Heralded as one of the top power forward prospects in the country coming into this season, Darrell Arthur
has had a good, but not outstanding sophomore campaign so far. His minutes are up, as is his production, and his skill-set has noticeably improved, but there are parts of his game that are beginning to emerge as somewhat lacking as far as his NBA draft profile is concerned.
Arthur is still the same superb athlete hes always beenquick off his feet, explosive, and terrific running the floormaking him a terrific weapon to have in transition, where KU thrives. He has a scoring mentality, with great hands and a hunger for the basketball, and has added some bulk to his lanky frame, although he could still clearly use more.
Most of Arthurs points come in the paint, where he shows plenty of raw talent and a number of solid moves. He has an excellent turnaround jumper and a solid jump-hook, as well as some solid spins and terrific overall touch. He has excellent potential as a finisher thanks to his supreme length and athleticism, although he doesnt always capitalize here due to his lack of strength and tendency to fade away from contact at times. His left hand is average and he clearly prefers not to use it, sometimes missing close-range shots for that reason.
This year we are starting to see even more of that intriguing face-up game that Arthur showed sparks of last season in small doses. He looks much more willing to put the ball and the floor attack his man off the dribble, showing a terrific first step, but still not being a good enough ball-handler to really make this a consistent enough weapon quite yet. He can get by his man (going left or right), but is often out of control by the end of his drives (and thus struggles to finish), due to his average handle.
In terms of his jump-shotArthur seems to be making strides here too. Hes already knocked down two 3-pointers on the season (last year zero) as well as a number of 18 footers, although hes showing some questionable shot-selection from time to time in the process (hitting just 25% of his 3-point attempts). His shooting mechanics could still be cleaned up a bit, particularly when hes rushed, but this appears to be a part of his game that should develop nicely in time. Kansas is even bringing Arthur off some short screens at timestaking advantage of his excellent touchrunning some basic pick and pop plays for him if the matchup calls for it, and Arthur has delivered fairly well, on a limited number of attempts.
Defensively, Arthur has been very solid as well, showing excellent lateral quickness (especially hedging pick and rolls), staying in front of his man nicely, not giving up much space, and showing a good all-around commitment to stopping his man. Bill Self wants his players to give everything they have for every moment they are on the floor, and this, coupled with Arthurs average awareness, leads to some foul problems at timeswhich KU will probably live with. It does limit the amount of minutes Arthur can play at times, though, hovering around 24 per game on the season so far.
Rebounding wise, he leaves a lot to be desired at times, not always showing the same hunger and intensity youd hope for, and coming up a bit short in the production department toowith just 9.7 rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted game, which ranks him 79th in that category
amongst all draft prospects who play more than 20 minutes per game.
That same lack of effort seems to show up in other parts of his game as well, leaving you wondering at times about his combination of toughness and intensity, which seems to be just average. He doesnt always seem to be giving 100%, and will look pretty lost out on the court from time to time if his team doesnt make a concerted effort to keep him involved offensively. There are question marks about his focus and overall awarenessoften chalked up to his freshman status last year, but still very much coming into play this season early on so far.
Something that is clearly not in question is his extremely poor passing ability. Amongst all NCAA prospects, he ranks statistically
as one of the worst at gathering assists, and also amongst the worst in the assist to turnover ratio category
. He often looks like a black hole in the post, calling for the ball with all his might, and then trying to bully his way to the basket at all costs, almost never surveying the floor and looking for the open man when the double team inevitably comes.
With that said, Arthur is still an extremely gifted prospect, with an outstanding combination of physical tools and scoring instincts. Players like him are always coveted in the NBA draft. Kansas is having an outstanding season, and his stock will continue to hover around the lottery or better as long as he continues to win and produce the way he has so far. To truly reach his full potential as a player, though, he still has plenty of work to do, and might be better off staying another season.