Oscar da Silva is a unique product of the quickly developing German basketball culture and brings several fascinating attributes and questions to the table when evaluating him as an NBA prospect. The 6’9 ½” hybrid forward averaged 9.5 points and 6.0 rebounds while flashing tantalizing potential as a modern-day switchable forward with the instincts to cover up for teammates’ mistakes on defense. Despite great physical tools and natural offensive intuition, da Silva has yet to develop into the reliable perimeter shooter many projected him capable of becoming. Heading into his junior season, he will look to prove to scouts that he has put in the work for a more formidable jumper and that his lack of a clear identity as a three or a four is more so a versatility strength than a role projectability question.
Tale of the Tape
Length and Defensive Verticality
One of da Silva’s most appealing habits on defense is his ability to use the full extent of his 7’1” wingspan to vertically protect the rim against athleticism. He’s not an explosive vertical leaper and isn’t the kind of rim protector who’s going to provide highlight reel blocks, but his ability to go straight up and take contact without fouling is a nuanced strength that many of the best defenders around the league possess.
In the clip below, we highlight some of that rim-protecting verticality in action.
This isn’t necessarily a skill that will get da Silva drafted, but it serves as a positive indicator for his ability to act as a small ball five in certain lineups without being physically punished or forced into hacking bigger post players.
Off-Ball Mobility and Rim-Finishing
So much of modern basketball everywhere in the world is predicated off of motion, ball movement, and quick attacks out of transition. One of the most sound aspects of da Silva’s profile as a professional prospect is that he would thrive in the wide array of systems that value these principles. It may not be sexy, but da Silva’s natural disposition to always keep moving and practice patience while finishing around the rim are both traits that are difficult to teach. These instincts will allow for a much more fundamentally sound transition to the next level of basketball.
In the clip below, we highlight da Silva’s finishing ability and the positive outcomes of his constant, purposeful movement.
While this is a small sample-size summarization of his habits, a deep dive into all of da Silva’s film will show that, time after time, he actively searches out gaps and opposing defensive overreactions and will punish those lapses, accordingly.
Oscar da Silva is a unique prospect who has seemingly lost some of the mystique, intrigue, and allure that originally made him such an exciting international prospect pre-NCAA. While da Silva doesn’t necessarily make the flashy highlight plays, he certainly understands his role and consistently shows that he wants to make the right play and do the little things that don’t always show-up in the box score. The most prominent swing skill that will likely determine da Silva’s future in professional basketball is his jump shot. If he can become a more willing shooter and eclipse the 35% threshold from deep this season, he begins to take the shape of a theoretically draftable player, as NBA teams tend to value versatility, length, and instincts from hybrid forward prospects.
If his shooting percentages and scoring output generally plateau, da Silva likely finishes out his collegiate career with Stanford and goes on to have an excellent career in the BBL and EuroLeague. This represents da Silva’s most likely professional basketball path, but don’t bet against him finally engaging his untapped potential.
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