GET TO KNOW 2017 NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS – Caleb Swanigan


Age: 20
Position: PF
College: Purdue, Sophomore

Measurables
Height w/o Shoes: 6’7.5”
Height w/ Shoes: 6’8.5”
Weight: 246 lbs
Wingspan: 7’3”
Standing Reach: 9’0”
Max Vertical: N/A
Via DraftExpress

College Statistics (Sophomore year)
MPG: 32.5
PPG: 18.5
RPG: 12.5
BLKPG: 0.8
APG: 3.0
FT%: 78.1%
2-PT FG%: 54.8%
3-PT FG%: 44.7%
Via Draft Express

Best case Comparison: Brandon Bass, Jason Maxiell, Jared Sullinger

2017 Big Board Ranking
Kevin O’Connor: 31
Chad Ford: 32
Draft Express: 34
Sports Illustrated: 30
CBS Sports: 22

3 Things to Know
1. Swanigan has the capacity to use his wide frame on the inside or the outside due to an excellent shooting touch, which he demonstrated with a 45% three-point percentage.
2. His lack of explosiveness costs him defensively, forcing him to be exceptional on rotations in order to be a serviceable defender.
3. His NBA success may depend on his ability to shoot the three in the NBA as a stretch four.

Strengths
Establishes deep position
Aggressive finisher
Strong finisher w/ both hands
Good feel on the court, both near the rim and further away.
Great rebounder, attacks ball with strong hands
Strong box out with a nose for the ball
Very good shooter, both in pick and pop and spot up situations.
Improved conditioning, allowing more consistent productivity.
Versatile scorer. Uses frame to his advantage.
Excellent passer and post facilitator.

Weaknesses
Not an explosive athlete.
Often is stripped when attacking the rim due to loading ball before dunking.
Lateral speed makes him liable to being beat off of the dribble especially in pick and roll
Does not slide feet well.
Clunky ball handler when attacking from outside
Always spins back right
Struggles shooting off of the dribble.

Summary
Caleb Swanigan is a very powerful player with exceptional touch and shooting ability that has been limited by his lack of elite athleticism. Swanigan was a highly touted prospect after battling through weight issues as a teenager, weighing as much as 360 pounds due to poor financial and living situations, became a first-team All-American as a sophomore. Swanigan initially committed to Michigan State but elected to play for Matt Painter and Purdue in order to stay closer to his home in Indianapolis and allowing him to maintain his strict diet more easily by living in apartments rather than having access to buffets like he would at Michigan State. Swanigan progressed as a player as he got in better shape, weighing in at 246 pounds at the NBA combine, maintaining his strong frame while becoming lighter on his feet. This allowed him to excel from the perimeter and in the post, bullying smaller players down low and shooting extraordinarily well from the perimeter. He brings his unique ability to dominate inside and out to the NBA. His success may hinge upon how well he shoots the NBA three playing the stretch four or five positions on offense and using his big body to rebound effectively. However, Swanigan may struggle defensively in the NBA more than he did at Purdue because of the amount of ball screen action and the consistent athleticism of the guards and bigs he will have to manage in ball screen defenses. Overall, Swanigan brings excellent feel and rebounding to the table, but due to his athletic limitation, mainly defensively, he may slip in the draft to a late first round, early second round selection, providing excellent value to whatever team selects him.

Draft reports compiled by Garrett Furubayashi and Leif Thulin

GET TO KNOW 2017 NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS – Jawun Evans


Age: 20
Position: PG
College: Oklahoma State, Sophomore

Measurables
Height w/o Shoes: 5’10.75”
Height w/ Shoes: 5’11.5”
Weight: 185 lbs
Wingspan: 6’5.5”
Standing reach: 7’11”
Max Vertical: 33.5”
Via DraftExpress

College Statistics (Sophomore year)
MPG: 29.3
PPG: 19.0
RPG: 3.4
BLKPG: 0.1
STLPG: 1.7
APG: 6.5
FT%: 80.6%
2-PT FG%: 45.6%
3-PT FG%: 37.6 %
Via Draft Express

Best Case Comparison: Speedy Claxton, Kenny Smith, D.J. Augustin

2017 Big Board Ranking
Kevin O’Connor: 25
Chad Ford: 30
Draft Express: 27
Sports Illustrated: 35
CBS Sports: 30

3 Things To Know
1. Evans possesses top notch speed and long arms allowing him to be a solid defender, even though he lacks height. This could help him carve out a role as a role-playing guard with potential to facilitate an offense.
2. Evans has the unique ability to get to the rim at will with his speed, and the pick and role oriented NBA should only help him become a better facilitator, as his already solid decision making should improve with time.
3. Evans’ career success could hinge on his ability to improve his range and if his smaller stature can be resolved as an issue by his excellent speed.

