Nike Hoop Summit Scouting Reports: Forwards

Nike Hoop Summit Scouting Reports: Forwards
Apr 13, 2017, 12:08 pm

Scouting reports on five of the top forward prospects seen at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit, including Michael Porter, Tadas Sedekerskis, Kevin Knox, Jarred Vanderbilt and Borisa Simanic

Michael PorterMichael Porter, USA, PF/SF, Class of 2017, Missouri, 18.7 Strengths
-Has an impressive combination of size (6'10 in shoes), reach (9'0), athleticism and skill. Frame continues to fill out and should max out nicely over time
-Explosive athlete who is particularly bouncy off two feet. Gets off the ground quickly
-Shoots an easy ball. Easy to see him developing into a knock-down shooter. Very effective spotting up from the corners.
-Outstanding scoring instincts. Difficult cover as he can simply rise up over the top of most small forwards, and is too quick and skilled for most power forwards
-Impressive ball-handler with polished footwork creating his own shot from the perimeter. Can really probe with his dribble. Will find the open man off the bounce occasionally.
-Excellent shooter off the dribble, with range out to the 3-point line, but also effective with his floaters inside the lane
-Has an array of step-backs and fall-aways in his arsenal.
-Excellent body control pulling up off the dribble or navigating the lane
-Good timing moving off the ball. Doesn't need the ball to be effective. Catches lobs with ease
-Shows impressive instincts rotating for blocks and getting in the passing lanes. Can slide his feet with solid mobilityWeaknesses
-Upper body has improved, but lower body remains thin. Skinny calves and ankles
-Somewhat upright defensively. Doesn't have a very long wingspan (7'0 or 7'1) relative to his height. Will need to find a position to guard long-term. Still lacking a degree of strength to guard power forwards full time, negating some of his mismatch ability at the 3
-Can get a little streaky as a shooter at times. Tends to shoot on the way down
-Creates primarily looking to score. Has some room to develop his playmaking ability which would make him even more dangerous. Has some vision, just doesn't always realize it. Has some iso-heavy tendencies that can make him a bit of a ball-stopper at times
-Not the most vocal guy. Happy go-lucky. Will likely need to improve his leadership skills to become a go-to option on a winning teamOutlook Porter has emerged as the near-consensus #1 recruit in the 2017 high school class, and did nothing to discourage that notion in Portland.

Tadas Sedekerskis, Lithuania, SF, Vitoria, 19.2 Strengths
-Excellent size for a wing prospect at 6' 9.75 in shoes. Solid frame that he's done a great job of maximizing. Not overly long but measured an 8' 10 standing reach, which, if accurate, would allow him to play some small-ball four like a Sam Dekker type.
-Fluid athlete who can play above the rim in space. Great in transition. Runs the floor hard. Can fill the lanes or push himself (although his handle is a bit rigid).
-Aggressive straight line slasher. Attacks closeouts with long strides. Doesn't shy away from contact.
-Nice overall feel for the game. Knows how to play a role. Experienced for his age. Can make the basic pass. 2.7 lifetime assists per 40 minutes.
-Streaky but developable shooter with time and space. Lifetime 32.4% from three and 74.6% from the free throw line. Gets good rotation.
-Very competitive defensively. Willing to check multiple positions. Plays with toughness. Solid feet on the perimeter. Good lower body agility for his size. Will battle in the post vs bigs. Sticks his nose in for rebounds. Finds ways to impact the game even if he isn't scoring.
-Moves off the ball. Crashes the offensive glass. Does a lot of little things that don't show up in the box score.
-Mature approach overall. Good teammate.Weaknesses
-Nice frame but not overly long relative to his height (6' 9.5 wingspan). Measured a big reach but questions remain regarding how much four he can play at the NBA level at 211 pounds with a sub-par wingspan.
-Not a reliable spot shooter. Needs time and space. Slight side to side movement at the top of his release. Forward jumper. Gets rotation but not a natural shooter. Easy to run off of spots. Doesn't have a lot of confidence in his catch and shoot three vs lengthy closeouts.
-Travels while attacking closeouts. Fluid after he puts it down but shuffles his feet when run off spots. Too sped up vs pressure.
-Handle is raw. Ball slows him down, even in the open court. Carries vs pressure. Not a guy who's going to regularly play out of a ball screen or create in the half court. Best in transition or as a straight line slasher/cutter. Not a guy who's going to get to his jumper off the dribble. Driving to finish not to pull up.
-Lack of elite length limits him a bit around the rim at times. Can improve his off hand as a finisher.
-Does a lot of little things well but what is his elite skill? Good athlete in Europe but tools and athleticism aren't exceptional at the NBA level.
-A bit too upright defending the perimeter at times. Can he check NBA-level wings consistently?Outlook
All week long Sederskis impressed with his positional size, fluidity, intangibles, and toughness, proving he's certainly draftable in the second round whether it be in 2017 or 2018. He may not have an elite skill and didn't exactly take the Moda Center by storm during game play but the Lithuanian forward is an ideal draft and stash candidate as he continues to develop his shooting stroke. He'll have to make shots consistently to carve out a role in the NBA, but Sederskis did help himself a bit with his steady play on a World Team that was otherwise quite underwhelming.

