared to "coach" him up and make him quite a good man-to-man defender. He's definitely a tougher than he looks sort of player, and his defense might be surprisingly good, even though in the aggregate he appears above average, given the tools and team defense. But unlike past Lakers like Jason Kapono and others, he shouldn't be benched for being a defensive liability, and he could be a plus in this area. Meeks ultimately has a threes+defense attribute going on, and might be an interesting cog player off the bench.
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby lakersyunowin on Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:54 pm

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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby Weezy on Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:14 pm

I always enjoy these reports, thanks. All Dwight's needs to really read though is "really damn good" lol. :mhihi:
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby jbiggs on Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:32 pm

i would love to see earl clark and duhon too...i wanna learn more about these lesser known players
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby XXIV on Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:53 pm

Thanks for writing these scouting reports, they're always an interesting and insightful read. I look forward to reading one on Clark and Duhon. :man1:
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby rydjorker121 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:53 pm

Earl Clark:
Position: PF
Height: 6’10”
Weight: 225
Age: 24
Contract: $1,240,000 (’12-13)
Nickname: N/A
Years With Team: 0
Years With League: 3
Previous Teams: Phoenix, Orlando
Acquired: Four-way trade involving Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson, Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Christian Eyenga, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Andre Iguodala, Chris Duhon, Dwight Howard and four future 1st round picks (August '12)
Spoiler:
Strengths: Shotblocking foundation/length
Weaknesses: Very bad foundation for offense, Can't finish around rim/gets shot blocked, Soft and takes a ton of mid-range bricks, Very poor shooter, Nondescript passer/loose handles, Progressively foul prone on defense, Bad team defender, Subpar rebounder


Defensively, Clark, in the grand scheme of the Lakers, ranks as a slightly above average defender, and accounting for team noise (the high end), he likely is between 81st and 126th in defense, out of 270 NBA players. He's had a few troubles defending shots around no-man's land. But with Clark in particular, there's a lot of promise because he leads the Lakers in what hotspot defenses. Clark is by and large pretty average everywhere else, but he excels at defending perimeter shots--he's the Lakers' best at defending mid-range J's and corner threes, showing that he can step out and contest with his length. So there's a lot of potential defensively with him in particular. Moreover, Clark's an excellent defensive rebounder (5th among SFs) and an excellent shotblocker (8th), although he's only 28th in total defensive playmaking. Still, the cut above defense with excellent rebounding and shotblocking is a great foundation to build off of, especially given his age.

On offense, Clark is somewhat low usage (42nd out of 70 small forwards), and acts as a hybrid who has as many shots set up for him as he takes off his own dribble. He has two major spots--mid-range (10th out of 70), and at the rim (16th out of 70). Clark's slashing isn't robust because it lacks major foul drawing, slashing his effectiveness by half (31st out of 70), and he's only a relatively decent finisher around the rim (34th out of 70). Still, he's an excellent offensive rebounder (7th out of 70 SFs). However, where he's making his money is that he's money from spot-up mid-range J's (14th out of 70). Clark is limited in usage because he is a poor ballhandler and a poor passer (51st out of 70 small forwards).

Clark excels because he's excellent at taking and mid-range J's, and he also can defend jumpers very well in general, and goes for both offensive and defensive boards at an excellent rate, which further optimizes his offense and defense. Essentially, he's able to make plays on both ends of the court without having the ball in his hands, a trait valued in all key cog players.

Spoiler:
Clark by and large has played the majority of his minutes at power forward, although he's had some test runs at small forward as coaches still believe he's the versatile hybrid forward he was billed as during the draft (he was a lottery pick back in 2009). Clark's still somewhat of an unknown quantity, having never played more than 12.4 minutes a game, but not really doing anything more to really justify more minutes either.

Clark is absolutely atrocious on offense. He's actually experimented with high usage rates especially for a bit player, but he uses the majority of them to chuck up blanks--he's had bottom three-type TS% among PFs in two of his three seasons. He couples this with slightly subpar court vision and a somewhat loose handle, but really it's the inefficient chucking that's hurting him. Clark does play around the rim, but he really struggles to finish around the basket, even off cuts--he's been at the bottom ten in finishing ability among PFs. He has a nagging tendency to get his shot swatted--he was in the top twelve in shots swatted against this year, and that continues a trend from previous years. He's just soft around the basket--he's a subpar offensive rebounder, and also a bit subpar at foul drawing as well. Also, it really hurts Clark that he doesn't have a game within 3-9 feet to optimize his paint game--he virtually never uses it.

But where Clark really hurts himself? He must have fed into the delusions that scouts have fed him about being "versatile", because he's taking an exorbitant amount of mid-range jumpers. EXORBITANT. In his rookie year alone, over half of his shots came from that distance, and this season with Orlando 45% of his shots came from there--the average PF takes 28% of their shots as mid-range J's. But Clark is a subpar mid-range shooter, and at times very subpar, despite taking the majority of them in spot-up situations. To wit, he shot 27% on his mid-range J's this season, on a huge number of attempts. He's a career 66.1% free throw shooter and has been in the low 70s for some seasons, so his jumper, at best, will be on the mediocre side. But right now, it's awful, and he's really hurting his team by firing up mid-range blanks whenever he gets the ball. His offensive +/- numbers the past two years in Orlando were absolutely atrocious, and he was playing against backups. There's a ton of work he needs to improve on, both on a personal and team standpoint, with regards to his offensive game.

The reality is, I can't see Clark ever being much of an offensive player. He lacks three point range and can't draw fouls, and these are the two easiest elements to generate points. He has an obsession with a shot that has the least value, and based on his current results and free throw percentage, there's little hope he can improve it significantly. He's also soft and can't finish around the basket. His passing, hyped up in college, is overstated and subpar, and he can get sloppy with the ball. There's no real strength to draw on, and that doesn't bode well for him. He's really a tweener on offense--not good enough to space the floor to be a SF, too soft as a PF. I really question whether he can figure it out. To his credit, he severely reduced his usage rate this year, but even that was a bad decision--he became invisible. It might be better to experiment with chucks rather than disappear. So he's in a bit of a precarious situation.

The thing is, all these symptoms were seen in college. Clark was extremely turnover prone and didn't pass the ball well at all in his first two years at college, and had a nonelusive offensive game that didn't see enough threes or foul drawing. His last year in college saw a precipitous dip in foul drawing, so that should have been a warning sign. And of course, he couldn't shoot--he shot between 59-64% from the line, and had seasons of 22% and 32% from three. He already looked like a wreck offensively in college, and we had three years of data to validate it. So it's no surprise that he can't produce offensively in the NBA, particularly given the step up in talent.

If Clark's to make a name for himself, it will have to be on defense. Clark did appear to trade off his offensive usage for more shotblocking--he was the seventh best shotblocker this year among PFs--and virtually because of that his defensive plays skyrocketed from what was once slightly subpar to quite good. He's always been an above average shotblocker for a PF, which is aided by his 7'3" wingspan immensely. But that's where his current pros on defense ends. He's a poor stealer for someone of his mobility, doesn't draw charges, and has started to become increasingly foul prone--he had a bottom ten foul rate among PFs this year, so he's just hacking as he's trying to swat away shots. I use a tool called defensive plays/foul ratio to monitor defensive discipline, and only Chris Wilcox, Samardo Samuels, Reggie Evans and Amir Johnson have worse defensive play rates and higher foul rates. Those players currently play 13-24 minutes a game, so if Clark doesn't improve on this, the likelihood is that he'll receive minutes in the teens as the upside. Needless to say he's not disciplined defensively, and for someone who will likely need to make a living defensively to stay in the league, that's a bad sign.

