Thursday, July 27, 2017

Prospect Corner: Emmanuel Akot Interview

An interview with 2018 NBA draft prospect Emmanuel Akot, a 2017 Arizona commit. Akot is a 6-7 do-it-all forward who can also play the point. His scoring game is sharp and he can score from anywhere on the floor. Coming down the floor his passing ability as a point forward resembles LeBron James. NBA Draft Room rates him as a potential top 20 prospect in the 2018 draft class and the 6th best small forward. He has the potential to move up even more, thanks to his skills and athleticism. NBA Draft Room gives him a Jimmy Butler comparison.

LJ: When did you start playing basketball?

Emmanuel: I always loved basketball. I would mess around with my friends at the park ever since I was a kid but I never played an actual basketball game until I was 11.

LJ: Where were you raised and how has your life been growing up?

Emmanuel: I was raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Life growing up has been great. I have 2 great parents and 4 wonderful sisters that support me.

LJ: How have your parents helped you and been an influence?

Emmanuel: My parents work very hard to provide for us. They taught me that you need to work hard in this world.

LJ: What made you choose Arizona?

Emmanuel: Arizona is one of the best programs in the country. They have a winning tradition and I'm a winner so it was a great fit. They also have a history of sending players to the NBA and I know that I get to compete against some of the best players in the country and that will only bring out the best in me.

LJ: No.3 ranked recruiting class by 247, Ira Lee, sharpshooter Brandon Randolph, Alex Barcello, the monster De'Andre Ayton. Have you and this class become close?

Emmanuel: We are extremely close. We all relate and bond very well. We're also around each other all the time so we've got to know each other very well.

LJ: What are the expectations this year for this team and what has Sean Miller told you about your role this year with Arizona?

Emmanuel: I expect to win a lot of games and win a national championship.

LJ: You are looked at as a top 2018 NBA draft prospect. Are you considering leaving this year for the NBA?

Emmanuel: I will leave when I'm ready to leave. I don't know if it will be this year, next year, or in four years. I just want to be ready when I decide to leave for the NBA.

LJ: What's the strongest part of your game? What do you think is the part of the game you need to work on?

Emmanuel: I think my ability to be a play-maker. I can score the ball but I'm also really good at finding my teammates and making the correct reads. I'm also good on the defensive end. I need to improve on my post game and pull up jumper.

LJ: What NBA team would you love to play for?

Emmanuel: I would love to play on any NBA team. I just want to be in the NBA.

LJ: NBA Draft Room gives you a Jimmy Butler comparison. Who do you think resembles your game in the NBA?

Emmanuel: I get DeMar Derozan a lot because I use a lot of moves and pump fakes to score the ball. I personally don't think I play like anyone. I try to take bits of all the great players in the NBA.

LJ: What NBA player would you like to go up against?

Emmanuel: LeBron James. He's the best player in the NBA and I want to compete against the best.

LJ: What will Emmanuel Akot bring to Arizona this season?

Emmanuel: I will bring everything. Rebounding, defense, scoring, passing. I will just do anything to win.

Follow Emmanuel on twitter @emman_akot

Check out the Full 2018 Mock Draft

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Khavon Moore NBA Draft Scouting Report

6-8 - 185 - SF - Macon, GA

Moore is a tall and lanky point forward prospect who is still growing into his body but shows flashes of big-time ability. He's a natural passer and high level athlete who is showing rapid improvement in his perimeter game.

Moore has nice size/length for a wing and a high level of athleticism. He's very quick in transition and changes ends like a deer. He shows good burst to get by defenders and shows off his excellent length when taking it to the rim.

He's got a quick first step and can get up to top speed in a hurry. He's an excellent finisher with either hand and shows a lot of hang time, body control and creativity with his finishes.

Moore is showing some lead guard skills and is more than capable of leading the fast break and finding cutters. He seems to really enjoy passing the ball and shows a good understanding of spacing and an ability to draw defenders with the dribble, then find the open man. His height allows him to see over defenders and he seems well suited for the modern NBA game, where versatility and ball movement are key.

He excels at using the dribble to get into the lane and has a soft touch around the rim and can hit the floater. Has a nice crossover move and gets great width on his dribble and can really throw defenders off balance with his shake n bake moves.