Strengths
Exceptional speed.
Gets to top speed very quickly.
Beats defenders with first step.
Potential as an iso player if he improves his handles.
Solid pick and roll player with upside.
Good recognition and decision making on how to attack in pick and roll situations.
Has ability to finish in many ways. (Solid Jumper, Good finisher with a very good floater.)
Quick release when shooting off of the dribble
Good range especially on stop and pop.
Good power on passes
Very good at pushing ball ahead on transition.
Tends to make right decisions on where to pass the ball especially in pick and roll.
Pesky defender.
Very good at fighting around screens.
Crashes the boards hard and is a successful rebounder for his size.
Puts solid pressure on the ball as a defender, utilizing his long arms and excellent speed to his advantage.

Weaknesses
Undersized, and only average explosiveness in a position where he needs top tier athleticism. (Vertical of only 33.5” limits him.)
Sometimes struggles to convert around the rim.
Must improve his off hand.
He turns the ball over more than he should, and must cut down on preventable errors such as losing the ball on crossovers.
Must tighten up his handle as well as improve his passing with his off hand.
Even with good mechanics, Evans misses right and left suggesting there may be an issue with his release.
Evans has limited range on his three even though he looks comfortable shooting from a distance.

Summary
Juwan Evans is a speedy guard with playmaking ability and a good shot, who is only limited by his size, and projects to be a late first round pick with upside. Evans developed into a star in a talented conference by averaging 19 points, 6.5 assists, and shooting 81 percent from the line. Evans stands out on tape, after being relatively lightly recruited, because of his astounding speed and knack for getting to the basket. With Evans’ speed, he creates well for others when attacking, especially when reading pick and roll situations. If Evans can tighten his handles, his speed, and his decision making, he could see major NBA success, especially with the faster pace lay in the NBA catering to Evans’ game. However, Evans may struggle with the length and physicality of NBA guards due to his own smaller stature of sub six feet tall and 185 pounds. Overall, Evans’ success in the NBA may depend on the team that selects him and how they use him and his speed in the NBA’s faster pace as well as how much he improves his jumpshot by adapting to the NBA three point line.

Draft Reports compiled by Garrett Furubayashi and Leif Thulin

GET TO KNOW 2017 NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS – Donovan Mitchell


Age: 20
Position: SG
College: Louisville

Measurables
Height w/o Shoes: 6’1.25”
Height w/ Shoes: 6’3”
Weight: 211 lbs
Wingspan: 6’10”
Standing Reach: 8’1”
Max Vertical: 40.5”
Via DraftExpress

College Statistics (Sophomore year)
MPG: 32.3
PPG: 15.6
RPG: 4.9
BLKPG: 0.5
STLPG: 2.1
APG: 2.7
FT%: 80.6%
2-PT FG%: 46.3%
3-PT FG%: 35.4%
Via Draft Express

Best Case Comparison: Avery Bradley, Norman Powell, Gary Harris

2017 Big Board Ranking
Kevin O’Connor: 11
Chad Ford: 15
Draft Express: 11
Sports Illustrated: 13
CBS Sports: 18

3 Things to Know
1. Mitchell’s success may hinge on his ability to shoot the NBA three, as he is not a natural fit as a prototypical 2 guard or has the handling ability to play point guard.
2. His defensive ability due to explosive athleticism and length could lend him minutes as a 3 and d type player at the next level.
3. He has the ability to slash and create for others around the rim, and if he can improve his range as a shooter and ball-handler, he can carve out an impactful role as a pro.

