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NBA Scouting Reports: Filling in the Blanks- Power Forwards (Part 2)
by: Matt Kamalsky - Director of Operations
September 4, 2009
NBA Scouting Reports: Filling in the Blanks- Power Forwards (Part One)

LaMarcus Aldridge

Overview: One of the NBAís most gifted young big men. A near 7-footer with a near 7-5 wingspan. Not just tall, but relatively well built too. Has added some bulk to his frame since appearing on the NBA radar. Shows good mobility, but is more smooth than explosive as an athlete. Long strides make him a factor in transition. Matches his athleticism with an outstanding skill set. Could have been a high draft pick after his freshman season at Texas, but opted to return to school. Had breakout years as a sophomore in both the NCAA and the NBA. Named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year before being selected 2nd overall and subsequently traded to Portland. Has become one of the better players at his position in just three seasons. Posting better numbers now than he did in college. Likely bound for an All-Star game in the not too distant future. Should be locked up into a contract extension soon. Lacks a certain degree of toughness, which manifests itself on the defensive end primarily at times.

Offense: Exceptionally talented big man who maintains an outstanding level of efficiency across the board. Gets almost half of his possessions in one-on-one situations, whether they come in the high or low-post. Also sees a significant number of touches in spot situations, off of pick and rolls, and working without the ball. Exceptionally balanced for a post player his age. Has all sorts of offensive tools. Does an average job acquiring position on the block, often receiving the ball in the mid-post when well defended. Shows better strength and significantly more tenacity once he has the ball. Displays all kinds of offensive moves, but prefers to use a turnaround jumper over his right shoulder that allows him to use his exceptionally high release point to get a decent look almost any time he wants it. Gets the majority of his touches on the left block so he can make his move towards to base line. Not ineffective going over his left shoulder. Likes to simply try and turn the corner and go to the rim using his long strides when he turns that way. Shows a turnaround going right, but shoots it with a slow release, almost double clutching the ball on the way up. Displays a nice hook with his right hand as well. Will often use a dribble to back his man down and then take whatever his defender gives him. Will only be over-aggressive in the post if he feels he has a major size and quickness advantage. Displays a good face-up game, tending to take a dribble to the middle and then spin to a turnaround jumper when the defense responds or just shoot the ball immediately. Extremely smooth in virtually everything he does. Still developing his catch and shoot jumper. Not quite as effective when he has time and space from outside of 17-feet as he is with his turnaround when well-defended in the post. Displays decent form, but seems a little hurried at times in catch and shoot situations. Still a definite threat, but would be a nightmare to defend if he improved that part of his game and became merely a respectable threat from three point range. Just as efficient with a hand in his face as he is wide open from the perimeter, and more efficient after a dribble than he is from a stand still Ėa testament to his shot-making ability. Very capable ball handler for a near 7-footer. Almost never turns the ball over in relation to most players near his high usage level. Doesnít get to the line at a very high rate for his skill level, since he makes most of his moves going away from his defender. Still proves to be a very good finisher, using his length and leaping ability to finish his offensive rebounds, cuts to the basket, and transition opportunities with a dunk whenever possible. Runs the court well and uses his mobility very well on the pick and pop. Seldom rolls to the basket after setting a screen, which has more to do with Portlandís centers than Aldridge himself. Extremely high level offensive rebounder due to his wingspan, timing, and athleticism. Versatile, skilled, and careful with the ball, Aldridge has room to improve his efficiency, but has became an awesome offensive weapon in just a year and a half.

