Jeff Ledbetter SG – 6’3, 195lbs – Born 15th June 1988 Austin Spurs Ledbetter started the season with the Spurs, going for his third consecutive season with the team, after also having appeared for San Antonio’s summer league team for two consecutive seasons. However, he stayed for only 19 games before leaving the team, seemingly unannounced, to return to Mexico and played with the Manzaneros de Cuauhtémoc. Ledbetter has been a good G-League player and solid pro mostly on account of his sweet shooting; he lacks for size and athleticism, yet he gets looks away in tight space, off the catch and off screens, being one of the better exponents of the latter category, which immediately conveys value. He does less work off the dribble, but he does pass with a bit of flair out of pick-and-roll situations, a bit like a younger, smaller version of Marco Belinelli. I am sure the (Austin) Spurs would take him back if he wanted to continue his G-League career, because he is an excellent role player whose talents complement the development of any prospects he is paired with. It seems as though he does not want that, though. – 20th June, 2019 This above is extracted from the following page in the The Basketball Manifesto, an entirely free 3,775 page, 1.2 million word-ish basketball reference book which contains reviews, strategies, ideas, opinions, and a whole lot of scouting on men’s world basketball. – View tons more player profiles like this from the Manifesto here.
Corey Henderson SG – 6’5, 190lbs – Born 1st August 1995 Austin Spurs Henderson’s first professional season started with a spot on the Austin roster for training camp via a local tryout, but was waived early when Nick Johnson became available to return. It appears as though he did not play elsewhere. Henderson is a particularly shooty shooting guard, with a .731% three-point rate as a senior, plenty of clutch baskets, and a propensity for shooting from Stephen Curry-range. He does however do little beyond this; while he demonstrates good discipline with kick-out passes and with the ball in general, he handles it little, catching with an intent to shoot and rarely probing inside the arc at all. When he does do so, the 6’4 Henderson struggles to finish at the rim, and makes little impact defensively either. Confidence is a virtue, though. Become even more confident, make some more shots and become the Belgian league’s Troy Daniels – 20th June, 2019 This above is extracted from the following page in the The Basketball Manifesto, an entirely free 3,775 page, 1.2 million word-ish basketball reference book which contains reviews, strategies, ideas, opinions, and a whole lot of scouting on men’s world basketball. – View tons more player profiles like this from the Manifesto here.1
Jeff Coby PF – 6’8, 227lbs – Born 4th February 1994 Austin Spurs Beginning his second professional season with an unexpected training camp contract from New York – admittedly lasting only seven days before being waived – Coby managed only one day longer than that with the Knicks’ G-League affiliate Westchester before being cut again. He was latterly picked up by the Spurs for a couple of weeks as cover for Travis Trice and John Holland while they went off for national team duty, but barely played, was cut, and finished the season with Racing in Luxembourg for the final three games of their postseason, averaging 13.3 points and 15.0 rebounds per game. Coby has a good physical profile, a well-built 6’8 with good mobility, and he is a good offensive rebounder with potential as a transition threat, roll man, athletic finisher, mid-range shooter and perimeter defender. He employs a reasonable free throw line jump shot, floats baseline and is mobile enough to fill in space. However, it is all more potential than reality; Coby creates no offence, relies on being set up, is out of control in the post, frequently loses position on defence mostly through being over-aggressive, and lacks for poise on both ends. At this level and above, better finishers are available. – 20th June, 2019 This above is extracted from the following page in the The Basketball Manifesto, an entirely free 3,775 page, 1.2 million word-ish basketball reference book which contains reviews, strategies, ideas, opinions, and a whole lot of scouting on men’s world basketball. – View tons more player profiles like this from the Manifesto here.
