After transferring out of a frustrating situation at Mississippi State and becoming a father, Shawn Long translated his potential as a high school recruit into a stellar career at Louisiana. Long earned First Team All-Sun Belt honors three years in a row before being named Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year as a senior. Beginning his career playing alongside of Elfrid Payton and finishing his career as a first option, Long had plenty of opportunities to showcase his strengths and weaknesses in front of scouts. Despite not receiving an invite to the NBA Combine, however, Long figures to get plenty of workouts giving him some opportunity to work his endear himself to a team with a pick in the 2nd round.
Standing around 6'10 in shoes with a 7'1 wingspan and a 8'10 standing reach, Long has prototypical size for an NBA power forward. He is a solid athlete, as well, not particularly quick, but explosive around the rim with the ability to run the floor in transition. Long's overall athletic profile might benefit from streamlining his bulky 245-pound frame and improving his conditioning, but he does have solid physical tools for an NBA power forward.
Long averaged 18.9 points and 12.1 rebounds per game in a feature role and posted consistent numbers against strong and weak competition on the 79th most efficient offense in college basketball. He was also by far the best player on a decidedly below average Louisiana team that went 41-29 with consecutive fourth place finishes in the Sun Belt Conference since Elfrid Payton was drafted in 2014 as Long couldn't propel them to significant success.
In the games where he faced quality competition, Long struggled to body stronger and more athletic defenders in the post, instead settling for contested jump hooks and turnaround jumpers as well as wild drives at the basket. His lack of an elite first step and average ball handling ability were problems, too, as they limited his creativity and effectiveness as a scorer off of the dribble. Thus, while Long actually looked fairly comfortable operating facing the basket against weaker competition, he was simply unable to find his way to the basket against NBA-caliber athletes. Even when he could get by his man, he tended to throw up a lot of contested jumpers off of the dribble, rarely using his physical tools to fight his way to the basket.
Furthermore and as we observed in previous reports, he never developed a truly reliable post move. This was evident in the fact that, despite seeing 28.1% of his offensive looks in the post—frequently against smaller and less athletic defenders—he made a below average 44.6% of his attempts. He was not the most aggressive player in the post, either, not demanding the ball as often as one would expect and looking overmatched far too often on the block. As has been the case throughout his career, he turned the ball over at a high rate when met with double teams and posted a career-high 3.4 turnovers per 40 minutes pace adjusted overall.
When he was able to get to the basket, however, he was a good finisher, making 63.8% of his looks around the rim in the half court and displaying the strength and athleticism to fight through contact on his way inside. The senior attempted 8.7 free throws per 40 minutes pace adjusted, showing an ability to draw contact if he did not have a clean look at the basket. While Long is not the most polished post scorer, he does a great job of doing the little things to find opportunities inside moving without the ball and cutting to the basket, running in transition, and cleaning up his teammates misses—three things he did quite efficiently this season. He ranked as the best offensive rebounder among prospects in our top-100, pulling down 5.2 per 40 minutes pace adjusted.
Beyond his interior scoring ability, scouts have long been intrigued by Long's ability to stretch the floor. As a senior, he shot a career low 67 three-pointers and posted a career low 26.7% 3FG. He made just 27.7% of his overall jump shots, as well, posting career low shooting numbers across the board, despite being a career 34.1% 3FG shooter. A streaky shooter with unorthodox mechanics, Long shoots the ball with very little elevation and a truncated release. Many of his misses hit front rim, which raises additional questions about whether he can develop shooting range out past the NBA three-point line. He did show more conservative shot selection, taking far less questionable looks from beyond the arc as a senior, but his resume as a shooter – whether from beyond the arc or at the free throw line where he shot 67% – is decidedly mixed, leaving scouts with far more questions than answers regarding his potential as a stretch-four.
His defensive resume is similarly murky. While Louisiana was not a good defensive team, Long displayed many of the strengths and weaknesses that we observed during his junior season. As we noted in the fall, Long is likely a tweener at the next level and relies quite a bit on his physical tools on defense. He does not have the strength and length to guard NBA centers, but he did prove to be an adequate post defender and rim protector at the collegiate level blocking 2.1 shots per-40 minutes pace adjusted. He appears better suited to guard power forwards, as he consistently makes an effort to close out on shooters, but lacks ideal lateral quickness and foot speed to guard the pick-and-roll. While Long is a mixed bag defensively, he is an exceptional rebounder, grabbing 15.1 rebounds per-40 minutes pace-adjusted, nearly 10 of which came on the defensive end of the floor.
Long is a complicated prospect given his fairly well defined strengths and weaknesses and at 23 years old has less potential than a bevy of collegiate and international second round prospects. Long did anchor a solid NCAA offense, however, showing versatility that NBA teams expect from power forward prospects and the willingness to do little things like rebound, move without the ball, and make an effort defensively. Ultimately, however, workouts will determine Long's fate, as he must show scouts that he has regained his shooting touch and improved his conditioning. It remains to be seen whether Long will hear his name called in the second round on draft night. After a stellar collegiate career, however, it is safe to say that he should have plenty of opportunities to play basketball overseas and in the D-League if the NBA is not an option next season. [Read Full Article]
Top NBA Prospects in the Non-BCS Conferences, Part 7: Prospects #11-15
November 11, 2015
Originally a Mississippi State commit, Shawn Long transferred to Louisiana Lafayette after just one semester with the Bulldogs. After receiving a waiver to play the entire 2012-13 season, he was part of a formidable duo with eventual lottery pick Elfrid Payton for two seasons, and emerged as a player to watch over the rest of his collegiate career.