Defense: Capable defender who gives an effort if nothing else. Displays the anticipation to use his length to come up with some steals and block some shots. Not a standout in either area, but is a threat to make some plays. Blocks most of his shots on the ball, though one of his biggest weaknesses revolves around his lack of tenacity when defending the ball one-on-one around the basket. Will let himself get beaten with aggressive drop steps and allows himself to get pushed around more than he should. Doesnít use leverage terribly well. Not a bad defender, but his lack of great energy coupled with some issues with his fundamentals limit him. Has some problems committing to hedging screens, not showing a great sense of urgency recovering to his man and giving up some open looks that heís often still able to get a hand up on by using his length. Does a decent job defending penetration in that he takes away the lane, but tends to be content with defending his matchup from the side when they look to attack the rim, instead of beating him to the spot. Size makes his lack of great lateral explosiveness understandable. Doesnít prove to be a very good defensive rebounder, some of which has to do with the players Portland deploys around him, but is also caused by a lack of aggressiveness when boxing out. Overall, Aldridge plays a position based brand of defense that doesnít sell out his teammates, but heís capable of being more active in the midrange and tougher on the block.

Tyrus Thomas

Overview: Breathtaking athletic specimen who is still trying to come into his own as a player. A bit undersized for a power forward, but makes up for that with a 7-3 wingspan and some of the quickest and most explosive leaping ability in the NBA. Not carrying around a lot of weight, which limits him in some regards. Doesnít show an outstanding feel for the game, but looks a bit better than he did early in his career. Burst onto the scene as a second-year freshman at LSU. Used his athleticism, defensive, and emotional play to propel LSU to an SEC Championship and win the SEC Newcomer of the year award. Has gotten better in each of his seasons in the NBA, but hasnít reached his ceiling as quickly as the Bulls may have hoped, although his defense and energy level is surely a huge plus. Still improving his efficiency and decision-making. Intense court-demeanor is representative of his personality. Still maturing off the court. The next two seasons, coupled with the end of his rookie deal, will play a big role in whether he is considered a legitimate option for Chicago or merely a highly gifted role-player.

Offense: Isnít afforded the opportunity to play to his offensive strengths, nor does he possess the ideal offensive tools to be a highly productive offensive player at this point. Still averages in double figures despite systematic issues. Gets almost one-third of his offensive opportunities in spot up situations with hustle plays, pick and rolls, and isolations comprising most of the rest of his touches. Splits his overall field goal attempts pretty evenly between jump shots and finishing opportunities at the rim. Doesnít do too much in the post. Displays an inconsistent jumper that looks good for stretches and highly questionable in others. Lacks consistency with his mechanics at times, elevating so well that he often changes his form from one shot to the next. Nonetheless, has improved that part of his game since entering the League, which has manifested itself in his markedly improved free throw shooting. Used to be considerably less confident from the perimeter. Still a ways away in terms of being a consistent threat to score from the midrange, especially in any efficient way. Very raw from the perimeter in general. Can create separation with his athleticism and get to the rim, preferring to drive with his left hand, but lacks consistent form on his pull up jumpers and struggles to finish with his left hand at times, presenting an obvious problem. Lacks advanced ball-handling ability, but is so quick that he can create an angle easily when his defender is caught off guard. Will usually be given a considerable amount of space, giving his defender a big enough cushion to take away from his quickness advantage. Still able to score despite those deficiencies due to his outstanding physical tools and aggressive mentality at the rim. Moves with purpose off the ball, gets up the floor as fast as any player at his position in the NBA, and tries to dunk anything and everything around the rim, making him an effective finisher and earning him a good amount of trips to the line. Solid offensive rebounder who doesnít offer much as a playmaker. Offers so much physically, and will show flashes of outstanding promise, but doesnít have a natural feel for how he wants to score. [/b]

Defense: Gifted defensive player who is one of the top shot blockers his height in the NBA. Ridiculous wingspan, quick leaping ability, and intensity make him quite a shot blocker, especially coming over from the weakside. Will block an occasional jumper, but has some issues defending the block against stronger players, as his lack of physical strength can get exposed. Still does a nice job getting a hand up, but can be taken out of the play by a bulky power forward with a good drop step. Takes some risks rotating over from the weakside, but displays very good quickness and a nose for the ball when coming over to help. Length makes him a factor in the passing lanes, and his lateral quickness makes him more than capable of denying penetration against matchups at both forward positions and most players he switches onto when hedging the pick and roll. Will play himself out of position at times by being too keen on defending the rim or being too aggressive with his rotations. Isnít a great rebounder for his level of athleticism. Still a very high quality defender due to his ability to stay in front of his man, contest jumpers, and help clean up the mistakes of the players around him.