Demetri McCamey PG – 6’3, 205lbs – Born 21st February 1989 Austin Spurs McCamey has spent three of the past four seasons with the Spurs now, yet the player he was as a senior at Illinois seems to be a thing of the past. The McCamey of back then was an excellent spot-up shooter (an enormous 1.634 points per possession) who, while he did not move the opposing half court defence around like other lead guards out there, passed well enough on the move and used the mid-range shooting weapons of Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale to average a hefty 7.1 assists per game. Defence was a concern – McCamey’s tendency to switch off on that end, particularly when things were not going his way offensively, led to the unflattering nickname of McComa – yet McCamey was a lead guard of some note, on the fringes on the NBA, and perhaps in it were he able to better establish himself defensively and consistently stay in shape. However, McCamey has simply never shot as well as that since. Over 158 games in his four G-League seasons, he is shooting 32.3% from three-point range and 37.7% from the floor, and no longer getting to the foul line, attempting only 8 foul shots all season. It is also hard to put McCamey on the ball here in Austin in a way that he was back with the Illini when players such as Ryan Arcidiacono, Keifer Sykes, Nick Johnson and Travis Trice are always with him – the niche McCamey fills now is as the reserve, slow-it-down, streak-shooting replacement-level player. Upperclassman McCamey, the one who consistently hit difficult jump shots and passed with some flair, was great fun. Very good, too. Here’s hoping he can get back to shooting like that again. […]
Connor Burchfield SG – 6’4, 180lbs – Born 6th April 1994 Austin Spurs In his first professional season out of William and Mary, Burchfield moved around. He signed early with Juventus in Lithuania, was cut after two months just before the season began, was drafted by the Spurs with the penultimate pick in the first round of the G-League Draft, lasted two further months, before latterly spending 13 days with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and 11 days with the Greensboro Swarm. Across all these gigs, he managed only 113 minutes played, enough time to get up 21 three-pointers but hitting only five of them. Burchfield is of course a shooter by trade, and an elite one, hitting 50.8% from outside across his four-year collegiate career on 354 total attempts. He moves off the ball, runs to the wing, cuts back door, and works to get open without dribbling. That said, apart from the very occasional drive of a close-out, Burchfield almost never handles the ball, and hasn’t demonstrated the ability to much do so. And with a small stature, a short and skinny wing span and little athleticism, defence will forever be the valid concern. After all, while he can chase around other Connor Burchfield types, he is changing no one’s plans. [2020 UPDATE: Retired and works in insurance.] – 20th June, 2019 This above is extracted from the following page in the The Basketball Manifesto, an entirely free 3,775 page, 1.2 million word-ish basketball reference book which contains reviews, strategies, ideas, opinions, and a whole lot of scouting on men’s world basketball. – View tons more player profiles like this from the Manifesto here.
Josh Huestis SF/PF – 6’7, 230lbs – Born 19th December 1991 Austin Spurs Coming out of college, although he had scored 11.2 points per game as a senior, Huestis had yet to establish what kind of offensive player he was. Sometimes he played in the post, sometimes he spotted up from the perimeter, yet in neither case did he stand out. Instead, Huestis was a defence -first player, a rebounder and a shot blocker, who scored through cuts, put-backs and the like as much as he did through any designed plays. Not much was run specifically for Huestis as, with his limited handle, merely average shooting and college basketball’s refusal to run stuff for rolling screeners for some reason, it was not easy to know how to do so. Struggling to finish through contact around the basket, Huestis needed a role. As a pro, Huestis has sought to establish himself as a perimeter shooter. All this has really done for him, though, is show that he isn’t one. Huestis fell out of the NBA last season because the guaranteed money ran out after the Oklahoma City Thunder declined his fourth-year team option. Immediately after doing so, they then gave him over a thousand minutes, as opposed to the mere 96 he managed over his first two years combined. The Thunder at the time were desperately looking for a wing defender who could also space the floor. Huestis, however, didn’t, shooting only 28.7% from three on a high volume of attempts. He needed a bounce-back season this year to re-establish his NBA credentials; instead, though, he again shot poorly in the low-30% range that is usual for him. The 38.5% he shot with the Blue in the 2016/17 season is clearly anomalous compared with the rest of his career. […]
