D-League Showcase Scouting Reports

D-League Showcase Scouting Reports
Jan 09, 2010, 08:25 pm
Following the four days of action we observed in Boise, we present scouting reports of some of the top NBA prospects in attendance.

Alade Aminu came back to earth after his outstanding first Showcase game, scoring just 11 points on 5-10 shooting while grabbing an unimpressive 2 rebounds in 23 minutes. Aminu was also in foul trouble, finishing the game with 5 fouls, and this game definitely shed some light on his unimpressive averages (10 points, 5 rebounds) throughout the season.

Aminu's biggest problems right now lie in his inconsistency on defense and the glass, as he doesn't always rebound the way he's capable of, and he tends to get lost at times on defense. He had quite a few instances today where he was indecisive defending pick-and-rolls, leading to openings for the opposition or putting him in a position where he was forced to foul. The encouraging thing is at times Aminu looks great in these situations, as he clearly has the tools to be a versatile defender with his mobility and length.

Offensively, Aminu also has some problems, as his post game is not very reliable as of yet, even though he shows nice flashes. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Aminu is scoring just 0.75 points per possessions on post-ups, which make up the largest portion of his offensive usage. In watching him play, it's clear he's a bit lacking in instincts here, and can tend to force the issue at times. That said, his hook shot looks very good at times, as he gets great separation and his touch isn't bad.

Aminu is at his best finishing off cuts and pick-and-rolls, two situations he probably isn't used in as often as he should be. If he focused on those two aspects alone, while also developing a bit more consistency with his mid-range jumper (which is already respectable), he could be a nice role playing big in the NBA, assuming he improves his defense and rebounding.

Possibly the player with the most upside of any player in the D-League, Aminu should be getting looks for call-ups soon, as he's a low-risk option to stash on a roster and develop. That said, with the economic constraints placed on many teams (there's a reason many teams are opting to use only 13 of 15 potential roster spots), his list of potential suitors is definitely smaller than it would be normally, so it's no guarantee he finds a home before the season ends, especially because it's questionable if he could immediately contribute if forced into action.

A draft-eligible prospect who spent three seasons lighting up Conference USA at Southern Miss before tossing his name into the draft and subsequently deciding to stay in the pro ranks, Jeremy Wise had a solid showing in the D-League showcase playing for a very weak Bakersfield Jam squad.

Standing 6’2 with a skinny frame, Wise is a severely undersized two guard with outstanding speed and quickness. An excellent transition player, he did bring the ball up the floor occasionally, but is clearly looking to score when he has the ball in his hands.

Offensively, Wise is very aggressive looking for his shot, especially off the dribble. Displaying the ability to turn the corner on the pick and roll and draw contact at the rim, he proves to be a very solid finisher on this level and gets to the line at a solid rate. Wise went to the line 11 times in the first Showcase game, taking a number of pretty bad falls in the process, but putting his athleticism on full display. Despite his lack of physical strength, Wise shows no shortage of toughness at the basket.

From the perimeter, Wise displays aggressive shot selection, taking and making some very difficult shots. He prefers to put the ball on the floor to create his shot over catching and shooter, but yields solid results doing both. Not terribly consistent from three point range, Wise tends to drift on some of his shots, and will need to improve his 30.8% shooting from three to improve his chances of receiving any NBA draft attention.

Defensively, Wise shows a passable effort level and the ability to spark the break, but doesn’t project as a good defender in the NBA. His size limits his upside, and his scoring mentality takes away from his ability to run the point –which is a key to his development as a prospect. As it stands, Wise isn’t likely to be considered a great NBA draft prospect, but the fact remains that he will end up with a full year of very important experience playing against grown men in a challenging environment, which will only improve his pro prospects moving forward.

Rob Kurz had a great first game here, doing everything you'd expect him to do, but sat out the second game. A very smart and efficient scorer, Kurz has a deadly jump shot with three point range, while he's also been doing a great job crashing the boards in D-League action this season.

Kurz is a role player with a clearly defined skill-set and a very good understanding of the game. Since he already spent the majority of last season in the NBA, it wouldn't be unlikely to see him called up at some point. For a team looking for a combination of frontcourt depth, smarts and outside shooting, there probably isn't a better option in the D-League. As long as the team is content with his defensive limitations and not expecting a huge amount of upside, Kurz would be a solid option for a minimum contract.

One of the top scorers in the NBADL in each of his two seasons of action, Carlos Powell scored a total of 45 points in his two games in Boise and only reinforced many of the things we wrote about him two seasons ago. After spending last year in Korea and training camp with the Warriors, Powell has been lighting up the scoreboard for Albuquerque all season long.

An incredibly assertive scorer, Powell can put the ball in the basket from virtually everywhere on the floor. Displaying a wide array of scoring moves around the rim, solid touch on his jumper, and a willingness to attack defenders off the dribble, he is one of the most talented and complete offensive players the D-League has to offer, despite the fact that he is not the most explosive athlete you’ll find.

While 52.2% shooting and 8.9 free throw attempts each game certainly warrant a lot of possessions, Powell often stalls Albuquerque’s offense when he looks to score. Getting a large portion of his offense in one-on-one situations, Powell still uses his physical strength rather than great quickness or explosiveness to bully defenders on this level, but he’s improved his range to some extent since his last stint in the NBADL and still dishes out a respectable number of assists thanks to his ability to consistently draw the attention of his teammates’ defenders.

Defensively, Powell remains limited from an NBA by his average lateral quickness, though his willingness to get physical allows him to produce some steals. He’s shown an improved energy level at times this season, which is something he needs to show consistently to improve his stock. Only an average rebounder, Powell can score in bunches on this level, and while he isn’t an ideal role-player, he is player who could receive call-up considerations considering his ability to immediately produce.

