Overview:A long athletic combo forward that took a while to come around after being drafted straight out of high school, but has become a very nice role playing scorer. Has tremendous size and a great wingspan for a small forward, but sees quite a few minutes at the 4 as well. An elite run and jump athlete. Not very strong physically, but has added some muscle to his frame over time. Can make an impact with his mid-range jumper. Has all the assets you look for in a big time defensive player, but hasnt put them together yet. Still has quite a bit of potential in that area, and is extremely young despite going into his sixth season in the NBA. Was simply too athletic to be stopped during his career at Starkville HS (MS). Was picked in the first round based solely on his long-term potential. Took a few years to acclimate to the NBA level. Needed to hone all of his skills and had a hard time making an impact early in his career. Hasnt made a big stride in one particular area but has simply improved every year. Not the smartest player in the world, but is a hard worker and has a very easy going personality. Could grow into a very valuable niche player if he manages to keep his ego in check.
Offense: An athlete that is capable of scoring in a number of ways. Gets about one-third of his offense in spot up situations, with another large portion coming in one-on-one opportunities and moving without the ball. Displays a semi-consistent jump shot that hes honed significantly over the course of his career. Used to shoot a ton of off balance shots, but has refined his form in recent seasons. Gets great elevation when he pulls up off the dribble. Can score driving in either direction, but still shows some questionable shot selection on his pull ups. Get separation easily due to his length and athleticism. Capable catch and shoot player. Has slowly extended his range out to the NBA line, but doesnt take many attempts from that far out. Much more of a mid-range player. Sees a good amount of isolation plays from the high post. Not a great ball-handler, struggles to change directions and speeds when he attacks the rim. Could stand to improve in that area. Usually just tries to blow by his man. Will force some shots going away from the rim when he cant get all the way to the rim. Not a great finisher for an athlete of his caliber, despite his terrific extension around the rim. Has a hard time dealing with contact. Goes to the line at a very good rate, and shoots a decent percentage. Will make some highlight reel plays in transition. Gets some chances in the post, showing a nice turnaround jumper. Doesnt set up teammates or turn the ball over often. Will grab an offensive rebound from time to time. Can create his own shot due to his athleticism, but still needs to learn how to pick and choose his spots. Shot-selection is questionable at times. Top-20 in the league in field goal attempts per-minute, but isnt efficient enough to really warrant that.
Defense: A solid defender who needs to recognize that he has all of the physical tools to be an elite defender. Has the length and lateral quickness to be a menace on the perimeter, but has only been to take advantage of that in small doses. Is largely inconsistent with the things he shows on the defensive end. Follows up one great play up with a terrible one, blocking shots and getting steals, but also falling for fakes and taking some possessions off. Isnt always very aggressive when defending the perimeter. Doesnt get low in his stance will let slower players beat him off the dribble periodically. Wont give up a lot of penetration when hes giving a good effort. Has the length to contest shots and the quickness to close out shooters effectively. Can be a force when hes fully tuned in thanks to his awesome physical tools. Will get an occasional steal or block. Tends to largely let the game come to him, not always following the scouting report or displaying good fundamentals. Rebounds at a solid rate by virtue of his athleticism. Has all kinds of potential as a defender. Needs to recognize what an added measure of defensive intensity and awareness could do for his value as a role player.