Top NBA Prospects in the Pac-12, Part One
(#1) Jaylen Brown (Scouting Video)
Top NBA Prospects in the Pac-12, Part Two
(#2) Jakob Poeltl (Scouting Video)
Top NBA Prospects in the Pac-12, Part Three
(#3) Ivan Rabb (Scouting Video)
Top NBA Prospects in the Pac-12, Part Four
(#4) Tyrone Wallace (Scouting Video)
Top NBA Prospects in the Pac-12, Part Five
#5: Allonzo Trier
#6: Gary Payton II
#7: Jabari Bird
#8: Tyler Dorsey
#9: Dillon Brooks
#10: Dusan Ristic
#11, Thomas Welsh, 7'0, Sophomore, Center, UCLA
Thomas Welsh's pedestrian averages of 3.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game don't jump off the page, and were rather disappointing for a top-50 recruit on a UCLA team that struggled for consistent bench play for much of the season.
Still, as the season wore on, Welsh gradually became a more consistent contributor, and some of his potential as a role player started to come into focus. Welsh continued to build on that progress over the summer, as he was selected to be a part of the gold medal winning U19 USA Basketball team.
Welsh was largely an afterthought on the offensive side of the ball for the Bruins, having used just 14.3% of UCLA's possessions while he was on the court. His best attributes on the offensive side come off the ball, mostly off offensive rebounds and by making opportunistic cuts to the basket.
Welsh pulled in 3.7 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted and had a 10.6% offensive rebounding rate. He did a good job fighting for position and showed a knack for tracking the ball on the offensive glass, and his contributions on the glass could be a real asset in his arsenal, and a virtual necessity for somebody who is such a low-usage player on this end of the court.
Welsh struggled to make the most of these opportunities last season, however, with his lack of strength being apparent. He can struggle to take a hit and finish through contact, and he frequently had much smaller guards rip the ball out of his hands. Perhaps because of these struggles to finish around the basket, Welsh tended to attempt a lot of tip-ins and quick shots that he struggled to convert at a high rate.
UCLA did throw the ball to Welsh in the post at times, where the freshman was a bit of a mixed bag. Welsh provides guards with a good target for an entry pass, and has extremely soft hands, which is always a welcome attribute for a 7 footer. However, his lack of strength limited his effectiveness down low, as he struggled to establish good post position and was easily dislodged off the block. He's also not all that polished of a post scorer: he flashed soft touch on a right handed hook, but lacked a go-to move over his right shoulder, struggled to finish through contact due to his lack of strength, and didn't have the footwork to pull off advanced counter moves if the defense forced him out of his comfort zone.
One area that Welsh showed some promise with was on a baseline jump shot. While Welsh's release is a little bit slow to develop, he has a high release point and showed soft touch on his jumper. While this didn't represent a large portion of his game only 16 jump shots were charted by Synergy Sports Technology last season, and he didn't connect at a great rate the touch he showed could be something to build on down the line.
One final area where Welsh could look to make a bigger part of his game is as a pick and roll threat. Welsh sets good, hard screens on the perimeter and presented ball handlers with a good target when rolling to the basket, and his excellent hands and soft touch gives him some promise in this regard, but once again adding more strength to his frame will be crucial for his ability to grow in this capacity.
On the defensive side of the ball is where Welsh more consistently made a positive impact last season. While not incredibly explosive vertically, Welsh, who stands just a shade under 7'1 in shoes, makes the most of his 9'3 standing reach. His length and solid timing allowed him to block 2.6 shots per 40 minutes pace adjusted. Welsh is also deceptively quick, and is able to move his feet better on the perimeter than you might expect on first glance, and is able to hedge and trap pick and rolls relatively well for a player his size.
Welsh's lack of lower body strength once again comes into play on the defensive side of the court. His 5.6 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted and 16.4% defensive rebounding rate are both numbers that need to be significantly improved upon. He also struggled to hold his ground when defending the post, something that he was able to overcome at this level most of the time due to his length, but something that would become a bigger issue at the next level, where the disadvantage he's at from a strength perspective would become even more pronounced.
With a 9'3 standing reach, consistently high effort level, and a hard working mentality, it's not impossible to think that Welsh can develop into a valuable role player down the line. He will need to further refine his offensive game and add some much needed strength to his frame, but if he can do that, he could be somebody to keep an eye on down the line.
#12, Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-0, Senior, Center, Arizona
Anticipating that he will enter the 2015 NBA Draft, we wrote a comprehensive scouting report on Tarczewski last April discussing his strengths and weaknesses a pro prospect in great detail.