But that's not even the worst of it--Clark's a subpar rebounder, being slightly below average at best a defensive rebounder. It's not a surprise, once again: Clark's rebounding dipped to average at his junior year, another telltale sign. And his actual defense is awful--in man-to-man, he surrenders high scoring rates and high efficiency to backup PFs, and also is quite in the negative as well in team defense. Based on seasonal data, he appears to have more potential playing guys in man-to-man in team defense, though--in 2010-2011 he was actually decent man-to-man, but still in the aggregate his defense is poor. Ultimately, the impression Clark gives on defense is that he means well, but just doesn't have much intelligence at all--he goes for every block and won't mind hacking players, but neglects the rebound in doing so and is poor overall in defense.

There's too much to learn for him at this stage--he's 24--to the point where he probably would still be subpar in defense, but at least unlike offense, he actually has one thing--shotblocking--where he has a NBA foundation in. On offense, he's quite hopeless. Even if he semi-improves one or two things, he's still a bit NBA player, and at this stage he's becoming more "player" rather than "prospect". He could very easily be out of the league--he was vastly overrated even at the time of the draft, and while hindsight is 20/20, it's now easy to see why he isn't producing.
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby rydjorker121 on Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:07 pm

Chris Duhon:
Position: PG
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 190
Age: 29
Contract: $3,680,000 (’12-13), $3,920,000 ('13-'14)
Nickname: N/A
Years With Team: 0
Years With League: 8
Previous Teams: Chicago, New York, Orlando
Acquired: Four-way trade involving Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson, Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Christian Eyenga, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Andre Iguodala, Earl Clark, Dwight Howard and four future 1st round picks (August '12)
Spoiler:
Strengths: Shown some ability to defend backup PGs, Decent three point shooter
Weaknesses: Fades away from the limelight offensively, Becoming incredibly turnover prone, Wildly inconsistent yearly as a shooter/questionable efficiency, Overrated passer, Severely lacks athleticism/defensive playmaking, Some off the court issues/baggage, Poor rebounder, Horrible defender against starting PGs, Struggles to finish around the basket, Nonexistent mid-range game


Duhon's a slightly below average defender both on the Lakers and in the grand scheme of the league, ranking between 149th-159th out of 270 NBA players. Duhon's generally poor on most zones, but at least he actually can defend above the break three pointers quite well, and actually defends shots at or near the rim decently. Still, he has a particularly bad cold spot--PGs pull up for mid-range J's and hit them at will against him, as he's the Lakers' worst at defending that shot. He's also a poor defensive rebounder (44th out of 72 PGs) so awful in steals (62nd) and blocks (67th) that he's virtually nonexistent in defensive playmaking (68th). So between the cut below defense, the awful defensive playmaking and poor defensive rebounding really make him a net negative, easily, on this end of the floor.

Offensively, Duhon is dead last in usage rate among PGs (72 out of 72 PGs). DEAD LAST. We might as well end the scouting report offensively there, because if you're that invisible, it doesn't matter even if you have an excellent offensive game. Duhon's a spot up offensive player and an average ballhandler, but within his few possessions, is an excellent passer--2nd out of 72 PGs in assist rate. If the pass isn't there, Duhon only does one thing: camp out for spot-up threes (2nd among 72 PGs in shots taken), and literally three-quarters of his shots are from this distance. Duhon is only slightly above average in hitting them (27 out of 72 PGs). Duhon eschews every other type of shot, ranking 60th or below in the rest of the other zones.

Duhon at this stage in his career is a stopgap player, and by and large useless. He's pretty much invisible offensively and the whole aggregate on the defensive end is poor, so there's really no redeeming quality with him. He should be out of the league in a year, or two, tops.

Spoiler:
Before we start this scouting report, let's just say this about Duhon: Duhon was never a good player. Never. Not even when New York binged 36 minutes and 30 minutes a game on him from 2008-2010, while having a super fast pace (2nd and 8th) to artificially increase his in-game stats.

Duhon's offense has been a wreck the past several seasons, having deep in the negative +/- numbers on offensively. Duhon has never had the clout or athleticism to handle the ball for prolonged periods of time--this year alone, he was the 2nd worst among PGs in usage rate, and only Royal Ivey was worse. Even current Laker Steve Blake and former Laker Derek Fisher had higher usage rates. Even in his "glory" offensive days of New York, he had the sixth-seventh worst usage rates--as mentioned, the fast pace and the heavy minutes just made his numbers look better than they should have.

What's more is that Duhon is quite clumsy with the basketball--he went from quite turnover prone with the Knicks to very turnover prone the past few seasons. His low usage rate/assist rate was comparable to another set of washed up PGs, Mike Bibby and Steve Blake, but he was way more turnover prone than either (this is why Magic fans don't hold a very good opinion of him). He's never passed the ball at the level of a Jason Kidd, Jose Calderon, or even Earl Watson of this year--he's way more comparable to the aforementioned Bibby and Blake, with added turnovers--and that's disconcerting.

As a scorer, Duhon wildly oscillates in terms of efficiency, with years where he is inefficient, years where he can't hit the broad side of a barn, but also some years where he's decent, at the behest of his three point shooting. And Duhon has mostly been a three point shooter for his career--where most PGs take almost 30% of his shots as threes, Duhon wings 40-60% of his shots as threes over the past half-decade. Career-wise, he's decent (36.4%) but nothing special--he's not consistent in this, having good years and bad years in shooting. That's sort of the story of Duhon's career--you just don't know what side of Duhon you'll get, and the three point shooting comprises the bulk of his efficiency. It doesn't help that Duhon has a severely underutilized mid-range game, despite shooting a career 78.9% from the line--as a result, defenders can play him for the shot at the three point line, and considering he's only a decent shooter, defenses don't even need to respect his offense that much at all as a result.

Duhon is severely unathletic--he's only had three dunks for his career of 560 games--but in the past he's actually attacked the basket quite a bit and even had one season where he drew fouls. He's actually overzealous in slashing to the hoop--and in New York, where he attained the majority of his minutes, he's had bottom six-seven finishing ability among PGs. By and large, he's a below average as a finisher and foul drawer, and might be losing his athleticism even further--his foul drawing and slashing rates dropped precipitously this year as he's taken greater interest into his "decent" three point game. It might be a good choice, given that his three point shooting, relatively, is better than the finishing--even if it makes him more predictable.

Overall, the offensive template for Duhon is that he's a guy who stays out of the way of the offense, but when he receives the ball, the choice has been reduced from slashing bricks in favor of what is just a decent three point shot, or more likely, a turnover. Duhon either needs to be a supreme passer or a excellent shooter (think 40% from three), to justify the incredibly low usage rate, but he isn't: instead, he magnifies it with turnovers as well. He needs to keep things simple, but if he can't, it's way easier to get a three point shooter who limits turnovers from a D-League contract, which provides more offensive value than what Duhon is currently doing. That's why he's an incredibly frustrating player on offense, and why he's rendered useless on most nights.

