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Prodigies: Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert

Jake Rauchbach evaluates Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert in the latest edition of the Prodigies Series.

Jake Rauchbach

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In the latest installment of the Prodigies Series, we will be evaluating Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert. Both big men have a superior level of talent but affect the game in different ways. Davis employs balanced scoring and defensive ability for the Pelicans, while Gobert is a quintessential energy guy whose defense, rebounding and high field goal percentage have been a major asset for the Jazz this season.

Davis is top ten in scoring, rebounding and blocks and is having a historic season. He was recently selected to be a starter in this year’s All-Star game, his 4th All-Star selection. Despite being snubbed from this year’s All-Star game, Gobert is having a breakout season. He is the only player in the league ranked in the top-5 in rebounds and blocks and who averages at least 12.8 points, 12.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of both Davis and Gobert.

Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

12.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 2.6 BPG, 66% FG, 66% FT:

Strengths –

Offensive End

Pick-and-Roll (Roller) – In short clock situations as the roll man in pick-and-roll (P&R) action, Gobert has been highly effective, scoring 19 points on 10 possessions, ranking him as the best player in the league in this category. Gobert has also dominated in high ball screen action, where he ranks in the 99th percentile in the league, averaging 1.5 points per possession. 62 percent of his P&R production is generated from high ball screen action. Not surprisingly, Gobert has no pick-and-pop opportunities this year and solely relies on slips and rolls to the basket out of P&Rs.

Transition – Gobert is feasting in transition, averaging 1.62 points per possession, scoring 60 points on 37 possessions. He ranks as the fourth most efficient transition scorer in the league (99th percentile). Gobert is a great rim runner and is crushing opposing defenses with his scoring efficiency running the middle of the floor.

Post Play – Gobert is also excelling in the post, where he is in the 86th percentile in scoring efficiency.  The majority share of his scoring comes from flashes to the middle, as opposed to work from the left or right block. When flashing middle, the big man likes to turn over his right shoulder, using either a drop step, hook or drive to the rim to finish.

Defensive End

Defensive Stopper – Gobert is a great post defender, currently ranking in the 86th percentile in the league and giving up on average .67 points per possession. He has allowed 69 points on 103 possessions. Gobert is the fourth best right block defender in the league (98th percentile), giving up just 14 points on 33 possessions. His length bothers the opposition and often forces players into rushed or contested shots.

Pick-and-Roll Coverage – Gobert is a stellar P&R defender when it comes to guarding the pop man. He ranks in the 95th percentile overall when defending the roll man, allowing just .56 points per possession. On pick-and-pop situations, Gobert ranks in the 93rd percentile, giving up .53 points per possession. Again, his length and ability to close space quickly on shooters allows him to effectively contest pick-and-pop bigs.

Isolation – In one-on-one defensive situations, Gobert is also highly effective, giving up just .73 points per possession, ranking him in the 75th percentile in the league. He is especially effective at deterring right side isolation play, ranking in the 90th percentile, giving up just .54 points per possession.

Weaknesses 

Offensive End

Offensive Put Backs – Gobert ranks in the 50th percentile in the league when it comes to offensive put back opportunities. Considering over one fifth of his offense possessions are generated off of put backs, improvement in this area would markedly improve his overall offensive numbers. So far this season, Gobert is averaging 1.07 points per possession, scoring 130 points on 121 possessions.

Scoring On Cuts – Gobert often struggles when utilizing cuts to free himself for opportunities at the rim. He has scored 185 points on 149 possessions off of basket cuts this season, ranking him in the 37th percentile. On flash cuts, he ranks in the 3rd percentile in the league in scoring efficiency.

Isolation Scoring – Gobert’s game is not necessarily based off of creating shots for himself or his teammates. This being said, he is posting only average isolation scoring numbers to this point in the season. He ranks in the 54th percentile in the league in isolation and will usually look to take it all the way to the basket in these situations.

Defensive End

Isolation, Hard Drive Right – It is hard to find many faults in Gobert’s defensive skill set. However, when guarding isolation situations, the big man sometimes struggles. On hard right drives, the opposition has scored 25 points on 24 possessions, ranking Gobert in the 29th percentile on this play type.

Face Up Post Moves – Another area in which Gobert could focus on improving is when his offensive opponents face him up in the post. So far this season, Gobert rates in the 11th percentile in the league in this regard, giving up 17 points on 13 possessions.