Strengths
Elite defensive potential.
Aggressive and very versatile
Great rebounder from the guard position
Plays fearlessly
Potential as a playmaker, especially in pick and roll
Good vision and decision making
Explosive leaper
Lob threat as well as strong finisher both as dunker when space granted and finishes well with both hands.
Improving shooter with NBA range.
Tough shot maker and does well as off of the dribble jump shooter.
Improved ball handler.
Great change of pace.
Very quick first step.

Weaknesses
Lacks defensive awareness
Struggles with defensive positioning
Unrefined fundamentals
Undefined position at next level
Undersized 2 guard and not the ball handler or passer required of point guard
Plays recklessly.
Forces shots at the rim.
Does not finish through contact well
Streaky, inconsistent shooter.
Shoots early shots in the clock that aren’t necessarily smart or easy shots.

Summary
Donovan Mitchell was a talented 2 sport athlete in high school, eventually choosing basketball over baseball when he transferred to a more well-known school for basketball (Brewster Academy). After transferring to Brewster, he was noticed by Louisville coach, Rick Pitino and Mitchell became a recipient of a scholarship offer from Louisville. He attended Louisville and gradually became a bigger contributor as his freshman season went along. He averaged 7.4 points, 1.7 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game as a freshman, and the following year embraced a leading role on a very good Louisville team, averaging 15.6 points, 2.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game as a sophomore. Mitchell grew as a player in many areas, using his absurd athleticism to score and create, throwing down many thunderous dunks. Mitchell demonstrated a fluid stroke, shooting a solid percentage from both the free throw line and from the three point line. Mitchell said himself in an interview following NBA workouts that he would like to be a more consistent three-point shooter, as he was incredibly streaky on the season, proving he can really stroke it but still having inexplicable cold streaks. The Louisville guard could pose as a defensive specialist with his elite athleticism and length if he can improve his awareness. He projects as a late lottery to mid-first round draft pick, bringing to the team that selects him an assertive scorer with huge defensive upside, with the ability to defend both guard spots. If he were to fall, many would believe the reason to be that he doesn’t fit the mold precisely for any particular position, however his athleticism and versatility should keep him in the late lottery, projecting to help a team both immediately and in the long-term with his willingness to do what is right for the team, and unique ability to score in many facets of the game.

Draft reports compiled by Garrett Furubayashi and Leif Thulin

GET TO KNOW 2017 NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS – Tony Bradley


Age: 19
Position: C
College: North Carolina, Freshman

Measurables
Height w/o Shoes: 6’9 ¼”
Height w/ Shoes: 6’10 ¾”
Weight: 249
Wingspan: 7’5 ”
Standing Reach: 9’4 ½”
Max Vertical: 27.5”
(Via Draft Express)

College Statistics (2016/17 Season)
MPG: 14.5
PPG: 6.9
RPG: 5.1
BLKPG: 0.6
APG: 0.6
FT%: 61.6%
2-PT FG%: 56.4%
(Did not attempt a 3-PT shot)

Best Case Comparison: Bigger Taj Gibson, Jakob Poeltl

2017 Big Board Ranking
Kevin O’Connor: 37
Chad Ford: 22
Draft Express: 40
Sports Illustrated: 34
CBS Sports: 44

3 Things to Know
1. Excellent rebounding fundamentals and energy
2. Needs to improve his offensive arsenal
3. Is he ready for the NBA?

Strengths
Not afraid of contact in rebounding and on offense
Good rebounding fundamentals
High basketball IQ
Plays good perimeter defense
Great out of the pick and roll
Soft hands with touch
Good shooting mechanics
Can run the floor

Weaknesses
Needs to slow down at times
Would benefit from developing a variety of post moves
Over aggressive at times
Needs to speed up his shooting mechanics
Lacks explosiveness
Not a rim protector
Lacks experience

Summary
Tony Bradley surprised a number of people with his decision to stay in the draft after just one season at the University of North Carolina. Nevertheless, Bradley showed his fearlessness and ability to play through contact on offense along with a high basketball IQ with his decision making ability out of the pick and roll. His excellent rebounding fundamentals and ability to run the floor also make it easy to see why he’s impressed some scouts. Aside from his undeniable potential, Bradley has a few things to work on before he can become a great NBA player. He needs to improve his offensive game, specifically speeding up some of his shooting mechanics, especially since he’s trying to add a mid-range game. He’s too predictable at times down in the post and needs to add a better variety of post moves. Bradley would also benefit from slowing down at times in order to make better decision and not commit silly fouls. Overall, Bradley is still young and raw, which makes some scouts question his decision to enter this year’s draft instead of returning to Chapel Hill. However, Bradley still has a ton of potential to develop over the coming years, and he should be drafted anywhere from late in the 1st round to early in the 2nd.