Duhon once did carry a defensive rep in college and also in his first several seasons in Chicago, and while Mike D'Antoni never did coach defense in NYK, he's definitely responsible for the 23rd and 27th worst defenses that he was a part of in 2008-10. Moreover, he made those defenses worse--in man-to-man, he surrendered high scoring rates and field goal percentage to opposing PGs, and made a very bad defensive team even worse by playing team defense in the negative. But it's a tale of two defenses for Duhon: he actually put up pretty good man-to-man and team defensive stats against backup PGs the last two years, or the past 114 games in Orlando, so there's recent history of some success here. Also, in his rookie year, Chicago was the 2nd best defensive team and he had positive team defensive markers. One wonders if he's capable on defense against backups, but awful against starters. In the aggregate, he probably rounds up as a mediocre defender, but awfully polarizing depending on the situation.

To further illustrate Duhon's lack of athleticism, he's always been a subpar rebounder and he's always routinely in the bottom ten among PGs in defensive playmaking. He's deficient in forcing steals and getting blocks, and relatively average at drawing charges. He isn't foul prone, however, but overall the template is that he's a mediocre defender who really struggles against starting PGs, and he's further sunk by his athletic deficiencies on this end. For a player so awful on offense, his poor athleticism and mediocre defense don't even come close to cutting it at all. If it weren't for some of the name-cache he gained as starter of the Knicks, he really should be out-of-the-league material.

On top of that, Duhon doesn't have the best personality teamwise--he has missed practices, clashed with coaches, and seems to enjoy the nightlife a lot (in Los Angeles, this problem will only be exacerbated). He doesn't seem to be a veteran-type leader who could infuse his knowledge to other PGs, especially since he was not too talented or intelligent as a PG to begin with, along with the off-the-court shenanigans. So again, the fact that fans have sometimes called him "the worst PG in the league"--they might have a point.
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby KareemTheGreat33 on Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:30 pm

Duhon's scouting report depresses me. Wow
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby rydjorker121 on Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:22 pm

I'm just not high on Duhon at all. I was gonna mention that he plays like he's 39 rather than 29, but that's just an insult. I think we can get better value off 10-day contracts, actually.
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby KareemTheGreat33 on Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:28 pm

Otis just sucked as a General Manager and one of the main reasons Dwight wanted out. How can you give Duhon 3M+ per..he probably won't last as an "import" here in our local league.
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby therealdeal on Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:29 pm

rydjorker121 wrote:I'm just not high on Duhon at all. I was gonna mention that he plays like he's 39 rather than 29, but that's just an insult. I think we can get better value off 10-day contracts, actually.

You've got to take the bad with the good. I feel like he's going to be gone whenever the Lakers can make it happen.
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby rydjorker121 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:32 pm

Updated Darius Morris. Go to the original post to access it :jam2:
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby revgen on Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:40 pm

Looking at the college video again, I can see why Morris thrived in college. Most of his assists were run n' gun assists. The NBA game is slower, which forces him into half-court situations which aren't his strength, and when transition opportunities are available, NBA defenses are much better in transition. This is another case where college numbers don't translate well into the NBA.
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby rydjorker121 on Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:51 pm

I've updated Pau's, Kobe's, Darius Morris's, Jodie Meeks's and Earl Clark's profiles. Check them out--they're more to the point now :jam2:
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby revgen on Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:41 pm

Thx Rydjorker.
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby rydjorker121 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:23 pm

Check out every scouting report of every single Laker this season (with the exception of Devin Ebanks)--everything's updated and at most, three paragraphs. :jam2:
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby therealdeal on Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:31 pm

It's just incredible how much my opinion of Clark has changed. He's showing things here with consistency that he's not shown anywhere else at any other time.

Really remarkable how much he's grown.
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby rydjorker121 on Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:45 pm

Ryan Kelly:
Position: PF
Height: 6' 11”
Weight: 228
Age: 22
Contract: N/A
Nickname: N/A
Years With Team: 0
Years With League: 0
Previous Teams: N/A
Acquired: 2013 NBA Draft (#48)

Kelly is an excellent offensive player. 80% of Kelly's shots are jumpers, with a roughly even split between mid-range J's and threes. He's extremely adept at hitting mid-range jumpers (43.8%), with only twelve PFs being better at this area. He alternates between spot-ups and pull-ups, with equal proportions from short and long mid-range areas. Kelly's pull-ups are fun to watch, because through a large chunk of the season he has been using a pump fake from three point land to allow defenders to fly by and he moves in a step. The irony is that Kelly's spot-up threes is not really that respectable at this stage, at 33.8% so far. But perhaps what is even more incredible than that? Kelly's free throw rate. For someone who virtually doesn't do anything at the rim, Kelly has a major knack of drawing fouls on his jumpers, by jumping into defenders falling for his pump fakes: he's already been fouled on three point attempts five times this season, and has been fouled on a slew of his pull-ups. Kelly's free throw rate is insanely high and only trails Xavier Henry Laker-wide; for instance, he even has a higher rate than Jordan Hill despite playing having nearly 5 times fewer shots at the rim. That is insane, especially for a rookie to get the benefit of the doubt on those calls, but that's a continuation of what he did in Duke as well. It also helps that he is a good free throw shooter (81%) to cash in on all these foul draws.

That being said, Kelly is completely unathletic and plays an old man's game--he's in the bottom third of all PFs in dunk rate, at 2.2%. Only five PFs have put up worse offensive rebound rates, and only two get fewer tip-ins; most of them are well over 30 years old, which shows how damning his lack of athleticism really is, especially considering that he's a near 7-foot 22 year old. He's also well into the bottom third in attempting layups, but even worse, he can't hit them: at 46.2%, only 8 PFs have put up worse conversion rates there. In other words, he's a complete non-entity around the rim.

The other correctable issue: three point shooting. So far, Kelly's built himself up as a complete mid-range wonk, excelling in making shots and drawing fouls in that area. But considering that his severe athletic limitations will always stymie his at-rim game (and defense, as discussed below), it is absolutely prudent for him to develop his three point shooting. He's already taking quite a few, but the accuracy is lagging behind right now. As mentioned, he's a good foul shooter now and through college, and his translated three point numbers in college paint him to be at least a pretty good long range shooter, so it should come in time, and hopefully by next season. At this stage it looks like he doesn't have quite the core strength to take those longer shots, which is why building his body to adjust to that shot might be key.

Still the ability to draw fouls on all sorts of jumpers, and passing ability and the ability to limit turnovers in the top third of PFs, Kelly's a "smart player", as D'Antoni called when he promoted Kelly to the starting lineup. Even with simply the threat of the three point shot, Kelly was 27th out of 430 NBA players in position-adjusted offensive RPM, due in large part to his varied mid-range accuracy, ability to draw fouls on jumpers and ability to pass the ball. That is an excellent mark for anyone, much less a rookie. Imagine once that three point shot (inevitably) becomes respectable, given those college percentages; that offensive impact could further skyrocket. There is a lot of potential to work with here, even in spite of his lack of athleticism, as a shooter with other intrinsic smarts can fill a role in virtually any time in the league.