Going Under the Screen in P&R Coverage When Gobert has struggled this season when he goes under the screen while guarding the ball handler. In these situations, he is giving up 1.14 points per possession, ranking him in the 28th percentile in the league. This is not surprising as Gobert’s forte is not perimeter defense. However, in order to diversify his defensive skill set further, shoring up his P&R coverage is important.


Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

28 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 2.4 BPG, 50% FG, 79% FT, 30% 3PT

Strengths –

Offensive End

Dribble-Hand-Off – Davis ranks in the 100% percentile as the most efficient player in the league with dribble-hand-offs, averaging 1.62 points per possession. Davis finds rhythm in hand-off opportunities and mixes things up often by driving to the rim or taking mid-range pull ups.

Isolation – Davis also excels going one-on-one, averaging .96 points per possession, ranking him in the 72nd percentile in the league. He is equally effective from the right and left sides of the floor, ranking in the 79th percentile in the league in scoring efficiency from both. Davis can drive it both right and left and has been successfully getting to the middle of the lane for finishes as well as driving it baseline. This being said, Davis prefers getting to his left hand drive. He is an efficient drive and pull-up jump shooter in isolation situations.

Transition Scoring – Like Gobert below, Davis is a highly effective transition scorer. He is averaging 1.19 points on 122 possessions. This ranks him in the 66th percentile in the league. Davis’ versatile skill set allows him to run the break. As the ball handler this season, he has been superb, ranking in the 92nd percentile in the league. Davis has also scored the ball well as the trailer in transition, where he fills in for open jumpers and at times will use his momentum in transition to get downhill at the rim off-the-dribble.

Defensive End

P&R Coverage (Roller) – Davis has been effective guarding pick-and-pop screeners thus far this season, holding the opposition to .58 points per possession and ranking him in the 88th percentile in the league. When the screener has slipped to the rim, Davis has also proven effective, ranking in the 68th percentile, while limiting opposing teams to .9 points per possessions. His mobility and length allow him to close the distance to shooters on pops.

Isolation Coverage – As a one-on-one defender, Davis has been great this season. He ranks in the 65th percentile, giving up 35 points on 44 possessions. He is capable of guarding from either wing and ranks in the 82nd percentile in the league when it comes to guarding jump shooters. His length, athleticism and ability to close the distance to a shooter have helped in this regard. He also will look to contest the sight line of the shooter, further throwing off the offensive player.

Spot Up Defender – When players are spotting up within their offensive schemes, Davis has been very effective in limiting their scoring efficiency. In pure catch-and-shoot situations this season, Davis ranks in the 72nd percentile, scoring 91 points on 94 possessions. On drives to the basket, Davis has limited opponents to 26 points on 25 possessions.

Weaknesses –

Offensive End

Perimeter Shooting – As versatile as Davis has become, his three-point shooting stands to improve. He is shooting 29 percent from the three-point line, making 21 out of 72 attempts this season. Three-point jump shots make up 20 percent of Davis’ overall field goal attempts. Thus, any improvement upwards in percentage could have a huge impact on his overall scoring efficiency.

Isolation jumpers – In isolation plays where Davis shoots a no-dribble-jumper, he is shooting just 33 percent, ranking in the 24th percentile in the league. He is averaging .73 points per possession in this category, scoring 21 points on 29 possessions. It seems as if Davis lacks rhythm when shooting a jumper without a dribble. Working in a jab step series could help provide the flow he might require to become a consistent isolation jump shooter with no dribble.

Top of Key Isolation – Davis has struggled when he has gone one-on-one from the top of the key. He currently ranks in the 23rd percentile in the league in this category and finds himself either driving it left or shooting without driving. His tendency to drive it hard left often leaves him running into help side defenders.

Defensive End

Top of Key Isolation Coverage – Davis has also struggled guarding from the top of the key when it comes to isolation play. He has scored 21 points on 19 possessions, averaging 1.1 points per possession. Davis has a tendency to come out of his defensive stance when guarding ball handlers. This hurts him as players look to drive it right by him. He ranks in the 25th percentile from the floor in this category.

Left Block (Right Shoulder Finishes) – Davis has given up 22 points on 21 possessions when players turn over their right shoulder in the post. This ranks him in the 30th percentile in the league. Often, players look to drop step Davis baseline to finish at the rim.

