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  • Derek Murray

Cassius Stanley



Synergy Profiles


Offense:


Defense:


Potential Outcomes


High: Elite athlete with energy on both ends of the floor. Becomes a reliable, but not great, ball handler in PnR, creating a few opportunities a game for both himself and others. 37%-39% three point shooter commanding respect of the defense, allowing even more opportunities for the team. Defensively, he becomes a strong POA defender as his athleticism allows him to lock down ball handlers. High activity, collecting both blocks + steals.


Medium: League average (but streaky) shooter from deep, keeping defenders on their toes just enough to respect him. Solid FT shooter but without a reliable jumper, won't average more than 9-11 ppg. Average defender, getting beat off the dribble at times but help D remains good with smart rotations, causing turnovers.


Low: Three point shooting never translates, 30% from deep. This allows defenders to sag and ignore him in the halfcourt, really shrinking the floor for the rest of his team. Only scoring comes from cuts + transition dunks. Defensively, hips remain stiff and can't get over screens, putting bigs in tough iso situations. Occasional high flying block, but very foul prone at POA and the rim.



Breakdown


Body + Athleticism:

Stanley is a phenomenal athlete, arguably the best in the entire class. He's 6-6 and jumped a reported 46.5" vertical when arriving to campus last year. It seems that every game he gives at least one highlight reel dunk or rebound, but he's much more than that. He's a functional athlete on both ends of the floor, displaying strong lateral movement + excellent body control. Can start and stop on a dime and control his weight in traffic.


Intangibles + IQ:

Fiery competitor and plays with an edge about him. In a recent article by Brendan Marks of The Athletic, he discussed how Stanley grew up with an explosive personality but has learned how to reel it in and keep composure. On the floor he appears to have good composure: doesn't get too high or too low, which I like.

Decision making isn't always the best, as he will commit lazy fouls and/or attempt passes that he shouldn't. I don't see any reason to stay away from drafting him, but decision making will need to be cleaned up.



Offense


Role:

He is a high-energy wing who will be able to constantly put pressure on opposing defenses, and more specifically in transition and at the rim. Stanley scores adequately from eachlevel, but his biggest strength is attacking the basket. He's likely to be a better athlete than many of his defenders, so cutting + slashing will primarily be his role. This isn't to say that he's limited on the perimeter, he's a 34% three point shooter (at time of this report, pre-Florida State game).

He's also been a reliable catch-and-shoot target as a freshman; he ranks in the 90th percentile right now at 1.275 PPP in C&S. His ability to keep this up and become a solid floor-spacer will be key in his value offensively. Pure engine in transition; always looking to run.


Shooting:

Every draft has a few guys that get tagged the 'athletic wing with potential but can't really shoot', and while some thing Stanley fits that category, I do not...yet. The shot chart above shows he's most comfortable in the paint + near the rim where he can elevate over his defender, but the three point shooting has been there so far this season.


Plus+ catch-and-shooter. When he has any room at all, Stanley sets his feet quickly and is well balanced. Smooth, mechanics on the delivery, although not the fastest release. His bounce allows him to elevate high, which makes his shot very difficult to block. (41.9% on 43 C&S FGA this year). Adequate shooter off-movement as well; most of his looks in Duke's offense revolve around him off screens or running around to find a window. His free throw shooting is also a positive indicator that his shooting will translate, sitting at 74% on the season (63-for-85).

Shooting off the bounce + pull ups are weaknesses right now, as he doesn't have much of an in between game; he's likely to attack the rim or shoot a deep 3. On dribble-jumpers he ranks 14th percentile (!!) shooting 4-of-16. He has trouble creating for himself in isolation due to below average footwork + ball handling. Only a 36th percentile scorer in iso, 0.656 points-per-possession.


Finishing:

Excellent finisher due to outrageous athleticism. Extended hang times and great body control allow him to glide toward the rim with ease. Good, but not great, touch on non-dunks. A lot of his misses up close come from iso or PnR drives with which he's tangled up his own feet. I also like his 40% FTr, which with his FT%, continues to create scoring opportunities.