Kevin Knox, USA, PF/SF, Class of 2017, Uncommitted, 17.6 Strengths
-Nice physical profile for a combo forward at 6' 9 with a 6' 11.5 wingspan and 8' 10 standing reach - measurements good enough to play the four in the NBA. Wide shoulders that are filling out nicely. Huge feet. Looks like he still may not be completely done growing.
-Fluid athlete who can finish above the rim with relative ease both in transition and the half court. Lob target.
-Best moving and cutting off the ball.
-Multi-positional defender when motivated. Good feet. Uses his solid reach to alter shots. 2.1 steals and 1.3 blocks per 40 minutes.
-Although it hasn't translated to game play Knox's jumper is slightly improved from a mechanical standpoint. Gets great rotation. Can make shots with time and space when he stays consistent and focused with his mechanics. Healthy arc.
-Has the fluidity to attack a closeout in space, best when at the four.
-Excellent rebounding potential thanks to his quick leaping and tools - lifetime 11.0 boards per 40 minutes.
-A bit young for his class at 17.6.Weaknesses
-Still quite light at 206 pounds. Has gained only three pounds in the last year or so. Nice frame up top but really thin lower body. Limits his ability to hold position vs traditional bigs.
-Doesn't think the game at a high level. Feel is very shaky in terms of shot selection and decision making. 3.8 turnovers per 40 minutes in 39 EYBL games.
-Still trying to prove that he's a wing by hoisting up jumpers early in the clock or trying to create off the dribble. Much more effective if he'll accept the role as an energetic, athlete/defender while the rest of his game develops organically.
-Motor is very up and down. Looks uninterested on the floor. Doesn't always sit down and defend. Floats on the perimeter offensively. Needs to play with a high motor, defend, rebound and fly around to be considered a legitimate first-round caliber NBA prospect.
-High handle. Not going to create or play out of ball screens. Best at the four when he can attack via straight line drives in space.
-Very loose, inconsistent shooting mechanics. Balance comes and goes. Brings the ball down to his shoulder right before going into his release. Has good wrist action and rotation but is far too loose. Lifetime 25.8 3P% on 89 attempts.
-Shows very little positive or negative emotion on the floor.Outlook
Knox underwhelmed the majority of the week in Portland as his development has stalled a bit since we first bega evaluating him at the age of 15. While he shows an improved skill set for brief stretches, he's too focused on proving that he can play the three rather than making an impact by using his tools, explosiveness and energy. If he can find a way to buy into defending multiple positions, moving off the ball, crashing the glass, running the floor, and playing as more of a modern four man (which is very much the trend in today's NBA) he's far more interesting as an NBA prospect. He'll have to continue to stick to his strengths while finding a way to make spot-up 3s consistently to validate his current standing as a prospect. Knox's skill-set is undoubtedly best suited at the 4 at the NCAA level (even if he insists on being recruited as a 3), but if he's still concerned with developing into a wing his development and overall intrigue as a prospect will continue to take a hit.