John Holland SG/SF – 6’5, 205lbs – Born 6th November 1988 Austin Spurs Holland initially began this past season on the second year of the two-way contract with which he began the 2017-18 campaign, but was waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers in favour of Andrew Harrison. When Harrison himself was then replaced by Jaron Blossomgame a month later, it was largely Holland who filled Blossomgame’s spot with the Spurs. They do things quite differently, though. Offensively minded, Holland is a useful if not dynamic off-ball scorer. He has some strength on his frame but not the speed and leap of, say, Jordan Green – this, combined with a solid but unspectacular handle on the ball, limits his ability to change direction all that quickly, which in turn makes Holland more of an off-ball threat than on one. That said, Holland has a very strong understanding of how and when to get open. He runs the court, he cuts off the ball, and he spots up with frequency. Holland is always someone for a defence to pay attention to, because while he will not handle the ball up top much, he will work in tandem with whoever does, and he is a confident shooter with any slither of space. He also makes tough ones. Defensively, Holland has never exactly stood out, but he has never shirked his responsibilities either. He uses his strength and plays with good effort level on that end; others are quicker and longer, and some apply more ball pressure, but Holland uses what he can. In conjunction, these two main aspects to his game make Holland a solid three-and-D player. From an NBA point of view, it may be very difficult to make it back given his age, but there are several G-League seasons still […]
Jordan Green SG – 6’5, 191lbs – Born 5th May 1993 Austin Spurs Since leaving the Texas A&M basketball team in 2015, Green has a spotty CV, barely playing save for a brief local tryout spot with the Erie BayHawks over his first two professional campaigns, before making the Spurs roster via the same tryout route to begin the 2017-18 season. That time, it worked, as Green has now been on the team for two full years. In an era of shooters, Green is not one. Nor does he seem to much aspire to be one. Green has always been an average-enough spot-up shooter to merit taking catch-and-shoot looks, yet he does not much look to do so, and even less often does he try and create them with a dribble. Instead, Green can be found on the wings, cutting sometimes, driving sometimes (albeit always finishing with his left hand), and spotting up only when very open. In the half court, as a shooting guard who neither handles up top nor uses screens on the wing, he has limited use. For the most part, Green gets his offence in transition. It is there where his excellent athleticism is best on show. Green is a very good leaper who attacks the rim when he can, and leaks out often so as to maximise the number of these opportunities. In doing so he often forgoes helping out with the rebounding, but at least he is a good transition finisher. Green’s role instead is primarily defensive, where he takes primary assignments against off-ball shooters and elite wings. With a knack for highlight blocks, Green puts up ball pressure and uses the length and speed to stay in front fairly well, albeit with lapses. It would serve him and his job security […]
Amida Brimah C – 6’10, 230lbs – Born 11th February 1994 Austin Spurs After four years at UConn, the book on Brimah was written a long time ago. Long, athletic shot blocker, looks smooth, limited offensively, prone to fouling. Given the prolific nature of his shot blocking ability, the question was whether he could iron out the kinks over time and maximise the value of this one unteachable skill. The answer thus far:….sort of. Having completed his second consecutive season with Austin, there are small improvements to be found between Brimah’s numbers this year and last year. His scoring is up to 8.8 points per game from 6.6, his rebounding is up to 8.2 per game to 7.4 (with almost all of those extra ones coming offensively), his assists per game nearly doubled from 0.7 per game last season, and even the blocks are up from 2.6 per game. This comes in almost exactly the same minute share; Brimah played two more total minutes this season in one less game. There are incremental improvements, then, and while Brimah’s foul rates are still very high (thus capping the minute share he can receive), that is not too big of a problem from an NBA point of view considering that the role he would be looked at to fill would be small anyway. The biggest problem is the free throw percentage. It has completely gone to the point that one in particular briefly went viral. A player who hit 82.4% of his free throws as a junior (admittedly on a small sample size) is now hacked with every touch in the paint, because to do so is the most efficient strategy available. And thus instead of developing offensively, Brimah has in fact regressed. The blocking (forsaking position to overhelp be […]