Footwork inside worries me, as he sometimes gets moving too fast for his feet to keep up. When this happens his finishing deteriorates because he can't gather + elevate the way he needs to in the moment. As the NBA floor becomes more spaced out, I do like his ability to find the open space and finish effectively on cuts + dives.


Just for fun: Imagine how many BLOB calls a coach can draw up with this on the wing, vibes of Derrick Jones Jr.


Pick-and-Roll:

PnR handling/decision making is a clear weakness. Hasn't shown the ability to create off the dribble, often stiff hips + upper body with the ball in his hands and hesitant/poor decision making. Becomes a bit of a black hole, rarely finding the open man and throwing up contested runners. This clip + photo are prime examples.

Two open shooters. Missed them both. Major issue is, this isn't an isolated incident.

According to Synergy, he's ranks 23rd percentile as PnR handler; after watching more and more film, I'm not hopeful that he'll ever be a primary/secondary creator out of it either. The athleticism is there to put his foot in the ground and elevate over whoever he wants for jump shots, but as even a secondary handler + distributor, it's hard to trust right now.


Ball Handling:

The dribbling + ball handling as nothing more than the fundamental skills, do not worry me. It's the decision making + reads out of it that's concerning. Stanley doesn't have many elaborate moves in his bag right now, mostly just controlled drives with either hand. Has a nice little in-and-out move that's quick, and he can also crossover quickly and elevate for a jumper. When he dribbles for a step too long or is forced to make a quick decision out of the handle, the mistakes compound - that's when we see poor footwork + turnovers.


Passing:

Terrible assist:turnover ratio, sitting at 0.62 today. When watching his assists in Synergy, I've been thoroughly disappointed. Almost every clip you'll find is a simple post feed to Carey Jr. He is way too athletic + too much of a threat to be turning it over so much, and distributing so little. Many of his turnovers are results of poor decisions, trying to fit passes into windows that he shouldn't. These are simple reads he straight up misses.

The few positives I've found are: he's fantastic in transition. Not only can he soar for the high flying dunk, but he can also drop off a no-look or touch pass to his teammate. Stanley has also shown decent vision in the paint, finding cutters + divers heading toward the rim.

At this point, I have no idea what to call his passing ability. The word "fine" feels right.

He's not terrible, but the IQ + reads are rough. I definitely want him off ball considerably more than on ball at the next level.



Defense


Team Defense:

Generally a good help defender, 92nd percentile in 'overall defense' according to Synergy. He anticipates well by jumping passing lanes and using active hands to gather steals. He seems really quiet on the defensive end; I want to see him be more vocal in switches + help because with his talent, he should be flying around the court.

Closeouts on shooters need to improve. They're fairly weak and he's not in an athletic stance; I feel that at the HS level he was able to block + recover to whatever he wanted, so the adjustment to high level shooters has been harder than expected. According to Synergy he ranks 23rd percentile defending jumpers, allowing a high 1.095 PPP.

You can see here that he does a good job avoiding contact and not fouling, but he runs out standing straight up, with no regard to the possibility of a drive. This is easy for NBA 2s + 3s to scout as he'll be taken out of the play easily on pump fakes/drives.


Iso + PnR Defense:

In PnR, Stanley has a difficult time getting around screens. He's stiff + has a hard time bending around picks, so he's often behind his man or forcing his big to switch with him.

As a POA defender, Stanley is erratic. Honestly you never know what you're going to get. Sometimes he's locked in with good feet + desire to stay in front of his man, other times his hips remain stiff and he gets blown by. When his man does get around him, he's such a good athlete that he can often recover + still contest the shot, but at the NBA level this becomes much more of an issue. To be relied upon defensively, he'll need to be engaged at all times.



Overall


I have believed in Stanley for a while now, and continue to hold him worthy of a 1st Round pick. His athleticism is elite, and he'll without a doubt kill the private workouts for teams next summer.


His shooting mechanics are good + at the moment I buy his three point shot.


BUT, if the day comes that his shooting can't continue with the NBA three point line, I'm not sure how he'll score other than cuts + transition dunks. The ball handling + PnR creation just simply isn't there, often resulting in far too many turnovers. In my opinion, his stock rests heavily in an organization's development of his handle + decision making.