It's a completely different story on defense. There is only virtue so far, if that: Kelly contests shots well against opposing PFs. And to get to the neutral, he is an OK shotblocker by position. But that's where it all ends: he's well into the bottom third of PFs in steal rate, but more importantly, he's a major hack on defense. That is his bane, along with his major inability to rack up rebounds, as only six power forwards corral the defensive boards worse than he does. On actual defense, he gets massacred every which way: 1) he gets rocked in rebounding (-4.5), giving up a ton of second chance opportunities. 2) He gives opponents easy points by putting them on the charity stripe while getting himself in foul trouble. 3) Opponents call for the ball against Kelly and put up an absolutely large scoring rate against him (26.6/48 mins). 4) He makes every opposing power forward a gifted passer in addition to their scoring exploits. People will always allocate the "he's a rookie" excuse on him, but they don't come with so many weaknesses on so many fronts quite like this. Kelly's lack of strength, coordination and toughness are innate traits, and so his lack of rebounding and resorting to fouling is also innate. Not surprisingly, the Lakers are a net negative defensively with him on the court, and defensive RPM paints the same: at 368th out of 435 NBA players, that is just atrocious.

There might be one hope: he might be suited defending small forwards far better than he does PFs. He's only played a few minutes there, but with these larger lineups, he's a neutral in rebounding and he has contested/blocked shots even better. The problem is that he's not suited for offense playing at the three, where he hasn't shot well, has had more turnovers and in general has been far more passive. That's the balancing act with lineup configurations, and Kelly hasn't found a way to be stop the hemorrhaging on one end playing either forward position.

Overall, Kelly has massive limitations he'll virtually never be able to correct: he might have bottom-five athleticism, strength and coordination for his position, which manifests in virtually zero at-rim game, lack of rebounding and in general, lack of defense. He exacerbates the problems of an already bad defense and rebounding outfit. Kelly's such an awful rebounder and defender that he really, really, really needs to be paired up with a great rebounder/defender, or good rebounders/defenders by every other position, to compensate. That is an awful lot to ask of for most teams, and that is why athleticism is incredibly important in this league. Still, his offense is already elite for a rookie, as his current "smart" mid-range shooting, foul drawing and some passing gameframe is a very unique one especially for his size, much less for a rookie. Already, his ability to really do anything at the mid-range (hit shots, pump fake, draw fouls) is very, very fun to watch. That offense should improve as he's expected to develop a more reliable three pointer in subsequent years. Of note is that Kelly suffered a foot injury at Duke and had surgery during the offseason, so there could be slight injury concerns as well.

Spoiler:
On offense, Kelly's biggest problem as a rookie is just sheer invisibility--he's in the lower crust of PFs in usage rate, and many of the power forwards around him are old defense-specializing veterans or castoffs with one foot out the door. But over the past several games, Kelly has started to gain more confidence: his usage rate has climbed up as Kelly has now incorporated the pump fake from three and spot into the mid-range game aspect into his arsenal: that was not seen a dozen games in, but now, those shots now make up nearly a quarter of his offense, and he's shooting a cool 75% on long mid-range J's, jibing with what was also a decent mid-range game in college. That has also opened up his passing game: after starting slow in that area, Kelly is now near the top third in assist rate, not surprising considering he was a decent passer throughout college. Kelly's at-rim attempts evaporated in his last year at Duke, and while he still does not slash much as only a fifth of his attempts are at the rim, he's a good finisher, although translated college play suggest that could taper off. Perhaps most interestingly, for someone who does not see rim all that much, Kelly is an expert at drawing fouls, even on jumpers, and this is a continuation of what he did in college. He's just very savvy in this area despite his limited athleticism, getting over a free throw per field goal attempt, and considering he's absolute money from the line (88% so far), he's playing this extremely smartly.

There are limitations: Kelly does not appear to have any real ability to shoot from the sides, not only in very close range pull-ups but also with corner threes. Kelly's three point shooting adjustment is not quite there, at a shade below 30%; he should eventually find the range, as his translated college play suggests he's a good shooter, at the very least. But for now, he's struggling from his favorite three point shots at the wings, and what is somewhat hilarious is that as of this time, opponents are biting on those shots and giving Kelly the opportunity to move to pull-up for his much more comfortable mid-range jumper at this stage. As defenses realize Kelly's not hitting the threes for now, he won't have those opportunities. Kelly's possibly more of a mid-range jumpshooting foul drawer than a three point shooter, and he's really tapped into that part of his offense, particularly to open up his passing game as well. He fits well within Laker schemes, because on offense, the Lakers are over 6 points better on offense with him on the floor, particuarly in Kendall Marshall-helmed lineups.

On defense, let's start with the positives: Kelly does have a defensive rating in the upper crust of Lakers players, largely due to his ability to contest jumpers, and goad opposing players into taking them. He's a net gain of nearly one percent when he is on the floor, in terms of holding down the effective shooting percentage of the opposition, and per 82games.com opposing power forwards struggle to carry a good shooting efficiency in man-to-man matchups. This is mostly on the throes of his ability to defend two pointers, as opponents shoot nearly two percentage points worse when he is on the court, and mostly with mid-range shots: opponents shoot nearly five percentage points worse there, per nbawowy. This is verified by nba.com stats, as only two Lakers guard mid-range jumpers better than Kelly does. Kelly also does a fair job guarding above the break threes. Per nbawowy, Kelly's on-court presence appears to warp the floor such that opponents take fewer layups and take more three pointers and slightly more mid-range jumpers, which has helped with holding down those shooting efficiencies a bit.

With the negatives, there are just a lot of them. Physically, Kelly is outclassed--while nearly 7-feet, he's noticeably lacking strength and athleticism to battle with opposing power forwards, but also possessing awkward coordination and slow feet in rotating out to smaller players, which has led to a bloom of fouls early on this season. His most severe weakness is defensive rebounding: ONLY one PF has a worse defensive rebound rate than Kelly, continuing a very poor rebounding trend that started in college. The Lakers are an absolutely pathetic rebounding outfit and Kelly really exacerbates the matter, as he gets outrebounded by his matchup frequently. Kelly did block shots and draw charges in college, but so far has shown none of that, and in particular is really lacking in defensive playmaking. Per nbawowy, Kelly is awful at defending the high percentage shot zones--opponents shoot over six percent better on layups when he is on the court, and over a percent better on three pointers. Opponents also shoot over four percent better on hook shots in Kelly's presence. These are facts verified by nba.com stats, where only two Lakers allow a worse at-rim percentage, and only two Lakers are caught napping more on corner three pointers, which offsets Kelly's ability to guard other forms of threes. Per 82games, he has been a minus in both man and team defense. As mentioned, he contests jumpers well in man-to-man situations, but opposing bigs still score in volume and pass well against him, and can score if they play at the rim. Kelly has placed most of his minutes next to Jordan Hill who can cover up for Kelly's rebounding weakness, but those lineups absolutely got scorched defensively.

