A.J. Slaughter

Height: 6'3" (191 cm)
Weight: 174 lbs (79 kg)
Position: PG/SG
High School: Shelby County High School (Kentucky)
Hometown: Shelbyville, KY
College: Western Kentucky
Current Team: Gran Canaria
Win - Loss: 12 - 7


Portsmouth Invitational Tournament Recap, All-First Team

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Kyle Nelson
Kyle Nelson
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Apr 13, 2010, 03:35 am
Joseph Treutlein

Despite struggling a bit with his role in his final game here, A.J. Slaughter had a very strong week overall, showing an intriguing skill set and feel for the game. Standing 6'3 with good length and athleticism, Slaughter is a quick but not especially explosive athlete, probably best suited as a combo guard if he ever makes it to the NBA, with point guard not being out of the question at all with some development.

On the offensive end, Slaughter has a versatile set of skills, being a very good outside shooter both spotting up and pulling up off the dribble, having range to the NBA three-point line. He's very smooth pulling up with the ball in space, doing so frequently out of pick-and-roll situations, while he does a good job of keeping his balance and maintaining good form in these instances. Slaughter does show some problems when he has a hand in his face, however, and is likewise prone to forcing the issue, settling for some ill-advised shots at times.

Going to the basket, Slaughter is a decent finisher around the rim, having the size to go to the basket and the touch to put up a nice floater in the lane, however his lack of strength and vertical explosiveness limits his potential here, as despite doing very well against the Sun Belt conference, there are some problems projecting this to fully translate against NBA athletes.

In terms of point guard skills, Slaughter is at his best running the pick-and-roll, being able to punish the defense in a variety of ways, be it pulling up, taking it to the basket, hitting his man for the pass, or finding another teammate if the defense collapses on the play. He does a good job moving the ball on the offensive end in general, getting a good deal of assists on simple ball movement plays. His ability to operate at different speeds and maintain an excellent pace in picking and choosing his spot is a highly impressive attribute, and should benefit him greatly down the road.

Where Slaughter runs into trouble sometimes is while running the show as a full time point guard, not really having the mentality and instincts to seamlessly manage creating shots for others and himself. He is prone to putting his head down and over-penetrating with the ball, though he did a decent job of bailing himself out of these situations against the weak competition he faced. It's clear he's still developing as a playmaker, as he goes from stretches of very controlled, impressive play to a string of questionable decisions with the ball, not yet being fully comfortable in this role.

Defensively, Slaughter has good overall tools, with good length and pretty good lateral quickness, but there are some questions about what position he'll defend, as he's undersized for a 2 and probably not quick enough to stay in front of some point guards.

Fundamentally, he has a very good stance and opens up most plays by aggressively getting into his man, however he's prone to losing focus on plays and letting up out of his stance early, leading to some blow-bys. He's good defending the pick-and-roll, though, showing good strength to get through screens and doing a good job of sticking to his man. He also shows great hands and anticipation on the weakside, being a strong threat in the passing lanes.

Looking forward, Slaughter clearly has both NBA physical tools and NBA skills, but right now it's a matter of fully developing his feel for the game and being able to find himself a niche he is fully comfortable in, as what position he'd play is still a bit up in the air. Unlikely to be drafted (though not out of the question), Slaughter would be best served developing his game in Europe or the D-League for a year or two, where it's possible we'll see him as a late season call-up in the NBA, especially if he goes to a team with good player development, such as Tulsa, Rio Grande Valley, or Austin.

Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, Day One

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Kyle Nelson
Kyle Nelson
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Apr 08, 2010, 01:54 pm
-A.J. Slaughter had a phenomenal game here to start the week off, scoring 28 points on a ridiculous 10-for-12 shooting from the field (to go along with 4-for-5 from three and 4-for-4 from the line). He also chipped in 5 assists and 2 steals, playing a good all-around game, hitting shots and slashing to the basket, playing within the team offense and showing off nice athletic ability. He doesn't appear to be a true point guard, and probably isn't a player that's going to be on the draft radar, but continued play like this will certainly make people notice, and at worst should help himself get NBA workouts and improve his European prospects.

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