In the modern NBA, efficient shooting is predominantly derived from threes, free throws, and attempts at the rim. While bigs derive most of their looks at the rim from putbacks, lobs, post-ups, and easy assisted looks, wings must be able to adeptly attack the rim from the perimeter as drivers. A well-rounded finishing package for a slashing wing is comprised of a subset of specific situational driving skills, including attacking closeouts, off-the-dribble self-creation, blowing by switching bigs, absorbing contact, one-foot and two-foot bounce, change of pace, stride length, acrobatic mid-air body contortion, fluidity, touch, and more.
In our third Film Room Friday installment of the 2019-20 scouting season, the PBC scouting team has sifted through game film to identify non-big prospects with potential to translate as effective slashers and finishers at the rim. To provide some context, let’s first lay out a few examples of NBA players that excel at attacking the paint on drives and finishing through traffic.
Shooting from range is more valued than ever in the modern NBA. While spot-up shooting acumen spaces the floor and is very valuable in and of itself, what separates truly great shooters and adds exponential offensive value is the ability to shoot off-movement. High-level off-movement shooters are few and far between in the collegiate game, but those who do possess this skill certainly will catch the eyes of professional evaluators.
In our second Film Room Friday installment of the 2019-20 scouting season, the PBC scouting team has sifted through game film to identify prospects with potential to translate as dynamic off-movement shooters.
If you ask Jared Butler what “TTG” means, he’ll tell you “Trained to Go”. And coming into his freshman season at Baylor, it was very clear he was ready to go and compete with anyone who was in his way. By his third collegiate game, Butler dropped 22 points off the bench. By game 15, he was a full-time starter for the Bears. This season Butler is running the show, has put together some very impressive outings, and has thrust himself into the 2020 NBA Draft conversation.
Butler is a 6’3” wiry pick-and-roll initiator with a perpetual green light from deep. After the first seven games of the 2019-20 season, Butler was shooting 52% from the arc opening the season, including a 30-point outburst where he knocked down a career-high eight three-pointers. While he’s regressed a bit back toward the mean since then, Butler has proven to be a major threat from outside and will likely be neck-and-neck with 2019 PBC alum Desmond Bane as the top three-point shooter in the Big 12 this season.
In the pace-and-space modern NBA and in professional leagues around the world, the lane is less congested and there’s more space to fly in and fight for offensive rebounds. Keeping possessions alive on the offensive glass is a valuable, often overlooked skill. Though length and athleticism certainly help one’s chances of bringing down an offensive board, much of the art of offensive rebounding is tied to technique and effort.
In our first Film Room Friday installment of the 2019-20 scouting season, the PBC scouting team has sifted through game film to identify prospects with potential to translate as tenacious offensive rebounders and putback threats.
If your team is in need of a versatile, instinctual defender with a knack for quickly turning defense into easy offense, Trevelin Queen is your man. After transferring to New Mexico State following a successful 2017-18 JUCO campaign as a sophomore at the New Mexico Military Institute, Queen's per-40 numbers as a junior caught the eyes of many evaluators. No longer a secret after being thrust into a higher usage role, Queen is statistically producing across the board early in his senior season. At 6'6" and 190 pounds, Queen is a very good athlete and possesses prototypical physical tools for a modern wing. While the sample size remains small, Queen's instinctual and athletic flashes pop on tape to accompany the strong statistical indicators, and he's certainly thrust himself into the 2020 NBA Draft conversation.
Watching Colbey Ross orchestrate a very talented Pepperdine Waves offense is like witnessing the Millennium Falcon jump to light speed. The fleet-footed lead guard is an offensive maestro, leading college basketball with 198 points produced through the Thanksgiving holiday tournaments. Ross has been a high usage creator since he first set foot in Malibu in 2017, and has thrived as one of the nation's most consistently productive mid-major guards. A career 40+% three-point shooter on 300+ attempts, Ross has the shooting versatility, savvy craft, and competitive edge that will likely garner the attention of the highest leagues in Europe - and although it's certainly an uphill climb for small mid-major guards, don't rule out an eventual shot at the NBA.
Following an impressive showing at the 2018 Division B European U18 Championship (13.5 PPG, 8.0 REB, 6.0 AST), Vrenz Bleijenbergh was offered a scholarship by the Arizona Wildcats and was thrust into the conversation of 2000-born European prospects with potential EuroLeague and/or NBA futures. With his extraordinary combination of length and skill, the 19-year-old led Belgium to a bronze medal and got on the radar of multiple NBA front offices. Bleijenbergh tested the 2019 NBA Draft waters under the representation and advisement of Yannick Kizito of Wasserman, but withdrew ahead of the deadline as he was unable to accept any of his workout invitations because his team was still competing in the playoffs. Since the beginning of the current season, the Belgian is a key contributor to the rotation of the Antwerp Giants, where he regularly matches up against quality European competition in the Basketball Champions League. Due to his outstanding playmaking ability, Bleijenbergh can take on the role as a floor general and adds a different element to last year’s runner-up in the Belgian Pro Basketball League and BCL Final Four participant.
After dominating the Michigan prep hoops scene at New Haven High and shining on the Nike EYBL AAU circuit, Weems shocked the nation by committing to DePaul, spurning the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon, and Ohio State. Weems, a highly touted but somewhat underrated recruit (RSCI: 53), also accumulated valuable international experience, competing for USA Basketball winning gold medals in the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2018 U17 World Cup. The versatile freshman is off to a great start to his college career and has all the tools to eventually translate as an impact NBA forward, but has been omitted from many of the early mainstream 2020 NBA Draft boards and mocks. Expect that to change as the season progresses. With plus-measurables and athleticism anchoring an ever-evolving skill set, Weems is certainly a diaper dandy to key in on as a potential riser and eventual one-and-done candidate.
Ty-Shon Alexander is a dynamic 6’4” scoring wing that is off to a hot start to his junior season at Creighton. His strongest trait is the ability to knock down shots from the perimeter. After converting on 33% of his threes as a freshman on 2.9 attempts/game, he increased his efficiency and volume as a sophomore, knocking down 36.5% on 7.8 attempts/game. He's now converting at 57.9% on 6.3 3PA's per game through the first 3 games of the 2019-20 season and, although this clip is unsustainable, he looks to have continued this pattern of improvement. Alexander's confidence as a shooter makes him a dangerous scoring weapon when he gets into a rhythm, as he is also capable of creating offense in other ways if run off the line. Alexander is an intriguing prospect who will be worth keeping tabs on throughout the season and could potentially creep up draft boards as the season progresses.
The former Five-Star guard is suiting up for the Houston Cougars in 2019 after transferring from Kansas and receiving a waiver to play immediately. He's shown an immediate flash of brilliance (32 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 74.8 TS% in a win over Rice) and should have ample opportunity to regain traction as an NBA prospect this year in sharing lead guard duties with DeJon Jarreau on a talented Houston team as they contend for an AAC title. With terrific positional size at 6'5" and 205 pounds, his physical tools allow him to attack offensively both on the perimeter and inside the paint. Grimes is a high IQ player with outstanding feel for the game and, although he didn’t have the freshman season he and many others hoped for in Lawrence, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic that the 2018 McDonald’s All-American and Top-10 recruit can return to form and regain momentum for eventual NBA Draft consideration.
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