2021 Draft Watch: Observations on Mojave King
September 21st, 2020
By Alan Lu
This time around, I set out to watch Australia’s 6-4 guard Mojave King play in an NBA Global Academy game against The Skill Factory that took place on July 12th, 2019, as I saw this with thanks to YouTube via NBA. King is a skilled sharpshooter that can make shots from all over the floor, and he could be a potential first round pick in the 2021 draft. It was also an opportunity to see if there were other prospects that could be hidden gems in next year’s draft. Here are my thoughts on how King fared, and how his game may stack up in the NBA.
Mojave King is a good shooter that excelled at knocking down quick, spot-up threes off the catch to provide his team with ample floor spacing on offense. He moves fairly well off the ball, and he has a quick release that enables him to easily get his shot off.
He also showed that he can ably score on hustle plays. He made a quick cut to the hoop and got fouled to draw free throws early on, and he also ran in to score on an athletic tip slam late in this contest. He also ran the floor to catch a lob pass in transition, and drew free throws afterwards.
Also, he showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble. King can go to his right to score on half-court drives, and he can use subtle ball-handling moves to get past his man and all the way to the rim. He can score on strong layups to his right, and he also scored on a floater another time. However, King struggled to make floaters consistently, and sometimes he would miss tough shots in traffic when he would try to take the ball all the way to the basket.
Plus, he also showcased decent playmaking skills. King is an unselfish player that can find the open man consistently to set up scores for them, and he will make solid reads to effectively get them the ball in transition. He also can find cutters, and he does a good job of finding his teammates on the move. However, there was one play where he was caught shuffling his feet when trying to handle the ball up court off of a steal, as he was called for traveling after he was unable to handle the ball cleanly that time. Also, he did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball. King would crash the glass to get boards on both sides of the ball, and he would tend to push the ball up the court after getting defensive boards.
King also played adequate defense in this game. He is an active help defender that has solid anticipation skills. He raced in to intercept a weakly thrown pass to get a steal, and he also took a ball away from an opposing ball handler to get another. He also raced back and hustled to block a shot off of a drive in transition due to possessing solid athleticism and instincts. Sometimes though, he would be late on his rotations, which would lead him to allow scores. Another time, he awkwardly jumped up in the backcourt, which led him to get quickly beat off the dribble by his man, as his teammate had to foul his opponent in transition afterwards.
In general, Mojave King is a skilled offensive player that can knock down a variety of shots to help his team put up points. He is a solid scorer that is very effective at making spot-up threes, and he also can mix things up by scoring on floaters and off-ball motion plays. He has a game that reminds me of current Denver Nuggets’ guard, Gary Harris, and King may have the skills to end up being a solid role player in the NBA.
6-10 Charlotte-bound center, Aly Khalifa from Egypt played very well for the NBA Global Academy to help lift his team to get a win over The Skill Factory. He’s a very skilled, offensively gifted big man that can shoot and score the basketball, and he is an underrated passer and interior defender that can make solid plays on both ends of the floor.
He is a fairly good shooter that can comfortably spot up to knock down three-point shots off the catch. Early on, Khalifa was very effective at making threes, and while he was a bit streaky with his jump shot, his size and shooting ability could make him a very effective offensive player at higher levels.
He also showed a fairly good ability to score in the post. Khalifa would score on right-handed hook shots, and he has solid agility and footwork that allows him to deftly maneuver past his opponents to score inside. Plus, he also excelled at scoring on hustle plays, as he possesses above average athletic gifts and a very good motor. He would run the floor hard to score on strong layups on the break, and he also scored on a quick tip-in. He also can occasionally take his man off the dribble to score off the bounce.