Devon Bookert PG – 6’3, 195lbs – Born 27th January 1993 Austin Spurs In the three years since he graduated from Florida State, Bookert has spent two years on the cusp of the G-League, some time in the Czech Republic and one year unsigned. Twice he has been drafted – 75th overall by Rio Grande Valley last year, 42nd by Capital City this year – yet neither time has he made it out of camp. He was called up to the Spurs when Travis Trice went on international duty, yet kept his place upon his return, with Maverick Rowan waived instead. Presumably, this was to add balance to the team; whereas Rowan strives to be a shooter, Bookert is more of a deferential combo guard whose efficiency trumps volume. Bookert shot 41.9% from three-point range over his four-year Seminoles career, and in the 24 Czech league games he managed with Praha last season, he shot 47-93 for a further 50.5%. He is not a creator of looks; these are catch-and-shoot attempts, as Bookert hasn’t the handle or speed to create the space for his own. Nor for anyone else, really – as willingly deferential as he is, being a pass-first player should not be confused with a half-court creating point guard. Nevertheless, as a role player, Bookert has slowly found a niche. He has improved his handle over the years, spots up from long and mid-ranges, finds good looks for team mates even without collapsing the defence first, keeps the possession moving and doesn’t overdribble. He is a smart extra passer/refeeder, and although he does little in the paint, he wisely knows not to force himself in there much. Without being particularly, fast, big or athletic, Bookert has improved his defensive commitment over the years, chasing shooters around […]
Dejuan Blair PF/C – 6’8, 270lbs – Born 22nd April 1989 Austin Spurs Three years removed from his last stint in the NBA, and the veteran Blair is still trying to get back in it. Blair has had short G-League stints in two of the last three seasons, yet this season he landed a spot only by going via the draft mechanism. Blair was drafted with the 107th pick in the 2018 G-League Draft; to put that into some context, that was the second-last pick of the entire thing, and of the 106 “picks” in front of them, 33 had actually been passed (i.e. no selection made whatsoever). It is true to say that roster size limits were a large part of why, but it also evidenced that Blair is not just a forgotten man in NBA circles; he had become one in the G-League, too. Nevertheless, as 107th picks go, Blair has yielded some excellent value. In his limited minutes, Blair, who now has big hair, has played the physical bully ball that he always did, something which is increasingly rare in the modern era and something that the smaller GLeague 10-man rosters do not always have good defenders for. He has not become someone else; Blair still does not much shoot or handle, is heavily right-handed dominant, has very slow feet on perimeter defence and struggles outside of the paint on both ends. He never was explosive, but he really isn’t now, and while he posts to righty hooks and rolls to the basket off his own meaty screens, the resultant shot attempts are from below the rim. Still, while the NBA has moved away from players like Blair, the rest of the world has yet to do so. If his health holds up, he should […]
Travis Bader SG – 6’5, 190lbs – Born 2nd July 1991 Austin Spurs Bader returned to the G-League this January after three and a half years away, time which he had spent in Lithuania, Italy and Greece. In his time away, he has actually been working to reduce his three-point rate. Whereas most players increase theirs over time, Bader – who came out of Oakland in 2014 as an out-and-out off-ball shooting specialist – has lowered his three-point rate from .828 in his first G-League stint with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers down to only .579 with the Spurs this season. Still high, but not as one-dimensional as it once was. This is not because Bader has turned into some ball-dominant probing go-to half court paint collapser or dunker or post-up guy or something. He remains true to what he is; a man who runs around off the ball, using screens, trying to get open, turning to face the basket and raising up to shoot. Minimal dribbles for maximum points, is the aim. What he is instead doing more of is throwing fakes to get the player giving him the required hard closeout in the air, then stepping in for a two-point shot. Quite a lot more often, in fact. It diversifies the attack and leads to more open looks than he would get just by shooting over the closeout every time. Beyond this, though, Bader is still limited. Minimum dribbles is partly by choice, but also because Bader does not have much handle on the ball, making it extremely rare for him to get to the rim and limiting the range of backcourt partners he can play with. Moreover, his limited size and athleticism makes him a bit of a non-factor defensively, and so he has to […]
Terry Maston SF/PF – 6’8, 225lbs – Born 4th September 1995 Agua Caliente Clippers Picked up for a month after being waived by the team that drafted him, the Stockton Kings, Maston played only 3 minutes in 3 games before being waived. He latterly joined the Saint John Riptide in the NBL Canada, averaging 19.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 blocks and 2.7 turnovers in 31.5 minutes of 27 games to close out the season. With long arms, smooth athleticism, a mid-range jump shot, a good free throw stroke and a decent rebounding rate, Maston rolls, pops, and posts to a turnaround jumper with an old man game, occasionally driving to the rim with a couple of dribbles but usually rolling without the ball. However, with only one made three-pointer on the season, no left hand, bad perimeter defensive reads and poor defensive effort overall, Maston has big gaps in his game. – 20th June, 2019 This above is extracted from the following page in the The Basketball Manifesto, an entirely free 3,775 page, 1.2 million word-ish basketball reference book which contains reviews, strategies, ideas, opinions, and a whole lot of scouting on men’s world basketball. – View tons more player profiles like this from the Manifesto here.
