• Derek Murray

"Undervalued" part 2

Isolation Scorers

Part 2 of my Undervalued Series is dedicated to four 2020 prospects who are strong isolation scorers. Each of these players have their own strengths + weaknesses, but for the sake of this exercise I'll only really discuss this particular skill.

Jalen Harris

6-5, Nevada SG/PG

Harris is one of the best playmakers + downhill scorers in the 2020 class. At 6-5, 195 pounds, he's got a good frame and has shown some really nice burst off the dribble. Per Synergy, he scored on 56.1% of his isolation possessions, including going 29-of-56 on iso drives. Harris has flashed the ability to get hot from deep, but he's much more comfortable when attacking the lane.

He's a good, not great, ball handler and has an quick, explosive first step. Once he gets past his defender, he excels in the lane with his above average athleticism. With his plus footwork + change of speeds, Harris is able to create space when he needs to get a bucket. He finished 61% at the rim with only 22% being assisted, a testament to his ability to create for himself.

Harris is a bit of a wildcard going into the 2020 Draft. Statistically he had a phenomenal season, averaging 21.7 PTS, 6.5 REB, and 3.9 AST while being named to the All-Mountain West First Team, but some evaluators aren't convinced these numbers will translate to the NBA level. For me, his swing skill is the ability to shoot jumpers/threes. He only ranked 67th percentile in Spot Up while shooting 36.2% from three, but I certainly like his 82.3% FT as a hopeful indicator for the future.

Babcock Hoops: #32

Blueprint: #45

Sam Vecenie: #80

ESPN: #85

Malik Fitts

6-8, Saint Mary's SF/PF

Standing at 6’8" and weighing in at 230 pounds, Fitts is incredibly difficult to stop when he gets downhill. His broad shoulders and powerful lower body allow him to clear space and dislodge opponents on the way to the rim. Offensively, he ranks in the 92nd percentile in isolation, averaging 1.083 points-per-possession. On isolation drives, he converted 20 of his 39 field goal attempts.

He's also shown capable of countering when opponents give him room in anticipation of the drive, averaging 1.615 PPP when he shoots the jumper. His shot can be a bit methodical and off balance, but he was efficient from deep as he nailed 40.8% of his threes.

Recently signing with Briscoe Sports Group, Fitts has a real shot to sneak into the Second Round and earn himself an Exhibit-10 or Two-Way contract.

Blueprint: #70

Sam Vecenie: #75

ESPN: #86

Anthony Cowan Jr.

6-0, Maryland PG

Cowan had one of the most productive, and least discussed, seasons in the country. He averaged 16.3 PTS, 4.7 AST, and shot 39.0% from deep in his senior season. He was voted All-Big Ten Second Team by the media + All-Big Ten First Team by B1G coaches, and ranked 91st percentile as an isolation scorer in 2019-20 with a 1.077 PPP.

He's a score first guard with a really fast first step and great burst in the lane. Even though he's 6-0 and 180 pounds, he finished decently well at the rim and was a tremendous free throw generator (55.6% at rim, 59.6 FTr). Nice tight handles, shiftiness in the lane, and athletic enough to finish through contact, his playmaking helped lead Maryland to a #12 ranking.

It's unlikely that we'll see Cowan selected in the 2020 Draft, but I'd love to see him get a Summer League + GLeague in the fall.

Breein Tyree

6-2, Ole Miss SG/PG

Tyree has flown a bit under the radar outside the SEC, but he was a scoring machine averaging 19.7 PPG. At 6-2 and 195 pounds, he has a good frame and uses his strong upper body to shield defenders and finish at the rim. He shot 60.2% at the rim and only 15.5% were assisted. When isolated he has tight handles and an array of dribble moves, although there are times on his crossovers when the ball ends up pretty far from his body.

Tyree also flashed the ability to hit tough shots from deep, often with a hand in his face. He only converted 36% from deep this season, so this will likely be the swing skill in his NBA evaluation (80th percentile Spot Up, 78th percentile C&S). From what I've seen, Tyree plays with a great motor on both ends of the floor, so I think he deserves a shot with a GLeague team. He can get his own buckets + will provide effort, so I feel someone will find a roster spot for him.

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