One of the most productive players at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament this weekend and likewise one of the most intriguing prospects from an NBA perspective, Matthew Bryan-Amaning
had an excellent week for himself on multiple levels. Aside from having arguably the most impressive measurements of anyone in attendance, Bryan-Amaning played with a nonstop motor on both ends of the court and made it very clear he was trying to take advantage of an opportunity to stand out.
Looking at Bryan-Amaning's game, there is a stark contrast in the style of offensive play he employed in college compared to what he'd have a chance at doing in the NBA initially. Bryan-Amaning relies heavily on a somewhat unrefined back-to-the-basket game at the moment, one he's not terribly efficient with but shows some nice flashes. He is extremely quick for a player his size and is capable of beating many players laterally in the low and mid post, while his length and creativity allow him to finish from multiple angles around the rim. Still, ultimately this area of his game is still unpolished and not yet consistent.
While Bryan-Amaning's post game is somewhat interesting in the long term and is a nice luxury to have, he scored just 0.79 points per shot on back-to-the-basket shots this season according to Synergy, and that is the primary reason his field goal percentage wasn't much higher. In contrast, Bryan-Amaning scored an outstanding 1.34 points per shot on non-post-up shots around the basket in the half court, largely due to his excellent combination of length, athleticism, functional strength, and soft hands.
Looking to the NBA, what Bryan-Amaning is best equipped to contribute offensively is finishing on cuts, pick-and-rolls, offensive rebounds, and getting out in transition, where he can use his athletic tools and coordination to create high percentage shots at the basket. Combined with his high motor on this end of the floor, this creates a good groundwork for a useful skill set.
The biggest area offensively that Bryan-Amaning could help himself is developing a more reliable perimeter jump shot. He was intent on showing he could hit 15-20 footers here at Portsmouth, but his shot selection wasn't the greatest and the results were inconsistent. A very aggressive player, Bryan-Amaning has no problem throwing up running shots on the move, where he should be more focused on developing his set shot first, as evidenced by his poor free-throw percentage. This should be the biggest emphasis for Bryan-Amaning in the pre-draft process, and going into workouts drilling mid-range jumpers could definitely help his stock.
Apart from developing his jumper, the next biggest thing Bryan-Amaning could do for his stock is improving his defense, an area where he has a ton of potential with his physical tools. Already a dangerous threat making plays off the ball, Bryan-Amaning lacks much in terms of fundamentals, specifically defending the post. The effort level is usually there, and he has great lateral speed and change of direction ability to recover from mistakes, but he shows very poor concept of leverage and how to use his hands and forearm in defending, while he's also heavily prone to biting for pump fakes.
Bryan-Amaning's effort level on defense and the boards was superb at Portsmouth, and continuing to show that kind of tenacity throughout the pre-draft process is a good idea.
Looking forward, Bryan-Amaning clearly has some long-term upside from an NBA perspective, but is still likely a ways away from making on-court contributions. He certainly helped himself this weekend at Portsmouth in a variety of ways, namely by measuring out extremely well, playing with an incredibly high motor, showing off some of his skills, and just showing up to the event in general and competing. He's not a lock to get drafted, but he's a player who can impress in private workouts and convince a team to take a flyer on him in the 2nd round, especially if he puts in work on his jumper between now and then.
If Bryan-Amaning isn't drafted, he'll certainly have abundant opportunities in summer league and as a potential D-League call-up next season should he choose to go that route, but because he has an English passport, he will likely be able to make good money in Europe as a rookie, something he will surely consider.