Draft reports compiled by Garrett Furubayashi and Leif Thulin

GET TO KNOW 2017 NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS – Anzejs Pasecniks


Age: 21
Position: C
Last Team: Gran Canaria, International
Hometown: Riga, Latvia

Measurables
Height: 7’2”
Weight: 229
Wingspan: N/A
(Via Draft Express)

Statistics (2016/17 Season)
MPG: 16.5
PPG: 7.8
RPG: 3.1
BLKPG: 0.7
APG: 0.3
FT%: 62.0%
2-PT FG%: 66.2%
3-PT FG%: 58.3%

Best Case Comparison: Salah Mejri, Willy Hernangomez

2017 Big Board Ranking
Kevin O’Connor: 39
Chad Ford: 26
Draft Express: 30
Sports Illustrated: 27
CBS Sports: 65

3 Things to Know
1. Will benefit from learning and developing fundamentals in the NBA
2. Very mobile for a big man
3. Needs to increase physicality and toughness

Strengths
Moves well out of the pick and roll
Good hands and very fluid athlete
Has the ability to finish inside with either hand
Has soft touch
Mobility at the 5 position
Shooting range has major upside
Good ball handler with potential to drive to the rim

Weaknesses
Needs to get physically and mentally tougher
Avoids contact at the rim
Bites on ball fakes
Ball watches rather than finding a body when rebounding
Needs to speed up shooting mechanics
Needs to increase awareness and feel for the game
Needs to work on defensive fundamentals

Summary
Anzejs Pasecniks is an international prospect from Riga, Latvia standing 7’2” tall and weighing in at 229 lb. Pasechnik is intriguing scouts with his incredible mobility and fluidity for such a large frame with soft hands and the ability to handle the ball well. Pasecniks has also shown the ability to finish with either hand at the rim. He’s shown good range shooting the basketball with potential major upside if he can speed up his mechanics. He would benefit from adding more strength in order to hang with the more physical big men at his position. Coming over to America will allow him to work on some of the fundamentals of defense and rebounding. The potential is clearly there for Pasecniks as he has all the tools to become a weapon at the 5, but he will be a work in progress for whatever team drafts him. Look for Pasecniks to be selected anywhere from the late 1st round to the middle of the 2nd round.

Draft reports compiled by Garrett Furubayashi and Leif Thulin

GET TO KNOW 2017 NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS – Harry Giles


Age: 19
Position: C
College: Duke, Freshman

Measurables
Height w/o Shoes: 6’9 ¼”
Height w/ Shoes: 6’10 ½”
Weight: 232
Wingspan: 7’3 ¼ ”
Standing Reach: 9’1 ½”
Max Vertical: 32.5”
(Via Draft Express)

College Statistics (2016/17 Season)
MPG: 11.5
PPG: 3.9
RPG: 3.8
BLKPG: 0.7
APG: 0.3
FT%: 50.0%
2-PT FG%: 57.7%
(Never attempted a 3-PT shot in his 26 college games)
(Only played in 26 total games due to injury)

Best Case Comparison: Amar’e Stoudemire, Julius Randle, Darrell Arthur

2017 Big Board Ranking
Kevin O’Connor: 20
Chad Ford: 12
Draft Express: 33
Sports Illustrated: 15
CBS Sports: 16

3 Things to Know
1. Very quick and agile for a big man
2. Needs to improve his decision making and awareness
3. Injuries have limited his career and growth

Strengths
Can get up the floor quickly in transition
Light on his feet for a big man
Uses length to protect the rim and quickness to guard the perimeter
Quick hands on defense
Makes multiple efforts near the basket (Physical and aggressive)
Elite offensive rebounder (Comfortable in a congested area)
Reads the ball well off of the rim
Great box out and pursuit
Strong hands and ability to high point the ball when rebounding

