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Under Pressure

I will be providing news about everything NBA. There will be draft coverage, news coverage, game reactions, and much more!

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Josh Christopher In Depth Scouting Report/Breakdown

19 year old 6’4, 215 pound guard out of Arizona State. Averaged 14.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists on 43.2% fg, 30.5% 3, 80.0% ft. Josh Cristopher is one of the most compelling prospects outside of the top guys. As far as athleticism is concerned he has some of the best in the class. While watching him an electric moment can happen at any time due to how much bounce he has. This top tier athleticism shined in transition where he scored an elite 1.37 PPP (points per possession) on an impressive 68.2 field goal percentage. The second his teammate grabs a rebound he is off to the races where he continued to show highlight reel level hops. I am also a big fan of his potential to grab a rebound and take it from one side of the court to the other. As a whole his ability to finish was fantastic. Though his dunks with his head at the rim will obviously be the thing that jumps off the sheet, the way he is able to finish through contact was a standout ability of his just as much as that eye popping vertical. He is a very well built player whose 215 pound frame is made up of strictly muscle. I think with his ability to fight through contact could lead to him being elite at getting to the free throw line. The upside he has as a shot creator is very intriguing as he has a quick first step and a smooth handle that allows him to create space with ease. As someone whose outside shot is a big question mark the ability he has to create within 23 feet is crucial. There were a lot of flashes of him hitting some very tough mid-range shots that excited me a lot. He continued to impress with his high level strength as often he would bounce off of players to rise up for mid-range shots or floaters. Off of the ball he was able to get easy buckets for himself by cutting at the perfect time and rising up for electric dunks. That outside shot of his is a huge question mark for him but it is something that at least showed flashes. Form wise there is nothing that is necessarily wrong with his shot as he has a quick trigger and good footwork that gives me confidence in his shot coming along. With how confident he is it is hard for me to not see him being a big time shotmaker in the future. There were streaks of games where he shot the ball very well but the swing factor for him is just that three-point shot becoming consistent. Defensively he has great upside to be a defensive playmaker, shown in his 1.5 steals per game. His hands and smarts in the passing lanes led to him being able to force turnovers well, leading to easy points on the break for him. He continued to make plays with his elite timing to block shots. While he has some obvious problems on defense when he is locked in and showing off his physicality he can be a high impact player.
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Brandon "B.J." Boston Jr. In Depth Scouting Report/Breakdown

19 year old 6’7, 188 pound guard/forward out of Kentucky. Averaged 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists on 35.5% fg, 30.0% 3, 78.5% ft. Brandon Boston Jr. was one of the most hyped prospects coming out of highschool, even being ranked number seven on ESPN’s 2020 recruiting, but after a disaster of a season for him and Kentucky as a whole his draft stock is a big question mark now. While his efficiency was quite putrid in his one college season the ability he has as a creator is interesting. Though at many points during the year the shot struggled, he did show off an impressive handle for someone at his size. His hang dribble was one of the most impressive things in his repertoire as he used it to freeze his defenders and then get into his pull ups effectively. Those one or two dribble pull ups were a speciality of his. He also has a very impressive stepback that he creates tons of space on and this is an important move for tough shot makers like himself. Speaking more on that ability to make tough baskets while his shot selection can be quite questionable, he does have a knack for hitting contested shots. His frame is a big help for him rising over opponents as contesting someone who is 6’7 and has a 6’11 wingspan is very challenging. I think his offensive role going forward will mainly be someone who attacks closeouts and creates for himself in late shot clock moments. Though his 30% from outside is not an impressive mark by any means I do believe he projects as a better shooter than that number would indicate. He was able to generate himself good looks as he had an advanced feel for how to relocate and get open off the ball. In the last 12 games of the season he even shot 39% on catch and shoot threes, a very promising sign. Though numbers were not kind to him in most areas, in transition he was able to score an impressive 1.15 PPP (points per possession). With a defense that was not set he showed a level of fluidity and comfort that gave flashbacks to his highschool days. Defensively by far his biggest strength was his ability to play in the passing lanes. He frequently showed off excellent anticipation and his elite length to be a defensive playmaker. The last thing I will touch on strengths wise was BJ’s willingness to analyse his game and improve on his weaknesses. Throughout the season he started to process the game much better and started to have some compelling moments as a passer. We have also been able to see him address his weight problem by putting on strength leading up to the 2021 draft.
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Tre Mann In Depth Scouting Report/Breakdown