Renaldo Balkman
Overview: Undersized power forward whose hustle, defense, and scrappy play offensively allows him to effectively fill both forward positions. On the short side, only measuring in a shade over 6-5 without shoes, but boasts a 7-1 wingspan. Not the strongest player around either, but is a solid athlete and plays with an energy that helps him compensate for his size. Not a highly recruited player after attending a number of different high profile basketball academies, took time to mature and grow into the player he is now. Was a rather unheralded prospect coming out of South Carolina too, using back to back NIT titles and a NIT Most Valuable Player Award to earn a surprise selection in the first round. Was tabbed by then Knicks decision-maker Isaiah Thomas after his performances in Madison Square Garden and the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp. Has proven to be the type of defensive-minded roleplayer that he was billed as coming out of college. Rebounds the ball well and has become an efficient scorer, despite his lack of ideal jump shooting ability. Appears to understand his role and fill the defensive specialist role pretty well. Needs to take a page from Trevor Ariza and Mickael Pietrus and improve his shooting and polish some other aspects of his game to diversify what he brings to the table.

Offense: Functions almost exclusively as a hustle player. Able to add some value with his relentless pursuit of the ball. Gets about half of his offense off of cuts to the basket and offensive rebounds, with another quarter coming in transition. Not asked to create essentially any offense for himself. Doesnít possess much in the way of perimeter scoring ability due to a lack of catch and shoot ability, a highly unreliable pull up jumper, and mediocre ball handling ability. Displays adequate form, though he needs to get more elevation on his jumper and develop better touch to expand his range. Lack of touch shows in his poor free throw percentage. Effort level wonít come into question. Constant motion and ability to get out in transition allows him to earn himself some open shots right at the rim. Competent finisher who is the beneficiary of a lot of good passes. Doesnít have to deal with a lot of contact when he is looking to score at the basket, allowing him to be relatively efficient. Not an ideal option in half court sets due to his lack of polish, but doesnít turn the ball over at a high rate. Strictly a fifth option almost any time heís on the floor at this juncture.

Defense: Good defensive player whose hustle helps him make a much bigger impact on that end. Uses his length to effectively contest shots out on the perimeter, doing a decent job getting a hand in his manís face when he can rotate to the shooter fast enough. Has some weaknesses that detract from his ability to be a good team defender. Tends to watch the ball when defending the weakside, leading to some open jumpers when heís late getting back to his man. Often sells out to try and block the shot when closing out the perimeter, forcing his teammates to play 4 on 5 for the rebound. Has even more trouble with screens, getting taken out of the play too easily. Does not show great intensity or urgency with the way he moves defensively, but is considerably more aggressive and focused when his man looks to take him off the dribble. Shows good lateral quickness and appears to take a lot of pride when defending one-on-one. Wonít back down from a challenge, being very aggressive in isolation situations, but knowing that he isnít big enough to defend back to the basket players and giving smart fouls. Long enough to block some shots, pull down some rebounds, and force some turnovers. Needs to improve his team defense to be a more complete defender.

Ian Mahinmi

Overview: A gifted, young, and athletic power forward who lacks the experience and polish to see significant minutes. Possesses good size and length for his position, and has packed on some muscle to his still somewhat skinny frame since entering the NBA. Displays good mobility and gets off the floor well. Nice athleticism for his size despite injury history. Intriguing physical tools along with rebounding and shot blocking instincts made him a prospect coming out of France. Spent two additional seasons in France after being drafted late in the first round by the Spurs. Showed some signs of improvement, a trend that has continued in his time playing with the Spursí NBADL affiliate, the Austin Toros. Still could develop into a nice roleplayer, but needs to stay healthy. Missed almost all of the 2008-2009 season with a bad ankle. Needs to get the development of his offensive game back on track and play minutes wherever he can in San Antonioís organization.