#13, Brekkott Chapman, 6-8, Sophomore, SF/PF, Utah
The #54 recruit in his high school class according to the RSCI, Brekkott Champman was a significant get for Utah, as both an in-state recruit, and the most highly touted prospect to commit to Larry Krystkowiak since his arrival in 2011.
Standing 6-7 without shoes, with a 6-10 wingspan and a frame that looks like it will fill out nicely in time, Chapman has good physical attributes for the small forward position, even if he's seen most of his minutes at the power forward spot throughout his career thus far.
Up and down with his minutes and productivity as most freshmen are, Chapman averaged 15 minutes per game as an 18-year old for the duration of his debut campaign, showing some sparks of potential and also looking raw around the edges at times as well. He was utilized primarily as a floor spacing 4-man, cutting into open spaces from the weak side, trailing from the perimeter in transition, and picking and popping for 3s when the defense collapsed on Delon Wright.
The most interesting thing he did was shoot 45% from beyond the arc as a freshman (and 76% from the free throw line), fairly impressive for a 6-8 freshman, even if the sample size of 40 overall attempts in 34 games still leaves a lot to be desired. Chapman has consistent shooting mechanics, and rarely hesitated to fire away when left open, although his release point is somewhat low and he'll have to continue to work on getting his jumper off more quickly when guarded by perimeter players.
Chapman has good touch around the basket, mostly with his dominant left hand but also at times with his right. He's not a very prolific ball-handler, mostly relegated to straight-line drives (with long and impressive strides) and rarely being asked to do much in terms of shot-creation or passing in the limited role he played as a freshman, as evidenced by the paltry 5% assist rate he posted last year. He did average 2.5 times as many turnovers and assists as a freshman, but used his athleticism and aggressiveness to get to the free throw line at a solid rate relative to his low usage.
Defensively, Chapman has good length, some mobility and decent instincts making plays in the passing lanes (1.4 steals per-40) and even blocking shots (1.1 per-40) on occasion. He struggled in this area from time to time as a freshman as well, not always getting in a stance, missing rotations, losing his focus, and being taken advantage of with his lack of strength and experience. While he can use his long wingspan to contest shots impressively on the perimeter, he was not immune to getting beat off the dribble or being pushed around inside. Adding bulk will help in this area, as will improving his toughness, as indicated by the mediocre 3.5 defensive rebounds he averaged on a per-40 minute basis.
Chapman will likely eventually need to make the transition to playing on the perimeter full time to get serious consideration as a more immediate NBA prospect, but his solid physical tools and budding perimeter shooting prowess is a nice place to start. It will be interesting to see how his role evolves alongside fellow combo forward and incumbent starter Chris Reyes, as well as senior Jordan Loveridge, who sees some minutes at power forward as well.
#14, Reid Travis, 6'8, Power Forward, Stanford, Sophomore
As Stanford's first McDonald's All-American since the Lopez twins, Reid Travis started his freshman season with high expectations. After a handful of promising performances during Stanford's out of conference schedule, an upper-leg stress fracture in January shortened what was ultimately an inconsistent freshman season. Still, Travis played a key role on a Stanford team that won an NIT Championship and showed flashes of developing into the type of player that made him such an attractive high school recruit. Expectations remain high, especially as video and reports from the Cardinal's summer trip to Italy suggest that Travis may be ready to turn the corner and deliver a breakout sophomore season.
At 6'8 with a 241 pound frame and a 7'0 wingspan, Travis possesses a prototypical physical profile for a collegiate power forward. While he struggled at times athletically after his injury last spring, he looked quicker, more mobile, and more explosive in footage from Italy. In general, he appears to be a good, but not great athlete with the strength and length to stand out at the collegiate level.
As a freshman, Travis was both a low usage player and one of the least productive power forwards in our database. He averaged 10.5 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted on sub-50% shooting, while posting double figures in just five of the 28 games that he played in as a freshman.
Travis was rarely featured on the offensive end of the floor during his freshman season and struggled when he was asked to create his own looks. If he was not able to quickly turn the corner and get to the basket, his raw footwork limited the extent to which he could operate in the post, outside of simple spin moves and jump hooks. Furthermore, his overreliance on his right hand, his lack of a shooting touch, and his trouble finishing over taller and more athletic defenders resulted in an often-predictable, low efficiency back-to-the-basket game.
He was far more effective, however, in non-post up situations around the basket, where he attempted nearly 60% of his shots and made 64.9% of these attempts. In fact, some of his best moments as a freshman came while cleaning up the offensive glass and catching and finishing around the basket. He also did a good job of drawing contact at the rim and he got to the free throw line 5.2 times per-40 minutes. Yet, he was also one of the worst free throw shooters in our database, making just 45.9% of his attempts once there. When coupled with the fact that he made just 3/16 of his jump shots, this suggests that he has a lot of work to do on his shooting mechanics, as well as his shooting touch more generally, moving forward.
