Top NBA Prospects in the Big East, Part Four: Prospects #4-5September 13, 2015
A key rotation player as Georgetown's sixth man throughout his freshman season, Isaac Copeland entered the starting lineup for the last ten games of the Hoyas season, including their two NCAA tournament games. The 32nd ranked RSCI player in 2014, Copeland became more comfortable on the floor as the season progressed and will be looking to ride his success from the end of last season into his sophomore season.
The 6'9” Copeland has good size and a terrific frame for a perimeter player to go along with a nice foundation of athletic tools. He can play above the rim at times but he isn't going to explode above the defense in traffic on a regular basis. He has nice speed for a player of his size as he can beat the defense down the floor when he can get out in transition. His overall athleticism doesn't wow you, so he'll need to develop a refined set of technical skills to help him contribute at the next level.
Scouts won't love Copeland's lack of length, as he measured just an average 6'9” wingspan at the Nike Skills Academy. This won't prevent him from being a NBA player but will force him to work a little harder defensively and as a finisher around the rim.
His skill that has the most potential to translate to the NBA at this point is his outside shooting, which could make him a nice stretch big man at the next level. He doesn't have the most consistent or fundamental shooting stroke, at times hopping backwards on his release, but it seems to work with Copeland making 38.9% of his three point attempts last season, as well as 81% of his free throw attempts, and even showing some potential shooting off the dribble with a smooth release.
Copeland moves around the arc well to find open spaces to put himself in passing lanes and he has a quick catch and release that helps him get good looks at the rim. His touch is terrific from all over the floor, leaving a lot of room for optimism regarding his ability to develop his versatility as a scorer.
With Copeland earning more minutes and likely having a larger offensive role in the Georgetown offense, it will be interesting to see what other skills he has added in the offseason to make him a more well-rounded offensive threat. At this time, he's not comfortable putting the ball on the floor and attacking a closeout when he is ran off the three point line, as his ball-handling skills are fairly rudimentary at this stage, and does not really show the ability to change speeds or directions with the ball.
When he does get to the rim, either in transition or off cuts to the basket, he was a useful finisher at 59.3%. Many of these came off finesse-type plays, so his ability to finish against NBA level rim protectors remains relatively untested. His lack of elite length and leaping ability already hurts his ability to finish in traffic, and he shot under 50% from 2-point range overall as a freshman, so this is something scouts will want to learn more about moving forward.
Copeland will need to improve his defensive fundamentals, including his initial positioning on the ball and his defensive footwork to not waste movements. He needs to fill out his excellent frame, adding bulk to both his upper and lower body. He's up to 198 this summer but still has room to add strength to compete against professionals. Playing mostly the power forward spot, Copeland projects to be more of a small forward in the NBA and will need to demonstrate he can guard small forwards on a consistent basis.
Copeland's commitment to defense is there, as he demonstrates consistent energy and focus defensively, even if he appears to lack a degree of toughness at times. Copeland's short wingspan will prevent him from challenging many shots so he will need to show he can play in the chest of his opponent to prevent jump shots without getting beat off the dribble. He does have quick feet, allowing him to stay in front of dribble penetration but this will be a tougher job against NBA perimeter players or quick big men. He doesn't force many turnovers at the college level, coming up with just 8 steals in 661 minutes last season (.5 per-40), as well as 19 blocks.
Copeland exhibited some nice potential as a role player as someone who can stretch the floor and be a positive defender in his freshman season. He has a nice foundation of skills and a consistent sophomore season where he continues to demonstrate these traits will keep him in the draft conversation.
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Nike Academy Scouting Reports: College Small Forward ProspectsJuly 3, 2015
Copeland didn't wow scouts with an overly versatile skill set or explosive plays on either side of the ball, but he has excellent size for a combo forward, is a solid athlete and is fairly effective as a floor spacing, spot up shooter.
Copeland doesn't have the smoothest shooting stroke, but he's very capable of making shots with range. He's fluid, can play above the rim at times, and doesn't play outside of himself on the offensive end. Copeland will most likely have to develop into more of a three given his lack of length (6' 9” wingspan) and average frame, but there's enough to like to consider him as an NBA prospect a few years down the road.
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