Category 1 Fours: Two-Way Playmakers

Category 1 (A&B) Fours: Two-Way Playmakers

(Skills: Shot Creation/Dribbling,Post Up/Iso, Passing, Shooting Threat, Defense)

Category 1A:

  1. Draymond Green (Senior) #35

*Not included:

  • Limited Sample/Stats: Dragan Bender

Category 1B:

  1. Blake Griffin (Sophomore) #1
  2. Paul Millsap (Junior) #47
  3. Boris Diaw (International) #21
  4. Aaron Gordon (Freshman) #4
  5. Ben Simmons (Freshman) #1

*Lamar Odom is used sparingly due to lack of stats

*Not included:

  • Limited Sample/Defensive Concerns: Dario Saric, Trey Lyles
  • Prime Kevin Garnett (No College Stats Obviously)

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Category 7 Quasi Lead Guards: 3&D with Enough Playmaking to Initiate

Category 7 Quasi-Lead Guards: 3 & D w/ Enough Playmaking to Initiate

(Skills:  Off-Ball Shooting, Initiating/Running a PNR, On/Off Ball D, Switchability)

George Hill (Senior) #26

Mario Chalmers (Junior) #34

Matthew Dellavedova (Senior) Undrafted

Patrick Beverley (Sophomore) #42

Tyler Johnson (Senior) Undrafted

Also in this category but not analyzed largely due to limited sample: Marcus Smart, Seth Curry, Josh Richardson.

I. What Sets Them Apart

This player archetype is built on two foundational skill-sets: shooting and defense.  Non-coincidentally, these players are usually found next to elite primary initiating two-way wings (Hill -> George/Hayward + Hood, Chalmers -> LeBron/Wade, Delly -> LeBron/Giannis, Beverley -> Harden, Johnson -> Wade). When you have enough playmaking either on the wings or at the 4/5 spots, surrounding those players with two-way shooters is immensely valuable, placing these kinds of players at a premium, yet, they are not typically drafted as such.

Defensively, Category 7 guys can almost always defend ones at the point of attack, which is more valuable than guarding smaller wings with shooting guard size, but they usually have the versatility to guard two positions in plus fashion.  George Hill is the prototype here, being a plus defender who not only adds deadly spot up shooting from the corners but can also run off screens to shoot, a hidden value amongst all off-ball players.

Some would consider this category of players “shooting guards” skill-set wise as none are high usage on-ball handlers and their primary offensive contribution comes from off-ball spacing.  I labeled them quasi-lead guards because they have enough ball-skills to handle under pressure, initiate offense and run a simple pick and roll, albeit less frequently than more high usage lead guards. As we progress in this process you’ll see a pretty fine line between this category and 1/2 3&D wings such as Avery Bradley and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.  The strengths of each group are the same (shooting and defense), but I delineate between the two based on the former possessing more advanced ball-skills and the history of being employed in such a role.

Overall, you can be an impact player in the league as a guard if you can shoot and defend in plus fashion even if you don’t have advanced ball-skills and can’t create your own shot consistently to score.  This is why so many of us were fans of Wade Baldwin in the draft, and some (including myself) ranked him ahead of Kris Dunn based on potential skill-set contribution to a winning team.  A quasi lead guard who can shoot and defend  in my opinion trumps a primary initiating lead guard who can’t shoot, isn’t an ET athlete and is a suspect decision-maker if we’re talking long-term contribution to winning from a team building standpoint.  You need specific players to pair with a Cat 7 player, but if situated correctly in that role a Cat 7 player is more valuable than building a team from scratch with a Cat 5 or 6 player in most cases.    Anyways, onto the skill attributes..