Peter G. Forest, Nola.com
Long spent his summer playing for the USA in the Pan Am games, where he was measured at 6-11. He has decent length for a big man as well at 7-1, although his wingspan is probably closer to that of a power forward's than a center.
Offensively, Long has terrific scoring instincts and can be considered a dual threat as an inside-out player, but he needs to improve in both aspects to be able to score consistently against better defenders. 25% of his offensive possessions were post-ups according to Synergy Sports Technology, but he is just an average scorer in these sets at 43.2%. Long doesn't have the one or two go-to moves that he can rely on regularly. Although he may never become a go-to post scorer without a big leap forward, Long can take advantage of his versatility to score on post-ups and in mid-range isolations in small spurts as a power forward operating against smaller big men.
He has a nice combination of quickness and strength that allows him to get to the rim by facing up or using quick spins to get past his defender or hook shots to shoot over the defense, and can be difficult to contain with his ability to utilize both skill and power. He was doubled a lot when he caught the ball in the post and had trouble with the pressure, which lead to a 19.6% turnover rate on post-ups according to Synergy Sports Technology. He won't be doubled as much against NBA teams, but he will need to improve his vision and willingness to pass when he does have open teammates, as he can be somewhat of a black hole at times.
As somewhat of a tweener big man, Long's ability to stick in the NBA long term could hinge on his ability to play on the perimeter, and he has already shown a willingness to shoot three pointers. He attempted 2.9 per 40 minutes pace adjusted last season and made 34.7% of these shots. This is a decrease from his sophomore season mark of 40%, but he's made a decent volume of 3-pointers in his college career (88, on 35% accuracy), so it will be interesting to see how he fares in this area as a senior and moving forward, as he doesn't have the prettiest shooting mechanics at the moment.
Despite not possessing elite length or explosiveness, Long has become one of the best rebounders in the country on both ends of the floor. He was the top defensive rebounder in our top 100 last season at 9.2 per 40 minutes pace adjusted and he also contributed [url=http://www.draftexpress.com/stats.php?year=2015&league=NCAA&per=per40pace&qual=top100&sort2=DESC&pos=all&stage=all&min=15&conference=All&sort=19]3.9 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted. Long has great instincts on the glass and is usually first to the ball off the rim. He has great hands to secure the ball and can finish put-backs on offensive rebounds. This is a key selling point for NBA teams as he could be a valuable rebounder at the next level as long as he continues to stay in shape and operate with maximum intensity at all times.
Long can also block shots around the rim as he averaged 2.1 per 40 minutes pace adjusted last season. He needs to rely on his timing and quick jumping ability to block shots rather than his length. Whether he has the athleticism to protect the rim at the next level and fill that role remains to be seen, but he does show nice instincts, even if his effort level can be mixed at times.
There are questions about which position Long guards, as he seems to be caught between the center and power forward position. Although he has nice size and strength to guard interior players, he doesn't have tremendous length or explosiveness and has struggled with conditioning in the past. Teams will want to get a better gauge on his ability to step out on pick and rolls and contain dribble penetration, as his lateral quickness is not the best compared with many power forwards.
Long will turn 23 in January and is one of the oldest players in our top 100. He will get draft attention due to his size and skill-set as he has the potential to fill a variety of roles and has intriguing potential as a stretch forward. There may be some question marks about his upside, as he didn't make huge strides from his sophomore to junior season, but with a productive senior year, Long should get plenty of opportunities to show he can contribute at the NBA level during the pre-draft process. [Read Full Article]
Nike Academy Scouting Reports: College Power Forward/Center Prospects
July 6, 2015
The Louisiana-Lafayette big man did exactly what he's done over the course of his three-year college career – show glimpses of offensive brilliance only to leave you wanting more in terms of defensive effort and his body/conditioning.
Long has the physical profile and offensive skill set of a potential first round pick. He has the size, strength, and length to play either big position in a pinch, and the shooting range and interior scoring to play inside or outside.
But as has been the case during his three years with the Rajun Cajuns, Long has never improved his body (fairly thin limbs with a heavy midsection), defensive effort or feel for the game.
Long didn't take over any of the scrimmages or dominate by any stretch, but his offensive talent was clear. He has nice touch from the perimeter, is very capable of dropping in jump hooks on the interior, can put it on the deck a little in a straight line, and is a load on the offensive glass, showcasing a fairly quick second jump despite not being a freak athlete from a vertical explosiveness perspective.
Long does have a tendency to be a bit wild when on the move or versus pressure, but he did a fairly nice job playing within himself over the course of the camp. On the defensive end, however, Long's usual bouts of inconsistency were clear. The Morgan City, LA native will have one or two possessions where he shows good effort, plays with toughness and finishes with a defensive rebound.
But for every solid defensive possession he has, Long gives you a lazy pick and roll hedge/plug or lackadaisical closeout, making you wonder if he'll ever have the fire and tenacity to take advantage of his solid physical tools on the defensive end.
Long also didn't provide much rim protection when he was at the five, an area where he took a step back last season. Long has put together back to back 28 PER seasons and is a versatile talent, but at age 22 with an inconsistent motor and minimal improvement during his college career, he'll really have to have a big senior campaign to hear his name called on draft night come June, 2016.