Ryan Boatright PG – 5’11, 170lbs – Born 27th December 1992 Agua Caliente Clippers Boatright started the season with Agua Caliente through a local tryout spot, was traded to the Texas Legends in December for J.J. Avila, then left in January to finish the season with Unicaja Malaga in Spain. He played well for Malaga, averaging 7.3 points, 3.3 assists and 1.0 steals in only 14 minutes per game in 8 ACB contests to close out the season, yet a poor season last for Besiktas and a disjointed one in 2018-19 has seen him lose some momentum in his career. To go from NBA contracts to local tryouts in only three seasons is quite the backwards step. Nevertheless, Besiktas should take some responsibility for not understanding what kind of player they signed – Boatright is a change-of-pace speedster, shooter and dynamic force rather than a full-time floor general. And while it would be for the best if he was successfully expanding beyond that role, he is at least playing well within it. – 20th June, 2019 This above is extracted from the following page in the The Basketball Manifesto, an entirely free 3,775 page, 1.2 million word-ish basketball reference book which contains reviews, strategies, ideas, opinions, and a whole lot of scouting on men’s world basketball. – View tons more player profiles like this from the Manifesto here.
Evan Taylor SG – 6’5, 204lbs – Born 11th April 1996 Agua Caliente Clippers There is always plenty of room in the college game for the defensive specialist who rarely scores. Be it at point guard, on the wing or in the frontcourt, it is a fairly normal sight; after all, the talent thins out considerably after the top few teams, even in the lower ends of the power conferences. Such players are genuinely helpful, but their professional prognosis is limited; after all, pro teams can be pickier. In his first pro season out of Nebraska, Taylor tried to defy the trend. And he certainly brought his trademark defensive energy to the Clippers. As a senior, Taylor posted only 6.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals per game, on a .532% true shooting percentage. Not numbers we would normally go for. Nevertheless, in a good frame for the wing, Taylor is fully committed to defence. He is pesky, he is savvy, and while it may not be the most readily reflected thing in the statistics, Taylor is an important part of the glue of any defensive unit. Flexible, versatile, intense and malleable. He gets after it. It would be good if he could add some offence to go with that. Taylor has over time improved his catch-and-shoot ability, and while his three-point volume is always low, his efficiency seems to be consistently there now. That said, Taylor creates nothing, wishes not to handle the ball inside the arc at all, does not much wish to handle it outside of it either, and is purely an opportunity scorer. He has to be very open to shoot, and the lane has to be very open for him to drive it. Is this going to be enough to make […]
Desi Rodriguez SF/PF – 6’6, 240lbs – Born 23rd March 1996 Agua Caliente Clippers 6’6 and 240lbs are not the usual sort of measurements you will see at this level. But then, Desi Rodriguez is not the usual sort of player. A favourable interpretation of his skill set would highlight his versatility. Rodriguez can both face up and back down; while never the best spot-up jump shooter, and even less of one off the dribble, Rodriguez is nevertheless best when facing the basket, driving to the cup and finishing with bankers, runners and the like. He has been adapting to play the perimeter more and more in recent years, and while he does not have a tight handle with which to create space, or use his right hand much at all, Rodriguez takes bumps, works the angles, throws in spin moves and exploits the mid-range areas. Driving curls, shooting on the move and posting to a turnaround jump shot, he finds looks without having blazing straight-line speed, the ability to jump over defenders, or the craft in his handle to shake them. The less favourable interpretation would be to say that Rodriguez has no calling card at this level. He is not a shooter, nor a handler, nor a transition player, nor a post player, nor an athlete. He is all of these things, a bit, yet when compared to his peers in each role, Rodriguez is none of them enough. In almost always driving left, Rodriguez somewhat negates the variety of the rest of his attack, and while he hits quite a few tough shots, this is also because he takes them. That same lack of foot speed has always hindered Rodriguez defensively, the end of the floor on which he has never shone. Rodriguez has improved, […]