Jarred Vanderbilt, USA, PF, Class of 2017, Kentucky, 18.0 Strengths
-Measured well for a modern four man at 6' 9 with a 7' 1 wingspan and an 8' 10 standing reach. Legs are twigs but his upper body has filled out really nicely.
-Fluid in the open floor. Can grab a rebound and ignite the break.
-Excellent instincts on the glass. Lifetime 14.5 rebounds per 40 minutes. Great timing. Crashes hard. Quick to the ball. Finished the Hoop Summit game with 10 rebounds in 19 minutes. Effective on both the offensive and defensive glass.
-Playmaking forward who's best in the open floor but also capable in the half court. Lifetime 4.0 assists per 40 minutes. High risk, high reward passer.
-Comfortable straight line slasher in the half court. Can attack a closeout.
-Instinctual defensively. Flashes of activity on and off the ball. 2.4 steals and 1.1 blocks per 40 minutes.
-Still a near non-shooter but has made a slight improvement to his shooting stroke.
-Swiss Army Knife type of forward who figures to impact the game in different ways in Lexington if he accepts his role. Thin lower body but can even play some small-ball five at the NCAA level if Coach Cal is willing to get creative.Weaknesses
-Very poor lower body. Focusing too much on his upper body and negating his lower body strength. Legs are twigs. Will have to really develop his base to guard fours, where he's best suited given some of his scoring limitations.
-Fluid athlete but not a freak leaper, largely due to his weak base.
-Very limited perimeter shooter. Lifetime 20.9% from three (67 attempts) and 43.8% from the free throw line (249 attempts). Big hitch at the top of his release. Ball doesn't come out smoothly. Doesn't have the best feel for who he is as a player. Will hoist up contested jumpers early in the clock after making one jumper.
-Sped up in closeout situations. Can be a bit wild putting it on the deck. Lack of consistency from the perimeter a primary culprit.
-Struggles making shots from the perimeter really handicap him as a scorer in the half court. Defenders are able to sag off. Not a threat to pull up off the bounce. Really best as a slashing, playmaking 4 at the college level, but likely to be asked to play quite a bit of 3 at Kentucky due to their existing personnel.
-Touch around the rim is quite limited. Very left handed.
-Sometimes a flash over substance passer. Can be a bit turnover prone.
-Defensive effort and motor come and go. Tends to let up when things aren't going his way. Doesn't always sprint back on defense.Outlook
Vanderbilt showed both his versatility and limitations all week in Portland, capped by a strong 19-point, 10-rebound, 3-assist, 2-steal, 2-block performance in 19 minutes in the Moda Center. Vanderbilt's shooting struggles still really cap his overall upside, and his lack of lower body strength ding his intrigue as a mismatch PF at the NBA level, but his rebounding instincts, flashes of defensive activity, playmaking, and straight line slashing at 6' 9 make him a very unique prospect to evaluate, especially should he figure out how to shoot. Vanderbilt's rebounding and activity will help him get on the floor early on at Kentucky, but he'll have to find some semblance of shooting and half court scoring to be considered a more serious NBA prospect.

Borisa Simanic, Red Star Belgrade, Serbia, PF, 19.0 Strengths
-Great size for either forward spot at a hair under 7'feet in shoes. 9'0 ½ standing reach is big enough to play some center if his frame ever fills out
-Fluid athlete who can get off his feet quickly and plays above the rim effortlessly. Light on his feet and highly mobile overall
-Outstanding shooting stroke in warmups. Catches and shoots on the hop. Ball comes out of his hand very smoothly. Shows the ability to hit spot-ups and pull-ups from NBA range
-Shows touch on his floaters. Skilled player overall for a guy his size
-Shows some instincts as a shot-blocker. Has the timing, reach and athleticism to protect the rim a bit if strength isn't an issue.
-Undoubtedly has talent/upsideWeaknesses
-Doesn't have very long arms (7'0 ½ wingspan) relative to his height
-Has long had a projectable frame, but really hasn't done much with it. Weighed just 203 pounds at the Hoop Summit. Not clear if he'll be able to add much weight long term, which limits his ability to play the interior positions
-Doesn't have much ability to create high percentage shots for himself. Wants to get to his pull-up mid-range jumper every time.
-Can play above the rim, but shies away from contact at the basket, negating his physical tools.
-Doesn't have a great feel for the game. Struggles to see the floor effectively. Average passer at best
-Not clear what position he is best suited defending. Too upright on the perimeter to defend 3s. Too weak to guard most power forwards. Doesn't give you enough as a defensive rebounder
-Gets extremely nervous anytime he was asked to operate in competitive settings, even in shooting drills. Struggles with adversity. Hangs his head after misses. Not a next play guy.Outlook Simanic was a major tease throughout the week, showcasing impressive talent in the five on zero drills, but then completely going into a shell anytime a live defender was thrown into the mix. He struggled in the game as well, only playing ten minutes and having a difficult time getting anything going in his time on the floor. Simanic has had a very difficult season, barely seeing any playing time for Red Star, which surely hasn't helped his confidence. He's one of the bigger talents to come out of Serbia in the last few years, but there are major question marks about this point about his ability to realize his potential and turn into a productive player, even at the European level.

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