Plus, he also displayed decent playmaking skills in this game. He is an unselfish player that will find the open man to set up scores for his teammates, and he is an effective passer from the post, as he was able to throw a behind the back bounce pass to get an assist another time. However, there was one play where he was called for a charging foul shortly after getting the ball on a roll to the rim, which led him to commit the offensive foul and turnover simultaneously. Though he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, he showed a willingness to crash the glass to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he also would tip balls to help his team get rebounds on both sides of the ball.
Defensively, he looked to be about average. Khalifa will actively rotate to contest shots around the basket to force some misses, and he possesses decent length and timing to block shots in the paint. However, he didn’t block balls to his teammates, and he swatted one ball that led him to commit a foul on a put back shortly afterwards. He also had some trouble defending quicker guards off the dribble at times, and there was one play where he didn’t effectively communicate a screen to a teammate, which led his teammate to get blindsided and to allow a mid-range basket that time.
Overall, Khalifa is an underrated big man that looks to be a solid get for Charlotte, and his ability to score and make shots could allow him to be a very effective role player at higher levels. He will need to improve his rebounding and defensive skills, but if things pan out for him, he could end up being an effective role player similar to Minnesota Timberwolves’ center, Naz Reid in the NBA.
NBA Global Academy’s 6-7 point forward, Joshua Giddey had a solid showing in his team’s win over The Skill Factory. He recently signed with the Adelaide 36ers as he will be playing in the NBL during the 2020-21 season, and Giddey is a talented offensive player that has versatile scoring skills, and also is a tall ball handler that can effectively run the point if he’s called upon to do so.
Giddey can knock down spot-up threes, and he also can score on quick drives in transition as well as on acrobatic layups off of cuts to the hoop. He doesn’t look to score very often, and he can struggle to score more when he takes shots in traffic, but he tends to take smart shots, as he did a good job of scoring efficiently in this game.
He also displayed solid playmaking skills. He is a crafty facilitator that can effectively pass off the dribble and find teammates on the move to set up numerous scores for them. He has good court sense, and he also can throw long outlet passes to get them the ball out on the break. However, there was one play where he attempted to use a crossover, but carelessly lost the ball to commit a turnover that time. He also was able to get his fair share of rebounds, and he also was an effective defender in this game, as he drew a charge on a drive once.
Overall, Joshua Giddey is a smart, skilled playmaker that can make solid plays on both sides of the ball. Though he only possesses above average athletic gifts, his ability to facilitate and score efficiently enabled him to have a solid impact on the floor, and he could project to be an effective role player at the NBA level if he can continue to play well over time.
The Skill Factory’s 6-3 then-high school junior point guard, Christian Wright played very well in his team’s loss to the NBA Global Academy. He is an athletic, score-first playmaker that can get to the rim at will to get numerous scores and free throws for his team, and he is a shot creator that can make athletic plays on both ends of the court.
Wright is an aggressive scorer that would drive hard to the rim to get many free throws on offense. He also showed a solid pull-up game, as he can effectively knock down mid-range jumpers, and he also made a smooth, pull-up three midway through this contest. He also managed to score on a strong put back in traffic after leaping up to get a tough offensive rebound. However, he did not take enough long-range shots in this game, and he tended to take tough shots on half-court drives that would lead to misses.
He also displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game. Wright can throw sharp, long passes to set up scoring chances for his team, and he can kick balls out to shooters off the dribble to get them the basketball. However, sometimes he would throw careless passes that would get intercepted, and he also committed a charging foul when taking the ball to the rim late in this match. Also, Wright did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He would leap up to haul in tough boards on both ends of the floor, and he would tend to push the ball up the court after getting defensive rebounds for his team.
He also played solid defense. Wright would hustle to poke and back-tap balls away from his opponents to nearly get steals, and he also jumped on a loose ball that his teammate poked away to help force a turnover another time. He also was able to contest a three-point shot aggressively to force a miss. On the other hand, there was one play where he was late on his rotation, which led him to allow his man to score on a jumper on a separate occasion.