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Category 6 Lead Guards: Dribble-Drivers

Category 6 Lead Guards: Dribble-Drivers

(Skills: Break Defenses Down w/ Raw Speed/Change of Pace Getting to the Rim , Finishing w/ Craftiness/Floater Game, PNR Finishing, Getting to the Line)

  1. Ty Lawson (Junior) #18
  2. Kemba Walker (Junior) #9
  3. Isaiah Thomas (Junior) #60
  4. Goran Dragic (International) #45
  5. Jeff Teague (Sophomore) #19
  6. Reggie Jackson (Junior) #24

Also in this category but not analyzed: Tony Parker (International) #28, Jeremy Lin (Senior) Undrafted, Dennis Schröder (International) #17, Brandan Jennings (International) #10, Darren Collison (Senior) #21, Aaron Brooks (Senior) #26 *Amongst Others

I. What Sets Them Apart

This is the largest archetype grouping in the position and is really meant to capture the speed + burst required to gain separation of an NBA level athlete at the position and how much the position levels off after the elite offense & two-way guys.  These players win on getting into the lane and breaking defenses down, either via raw speed (Lawson, Walker, Teague, Jackson) or change of pace (Dragic, Thomas).   None are really elite shooters and thus don’t carry the scheme-buster designation, but each are at least enough of a shooting threat where they aren’t treated generally as complete non-shooters.  None have the elite vertical athleticism as the category 2 athletes, and for the most part, each are minus defenders due to a lack of size, physical tools, or consistent effort (you can absolutely make an argument Dragic is a category 4 lead guard based on some defensive metrics, he’s just never passed the eye test for me).

Key stat attributes affiliated with these dribble-drivers are finishing in the restricted area and PNR finishing.  What separates a player like Dragic is his phenomenal body control and craft finishing around the basket.  Thomas replicates some of that, but is also an expert foul-drawer.

Most of the following list sans prime Lawson is comprised of more score-first lead guards than pass-first.  The fundamental input here is high volume driving, which is where the analysis starts.

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2016 FIBA Americas Team USA U18s & Adidas Nations Scouting Links


As some of you might know I’m a contributor for Upside Motor and recently wrote two scouting pieces on the upcoming draft prospect landscape that I wanted to include here as well:

Team USA U18 FIBA Americas Scouting Slant (Video Scouting on Prospects Such as Fultz, Allen, Bamba, Porter, Diallo etc)

2016 Adidas Nations Recap (Live Scouting Mostly 2017 High School Class but International Players as Well as the ’18 & ’19 HS Classes)

To those who have reached out about the continuation of the category series, I appreciate it and I plan to do so shortly.  Traveling and other commitments should level off over the next two months.  Thanks as always for reading.




2016 NBA Draft Team By Team Draft Grades

The Excellent

1.Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons (#1), Timothe Luwawu (#24), Furkan Korkmaz (#26)

Philly killed it. Absolutely killed it. Landing Luwawu (my #4 overall player) and Korkmaz was insane value in the 20s. Let’s obviously not overlook the Simmons factor either, whose ceiling outcome is the highest in the draft as the one potentially legit franchise player.  I’m very intrigued to see how Luwawu performs next year, as he’ll likely struggle to adjust to the league, but higher usage initially will aid his ball-skill development in the future.  Every team in the league needs two-way wings who can shoot and run a pick and roll.  Luwawu was the draft’s best after Ingram.  As for Korkmaz, he is the likeliest player in the draft to become a McCollum type secondary handler with his ability to shoot off the bounce in the midrange area with his shake and high release.  He probably will never defend in average fashion, but Simmons especially will make him a better player.  The Hinkie Cult should rejoice in his vision finally taking shape.  If Embiid is what we thought he could be this team is loaded.

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2016 NBA Draft Big Board Part 3: Tier 4A

*Note: This tier is mostly comprised of rotation players with starter upside, starting with those most likely to be a starter on a good team.

*I will definitely complete the top 30 in some fashion, but it probably wont be as long as this iteration, mostly because it’s so damn time consuming and also because it’s comprised mostly of bigs who everyone already knows.

10.Patrick McCaw

NBA Position Range: 3&D Wing w/ Shooting Guard Size (Category 7) -> Secondary Two-Way Wing Handler (category 2)

Age: 20

Positional Size/Athleticism: Possesses ideal height (6’6.75”) and length (6’10” wingspan) for an NBA wing with “shooting guard” size. Late bloomer with reported growth potential still. Rail thin at 181 pounds with skinny legs and chest very much in need of strength acquisition. Incredibly fast and agile on the court with plus open court speed. Tremendous speed and fluid athleticism navigating around screens. Plus lateral agility when locked in sitting down in an athletic stance. Plus first step and burst with the ball getting into the lane. Not a bouncy, vertical athlete, but can play above the rim in space. Quick twitch reaction time, especially on defense. Can change speed and pace well with the ball.

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