Moore needs to add a lot of muscle. He's got thin legs and lacks lower body strength and he needs to gain a lot of upper body strength as well.

His outside shooting is a work in progress and he's not yet a consistent threat from downtown.

Danny Granger.

Projection: first round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Great Luka Doncic Debate

Actually, there's not much of a debate...the kid's a stud.

But is Luka Doncic a sure-fire top 3 pick in the 2018 draft, as many people think? The answer is clearly no.

There are a lot of unknowns with him, plus there's a boatload of talent in next year's draft, so the competition will be fierce. If some of the college Freshmen hit their potential then we could see Luca slide a bit on draft day.

Past Euro guards have had good but not great success in the NBA, with some busts as well. But before I go all Mario Hezonja comp on you, let me say this. I think Luca is the best Euro prospect since Kristaps and will likely be a dynamic player in the NBA. He's got more vision than a 40 day fast in the desert and he's an absolute natural on the court. He's like a 6-8 version of Rubio, with a better shot. He's good!

So good that he could go #1 overall next year... or #2 behind Michael Porter Jr., the 6-10 small forward from Missouri who has elite offensive skills...

...or he could go #3 behind DeAndre Ayton who, up until recently was considered the #1 guy in this class. If Ayton dominates as a freshman at Arizona he'll be in that top 2 conversation...

...or Luka could go #4 behind Mo Bamba, the lengthy Longhorn. Bamba has the type of coordination
and agility that you just don't see in 7-foot players. He's got much better hands than most shot-blocking bigs (think Nerlens) and he changes ends like a guard...

...or Luka could get drafted #5 behind Jaren Jackson who is emerging as an elite prospect. Still 17 years old, Jackson has shown a rate of improvement and development that already warrants top 5 consideration and after a year with Izzo...

And there are other Freshmen in this class that have top 5 potential like Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo of Kentucky, Collin Sexton of Alabama and Sophomore Robert Williams of Texas A&M.

Alls I'm saying is keep an open mind. Luka Doncic is a great player but he's not alone. There are a handful of big time talents in the 2018 draft class and the competition at the top will be fierce.

Luka is a basketball prodigy and he has every right to be in the conversation for #1 overall. But the top of the 2018 draft class is stacked with talent and all of these guys are vying for the top spots.

I wish every day was draft day but we'll just have to wait until next June to see how this all plays out.

Here's the full 2018 NBA Mock Draft.

Jontay Porter NBA Draft Scouting Report

6-10 - 240 - PF - Missouri

Younger brother of Michael Porter Jr., Jontay is a big time prospect in his own right. He's a solidly build and athletic forward with an advanced game.

Porter is highly skilled with the ball in his hands. He can step out and hit the three and makes plays off the dribble. He has a natural feel for the game and knows how to play within team concepts. He shows good versatility on the offensive end, as a player who can bang in the post or make plays outside the lane. He's a crafty passer who knows how to draw the defense and dish the rock.

He's got good range on his shot and is a capable three point shooter who will only get better as he develops his game. He doesn't have elite offensive skills like his brother but he's a talented player who knows how to score the ball.

He's got a strong build and a chance to be a force in the paint once he adds muscle to his frame. Even at 240 lbs he shows good explosiveness and can get above the rim easily. He's a quick leaper who surprises with his athletic ability.

A stout defender, Porter holds his own in the lane using his strength and size to gain position. He does a good job of bodying-up and making things tough for the offensive player. As a shot blocker he surprises with his quick leaping ability and good length. He's not the next Jordan Bell but he can defend at the rim and give good weak side support.

There's not a glaring weakness in his game. He does need to add muscle and refine his body but that should come over the next few years.

His release is a bit slow on his outside shot and he doesn't project as the same level of shooter as his older brother. He's got good enough form on his jumper but it's far from perfect. He shoots more of a set shot with a low release point.

He's not a true run/jump athlete. He plays kind of an old school game and will have to continue to develop his perimeter skills and refine his body to max his potential in today's NBA.

Michael Beasley or Trey Lyles.

Projection: possible first round pick in the 2019 or 2020 NBA Draft