Overall, Christian Wright is an athletic, score-first lead guard that can quickly get to the rim, and he was quite effective at getting to the hoop to score and get numerous free throws for his team on offense. He will need to look for his teammates more on a consistent basis, as that could help him improve his assist totals, and he will need to take more outside shots in games, which could help him open up the floor and driving lanes more. He looks to be a fairly solid prospect for college basketball, and he may have the skills to project into a backup point guard role at the NBA level someday.
The Skill Factory’s 6-6 guard, Jaylin Galloway played fairly well in his team’s loss to the NBA Global Academy. He is a skilled shooting wing that was very effective at scoring on open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also can score on crafty drives in transition. He had more trouble scoring on half-court drives, as he would sometimes take tough, off-balanced shots that would lead to misses. He also didn’t take enough shots in games, as he seemed to fade into the background too much at times in the second half.
He also was able to get a couple of defensive rebounds, and he also would use his length to get steals and to contest shots to force misses. Overall, Galloway is a skilled swingman that can shoot and score the basketball, and if he can continue to hone his game, he could project into a 3 and D role in the NBA someday.
NBA Global Academy’s 6-2 Australian point guard, Taran Armstrong excelled as a shooter, facilitator, and defender to help his team get the win over The Skill Factory. He was very effective at making spot-up threes, and he also would find teammates on the break to notch assists. Armstrong would also crash the glass to get defensive rebounds, and he also is an active help defender that would jump passes and contest shots to get stops for his team. Overall, he is a smart, skilled playmaker that can shoot and pass the ball, and though he may not possess elite physical tools, Armstrong’s ability to make plays on offense could enable him to project into a backup point guard role at the NBA level if things break his way.
UAB’s 6-3 freshman guard, Koby Jeffries played well for The Skill Factory in his team’s loss to the NBA Global Academy. He excelled at taking the ball to the rim to get strong scores off the dribble, and he also dribbled up to make a pull-up three early on in this contest. However, he also didn’t take enough shots in games, but he did score efficiently when he would hoist them up.
He also would poke balls away to help his team get steals, and he also altered a three-point shot to force a miss. Sometimes though, he would commit careless ball-handling turnovers, and he also would commit reach-in fouls due to over-aggressiveness. Overall, Jeffries is an athletic, skilled combo guard that can score and defend. He will need to be take more jumpers in games and show that he can effectively run the point, but if he can continue to hone his game, he could project into a backup point guard role at the NBA level someday.
6-8 point forward, Jun Seok Yeo from South Korea played fairly well to help the NBA Global Academy get the win over The Skill Factory. He is an unselfish playmaker that can throw solid passes off the dribble and in the post to get his teammates the ball in prime spots to notch assists, and he also excelled as a finisher around the basket. He didn’t shoot the ball enough, but he was very effective at distributing the basketball on offense. He may be an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on, especially if he can improve his jump shot and show that he can defend tougher opponents at higher levels.
NBA G-League bound, 6-10 center Princepal Singh also played for the NBA Global Academy in this game, so it was my first chance to get a look at his skills to see how far along he is as a prospect right now. Unfortunately, he did not play very well, and he didn’t really show much overall in this game.
He tended to miss shots wildly around the basket, but he did make some good plays at times. He ran the floor and drew free throws on a layup, and Singh made both of them at the foul line. His best play was when he was open inside, and caught the ball and proceeded to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk. He didn’t grab many rebounds, but he was able to chase down a ball to get a defensive rebound once in this contest. He also would contest long two-point shots to force some misses.
Overall, Singh struggled to make shots efficiently, and he didn’t grab many rebounds, but his strong dunk midway through this contest could be a sign of his potential for things to come. He will need to significantly improve his mobility and overall offensive skill set, but he is a strong, physical center that showed the capacity to excel as an inside scorer. Right now, he may be very far away from being able to be a contributor at the NBA level, but in a favorable scenario, he could end up being a depth center akin to former veteran journeyman center, Sean Marks in the league.