Pick-and-Roll (Ball Handler) – When the pick-and-roll ball handler goes away from the screen, Davis has struggled this year as he is giving up 1.1 points per possession. When players refuse screens like this against Davis, most of the time they are looking to get to a one or two dribble pull-up. Davis ranks in the 16th percentile when guarding refusal pull-ups in ball screen action.

******

It’s clear that both of these are very talented and are big-time difference makers for their respective teams. Amazingly, both of these young players have a lot of room for improvement and still haven’t hit their physical primes yet.

In the next part of this series, Basketball Insiders will evaluate the Detroit Pistons’ Andre Drummond and The Los Angeles Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell.

 

 

* All statistics are courtesy of Synergy and Basketball-Reference.com and are current as of February 2, 2017.

After playing four years of college basketball at Drexel University, Jake Rauchbach coached at the collegiate level, founded The MindRight Pro Program and trained numerous professional and Olympic athletes. Now, Rauchbach writes about the NBA and college basketball for Basketball Insiders and serves as the Player Performance Specialist for Temple University's men's basketball team.

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NBA

NBA Daily: Jaylen Hands Makes Good Showing at the NBA Combine

Jaylen Hands made a good showing at the NBA Combine by displaying his offensive skills and defensive intensity.

Jesse Blancarte

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UCLA has produced a few of the NBA’s top point guards over the last decade or so, including Russell Westbrook and Jrue Holiday. Jrue’s younger brother, Aaron Holiday, has declared for this year’s draft and is projected by several NBA insiders to be selected with a first-round pick (likely in the 20-30 range). But Aaron Holiday isn’t the only UCLA point guard who may end up taking his talents to the NBA this offseason. Jaylen Hands, who is still just 19 years old and finished his freshman season, has also entered his name into this year’s draft.

While Hands has entered his name into the draft and participated in the NBA Combine, he has not hired an agent, which preserves his ability to return to college (Hands has until June 11 to make a final decision). Considering Hands’ young age and raw skill set, he isn’t projected by many insiders to hear his name called on draft night. But he certainly helped his cause in the Combine, showcasing his offensive talents, the muscle he has added to his slight frame since the end of his freshman season and aggressiveness on defense.

Basketball Insiders spoke with Hands at the Combine about his development, going through the pre-draft process, competing against familiar faces and more.

“It’s crazy, it’s crazy because when we were younger, they said the exact thing: ‘You guys are going to see each other forever.’” Hands said when asked about competing against many of the same players over the years and now at the Combine. “And you don’t really believe what they’re saying. But now you go through high school, you’re a senior, All-Star activities and you go to the Combine, you see the same people. It’s crazy.”

Hands has a notable skill set but is a raw prospect that many believe would be better served spending another year in college. While Hands needs to continue filling out his frame, he did register decent measurements at the Combine in relation to a top guard prospect – Trae Young of Oklahoma. Hands weighed in at 1.2 lbs heavier than Young, and outmatched Young in height (with and without shoes), standing reach and wingspan. Ironically, Hands has the smallest hands of all players that participated in the Combine. While these measurements don’t mean that he is currently a comparable prospect to Young, they could address some concerns about his current physical profile and how it may ultimately translate to the NBA.

Hands proved himself to be a confident and aggressive player in his freshman season at UCLA – something that he believes has led to misconceptions about his game.

“I’m not a point guard,” Hands said when asked about what misconceptions people have about his game.

I wouldn’t say it’s common, like it’s the main thing. But I’ve heard that I shoot first or something like that. I just feel like I attack a lot. I think I attack a lot and I’m of size to being a [two guard], so I think some people get it misconstrued. I just think I’m attack first, set my teammates up, get what I get.”

Hands is clearly aware of the common perceptions and current shortcomings in his game, which is why he is working hard to improve his overall skill set and is testing the NBA waters to get feedback from teams.

“Before I came here, just being more steady working on my shot, making good reads out of the pick and roll, finishing.” Hands said when asked about what parts of his game he was working on before coming to the Combine.

Hands was asked to clarify what he believes is his best strength at this point. Hands didn’t hesitate and pointed toward his ability to make plays off the dribble.

“My best strength is getting in the paint. So I get in the paint and make plays,” Hands said.