20 year old 6’4, 178 pound guard out of Florida. Averaged 16.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists on 45.9% fg, 40.2% 3, 83.1% ft. Tre is one of the best pure shot creators in the 2021 draft. He is such a shifty player who creates space effortlessly. There are so many different moves he has in his package to go whether it be his stepback, his in and out, his between the legs to his sidestep, or a variety of other maneuvers. I love his stepback as the amount of space he creates on it is just ridiculous. As a pullup shooter he is potentially the best in the draft as the way he can just stop on a dime to get into his shot is mesmerising. His between-the-legs into sidestep is a move that is deadly because he creates an elite amount of space on it and it is a move he can do from deep. Speaky of that range he clearly has the ability to shoot from NBA distance as many of his shots come from multiple feet beyond the line, near the logo. In the mid-range area this shot creating and shot making ability shines as well where he continued to make defenders look silly with how many moves he can go to. When watching him you can just tell he is one of those guys at the end of the shot clock you give the ball when you need a bucket and late game shot creation is one of the most valuable assets in basketball. Off the pick-n-roll he showed excellent pace and an ability to get himself open that few others have. When the big stepped up on him he used his quickness to get by them and if they played drop coverage then he would just either go to a pullup or his potent floater. That floater was a go to move for him and with him neither being very built or tall that is an essential for his prototype of player. He is just so comfortable no matter which side he is taking it on or how many feet he is taking it. This skill will be key with his struggles dealing with physicality around the hoop. We see a team like the Atlanta Hawks being able to be so great because when guarding the pick-n-roll the opposing roster is put in tough position of having to guard the floater but they also have elite lob threats so Trae can also just float it up top for a Capela or Collins dunk, with the right personal this could be a fantastic attribute for him. Speaking more on that play out of the pick-n-roll while it is not consistent at this point, his playmaking has some intriguing upside. His threat as a scorer really opened things up for the roll man and he did a good job of locating them. The passes he made were frequently very crisp and accurate passes. I was also very impressed by his ability to make passes to shooters on the corners and wings, some of the cross court passes he made were very impressive as well. When help defense came over I was also pleasantly surprised by how he could hit cutters on lobs and hit shooters on the weak side corner.
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Usman Garuba In Depth Scouting Report/Breakdown