Weaknesses
Limited mid-range game
Needs to improve handles and footwork
Needs to improve decision making
Needs more consistent touch with jump hooks
Keeps his head down limiting his vision
Needs to slow down at times (Wait for the ball before going up)
Handsy in one on one situations leading to avoidable fouls
More of a 5 in today’s NBA but better versus 4s. Overpowered at times
Pushed around inside at times for rebounds
Injury prone (Injuries with knees have limited him)

Summary
Harry Giles was a highly regarded prospect coming out of the basketball powerhouse high school Oak Hill Academy. He elected to attend Duke University where he suffered a knee injury to begin his career this past fall and missed the first 11 games of the season. Giles is an extremely agile big man who is light on his feet and has the ability to run the floor. His agility also allows him to stay in front of quicker guards on switches and around the perimeter. He’s got a great motor on the glass showing his physicality and that he’s unaffected by traffic in the paint. His motor also allows him to make multiple efforts in rebounding especially on the offensive glass. He’ll need to add some versatility to his offensive game by adding a consistent jumper as well as working on his handles and footwork. Giles would also benefit from slowing down and keeping his head up in order to play smarter basketball. The better decision making would also help on the defensive side with some of his careless and handsy fouls. The injury history may be the biggest concern overall as he’s had multiple knee problems over the past few years, but if Giles can stay on the court he has the potential to turn into a real star in the NBA. Look for him to be drafted in the middle of the 1st round.

Draft reports compiled by Garrett Furubayashi and Leif Thulin

GET TO KNOW 2017 NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS – Ivan Rabb


Age: 20
Position: PF/C
College: Cal, Sophomore

Measurables
Height w/o Shoes: 6’8 ¾”
Height w/ Shoes: 6’10”
Weight: 220
Wingspan: 7’1 ½ ”
Standing Reach: 9’1”
Max Vertical: 32.5”
(Via Draft Express)

College Statistics (2016/17 Season)
MPG: 32.7
PPG: 14.0
RPG: 10.5
BLKPG: 1.0
APG: 1.5
FT%: 66.3%
2-PT FG%: 49.0%
3-PT FG%: 40.0%

Best Case Comparison: Andrew Nicholson, Ed Davis

2017 Big Board Ranking
Kevin O’Connor: 33
Chad Ford: 24
Draft Express: 25
Sports Illustrated: 29
CBS Sports: 26

3 Things to Know
1. Excellent rebounding fundamentals with a ton of potential
2. Needs to work shooting fundamentals and developing a jumper
3. Needs to add more strength in order to play more physical

Strengths
Runs the floor well
Great dive movement out of the pick and roll
Great hands and reach help in rebounding
Showed physicality and ability to attack the rim in rebounding
Finds a man before the ball when rebounding
Flashes of a decent face-up game in mid range
Light on his feet in tight spaces
Good defensive recognition
Good court awareness (Especially of double-teams)
Matured during extra year at Cal

Weaknesses
Not a threat in the pick and pop game
Flat shot trajectory (Poor mechanics)
Not fluid enough to create off the dribble
Struggles to score on bigger and more elite big men
Relies on fadeaways in uncomfortable spots down low
Lack of bounce hurts his finishing in traffic
Struggles with perimeter defense
Struggles with lateral quickness in switching situations off of pick and rolls
Needs to add strength and physicality on both defense and offense

Summary
Ivan Rabb’s path to the NBA is almost complete. He was a highly touted prospect out of Bishop O’Dowd high school in Oakland who opted to stay close to home at the University of California. His freshman year started whispers of the 1st round had he decided to enter the draft in 2016, but he instead opted to return to Berkeley for his sophomore year. While his sophomore campaign didn’t help his draft stock much, Rabb is still considered an elite rebounder who uses his physical measurements along with excellent fundamentals who pulled down 10.5 RPG this past season. He’ll need to work on more ways to score on offense especially by developing a consistent jumper to expand his game. He understands defensive concepts well, but he needs to work on his lateral quickness on switching situations as well as his overall defense on the perimeter. Overall, if Rabb can bulk up his frame and add more strength, his offensive game, as well as his defense, should significantly improve. Look for Rabb to be selected towards the latter half of the 1st round.