Hands is also clearly aware of UCLA’s history of producing quality point guards and has a chance to one day develop into a quality guard at the NBA level. However, with Holiday heading to the NBA and no major competition for the starting point guard position at UCLA next season, it may benefit Hands to hold off on turning pro for at least another year.

Whether he stays at UCLA or commits to this year’s draft, there’s no doubt that Hands is going to keep pushing to develop into a quality NBA player.

“I want to be the best player I can in the league,” Hands said. “That’s my goal.”

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Mock Drafts

NBA Daily: 2018 60-Pick NBA Mock Draft – 5/22/18

The final 2018 NBA Draft order is set and Basketball Insiders’ publisher Steve Kyler offers up his latest 60-pick NBA Mock Draft.

Steve Kyler

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Lots of Draft Movement

With the draft order now set for the 2018 NBA Draft, there is some sense of how the draft might play out.

The buzz coming out of the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago is that a number of picks could be had in trade include all three of the top selections. Word is the initial asking price is very high and more of an indication to the San Antonio Spurs that if they do want to part with disgruntled star Kawhi Leonard, they are open for business.

It’s also worth noting that there is a growing sense that both the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawk may be far higher on some of the domestic bigs in the draft more so than euro sensation Luka Dončić. Both teams are expected to take a long look at Dončić, so their views on him could change as we get closer to the draft, but for now, Dončić may go lower.

Here is the latest 60-Pick NBA Mock Draft, reflecting the final draft order and the latest buzz, rumors, and intel from in and around the NBA:

Dates To Know:

The NCAA requires all players wishing to maintain their college eligibility, without penalty, to withdraw from the NBA Draft by 11:59 pm on May 30. That is an NCAA mandated date, not related to anything involving the NBA, and that notice must be delivered in writing.

The NBA’s draft withdrawal date is June 11 by 5:00 pm ET. The NBA’s date allows a prospect to remain NBA draft eligible for future NBA drafts and is not related to any NCAA rule or date. There are ways for college players that did not accept benefits to return to college. However, they may be subject to NCAA penalties.

The 2018 NBA Draft is June 21.

The Pick Swaps:

The Cleveland Cavaliers are owed the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick as a result of the Kyrie Irving trade this past summer. The Brooklyn Nets traded several unprotected picks to Boston as part of the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trades in 2015.

The Philadelphia 76ers are owed the LA Lakers’ 2018 Draft pick, unprotected, as a result of the 2012 Steve Nash trade with the Suns. The Suns traded that pick to the 76ers as part of the Michael Carter-Williams three-team trade with the Milwaukee in 2015. The 76ers traded that pick to the Boston Celtics as part of the draft pick trade that became Markelle Fultz before the draft; it has 2 through 5 protections. This pick will convey.

The LA Clippers are owed the Detroit Pistons first-round pick in 2018 as a result of the Blake Griffin trade.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Miami HEAT’s first-round pick as part of the Goran Dragic trade in 2015, it is top-seven protected and would convey to Phoenix based on the final NBA standings.

The Phoenix Suns were owed the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round pick as part of the Eric Bledsoe trade. The pick would only convey if the Bucks pick landed between the 11th and 16th pick, which based on the final NBA standings did not convey. The Suns will now receive the Bucks 2019 first-round pick assuming it falls between the fourth and 16th pick.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first-round pick as part of the Adreian Payne trade in 2015. The pick was lottery protected and would convey to Atlanta based on the final NBA standings.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are owed the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first-round pick as part of the Jazz/Wolves Ricky Rubio trade this past summer. The Jazz acquired the pick as part of the Thunder’s deal to obtain Enes Kanter in 2015. The pick was lottery protected and would convey based on the final NBA standings.

The Chicago Bulls are owed the New Orleans Pelicans first-round pick as a result of the Nikola Mirotic trade. The pick was top-five protected and based on the final NBA standings would convey

The LA Lakers are owed the Cleveland Cavaliers first-round pick as a result of Jordan Clarkson/Larry Nance Jr. trade. The pick was top-three protected and based on the final NBA standings would convey

The Brooklyn Nets are owed the Toronto Raptors’ first-round pick as part of the DeMarre Carroll salary dump trade this past summer. The pick was lottery protected and based on the final NBA standings would convey

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Houston Rockets’ first-round pick as part of a three-team deal with the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets involving Danilo Gallinari and taking back Jamal Crawford and Diamond Stone. The pick was top-three protected and based on the final NBA standings would convey

Check out the Basketball Insiders’ Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects – http://www.basketballinsiders.com/top-100-nba-draft-prospects/

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, @mike_yaffe, @MattJohnNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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NBA Daily: Shamet Comfortable With Steady Self Going Into Draft

With a natural feel for the game, Wichita State guard Landry Shamet has more than enough of a chance to carve his own path of success in the NBA.

