James Webb Updated NBA Draft Scouting Report

James Webb Updated NBA Draft Scouting Report
May 02, 2016, 11:53 am
Josh Riddell

After bursting onto the scene in his redshirt sophomore season at Boise State following a one year stop at the junior college level, James Webb III saw some modest improvements to his stat line after returning to school. After averaging 20.1 points and 11.2 rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted, the 22 year old declared for the NBA Draft with the hope of hearing his name called come June.

To handle the rigors of a nightly NBA schedule, Webb will quickly have to change his body as the 6'9” wing player has a very wiry frame measured at just over 200 pounds. He has to fill out his frame to be able to match the physicality of professional players if he wants to be able to hold his own.

That said, the rest of Webb's physical profile is what NBA teams are looking for in a versatile wing player who has the potential to play both the small forward and power forward positions. He's 6'9” with a 6'10” wingspan with above average quickness and tremendous explosiveness to match his height and length. If he can add some strength to both his upper and lower body, it's easy to project him as a NBA level athlete.

Webb took on a larger offensive role in his junior season as he saw his usage rate increase from 18.9% to 25.3% but this came at the expense of his efficiency as his true shooting percentage decreased from 65.8% to 57.3%.

After an excellent perimeter shooting season where he converted 40.9% of his 3.7 three point attempts per game, Webb took a giant step back in his junior season as a perimeter threat. In a similar sample of 3.5 attempts per game, Webb's three point percentage plummeted to 21.9%, which is by far the lowest mark in our top-100 prospect rankings among players with at least three attempts per game. This was a prolonged slump as he failed to crack 24% in any single month throughout the season.

His shooting form definitely needs some work in several areas as his elbow can flail out, he doesn't always complete his follow through, and he sometimes fails to get enough lift on his shot. Even when he was making perimeter shots, there were questions about his ability to move back to the NBA line with the same accuracy. His accuracy collapsing as a junior only raised the level of concern and Webb will have a lot to prove as a shooter leading up to the draft.

Webb is a capable scorer inside the arc, especially around the rim. His 61.6% two point percentage ranked sixth among all players in our top-100 with Webb benefiting from his shot selection. Nearly all his attempts came around the rim with Webb taking very few mid-range and long twos. He's an elite finisher around the rim using his athleticism to get out in transition while also being a great off-ball cutter, exploding to the rim for dunks. He became much more confident absorbing contact around the rim as he increased his free throw attempts from just 2.8 to a more respectable 6.7 per 40 minutes pace adjusted. He converted only 67.8% of his free throws in his two year career, raising more questions about his outside shooting ability.

Webb is still learning how to create shots in the half-court, a role he is not currently comfortable in either on the perimeter or from the post. He's hesitant to dribble drive because he isn't overly skilled at putting the ball on the ground to beat his man. While he can take smaller guys to the block, he doesn't have an advanced post game and will get pushed away from the basket. On top of that, he's a poor passer, averaging just 1.3 assists per 40 minutes pace adjusted. He will need some time to develop his shot-creation skills, even if it seems more likely he will end up filling a transition finishing, catch and shoot type role.

Webb's athleticism is on fully display defensively and with his high energy, he flies around the court looking to make a play. He crashes the glass to pull down 8.4 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted, and although he isn't a physical rebounder, he can meet the ball at its highest point to help his team. He doesn't block a ton of shots with just a 2.6% block rate but he can surprise people from the weakside from time to time. He plays the passing lanes well to create steals, although this gamble does put him out of position a little too often.

The rest of his defensive potential is still developing and he will need to become stronger before he will make much of an impact guarding any position. He gets pushed out of the way when trying to guard dribble penetration or post play, which can get him into foul trouble when he is overmatched. His fundamentals and awareness are pretty poor, as he can get lost off the ball, get beat too easily off the dribble and close out of control to take himself out of the play.

He has a nice foundational base of physical tools, effort level and rebounding prowess to become a strong defender, but he has a ways to go before he realizes his potential as a plus defender. He's relied too much on his athleticism in his individual guarding assignments and will need to put more stock into improving his fundamentals to slow down NBA players.

Webb is a bit of an enigma due to his polar opposite shooting performances in his two seasons at Boise State. He didn't take some of the steps forward NBA scouts were hoping for after an impressive first year, which leaves him having to prove himself in workouts leading up to the draft and throughout summer league and training camp if he wants to earn a roster spot for next season.

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