Tyler Roberson PF – 6’9, 227lbs – Born 27th November 1994 Agua Caliente Clippers Roberson rejoined the Clippers in January after having initially moved to Greece to begin the season, catching on with defending Basketball Champions League champions AEK Athens. If you or your loved ones fancy reading more about AEK Athens’ title defence and the compelling protagonists within it, then why not all gather around the fireside and read this scintillating piece of online content from a tremendous author who has yet to master the art of self-editing. The Clippers knew what they would be getting when Roberson returned, because at this point, the Tyler Roberson package is well established. It is an effective one, too. Roberson is a little-things player, a glass-crasher, a hustling and athletic big who rarely touches the ball, an energetic defensive player who causes a scene through effort rather than skill. Roberson is springy, prepared to bump, prepared to grind, prepared to stay out of the way offensively save for cuts, rolls, put-backs and transition, and if he commits a high volume of fouls in the process of being this active, so be it. Of course, long is the list of things that Roberson does not do. There is no handle. There is no jump shot. There is little in the way of post touch, nor much consistent non-dunk finishing; a short righty hook and a very rare turnaround jump shot exist, yet Roberson has to be set up first and is much more effective when catching on the move so as to not even have to take one dribble. Roberson struggles to defend the perimeter, does not have the core strength a post defender would ideally have, and nor is he as much of a shot-blocker as you would hope for […]
Ray McCallum PG – 6’3, 190lbs – Born 12th June1991 Agua Caliente Clippers McCallum joined the Clippers in February after beginning the season with Turkish team Darussafaka, with whom he had averaged 9.4 points and 4.1 assists per game in EuroLeague play, his second consecutive season in the world’s second-best league. Of course, his –24 net rating in EuroLeague play speaks to how well both his and Darussafaka’s season went up there; back in the EuroLeague after a year away, Darussafaka went a measly 5-25 in the regular season and finished stone cold last. Nevertheless, rare is the occasion that an EL player comes directly to the G-League. By the time McCallum joined them, the Clippers already had a good backcourt going, so it was his job to fit in around them. This arguably could work better for McCallum, who, despite his pedigree and NBA experience, I would argue is better as a role playing guard than as a lead creator. As things stand, McCallum mostly works on the ball, yet creating with the ball in his hands has never been his most efficient route, considering his limited athleticism and thus ability to create space. Instead, McCallum should work best as a savvy role player. He plays with energy on defence, and although he never takes all that many of them, he has become an excellent catch-and-shoot three-point shooter over the years. He should take more of them, frankly, yet McCallum’s core instinct is to get in the paint, work the mid-range game, push the ball and make things happen. Those are all fine, and as a heady high-IQ player, he does them well enough. I really feel as though McCallum works best on the move, though. So find someone to pair him with who can be the […]
Marc Loving SF/PF – 6’8, 220lbs – Born 16th September 1994 Agua Caliente Clippers Loving has an enviable physical profile. Standing 6’8 with very long arms, he has a long languid stride, leaping ability and some straight-line speed, looking every inch the prototype NBA forward when measured solely athletically. It is therefore a shame that he has yet to discover quite what to do with it. Loving’s game unfortunately is not so much categorised by that athleticism as it is his dispassionate style. There is a particular lack of hustle on the defensive end. Those long arms should make him a disruptive presence. Instead, though, Loving is a loafer, routinely driven past and without the tenacity to get into and stay in a stance, compete, fight for position or fight to recover. Were Loving so innately good of a shot maker that he offset the points he gave up, or at least committed enough to the rebounding end of the ball that he won possessions that way, that would be one thing. As it is, though, Loving is disinterested defensively. He is also often disinterested offensively. Given that he spurns the post-up play (wise, given his wiry frame) and handles the ball little, a player of his length, smooth athleticism, finishing ability and finesse should be working to cut to the rim, run the court, play at least one half of the pick-and-roll more and look to create opportunities through movement. Instead, though, Loving wants to be a shooter, and yet the results are not there. With a profile like his, shooting should open up the rest of the game, not supplant it. Alas. There is still time. Loving is still young. But five years of relatively high platforms on which to showcase himself have not seen much […]