Draft reports compiled by Garrett Furubayashi and Leif Thulin

GET TO KNOW 2017 NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS – Derrick White


Age: 22
Position: PG/SG
College: Colorado, Senior

Measurables
Height w/o Shoes: 6’3 ¼”
Height w/ Shoes: 6’4 ½”
Weight: 190
Wingspan: 6’7 ½ ”
Standing Reach: 8’5 ½”
Max Vertical: 36.5”
(Via Draft Express)

College Statistics (2016/17 Season)
MPG: 32.9
PPG: 18.3
RPG: 4.1
APG: 4.3
STLPG: 1.2
FT%: 80.5%
2-PT FG%: 57.0%
3-PT FG% 40.1%

Best Case Comparison: Greivis Vasquez, Patty Mills

2017 Big Board Ranking
Kevin O’Connor: 32
Chad Ford: 43
Draft Express: 31
Sports Illustrated: 28
CBS Sports: 62

3 Things to Know
1. Offensive potential and effective scorer (Especially with his jumper)
2. Needs to improve his focus for the entire game. Too many silly mistakes
3. Maturing and possibly still growing into his frame with the best yet to come

Strengths
Size and length help him while guarding point guards/combos
Physical gifts help cover his limited athletic abilities
Great in various pick and roll situations
Good footwork into pull-ups
Arsenal of tools (jabs, shot fakes, step-backs) against closeouts into pull ups
Effective floater game with a soft touch
High Guard IQ and strong feel for the game
Great passing ability to hit the roll man out of a pick and roll
Good cutting instincts
Good understanding of defensive positioning
Great 1st move anticipation on defense
Late bloomer and could still be maturing into his frame

Weaknesses
Has a hard time turning the corner with an average 1st step
Relies on jumpers out of pick and roll
Has a hard time beating bigs on the switch in pick and roll
Has a hard time finishing in a crowd
Lives off jumpers instead of attacking at times
Not very vocal on offense
Telegraphs passes at times
Reaches instead of sliding his feet at times
Upright and lazy without contesting at times
Needs to improve intensity because of lack of defensive tools

Summary
Derrick White’s had an intriguing story thus far in his basketball career. He graduated high school standing 6’0” tall with very little collegiate options, which steered him towards a Division II school in Colorado. He had a growth spurt, right before the start of his college career, which allowed him to excel at the Division II level and transfer to the University of Colorado for his senior season where he averaged 18.3 PPG. He’s demonstrated a nice pull-up jumper and soft touch floater along with good passing and cutting instincts to give him a well-rounded offensive arsenal of tools. White has also shown a high overall basketball IQ and awareness for his positioning in defensive sets. He could benefit from finishing better through contact and not relying too much on his jumper. The most important part of White’s game he must improve is his overall level of focus for the entire game. He has a high IQ, yet sometimes he tends to make lazy passes that are picked off for breakaway dunks, or he’ll reach instead of staying down and moving his feet on defense. These issues seem to be relatively easy fixes with a higher level of attention and willpower to change these bad habits. Derrick White is a prospect many teams will consider giving a chance, so look for him to be drafted near the last few picks of the 1st round or early in the 2nd.

Draft reports compiled by Garrett Furubayashi and Leif Thulin

GET TO KNOW 2017 NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS – TJ Leaf

Age: 20
Position: PF
College: UCLA, Freshman

Measurables
Height w/o Shoes: 6’8 ¾”
Height w/ Shoes: 6’9 ¾”
Weight: 222
Wingspan: 6’11”
Standing Reach: 8’11”
Max Vertical: 34.5”
(Via Draft Express)

College Statistics (1 Year)
MPG: 29.9
PPG: 16.3
RPG: 8.2
BLKPG: 1.1
APG: 2.4
FT%: 67.9%
2-PT FG%: 64.4%