On the defensive end of the floor, Travis did a decent job in one-on-one post situations, but struggled at times making rotations, looking unfocused and displaying a tendency to drift off of his man toward the ball handler. The potential he showed in high school as a rebounder did not come to fruition as a college freshman at 9.4 rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted, which ranked in the middle of the pack relative to prospects in our database. He will have to be more aggressive on the defensive glass moving forward as Stanford's top interior option. Scouts will want to see better fundamentals and increased intensity during his sophomore season, as, his combination of length, strength, and mobility should pay dividends on the defensive end in time.
Ultimately, Travis looks to be a long way from realizing his potential as a prospect still, which is not entirely surprising considering he's still only 19 years old. From an NBA perspective, he must continue to develop his footwork and post repertoire while showing scouts that he is willing to consistently hustle on both ends of the floor. In limited footage from Stanford's Italy trip, however, Travis looked more comfortable putting the ball on the floor and more confident as a finisher against a high level of competition, which suggests that he might look like a different player as a sophomore. He will have to be if Stanford hopes to weather what looks to be a transition season in Palo Alto. Without Stefan Nastic in the post, Travis should have plenty of opportunities to carve out a bigger niche for himself in the Cardinal offense, though whether he can put it all together as a sophomore, however, remains to be seen.
#15, Josh Scott, 6'10, Senior, Center, Colorado
A prospect we've written about in detail prior to each of the last two seasons, Colorado's Josh Scott returns to Boulder for his final year of eligibility ranked among the top center prospects in the senior class. Left off a guard-heavy Pac-12 first team after receiving the honor in 2014, Scott averaged 14.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game as a junior despite missing a number of games with a lower back injury. Finishing as the Buffaloes' top rebounder and 2nd leading scorer behind now graduated shooting guard Askia Booker, Scott did not take a significant step forward a year ago after showing marked improvement as a sophomore.
Standing 6'10 with good length and a solid 245-pound frame, Josh Scott has nice size for the power forward position and average size for a center, but doesn't quite have the type of elite athleticism that would solidify his NBA upside. He is by no means a poor athlete, possessing good mobility, but isn't overwhelmingly quick, still has room to get stronger, and struggles at times to finish over length and athleticism in the post.
Offensively, Scott is extremely efficient, even if his overall productivity is erratic at times. Averaging just under 20 points per game in the month of March last season and ranking in the 97th percentile in overall points per possession last season among all college players according to Synergy Sports Technology, Scott's terrific hands, soft touch, and a knack for making his free throws shines through on many nights.
On his best nights, Scott's interior scoring skills, coupled with his size and mobility, made him one of the most efficient big men in the country scoring off put backs, cuts, and transition opportunities a year ago. Shooting 62% around the rim as a finisher, Scott is also a reliable threat operating one-on-one in the post. He shot 47% from the block using an array of hooks, scoops and step-throughs on the block.
More than an interior scorer, Scott's shooting mechanics aren't pretty, but he made a very respectable 78% from the line a year ago and 41% of the 1.4 perimeter jump shots he attempted per game as a junior to go along with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. Possessing a nice feel for the game, Scott isn't a prolific distributor, but he finds the open man and plays a low mistake brand of basketball, which is particularly impressive given the number of double teams he faces. He's also a solid, albeit unspectacular, offensive rebounder, showing nice instincts when he's playing with energy on the boards. Ranking 2nd among players in our senior class rankings in offensive rating, Scott is an extremely productive offensive weapon at the college level.
Despite his very impressive efficiency, Scott doesn't seem to have a clear calling card as a NBA prospect, and isn't without a few areas to improve offensive. He doesn't always establish great position in the post and has struggled mightily against the better competition he faced scoring one-on-one. He isn't as effective against bigger, longer, NBA caliber defenders, and can be a bit predictable making moves to his left hand on the block. With Booker headed to the pros, Scott is likely to assume a huge role for the Buffaloes this year and it will be interesting to see if he can show the ability to carry Tad Boyle's team offensively.
The challenge for Scott early in his career was making his presence felt on the defensive end. A very solid offensive rebounder but a comparably average defensive rebounder, Scott has improved a bit in that regard since his freshman year, but could still stand to be more aggressive pursuing the ball defensively. His lack of quickness off the floor limits him here, but it didn't, however, stop him from improving as a shot blocker. He's by no means a high level rim protector, but his anticipation and effort in contesting shots has helped him double his per-40 minute pace adjusted block rate since his freshman year.
Scott is a solid defender at the college level. His lack of quickness can limit him in defending dribble penetration and recovering to shooters on the perimeter, but he shows nice awareness defending the pick and roll and plays tough on the block, looking comfortable against players with comparable speed.