Kelly has had foot problems since his senior year at Duke and had foot surgery in the offseason, so there are injury concerns. His game is not predicated on athleticism, so it should not affect his game too much. Overall, on offense, he's been highly effective within the system as a mid-range pull-up type who can draw fouls and pass the ball, and on defense, being able to warp the field towards jumpers while contesting them well is a good trait to have in combination with his skills. On offense, he can become more of a stretch four by definitely improving his three point shot, which his history suggests he should be able to. His major of lack of rebounding, athleticism, and overall, but particular off-ball and at-rim defense are a bit worrisome and will definitely limit the extent of his effectiveness, but he has a very interesting framework of game that can fit seamlessly into most systems, and his limitations can be hidden with the proper lineups.

Spoiler:
On offense, Kelly's biggest problem as a rookie is just sheer invisibility--he's currently 61st out of 79 PFs in usage rate, and many of the power forwards around him are old defense-specializing veterans or castoffs with one foot out the door. Kelly is certainly not the former but could be the latter if this keeps up. Kelly has also been a poor in the assist department: he's 59th there. A part of the low usage stems from the fact that his offense is very basic: Kelly's hot zones are all facing the basket, showing good finishing ability in his rare ventures at rim, but also doing well shooting threes from the wings. He hasn't shown much of a mid-range game or any real ability to shoot from the sides, which include the shorter corner threes. Still, as with in college, he's doing a good job drawing fouls despite his limited athleticism, and it's possible that he is more of a mid-range shooter who can draw fouls than he is a long range shooter. Kelly is probably one of the worst athletes in the league even at his young age--he virtually never took shots at the rim last season in college, and rarely ever dunks, so it's within expectation that his finishing this season might taper off. Really, the biggest problem is that he's just very idle on offense, preferring to let teammates play 4-on-5, but he could also firm up his three point zones and to tap into the threes+foul drawing aspect beneath the cracks. He's figured out how to play in schemes well--the Lakers are over 9 points better on offense with him on the floor, particuarly in Kendall Marshall-helmed lineups.

On defense, let's start with the positives: Kelly does have a defensive rating in the upper crust of Lakers players, largely due to his ability to contest jumpers, and goad opposing players into taking them. He's a net gain of nearly one percent when he is on the floor, in terms of holding down the effective shooting percentage of the opposition, and per 82games.com opposing power forwards struggle to carry a good shooting efficiency in man-to-man matchups. This is mostly on the throes of his ability to defend two pointers, as opponents shoot nearly two percentage points worse when he is on the court, and mostly with mid-range shots: opponents shoot nearly five percentage points worse there, per nbawowy. This is verified by nba.com stats, as only two Lakers guard mid-range jumpers better than Kelly does. Kelly also does a fair job guarding above the break threes. Per nbawowy, Kelly's on-court presence appears to warp the floor such that opponents take fewer layups and take more three pointers and slightly more mid-range jumpers, which has helped with holding down those shooting efficiencies a bit.

With the negatives, there are just a lot of them. Physically, Kelly is outclassed--while nearly 7-feet, he's noticeably lacking strength and athleticism to battle with opposing power forwards, but also possessing awkward coordination and slow feet in rotating out to smaller players, which has led to a bloom of fouls early on this season. His most severe weakness is defensive rebounding: ONLY one PF has a worse defensive rebound rate than Kelly, continuing a very poor rebounding trend that started in college. The Lakers are an absolutely pathetic rebounding outfit and Kelly really exacerbates the matter, as he gets outrebounded by his matchup frequently. Kelly did block shots and draw charges in college, but so far has shown none of that, and in particular is really lacking in defensive playmaking. Per nbawowy, Kelly is awful at defending the high percentage shot zones--opponents shoot over six percent better on layups when he is on the court, and over a percent better on three pointers. Opponents also shoot over four percent better on hook shots in Kelly's presence. These are facts verified by nba.com stats, where only two Lakers allow a worse at-rim percentage, and only two Lakers are caught napping more on corner three pointers, which offsets Kelly's ability to guard other forms of threes. Per 82games, he has been a minus in both man and team defense. As mentioned, he contests jumpers well in man-to-man situations, but opposing bigs still score in volume and pass well against him, and can score if they play at the rim. Kelly has placed most of his minutes next to Jordan Hill who can cover up for Kelly's rebounding weakness, but those lineups absolutely got scorched defensively.

Kelly has had foot problems since his senior year at Duke and had foot surgery in the offseason, so there are injury concerns. His game is not predicated on athleticism, so it should not affect his game too much. Overall, he can adapt as a stretch four with some side ability to draw fouls, and has shown signs of adapting to systems offensively. But, on an individual level, he needs to stop being so invisible and firm up his three point shooting zones, because with negative defense and very negative rebounding and athleticism he's out of the league material. He's a situational spot up that might end up being a bit player anyway due to his severe weaknesses, but asserting himself on offense is the only way to get a fighting chance.


Spoiler:
--Inclined spot-up jumpshooter with a good use of the offensive floor. Passes the ball decently for his size, and also limits turnovers.
--Subpar scorer in the NBA with somewhat of a low usage. Good mid-range jumpshooter who is better with his feet set but can create a few shots from there (44% this season, 40% in his second year) and equally adept at spot up threes (42%, 41%), corroborated by good free throw shooting. Incredibly declining rate of at-rim shots to the point where he virtually didn't take any this past season, which might be due to his lingering injuries. However, has developed a real knack for drawing fouls even with the jumpers.
--Decent defender with very good defensive playmaking ability, particularly in shotblocking. Very poor rebounder for size. Top notch build for an NBA PF. Has a lot of intriguing qualities--a really good shooter who can pass the ball and limit turnovers with some defense, but he might lack the athleticism between the at-rim and rebounding game to take it up another notch. Injury concerns.


Spoiler:
Offensively, Kelly is potent, shooting over 40% from three in his last two seasons but also shooting over 80% from the stripe in his last three seasons at Duke. Clearly there's sharpshooting potential, but there's a possibility that he's more of a good than great shooter, based on his early years at Duke, but still, he should be at least a good shooter in this league. And Kelly's not just a shooter--he actually diversifies his offense (7th out of 58 PFs in the draft) and will slash to the basket as well. In the past two years, Kelly really started drawing fouls, and in his senior year, only one other PF took more threes relative to his free throw rate. This more than makes up for his subpar ability to score inside the stripe on non-foul drawing situations, and his nonexistent offensive rebounding ability. On top of that, Kelly is an excellent passer for his position and never really forces the issue, avoiding turnovers--in fact, his ballhandling/passing rating is nearly on par with many NBA small forwards. Between the good/great shooting, ability to draw fouls, and pass the ball, all in a very good frame for his position--7 feet tall really earns him major points--there's a lot to like here.