19 year old 6’8, 229 pound forward out of Real Madrid. Averaged 4.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 0.8 assists on 47.1% fg, 31.6% 3, 65.9% ft. Usman is an incredibly intriguing prospect as he is one of the most talked about players out of the Euro League in years. He has received some minimal hype since around 2016 and the excitement around him has developed every year until now, where he can finally enter the draft. Defensively he may just be the best player in the class. With both his rare physical traits, high effort, and instincts he reminds me of Draymond Green a lot. Comparing someone to a player who completely revolutionized the game is a high expectation but when you see them both having wingspans that are seven inches longer than their height and incredible fluidity for their size it is impossible not to see the similarities. Starting off in the pick-n-roll he is as good as it gets. With his incredible length and lateral quickness he can effectively guard two people at once by hedging, allowing the guard to get back in the play. The way he baits guards into passes by making the big appear to be open and then getting a steal with ease, showing a very advanced basketball IQ for his age. He also showed an ability to switch very well as his hip fluidity resembles that of a guard. Even when he occasionally gets beat on a switch he recovers extremely well and funnels players into blocks/contests. In transition or on a rotation where he will not be guarding his intended matchup he does very well at guarding perimeter creators. He continues to show off guard skills defensively as his hands are elite. The way he is able to time poking the ball away from guards is such a unique skill for a 6’8 player to have. His skillset is about as modern as it gets which teams will value a lot. Versatility is just so important and he is top tier in that area. While his block numbers were not something that stood out much, I do like what he brings to the game as a rim protector. In transition he frequently hustles back while others have already given up on the play. There are so many game changing plays where the other team thinks they have an easy basket but he swats then he comes out of nowhere to swat them, these types of plays are so deflating when you think you are going on a big run and this will be the exclamation point. He continued to show off an advanced understanding of the game on rotations as he rotates at the perfect time for help defense and lowers percentages at the rim. The closeouts he made were consistently very impactful as well because he can close distance so well and uses that 7’3 wingspan to effect opponents shots. In the post he was impressive as he has very good core strength and can give players fits down low. He fights very hard as he does absolutely everything that he can to make sure his man does not get post position on him. As a whole his unrelenting mindset, great smarts, and elite physical tools make him a player firmly in the argument for best defender in the class. Moving onto offense there are a whole lot of questions but there are some things to look at and see promise in. As a pick-n-roll player he sets strong screens and roles hard to the basket. He showed off some decent finishing ability too as his explosiveness in space and ability to finish through contact. His smarts continued to shine on offense as he knows how to position himself well in the dunker's spot for easy dump off passes and had some impressive moments of cutting at the right time as well. Going onto my favorite part of his offense, his playmaking excites me a lot. Off of the short role he showed a great ability to make quick decisions when the defense collapsed on him. As a whole around that free throw line he was very patient and waited for his shooters or cutters to get open. When posting up he was excellent at locating cutters too. He is a strong rebounder which is intriguing because he had some small glimpses of taking the ball off the glass and going all the way by himself. If he can continue to improve his handle then this has the potential to be a big part of his game.
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Ziaire Williams In Depth Scouting Report/Breakdown

19 year old 6’9, 188 pound forward out of Stanford. Averaged 10.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists on 37.4% fg, 29.1% 3, 79.6% ft. Ziaire is both one of the most exciting yet confusing prospects in the draft. He is the player whose ranking on draft big boards I have seen fluctuate the most, some having him as a top ten prospect while others have him out of the first round. Williams was ESPN’s 8th ranked player coming out of high school but during such a weird season at Stanford he had plenty of ups and downs in his one college season. He has the prototype build that we see with many of the best young wings in the league. His fluidity is something that is very impressive for his size. You can see his soccer background in how fluid his hips are and how smooth of a mover he is. He has some excellent bounce in space and had some electric finishes in transition. Speaking of that ability in the open court, that is an area that intrigues me a lot. As someone who can be a solid rebounder he either showed off some impressive outlet passes to his teammates or an ability to just take it all the way by himself. He also showed off some split second decisions to get his team easy baskets often. That playmaking trait is something that does excite me quite a bit. Though he only averaged 2.2 assists I see a future where he can be a bit of a point-forward and a secondary playmaker for a roster. From his interview with Mike Shmitz you can tell that he is a person who loves making the extra pass and getting others involved. I always love when someone, especially a scorer like Ziaire, is all about not just getting a good shot but a great shot. His best playmaking chops came out of the pick-n-roll where he made very quick and precise passes to the big man rolling to the basket. As this passing continues to improve then he will be able to expand his offensive role by varying the type of actions he can run. Now onto his ability to create for himself this is his most natural area. He is a shifty ball handler who can rise over defenders with ease. My favorite move of his is his stepback which he creates a ton of space on and that is one of those moves that is one that all elite creators have. Out of the corner he was very good at using effective fakes and jab steps to get into a one or two dribble pull up, looking like Carmelo Anthony at times in that shot corner. The way he blows by a man and then stops on a dime to pull up was excellent. He also showed off a nice floater in that in-between area, I hope he continues to work on this because I think it can become a great weapon in his arsenal. Though his three point percentage was poor I am not very worried by it personally. With him having a solid form as well as a good free throw percentage I think it is a skill that will come along. His biggest issue as a shooter is just how inconsistent he is right now, he would always have short stints of good shooting but then long stretches of not being able to hit anything from outside. I think what he should do to iron out these inconsistency issues is get a ton of reps in as a catch and shoot player, he is clearly a more comfortable as a self creator shown in him being in the 53rd percentile off the dribble while he is in the 16th percentile off the catch (via https://rollcallsportsnet.com/ziaire-williams-nba-draft-scouting-report/). Now onto his defense this is yet another area of inconsistency but there are plenty or exciting signs. When locked in he showed the lateral quickness and length to guard multiple positions at a high level. He can be someone that guards the other team's best perimeter player no matter what position they play and in a league that values versatility as much as the NBA does that is very valuable. I was very impressed by his ability to guard ball screens where he showed a great ability to get skinny at times and navigate around big bodies with ease. He was able to limit opponents to shooting only 37.4% and 45% in the pick-n-roll which is supremely impressive. The impact he can make off the ball is very exciting. He was able to frequently make great contests with his length and even blocked a good amount of outside shots. I think he can be a menace in the passing lane as he continues to get smarter on defense and reads the game. There were some great moments of him making weak side rotations to come out of nowhere for blocks or contests. I also got very excited to see him risking his body for charges.
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Sharife Cooper In Depth Scouting Report/Breakdown