Offense: Developing offensive player who shows flashes of potential. Gets most of his touches in the post or as a hustle player. Used to show extremely good lateral quickness that allowed him to create easy opportunities for himself on the inside and out. Time on the sidelines has hurt his explosiveness to a small degree and has generally slowed his development. Still able to use his speed to do some things in the post. Lacks the strength to consistently establish deep position, but shows a nice running hook over his left shoulder as well as developing turnaround and face up jumper. Displays very nice touch with his right hand around the rim across the board. Length makes his hook extremely difficult to block. Jumper is still a work in progress, looks capable when he has time and space, but lacks the mechanics to get good touch on every shot. Capable finisher around the basket who is able to do some damage on the offensive glass with his length. Gets to the line at a very good rate. Will go up strong when he has a lane to the rim. Needs to continue working on his post repertoire and left hand to take full advantage of the attempts he gets around the rim. Can put the ball on the floor with his back to the basket to get in better position to score, but is still a bit turnover prone. Will have to continue polishing his game from the midrange in to cut down on mistakes. Not much of a passer, but displays better vision than he did in his younger days. Has some obvious tools and potential, but definitely a work in progress on the offensive end.

Defense: Has very nice defensive tools, but still lacks the fundamentals to stay on the floor for extended minutes in an NBA setting. Length and athleticism allow him to effectively defend the midrange and contest shots, though his lack of physical strength hurts his ability to defend the paint against more experienced back to the basket scorers. Gets quite a few of his blocks defending the ball one-on-one. Needs to do a better job going straight up when heís rotating over from the weak-side. Still prone to hacking shooters, leading to foul trouble. Got a free pass during his time in the NBADL, but will need to continue improving his discipline to help himself translate to the NBA level. Quick hands and feet for a big man, could stand to add weight to become a more complete package defensively and improve his ability to box out and battle for position on the block.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to matt.kamalsky@draftexpress.com .

 

LaMarcus Aldridge
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 11"
Weight: 234 lbs.
Birthday: 07/19/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Seagoville
Previous Team: Texas , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #2 in 2006 Draft
by the Bulls
Positions:
Current: PF/C,
NBA: PF/C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
23.2 Pts, 11.1 Rebs, 2.6 Asts


Tyrus Thomas
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 217 lbs.
Birthday: 08/17/1986
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: McKinley
Previous Team: LSU , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #4 in 2006 Draft
by the Trailblazers
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
6.8 Pts, 4.3 Rebs, 0.7 Asts


Renaldo Balkman
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 206 lbs.
Birthday: 07/14/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Laurinburg Institute
Previous Team: South Carolina , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #20 in 2006 Draft
by the Knicks
Positions:
Current: SF/PF,
NBA: SF/PF,
Possible: SF/PF
Quick Stats:
12.4 Pts, 4.2 Rebs, 0.8 Asts


Isaiah Thomas
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 186 lbs.
Birthday: 02/07/1989
25 Years Old
Teams:
High School: South Kent
Previous Team: Washington , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #30 in 2011 Draft
by the Bulls
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
20.3 Pts, 2.9 Rebs, 6.3 Asts


Trevor Ariza
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 201 lbs.
Birthday: 06/30/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Westchester
Previous Team: UCLA , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #14 in 2004 Draft
by the Knicks
Positions:
Current: F,
NBA: SF,
Possible: F
Quick Stats:
14.4 Pts, 6.2 Rebs, 2.5 Asts


Mickael Pietrus
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 200 lbs.
Birthday: 02/07/1982
32 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #11 in 2003 Draft
by the Warriors
Positions:
Current: SG/SF,
NBA: SG/SF,
Possible: SG/SF
Quick Stats:
5.3 Pts, 1.9 Rebs, 0.5 Asts


Ian Mahinmi
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 220 lbs.
Birthday: 11/06/1986
27 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Le Havre , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #28 in 2005 Draft
by the Spurs
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: PF/C,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
3.5 Pts, 3.3 Rebs, 0.3 Asts


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