Defensively, Kelly makes plays pretty well, both in terms of laying low for steals and blocking shots, compared to other power forwards, but he'll also pick up a fair share of fouls in the process. He also draws charges, something that's more rare in the college game, and shows his fundamental defensive abilities. He's reasonable again in clearing the defensive boards. Being on the plus end for both bodes well for his adjustment in this area in the league. Also, Kelly made major defensive strides this year, as seen from this article by Eamonn Brennan--when Kelly went down, Duke's net defensive efficiency rating went down significantly, from 82.4 points per game allowed to 95.7. In addition, Kelly ranked third in the nation in points per play allowed, at 0.53, putting him in very good company with Phil Pressey, Jamaal Franklin and Archie Goodwin. So in addition to some of the defensive playmaking sizzle, there's also the steak--team impact--to back him up. In addition, it helps that he is very tall--7 feet--so while he has a poor wingspan, he has a very good standing reach as far as PFs go. So defensively he might be very underrated.

Of course there are concerns with Kelly, otherwise he wouldn't have dropped this low in the draft. In the grand scheme, Kelly's a poor rebounder for his position, and particularly for his height, and as mentioned doesn't finish within the paint well when he can't draw fouls. Also, I've done a study showing that while Duke produces a ton of NBA prospects, they produce very averaged-value NBA prospects. There are very few super role players or stars out of that program, but to his credit Kelly rated as one of the better Duke prospects. Kelly's "lack of athleticism" complaint is overblown, since he packs in a lot of athletic marker numbers that even some of the "athletes" don't do, and that tends to carry more weight in the league. One of the greatest concerns with Kelly is his conditioning--he has about 15% body fat--and some injury proneness. Kelly recently had foot surgery and Laker GM Mitch Kupchak says he will not play in the summer league. While he's never really missed many games before his senior year, he did miss thirteen games this season, so there's some alarm on that front. Kelly's game isn't really predicated on athleticism, however, and height and athleticism are the two biggest factors for career longevity, so Kelly should be fine.

Kelly actually rated incredibly well in my draft rater for NBA viability--for reference, in past seasons, I've had Devin Ebanks 28th, Andrew Goudelock 46th, Darius Morris 50th and Robert Sacre 59th. Not surprisingly, many of those players have had trouble getting minutes in the league. Ryan Kelly ranked 9th. Yes...in terms of NBA-translatable skills, as delineated above, I thought he was the 9th best. There are a lot of areas--defense, passing, shooting, foul drawing--that Kelly does at a good level, and he's a legitimate 7-foot power forward, so despite spending four years in college there's a lot of NBA-translatable intrigue here, particularly if he could put his shooting at the forefront. How what was perceived as "very good college defense" in particular will be interesting to watch, in terms of whether it can translate to the NBA.

In terms of comparisons, many have been throwing around Ryan Anderson, but they're somewhat different--Anderson is a better shooter, scorer and rebounder, while Kelly is significantly better as a passer and playing defense/making defensive plays. If anything, Kelly's unique, kind of like a trio hybrid of a Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson and a Jonathan Bender, having similar skill attributes to all three. Assuming he can overcome his injuries, Kelly seems to have the skills needed to succeed in the NBA, and could carve himself out to be a unique player.
Last edited by rydjorker121 on Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:50 am, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby Barnstable on Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:06 pm

Great write up on Kelly Rydjorker. This is exactly what I wanted to know. I couldn't understand how a player so many people were raving about could fall so low in the draft, and you put it as succinctly as always :jam2:
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby revgen on Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:14 pm

Rydjorker wrote:Ryan Kelly ranked 9th. Yes...in terms of NBA-translatable skills, as delineated above, I thought he was the 9th best.


Thx for the update Rydjorker.

I hope Kelly really is as good as you say. The Lakers have done a pretty good job in recent years of snatching up underrated bigs in the 2nd round.
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby KareemTheGreat33 on Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:18 pm

High hopes... hopefully he becomes productive as a rookie.
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Re: Laker Scouting Reports

Postby rydjorker121 on Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:21 pm

Summer league:

My rankings of players in our summer league (pre-games):
1) Ryan Kelly (out with injury)
2) Lester Hudson
3) Elias Harris
4) Souleyman Diabate
5) Ian Hummer
6) Chris Douglas-Roberts
7) Michael Snaer
8) Marcus Landry
9) Drew Viney
10) Robert Sacre
11) DJ Seeley
12) Jordan Williams
13) Lazar Hayward
14) Mitchell Watt
15) Josh Selby
16) Kenny Boynton
17) Travis Hyman
18) Renaldo Woolridge





Players who have played in the NBA before: (top-->bottom is my order of preference)

Lester Hudson (6'1" 196 lb SG)
I'll ignore Hudson's flotsam of garbage time minutes in his first two and a half seasons in the league and focus on that half season where he played 13 games and actually got 24 minutes a game with the Cavs. Hudson is an incredibly high volume creator whose entire offensive game that entire season was predicated on runners (7th out of 62 SGs), slashing (25th) and threes (29th), but he's an average passer and is quite turnover prone in doing so. Hudson was really good at finishing around the basket that season and decent at hitting runners, although considering his frequency of slashing he didn't draw fouls that well. He also shot awfully from three, and took enough that it really hurt his efficiency. Defensively, Hudson looks like he has major potential--he was a very good defensive rebounder at Cleveland, and throughout is NBA career has always been well above the norm as a stealer and even a shotblocker, despite standing only 6'1". He particularly excels at team defense but seems decent at man D as well. However, he'll need to be crossmatched--SG on offense, PG on defense. While at 28 years old, most teams start to have their qualms about athletic slashing undersized shooting guards who can't shoot and are turnover prone, I think that Hudson's ability to create for himself and score within a 10 foot radius of the basket, as well as what looks to be very good defense and rebounding, can eke him a place in this league. In addition, Hudson's always almost shot in the mid to high 80s from the stripe in every stop, even dating back all the way to college, and he even shot 91% from the stripe in the D-League--so there's clearly shooting potential there, not to mention he took a lot of threes and hit 43% of them this past season in the D-League. So he might be an athletic slasher who can actually shoot the ball in terms of side potential, and can really D up. There's some potential as a 28 year old version of Patrick Beverley, particular if his only problem is the fact that he's a undersized, turnover prone SG.

Chris Douglas-Roberts (6'7" 200 lb SF)
Douglas-Roberts' three years in the league playing major minutes saw a very crafty shot distribution at every zone inside the paint, which makes him somewhat interesting: he took a ton of shots at the rim (10th-25th out of 70 SFs), runners (9th-25th), no-man's land (9th-29th) and mid-range J's (15th-25th), and pretty much avoided threes. The problem is he's a very mixed bag in his effectiveness in these zones and unfortunately excels at some of the more lower percentage shots, which doesn't help his efficiency. For instance, while Douglas-Roberts slashes and draws fouls, he doesn't finish well and really has a tendency of getting rejected at the rim. He takes too many shots from no man's land and shoots poorly from there. What he does have is a decent runner game and a surprisingly good mid-range shot, and what gives further hope is that he even shot 82%, 85%, and 83% from the stripe, a marked improvement from his college days. Douglas-Roberts displayed some passing ability, but had issues with turnovers and as was the case in college, was a pathetic rebounder and defensive playmaker. Defensively, Douglas-Roberts just appears nondescript man-to-man and on team defense. Douglas-Roberts' biggest problem is that while he's crafty and tough, he simply lacks athleticism--he doesn't finish well, gets blocked often, switched his shot selection to more runners than at-rim attempts his last year in the league, doesn't rebound and doesn't make defensive plays. Lacking three point range and being turnover prone doesn't help the cause either, and his nondescript defense doesn't do him any favors. He pretty much did the same thing in the D-League this past season as well. At 26 years old, this is who he is. Interesting player, but probably more for the European game.