20 year old 6’1, 180 pound guard out of Auburn. Averaged 20.2 points, 8.1 assists, and 4.3 rebounds on 39.1% fg, 22.8% 3, 82.5% ft. Cooper is a very confusing player as he put up huge numbers in his one season at Auburn but he has many drawbacks that come with him. Starting off positive he is one of the quickest players in the draft. His first step is electric as he can blow by players with ease. He has such a tight handle as well and he can break down defenders with ease. The way he can change pace looks so effortless. How he explodes off his in and out or his hesitation is mesmerising. As a whole he has a very tight handle that is challenging to strip and many slick moves to get by defenders. If he ever has a switch on him then he burns them, with the quickest guards barely being able to keep up with his electric speed having a slow footed player on him is a nightmare. Off of a screen is where we really see Sharife thrive. Scoring wise off of the pick-n-roll and with him getting dowhill as a whole he is fearless. Though he is very undersized he lacks no confidence in attacking bigger players at the basket. He is incredibly creative around the basket which is very important as he needs that to finish around shot blockers. The ability to generate easy points by getting to the free throw line 9.3 times per 36 minutes will be very important to his scoring success at the next level. His floater is something that showed some really nice signs and if he can raise that to a different level that will be very important to him overcoming his size. The area where he showed off his best ability was his passing out of the pick-n-roll. He explodes off the screen and leaves his man in the dust, which puts the defense in a very tough position. When the defense commits to the big and does not help he has an easy layup. If the big commits to him he can do one of his great wrap around passes. After the weak side defender slides over for help he can do one of two things; hit a backdoor cutter with a lob or make a pass to the opposite corner. It reminds me a lot of the way Trae Young attacks the pick-n-roll and if a team gets him the same personal Trae has it can be deadly, just to a lower extent. He frequently makes very challenging passes that only the top tier passers can. The way he makes cross court passes and lobs with his off hand is just outstanding. Many times a game he will make tight window passes that only his teammate can get. As the game speeds up for everyone else the game is in slow motion for him. In the open court he is absolutely electric as he flies up the court and with a defense that is not yet set he thrives. He makes full court and half court passes so effortlessly. The touch and accuracy on these passes are so amazing. Playing alongside elite athletes and with a team that loves to run he will flourish. While he has plenty of problems shooting wise, he at least shows a lot of confidence when he shoots. Now onto defense there are clear issues as well but there are some things that are promising. He has very quick feet and when he stays locked in there are moments of him sticking in front of his man very well. His scrappiness is something that I absolutely love as he takes charges and fights for rebounds, continuing to show his fearlessness. Size will always be a big problem but with his quick feet, anticipation, and scrappiness I think he can be passable, which not enough people give him credit for.
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Scottie Barnes In Depth Scouting Report/Breakdown