Spencer Davies

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No matter what professional field a person wants to work in, there are multiple ways to show why they belong.

A positive attitude is everything, confidence goes a long way and honesty truly is the best policy.

Speaking with Wichita State product Landry Shamet this past week at the NBA Combine in Chicago, it’s clear that he has all three of those boxes checked off.

“It’s been great,” Shamet said of the event. “Just trying to absorb everything, soak everything up. It’s a big learning experience for sure. A lot of knowledge to be attained (at the Combine). With interviews and playing on the court, being coached by NBA guys, it’s been cool so far.”

During his three years with the Shockers, the 6-foot-4, 188-pound guard accomplished quite a few feats, but his junior season was arguably the most spectacular. Not only did Shamet lead his team in multiple ways, but he also topped out in four statistical categories in the American Athletic Conference—the school’s first year there after moving on from the Missouri Valley.

Shamet’s 166 assists (5.2 per game average) were the most in the AAC by far. In addition, his true shooting percentage (65.5) and three-point percentage (44.2) ranked number one among his peers.

From entering the program in 2015 to now, he feels that he’s grown dramatically as a player—but in what areas, specifically?

“I would say being a point guard honestly,” Shamet said. “I was recruited in as a two. But just kinda that leadership role, that accountability. Knowing that you’re gonna get a lot of scrutiny (after) a loss and you’re gonna be responsible for a win. Regardless of how the game goes, it’s your responsibility.”

Much of his development at Wichita State was courtesy of a hands-on approach with Gregg Marshall, one of the most revered head coaches in college basketball. Thanks to his guidance, Shamet feels ready, even in aspects outside of his offensive ability.

“On the defensive end, I feel comfortable with my positioning,” Shamet said. “Obviously, need to get better. You can always get better on the defensive end. That’s one thing I’ve been focusing on. Trying to get more athletic. Just be better defensively. He gave me the groundwork for sure. 100 percent.”

Shamet has kept in touch with Marshall throughout the entire pre-draft process. He was told to “smile and relax” in interviews and to be confident, which he’s certainly followed through with.

A similar message has come from Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet, two former Shockers who have each made their mark at the professional level.

“Just be yourself, you know,” Shamet said of VanVleet’s pointers. “That’s really what it boils down to I think. He’s been great to have him in my corner—a guy like that who’s been through a lot of adversity on his way to the NBA, so I’m gonna listen to him 10 times out of 10.”

VanVleet’s career is already taking off with the Toronto Raptors as a part of their young and hungry bench. But with four more inches of height and a similar feel for the game, Shamet has more than enough of a chance to carve his own path of success in the NBA.

And it won’t require flash or making a daily highlight-reel to do so.

“I’d like to just say versatile,” Shamet said of his game. “Just try to stay solid. I don’t ever try to make spectacular plays all the time. Try to just do what I feel I can do—play multiple positions, both positions, on or off the ball. I’m comfortable at either spot, honestly. Whether it’s facilitating, scoring, whatever the case may be.

“I feel like I have a high IQ as well. Just a cerebral player. Not gonna ‘wow’ you with crossing people up and doing things that a lot of the guys in the limelight do all the time. But I feel like I’m a solid player. Pretty steady across the board.”

However, just because he rarely shows off on the court doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the ability to do it.

“I feel like I’m a little more athletic than I might get credit for,” Shamet said. “I think I’m a better athlete than I get credit for.”

Shamet is projected to go anywhere from the middle-to-late first round of the draft in June. Whoever lands the Kansas City native will be getting a tireless worker who does things the right way and is all about the team.

But for now, he’s soaking in everything he possibly can before that night comes.

“I don’t have all the answers,” Shamet candidly said. “I’m a 21-year-old kid, man I guess. So just trying to learn as much as I can, gain some knowledge, get good feedback—because at the end of the day, I’m not a perfect player. I know that.”

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