Marcus Landry (6'8" 219 lb SF)
Landry, the brother of Golden State PF Carl Landry, appears to have re-made his game into a Cartier Martin redux, so there's minimal upside here. In college, he was an offensive rebounding mid-range binger with what looked to be between poor to OK shooting ability, at best, with average finishing, rebounding, ballhandling and passing ability. He had slight shotblocking ability, but was modest in his defensive numbers while being a foul prone hack. Apparently a scout told him the memo to modify his game to have an NBA-specific skill instead of being a master of none type, because in the D-League, he significantly changed up his shot selection to start binging on spot-up threes. Between 2009-2012, between three D-League teams and a stint at the ACB, he made at least 2.5 threes per game between 38% and 43% three point shooting--in fact, his last stint at the D-League saw him make 3.9 (!!!) threes a game. In doing so, however, he's completely lost the essences his game once had a sliver of--his free throw rate, inside finishing ability, offensive rebound rate, and rebound rate have all completely evaporated, and he's still a bit of a hack on defense. In addition, based on his past history and his continuing mediocre free throw shooting, it's questionable whether he's really a good shooter, or just a slightly above average one. All those qualms plus his desire to be a specialist suggests that he's not really NBA quality.

Jordan Williams (6'9" 247 lb C)
Williams already had a ton of red flags out of college that indicated he was a 6'9" center--in two seasons, he didn't take a single three, he shot 52-57% from the stripe, and had the passing/ballhandling skills of a NBA center. Right on cue, in the NBA, virtually all of his shots were directly at the rim (4th of 67 PFs), which were helped with good offensive rebounding (20th) but even with that he was a subpar finisher, although he drew fouls well. While he took an occasional 10-15 foot jumper (25th), again he was a very subpar shooter from there. Not to mention he was a black hole, with zero passing. Defensively, Williams isn't a shotblocker or a good defensive rebounder, but he was surprisingly reflexive as a stealer and drew charges. Still, he was mixed--he was awful on man-to-man, but decent in team defense. Still, there's trouble--he had a very unimpressive D-League where he struggled to score inside, score in general, and defensive rebound, offsetting pluses in offensive rebounding and shotblocking. Overall, Williams is just a very undersized center with nothing on offense that's even average, including zero handles and zero jumper, and despite some reflexes and ability to rotate he doesn't play the key role as a defensive rebounder or shotblocker teams come to expect from bigs. At 22 years old he's way more for the European game.

Lazar Hayward (6'6" 226 lb SF)
Hayward's shot distribution is very nondescript, and in fact the only thing he took in high frequency were runners (9th-19th out of 70 SFs). Unfortunately, he does a terrible job of making them. Hayward draws fouls quite well for someone who doesn't get directly to the rim, and will occasionally take mid-range shots and threes, but he hits both at a subpar rate. Hayward badly tailed off his last season playing meaningful minutes in OKC, both in the rebounding and passing/ballhandling front, in particular becoming very turnover prone. Defensively, Hayward really struggles to make defensive plays and on top of that is quite foul prone, which is bad combination, but he did start to draw charges. Overall, though, he got scorched on both man and team defense. Hayward did do more things in line with what he did in college when he played in the D-League, rebounding well particularly on the offensive glass, scoring inside, hitting a few threes and looking more like a SF, but his offensive game, as it has always been, has always been completely nonelusive and mid-range heavy. Ultimately, as the NBA showed, Hayward is a bit like lotto bust Joey Graham--a tweener on offense, a tweener on defense, and a complete identity crisis and really no viable skill--in fact, a lot, such as ballhandling, defense, long range shooting and finishing, all appear to be weaknesses. At 26, doesn't look like much will change from here on out.

Josh Selby (6'3" 195 lb SG)
Selby was a garbage-time player in two seasons in Memphis, and was once a lottery pick candidate before he made the foolish decision to stay in the draft after one college season. Selby used his first season to slash to the basket frequently for bricks, and even worse, struggled to draw fouls considering the frequency of his slashes and was incredibly turnover prone. He also took a lot of runners and made them well, but they're runners, and he eschewed jumpers 16 feet and beyond, more or less. In a smaller sample, the following season Selby did a switcheroo, taking more runners and bricking them, and taking and actually hitting his mid-range J's, but forgetting how to completely pass the basketball and still being turnover prone. Selby doesn't bring much in rebounding or defensive playmaking either, and his overall defense rings nondescript. The D-League saw some rebounding and passing improvements, but it confirmed the notion that he had a poor offensive setup, is an awful three point shooter and doesn't make defensive plays. He even shot 35% from the field in 11 games with Canton! So while he's only 22 years old and a 42 inch vertical, he has a complete identity crisis and nothing even remotely average on the offensive end, and not much on the defensive end. Bricked shots, turnovers, little defense, not even close to a PG. He's a reclamation project clearly not worth investing in.

Was at least on the lower dregs of my draft radar this year: (top-->bottom is my order of preference)

Elias Harris (6'7" 220 lb PF)
Harris, a German out of Gonzaga, is not even a NBA-viable player, having ranked 96th in my draft rater--which means that if there were a third round, he likely wouldn't have been drafted still. One of the biggest problems is that he's already very old, and will be 24 when the season starts, and his passing and ballhandling are at PF levels, so he's docked somewhat as an undersized PF as well. However, he's an excellent rebounder, particularly in defensive rebounding, even for a power forward, and this will be his calling card for the NBA. There's some intrigue elsewhere however--he looks what could be an OK shooter, with OK free throw shooting percentages and surprisingly, he's even shot above 40% from three for two of his four college seasons, albeit in limited attempts. He finishes inside well relative to other PFs as well. Also, he can jump, with a 38' inch vertical. However, he's largely a catch-and-shoot or catch-and-dump player with the lack of handles. Also, he seems like he'd be non-descript on defense in general--he doesn't make many defensive plays, and has nondescript end to end speed, lateral quickness and strength. Conditioning is also an issue--he's carrying a lot of excess body fat. He's really a tweener--he'll need to be crossmatched as a power forward offensively and as a SF defensively, and attempt to put his rebounding to the forefront with side finishing ability and some catch-and-shoot jumpers. His profile isn't too unlike that of Thaddeus Young's, actually. Really, his major concerns are with his undersized profile and his advanced age, but there's definite role player potential to work with here. But, given all the various hurdles, I doubt he'd overcome it, which is why he's rated so low.