19 year old 6’9, 227 pound forward out of Florida State. Averaged 10.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.0 assists on 50.3% fg, 27.5% 3, 62.1% ft. Scottie Barnes has easily the most unique skill set in the draft. When you see his physical attributes you see a combo forward and while he is partly that, he is so much more. There are very large portions of games where he is not only initiating the offense but also guarding the opposing team's point guard on the other end. I love this so much because whatever team he goes to will have many different options they can go to depending on the matchup lineup wise. If his team has a bad defensive player, you can put Barnes on almost anyone to hide a player. If his team doesn’t have a backup PG, then he can play stints as the main ball handler. This versatility makes him a very high floor player because he is plug and play in any situation. Going into that potential of him playing point guard his handle and vision for his size is elite. I mentioned that potential point forward role for Jalen Johnson but Barnes is far more developed in those areas than Johnson is. There is a large difference between someone who can just lead a fast break versus a player like Scottie who is a guy you can rely on as a primary playmaker. He has a great handle as his ball security is very impressive and he also has some nice moves to break players down. I think his upside as a PnR ball handler is sky high because he does a masterful job to navigate screens so he can create opportunities for his teammates and others. He has some of the best vision in the entire class as frequently he would make impressive reads that lead to open shots. His touch on passes also impressed me a lot as well. The understanding he has for not only hitting teammates but where to hit teammates in the right pockets showed his really advanced understanding of the game, some great examples of hitting backdoor cutters and lobs in there. There are actually some moments where I want him to be a little more aggressive because he is just so obsessed with playmaking. He is a dangerous player going downhill as his excellent athleticism and long strides make him very tough to stop with a head of steam, where he can either finish at the hoop or pass to teammates. This really showed out in transition where his best scoring comes from as he had some great moments using footwork and impressive touch to finish. His skills as a guy who can grab a rebound and take it the length of the floor also intrigues me a lot as he immediately has his head up, ready to push the break and get easy baskets. Moving on to his defense he has the potential to be the best one in this class. He is the most versatile defender in the class with legit potential to guard all 5 positions, something I do not say often. While his physical attributes are big for him being the great defender that he is, more than anything it is just how damn hard he plays that makes him so great. You will often see him guarding full court which will really exhaust his opponent throughout a game. He’s all over the floor, diving for loose balls and making momentum shifting plays. The kid is just so passionate about basketball, and that passion is infectious to his whole team. His very quick feet allow him to stay glued to almost any player on the perimeter, with him locking down some of the nations best perimeter players on a daily basis. His incredible length also helps in that area as it makes everything more challenging, whether that be getting by him, making a pass, or hitting a shot. Opponents only shot 32.7% when guarded by him, a phenomenal number. His 7’2 wingspan allows him to be a menace in passing lanes as well, with him getting a remarkable 2.4 steals per 40 and tons of deflections in there as well. While his block numbers are not very impressive on paper his overall help defense is great which is yet again due to his great basketball IQ. He has great understanding of the proper place/time to rotate and then he uses his great length to contest shots. He is a great communicator on defense as well. Whenever he is on the court the switches and rotations are always so much smoother because he is always telling the other players where to be. He had some great moments of showing off his physicality while guarding bigs on switches as well, showing off that 1-5 ability. I really think he could be a guy who makes 10+ all-defense teams and be in contention for multiple DPOYs.
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