Best Case Comparison: David Lee, Trey Lyles

2017 Big Board Ranking
Kevin O’Connor: 47
Chad Ford: 20
Draft Express: 26
Sports Illustrated: 24
CBS Sports: 23

3 Things to Know
1. Shown great offensive potential
2. Must improve defense in order to stay on the court
3. Needs to get stronger and more physical

Strengths
Runs the floor well
Great rebound anticipation
Good rim protection thanks to size and athleticism
Impressive coordination, shown in ball handling skills
Good pull up game
Good offensive footwork
Effective from 3 (Especially in trail 3 situations)
Soft touch and good post work
Threat out of pick and roll and pick and pop game
Good court vision and IQ

Weaknesses
Needs to become more physical against aggressive big men
Needs to be more aware on helpside defense (Avoid flat feet)
Needs to be quicker on his feet and lateral movements
Needs to show more toughness and ability to fight through contact at the rim
Needs to Attack more and get to the line (Averaged only 4 FTA per 40 min)
Pushed around on the blocks when rebounding
Can’t create separation when going to the rim, which causes poor shots
Slow shooting release

Summary
TJ Leaf is an interesting prospect in this year’s draft class with all the tools necessary to become a great NBA player. He showed great offensive promise in his only year in college by averaging 16.3 PPG while showing off good moves and a soft touch around the rim and the ability to knock down pull-up jumpers as well. He also showed flashes of a high basketball IQ with great court awareness as well as the ability to handle the ball well for a big man. Some scouts question whether his offensive game will translate into the tougher and more skilled NBA level of defenders, but the biggest thing Leaf will need to improve is his physicality and strength. Some of the more physical big men Leaf faced in college were able to push him around on the block and caused him to lose his position when rebounding as well. He could also benefit from trying to earn more trips to the line by playing more physical on offense. Finally, he needs to work on his defensive awareness, especially in helpside off the ball situations. Overall Leaf will most likely be drafted somewhere near the end of the 1st round in the upcoming draft.

Draft reports compiled by Garrett Furubayashi and Leif Thulin

BREAKDOWN – Quin Snyder has found powerful big man options

Part of the 82 games marathon is a coach managing and massaging a roster to keep his players engaged while simultaneously arriving at his best options for the stretch run. Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder has done that all season with his front court and one month before the playoffs he has three distinct big man combinations that are working marvelously.

When healthy the Jazz start the Wasatch Front, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. In a league going skilled and spaced this is an old school traditional big man line-up. However, they are dominant defensively. Favors and Gobert are the #1 defensive 2 man line-up in the NBA.

After the all-star break Quin Snyder moved Joe Johnson to the 4 as his exclusive position. A move Snyder has been waiting to make all season, but with the injuries to Burks and Hood coupled with the need to play Trey Lyles and Boris Diaw was unavailable until now.

When Joe Johnson has been coupled with Rudy Gobert it has been the Jazz version of the Warriors death lineup. They are not only unguardable, but they are having great success defensively.

The one problem for the Jazz has been that when Derrick Favors has been at the 5 with Joe Johnson at the 4 the defense has been terrible. This is a bit surprising, but with Favors battling injuries he has not been able to do peak Derrick Favors defensive things this season. If Favors gets healthier it is possible this lineup could be good defensively switching all picks. However, for the time being it is not and Coach Snyder must find another option. He may have done that with veteran play making big Boris Diaw. Rockets Head Coach Mike D’Antonio called Diaw unquestionably the smartest player he has ever coached. Diaw isn’t making shots, he isn’t flying over people but he does make the team better when he is on the floor.

If you eliminate lineups when Joe Johnson was at the three with Diaw and Favors together the Jazz have another productive big man combination. The Jazz played 120 minutes with Joe Johnson, Boris Diaw and Derrick Favors together and it didn’t work at all. The offensive rating was just below league average and the defense was very poor. The overall performance was being outscored by 5 points per 100 possesions.

If you eliminate Joe Johnson from the equation, the Boris Diaw and Derrick Favors combination has been very good.

Finally, Quin has the French Connection at his disposal. The trust and togetherness of Diaw and Gobert together has been obvious all season

Through numerous combinations, endless injuries and some trial and error Coach Snyder heads into the final month of the season with four big man combinations that are all over +8 per 100 possessions. It is an exciting propostion heading into the key late season games and the playoffs