One of the more intriguing players here from a pure potential standpoint, Dar Tucker was fairly up and down in his two games at the Showcase, showing many of the problems that led to him being undrafted (by the NBA) this past summer. A super long and athletic undersized shooting guard, Tucker just doesn't have a reliable jump shot, but plays as if he does. His numbers on the season (37% FG, 16% 3PT, 63% FT) show you just how big a toll his poor outside shooting takes on his efficiency.

On the bright side, Tucker does have some good scoring instincts and can be a terror attacking the basket, which led to some nice finishes here. He also shows a lot of potential defensively, and will make use of it on occasion.

Tucker still appears to be a ways away from contributing at the NBA level, and there's a reason he's coming off the bench and averaging just 21 minutes per game for a D-League team. As has been repeated many times, Tucker will need to become a more effective outside shooter and decision maker before he takes the next step as a player, but if he does, he could likely find himself a niche in the NBA.

Rarely a three-point shooter in college, Anthony Tolliver has become somewhat of a specialist in his time between the NBA and NBADL the past two seasons. A very long PF/C without great height and with just decent athleticism, Tolliver provides his worth by being an efficient scorer, good rebounder, and a very smart player, having good passing skills and fundamentals for a big man.

After a very strong first game here in Boise, Tolliver didn't have the greatest of second games, shooting 5-of-18 from the field, but still managing to post 19 points and 14 rebounds. On the season, Tolliver is taking about half of his attempts from behind the three-point arc, where he is a very reliable spot-up shooter and can even pull up a bit in space.

As for the rest of his offense, Tolliver shows flashes of post and face-up game, but he's not particularly consistent with either, and these aren't segments of his games that project to be very reliable in the NBA.

Defensively, Tolliver is pretty attentive, making most of the rotations, putting in the effort, and playing smart overall defense, but he doesn't appear suited to defend power forwards on the perimeter, being fairly slow-footed. He's a solid post defender and very good on the defensive boards, however.

Tolliver was already called up to the Portland Trail Blazers for a few days this season, and spent part of last season with the Spurs, so it won't be surprising to see him get another shot before this season is over, if not more than one. He has a pretty clearly defined skillset, providing value mainly through three-point shooting and the defensive glass, as well as by being an extremely high character individual, so if a team is looking for those attributes and is capable of masking some of his deficiencies, he could provide a good fit somewhere as a 12th man or even a little more if the team is battling injuries.

One of the top players on our preliminary list of call-up candidates, Dwayne Jones was extremely solid in both of his contests in Boise and has consistently productive all season long. One of the few players here with multiple seasons of NBA experience under his belt, Jones possesses a blend of size, strength, and energy that allow him to make an impact on both ends of the floor with his hustle. A legitimate center, Jones is arguably the best big available for teams in a pinch that need a quick-fix at the five spot.

In his two games here, Jones tallied 20 points and 35 rebounds. Banging bodies around the rim, crashing the glass, and providing an outlet to driving teammates when his defender stepped up to stop them, Jones shot a total of 9 free throws on 9 shot attempts. A capable finisher who isn’t afraid of contact, he translated his effort level into scoring chances and trips to the line. Jones still doesn’t possess a terribly high skill level, nor does he create his own shot. However, he sticks to what he’s good at to the tune of 61.4% shooting from the field. Despite seldom looking to force things or put the ball on the floor, Jones did struggle a bit with turnovers this weekend, posting four in both contests.

Though he’s averaged 17.2 points per game thus far this season, Jones’s bread and butter remains his outstanding rebounding ability. Using his length and strong frame to pursue the ball off the rim, Jones seemed bent on exceeding the 22 rebounds Joey Dorsey posted earlier in the day. Averaging an outstanding 14.6 rebounds per-game on the season, Jones does a lot of the things that NBA teams want from a short-term player: he pulls down an exceptional 5.9 offensive rebounds per game, he provides a defensive presence with his terrific strength, length and bulk, and he can bring energy off the bench. One of the most consistent players we’ve observed, Jones is a steady veteran who remains on the cusp of the NBA.

Though Cartier Martin didn’t explode for a big performances like Alade Aminu did, he was solid all weekend and helped his team win both of their games—earning himself a call-up to the Golden State Warriors along the way. One of the top forwards in the D-League, Martin appears to have rounded back into form after returning to the Energy following a brief stint in Italy. Shooting the ball extremely well in his team’s first win, Martin had one of the stronger performances of day two and showed well again in day four.

Aggressively attacking the rim, Martin was very effective from the get go, scoring 12 points in his first frame in Boise and hitting all five of the free throws he created. A major threat to make shots from deep, Martin shows a solid first step, and never hesitated to initiate contact on his way to the rim. With his dribble drive established, Martin proceeded to knock down a catch and shoot three in transition, a spinning fade-away jumper from 18-feet, and a leaner in the lane after beating his man in a called isolation. In the second half, Martin played a total of six minutes, drawing a charge and getting to the line as the first man down the floor in transition. A solid athlete with a good understanding of Iowa’s half court sets, Martin looked extremely comfortable scoring today on his way to 18 points in his 21 minutes.

In the second game, Martin wasn’t nearly as productive, as a scrappy Bakersfield team nearly ousted the Energy, who currently own the best record in the D-League. A coachable player who is willing to put his body on the line, Martin still scored 17 points, but only shot 7-17 from the field. Despite the sub-par shooting performance, he still showed a high energy level on the defensive end. He’s not a shut down defender, but he plays within the team concept, shows active hands, and will put himself in harm’s way to draw charges. Couple those attributes with his offensively ability and tenure with the Bobcats last season, and it’s very obvious why Golden State opted to give him a 10-day contract as soon as Anthony Randolph went down with an injury.

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