There's little question that Josh Scott is one of the top big men in the Pac-12, but he'll need to take another significant step forward like he did as a sophomore to solidify his draft stock. If that isn't in the cards, he's likely a lock to get an invitation to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, would certainly get an opportunity to catch on in Summer League, and would be an extremely attractive player overseas where his lack of elite athleticism wouldn't be an issue.
#16, Rosco Allen, 6-9, Senior, SF/PF, Stanford
When Rosco Allen committed to play for Stanford in October of 2011, the verbal agreement was considered a major coup for Johnny Dawkins. Allen, a 6'9 Hungarian-born forward, played high school ball at the Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop-Gorman and was a consensus four-star recruit who figured to bring court vision and perimeter shooting to Stanford's frontcourt.
Four years later, Allen's impact on Stanford has underwhelmed, in large part due to reasons out of his control. He's endured a litany of injuries in his first three years, including a stress fracture in his sophomore year that limited him to just seven minutes and a medical redshirt during Stanford's Sweet 16 campaign.
Only now, as a fourth-year junior, is Allen coming off his first impact season where he played a vital role in the team's NIT Championship run.
Stanford was one of the best teams in the country to not make the NCAA tournament last year, just missing out after suffering losses in games decided by five points or less on six different occasions.
However, Stanford's team and Allen's role will change drastically this year. Despite averaging just 7.3 points per game last season, Allen is the leading returning scorer for Stanford's suddenly barren squad.
Taking a backseat to the likes of Chasson Randle, Anthony Brown and Stefan Nastic, Allen was responsible for just 16.7% of Stanford's possessions last season. His usage should rise this year with more opportunity. With the team going through somewhat of a transition season, look for Dawkins to turn to Allen as a focal point and facilitator in the offense.
At 6-9, Allen has ample size to play either forward position, both of which he'll likely spend time at as a pro. While he's not the quickest or most explosive athlete around, he's a very fluid and mobile player who can find some success attacking off the dribble and creating for himself and others, particularly in closeout situations.
Outside shooting will be a major component of Allen's success at the pro level. He's been somewhat streaky in this area throughout his career, but was able to knock down 36% of his nearly five 3-point attempts per game last year, which is definitely a move in the right direction for him. 6-9 forwards who can stretch the defense are seriously en vogue in today's NBA, and being a real knockdown 3-point shooter (which he is not at this point) could help his prospects immensely. While his size allows him to get his shot off, Allen's propensity for dipping the ball below his hips upon the catch sometimes negates that advantage. He is far more effective shooting with his feet set (40%, 1.13 PPP--Synergy) than he was off the dribble (19%, 0.375 PPP) last year.
After Allen missed four games in February with an injured back, he returned with a noticeably lower arc on his shot leading to ugly line drives which missed badly. He shot just 21.4% from deep in March and April after shooting 50% in January in February.
Despite standing 6-9, Allen posted a positive assist to turnover ratio last season, which is an indication of his versatility and feel for the game at the combo forward position. He is a solid ball-handler, but needs to become significantly more efficient as a finisher inside the arc, where he hit a paltry 40% of his 2-point attempts this past season. Allen averaged just 11 points per 40 minutes last year, which would be uninspiring for even the best defensive specialists (which Allen is not) in the NCAA.
Allen's lack of strength, below average athleticism and poor wingspan are all major hindrances in this area. He doesn't always have the explosiveness to finish what he creates for himself around the basket, and also lacks a degree of toughness, which will make his emergence as an outside shooter all the more important.
Just as important will be Allen's ability to defend his position at the next level, something that currently appears to be something of a struggle. He possesses just an average frame, and does not compensate for that with great length, technique or lateral quickness.
He struggles to get in a low stance on the perimeter, which makes it difficult for him to cover ground against the more talented shot-creators and athletes he faces, even if his effort level is usually solid. It's not rare to see him getting blown off the dribble when switched onto smaller players, and the poor rate in which he generates blocks, steals and rebounds doesn't do much to ease those concerns.
Overall, with just a 6'8 wingspan and just 215 pounds on his frame, Allen doesn't quite look the part of a true NBA prospect on either end of the ball yet. His shooting, while fair, isn't good enough to make him specialist at the next level and his defense will struggle to translate in a more physical NBA if he's tasked with defending on the interior.
Nevertheless, Allen will be put in a situation to have a strong senior year at Stanford and with improved shooting and better defense will certainly get looks going into the pre-draft process. If he doesn't make the cut, his Hungarian passport will give him an opportunity to have a long and fruitful career in Europe where his skill-set and versatility will surely be valued.