Manu Lecomte PG – 5’11, 175lbs – Born 16th August 1995 Agua Caliente Clippers In Lecomte’s first professional season – one which subsequently saw him sign with Spanish team Murcia after the G-League season ended – Lecomte showed the same package of offensive skills he had for two years at Miami, two years at Baylor, and a decade with Belgium. To overcome such a small stature relies upon great quickness and excellent shot-making ability. Lecomte has both, and to shoot a .604% true shooting percentage when standing only 5’11 is impressive. Forming a good two-man game with Brandon Fields, Lecomte can both catch and shoot to good effect, as well as create space for jump shots with a tight handle and quick changes of direction. Able to play both on and off the ball, Lecomte shoots off the catch, off the dribble, off screens, is unafraid to get into the paint (if ineffective as a finisher once there), shoots a pull-up and is plenty active with his movement when not on the ball. It is unusual and not entirely comfortable for a 5’11 player to be better off the ball, but with his quick release, sweet shooting ability, constant motion and knowledge of where to run to as a weak side/kick-out shooting threat, it is a role Lecomte is effective within. The size, though, is naturally inhibiting. Although Lecomte is a disciplined offensive creator and decent pick-and-roll playmaker, who does not make many mistakes and consistently shows his wealth of high-level experience relative to his age, he is not a full time point guard. He is not a full time prober, driver-and-kicker, or game management type; his inclination is to score. And the size truly becomes an issue defensively, where, although he can stay in front with his […]
Demarcus Holland SG – 6’4, 179lbs – Born 2nd March 1994 Agua Caliente Clippers Holland has just completed his second season of professional play, and his second in the GLeague after a full debut campaign with the South Bay Lakers that resulted in a summer league stint for the parent club. From an NBA point of view, there is a lot to like in his physical profile. Despite being small for the shooting guard position, Holland is an excellent athlete with long arms, foot speed and leaping ability. Primarily, he uses these physical advantages to do two things – run the court at every opportunity, and play some very harassing defence. Always looking to get involved, Holland plays the passing lanes and applies ball pressure on opposing guards, making himself quite the defensive nuisance. However, the offensive skills remain sorely underdeveloped. It is hard to find a role for Holland in the half court game, as although his physical profile should make him an excellent cutter, the lack of consistent jump shooting ability (probably not helped by such a high arc) makes him no great decoy. Holland does little with the ball in his hands, unable to shoot or pass on the move, and yet he does often try to do things offensively outside of his (or what should be his) comfort level. He plays offensively with the same energy and enthusiasm that he brings to the defensive end, yet it is much less helpful there. Nevertheless, a combination of speed, length, commitment, defence and transition opportunities are a good package on which to build a multi-year professional career. Holland now just needs to be careful that he does not sign with a European team under the illusion that he is going to play point guard for them, […]
Brandon Fields PG/SG – 6’4, 195lbs – Born 13th August 1988 Agua Caliente Clippers After three years away, Fields came back to the G-League this season, perhaps looking for some stability in a professional career that has thus far taken him to about 176 different countries (give or take). Stability in turn is what he gave Agua Caliente this season at both guard positions. Never the best shooter with that Eric Gordon-looking release of his, Fields spent more time on the ball this season, looking to find his team mates and playing pick-and-roll/pop with Anthony Bennett. Not quite the explosive athlete he was in his youth, Fields is now more of a prober than the relentless attacker he once was, and as his explosion subsides, he instead looks to pass more on the move now. On a team that featured Manu Lecomte and Jamel Artis in such big doses, there was no primary point guard required nor available in the traditional sense. All three would take their turns, and Fields was no exception. He could still however get to the rim in transition, and although his perimeter shot-making has never been the strength of his game, 35.6% from three-point range is good enough. Losing the athleticism of his youth and instead becoming wiser and calmer is a sensible aspiration for us all, and it is a transition Fields handled well this season. Because of that, there is nothing appealing to the next level. Without standing out on defence or as a shooter, Fields is not a game changer and barely a net positive at this level of competition. That said, after many nomadic years, Fields may have found the right place for himself. – 20th June, 2019 This above is extracted from the following page in the The […]