Michael Snaer (6'4" 185 lb SF)
Snaer ranked 95th on my draft rater, just one step ahead of fellow summer league draftee Elias Harris. Snaer like Boynton really suffers from many fronts--three--firstly, he's quite old, and is already 23 years old. Secondly, he's also very poor at making defensive plays, not having much instincts for disruption, and really suffers as a rebounder. But the major problem, and thirdly, is that Snaer is not even close to being a shooting guard in terms of his ballhandling/passing--he just made it to small forward barely, but really his passing is arguably more in line with power forwards in the league--that's how bad he is on that front. Snaer however has a NBA-level offensive structure--he's more of a jumpshooter, but does a reasonable job drawing fouls considering that, even though he's quite awful scoring anywhere inside the three point line. He's a good but not great jumpshooter, between the three point percentages and free throw percentages he's accrued over the years. Snaer, also has a very good defensive rep in college, so likely he's a contain defender. As a 6'4" and barely a SF in terms of handles, and being anemic as a rebounder and inside scorer, he'll likely have to hope that his good (but not great) outside shooting in combination with his contain defense can eke out a DeShawn Stevenson-type existence in this league. At least there's a very niche, limited comparison, but truthfully there's so many hurdles to overcome, especially with the age in combination with the lack of ballhandling, that it's hard for him to succeed in this league.

Kenny Boynton (6'2" 187 lb SG)
Boynton ranked 72nd in my draft rater, so I expect to see him in Europe this upcoming season. He's facing severe limitations on four fronts--firstly, he's completely anemic as an athlete. He severely struggles to rebound for his position and is absolutely pathetic in the passing lanes, traits that often spell success for guards in the league. The fact that he never fouls gives the impression that he's just completely lazy on this end. Secondly, he's kind of close to combo guard territory, but he's definitely more of a SG and looking for his own shot--he was notorious for this in Florida, so he's also undersized for his position. Finally, he regressed this year, so he's likely already peaked. Boynton's offense is spread out and definitely fares better in the NBA than in college, and in fact that sort of exclusion earned him major points, but he's significantly inclined as a three point shooter, even though for a three point gunner he actually draws fouls reasonably well. The problem (and fourthly) is that he's a wild horse who loves to go down the floor for three point bricks--he's a good (but not great) shooter, based on his free throw percentages, but his undisciplined shot selection makes him look like Antoine Walker at this end, with three of his four college seasons shooting 33% or below from deep (on a large volume of attempts). And as far as either guard positions go, he's average-to-below average inside the paint, so he's far from efficient. To recap, there doesn't look to be a singular strength to capitalize on--athletically overwhelmed, jumpshooting brickster, potentially lazy defender, undersized SG, likely peaked. A lot of variables against him.

Others, likely % destined for Europe: (top-->bottom is my order of preference)

Souleyman Diabate (6'0" 165 lb PG)
Diabate, a native of the Ivory Coast, is a veteran of the French League, having played there since 2005. His offensive game is completely nonelusive and mid-range heavy, and to boot he's not much of a long range shooter--he's consistently made about a third of his threes, although there's potential with his shot, given that what was once a poor free throw shot has steadily rose 80% and even 90% in past seasons. Diabate has shown NBA PG-like passing several seasons and SG-like passing in others, so I think he's a bit of a combo guard, but there's clearly some point skills in there. Diabate also has very good ability to force turnovers. Overall, he looks very interesting to me--I'm not enthusiastic about his personal offense, but with some passing potential, defensive deflecting ability and what looks to be an improving shot, he looks like a poor man's Darren Collison from this vantage point, and at 25 years old there's some role player potential here.

Ian Hummer (6'7" 230 lb SF)
Hummer steadily developed his ballhandling/passing skills to the point that they're at relative NBA SF levels, but his lack of threes and poor free throw shooting signifies a lack of touch and range that might still make him a PF in this league. Hummer's offense is incredibly mid-range heavy and nonelusive, and he only appears to be a OK shooter/finisher inside the painted area. He's quite crafty and can gets steals and even blocks for SF levels, and again, if he can make the transition to SF, he's a good rebounder. We can to account for Princeton's weaker competition, but he can have a role as a fill-in-the-blanks type who doesn't need the ball in his hands--a few steals, a few blocks, good rebounding, improving passing/handles. If he can get the shooting to be even average it might actually open a lot of doors. He has a lot of the basic ingredients down pat for the league, and he's only 22 years old.

Drew Viney (6'8" 210 lb PF)
Viney's offensive structure in college was nondescript and featured some threes and some slashing, but given that he was a significantly better outside shooter than inside shooter (where he was very subpar), it's not surprisingly to see him start binging on those shots in the French League. In his last four significant years of playing, Viney has shot 43%, 38%, 46% and 47% on threes. However, Viney has PF ballhandling/passing abilities and SF height, so he's a real tweener, with awful rebounding ability and not much defensive playmaking. Viney did pass better at Europe, however. He's really looking at a Steve Novak upside here, but he doesn't have the height to possibly do this well enough, and he's really a Europe player all the way.

DJ Seeley (6'4" 190 lb SG)
Seeley crafted a very elusive offensive game his last two years at Cal State Fullerton that might have some translation to the NBA level, as he drew fouls and hit threes at a 43 and 42 percent clip, respectively. Still, based on his years at Berkeley and his free throw percentages, he might be more of a decent to good than a great shooter. Seeley is nondescript as a rebounder and passer and somewhat poor as a defensive playmaker, and also appears to be somewhat poor at scoring inside the arc, so clearly he's attempting to make it as an undersized shooter with some desire to step inside and hope to draw fouls. He's already 23 and appears quite limited, and with the poor competition in Fullerton, it's hard to expect much of anything.

Mitchell Watt (6'9" 229 lb PF)
Watt's a full fledged PF, with PF level handles/passing--in particular very awful handles, very few threes, and still poor, albeit improving, free throw touch. Watt has a completely predictable offense that sees little foul drawing an only average scoring efficiency inside the stripe, and is a poor rebounder who puts more effort on the offensive glass. About the only thing Watt excels is blocking shots well, but he also has reasonable stealing ability, albeit he's very foul prone in doing this. Largely, Watt has no NBA viable skill offensively and defensively, while he can block shots, his inability to stay out of foul trouble and get the boards undermines that single skill. He's 23 but like Tony Gaffney, likely way more cut out for Europe.

Travis Hyman (6'11" 235 lb C)
Hyman played 25 games for Tulsa this past season in the D-League, and displayed absolutely zero ballhandling/passing ability and zero touch (no threes attempted, 32% from the line). That almost always means that you have to be an excellent rebounder and defender to compensate. And both of them...he is not. Hyman is an absolutely pathetic rebounder, especially on the defensive glass, and in a case of DJ Mbenga syndrome, spends too much time chasing down blocks without thinking, as he's excessively foul prone and neglects to box out his man. Hyman's also incredibly lousy finishing inside. He literally has no NBA viable skills here and is just a big body for camp. At age 25, it's even questionable whether Europe likes this skillset.

Renaldo Woolridge (6'8" 208 lb PF)
Woolridge is a heavily inclined three point shooter who can't even hit college threes--in fact, his shooting might be broke, as evidenced by the fact that he never shot 60%+ from the stripe in any of his five years in college. In addition to that, he can't score inside the arc, is horrendous at making defensive plays, was a defensive hack earlier in his college career, and has oscillated between OK and awful ballhandling ability for someone with such a limited role offensively. The only thing he does OK is rebound. Clearly, he's just here because of the LA connection, because I doubt he could even find a job in Europe with this skillset.
Last edited by rydjorker121 on Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:55 pm, edited 5 times in total.
rydjorker121
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