Anthony Bennett PF – 6’8, 235lbs – Born 14th March 1993 Agua Caliente Clippers This may have been the year that Anthony Bennett finally became the player he could always have been. Drafted on account of his perceived combination of size and perimeter skill, Bennett has over the last two seasons become an absolutely excellent shooter. That true shooting percentage of .721% is not being done through dunks. Rather, the vast majority of Bennett’s field goal attempts are jumpers, often from behind the three-point line, and more often than not above the break. Hitting 42.2% from three-point range in parts of four G-League seasons, what was once an ancillary part of his game has now become the core of it. Bennett can still play pick-and-roll basketball, and also gets some paint touches. More often than not, though, those paint touches lead to turnarounds or step-back mid-range jumpers, usually involving the glass. Bennett’s clear-cut preference is for the jump shot, and he can normally be found screening at the top of the key, calling for a pick-and-pop jumper, and shooting them with boundless confidence. More importantly, he is becoming the exceptionally elite finisher rather than the inefficient creator. Bully ball didn’t work at the next level, so instead, Bennett has honed the en vogue skill. The NBA craves multi-positional shooting, and Bennett has absolutely put himself in the running with this striking efficiency. Defensively, things have not improved as much. Bennett is disadvantaged by not having either great length or foot speed, but the effort level could, as ever, stand to improve. Nevertheless, when he shoots this well, this often, Bennett does not give back as much as he gives. And he has made his call-up credentials legitimate with his play this season. – 20th June, 2019 This above […]
Zach Lofton SG – 6’4, 180lbs – Born 18th November 1992 Grand Rapids Drive After enrolling at five colleges in six seasons, Lofton began his professional career this summer with a summer league contract with the Pistons, one which subsequently turned into a training camp offer and then a two-way contract. Lofton impressed with a strong summer league performance, yet it must be noted that in his final college season with New Mexico State, he was genuinely very good. Then again, he was far older than everybody else. Lofton’s advanced age for a man with only one professional season means there is not a lot of upside to him as a prospect. He just needs to be pretty much NBA ready right now if he is to ever crack the league for more than the dreg minutes of one game he got with Detroit this year. With New Mexico State, Lofton ranked in the 79th percentile in isolation, 76th percentile in pick-and-roll ball-handling, 90th in spot-up shooting and 84th in transition. He is a very adept scorer with spin moves, touch and aggression, a touch undersized for the two guard spot but athletic and determined to make up for it. The problem in his season here with the Drive was that he simply did not make the same quantity of shots. A scorer through and through, passing plays are secondary to Lofton’s nature. He is an aggressive shot-hunter who takes early and difficult looks quite often, something that go-to guys need to do, but he is not a go-to guy if he is shooting this inefficiently. Similarly, if he took fewer early and difficult shots, he would not be shooting this inefficiently. Because of this aggression and sub-par outside touch, Lofton measured out this year to be a […]
Jon Horford C – 6’10, 245lbs – Born 16th October 1991 Grand Rapids Drive For some reason, as soon as he turned professional, Al’s brother became an exceptional rebounder. Over the 93 regular season games of G-League experience he has had over pieces of the last four seasons, he has averaged 6.7 rebounds in only 17.7 minutes per game. Given the much more sedentary rebounding rate of his four college seasons between Michigan and Florida, this is a significant increase, and gives him a clear purpose at this level. Michigan used to post Horford up, because Michigan used to post everybody over 6’8 up, because college basketball is antiquated. Horford was never good in this role; he lacked for speed and touch, was neither especially strong nor athletic, favoured his left despite being a right-handed shooter for some reason, could not pass out of the post and rushed to try and finish the shot against anyone with true length. Instead, when he transferred to the Gators, Horford felt empowered to start taking spot-up threes. He still does this, albeit not efficiently; that, plus some rolling to the basket and anything he can get off of his own offensive rebounding, is it this point the sum total of his offensive offerings. This is not a rim-runner, a shooter or a skill player. Instead, this is a hustler, in the best possible sense of the word. Horford will go at the glass despite invariably losing either the speed or strength match-up with whoever is trying to contest him. Defensively, very slow feet make it difficult for him to hedge and recover, defend in space or close out to cover ground, and he is also not blessed with a shot blocking leap either. Yet in going to the defensive glass, taking […]