2022 Draft Watch: Analyzing Hunter Sallis

August 17th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Gonzaga’s incoming freshman guard, Hunter Sallis is an agile, skilled scorer that projects to be a first round prospect in the 2021 draft.  I decided to take the time to watch him play in a January 5th game for Millard North against Lincoln, with thanks to YouTube via AL Lynx Sports.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as where he may stack up as a prospect for the NBA.

Gonzaga’s incoming freshman guard, Hunter Sallis (pictured wearing #5) is a talented prospect whose all-around skills makes him a candidate to go in the late first to the second round range in the 2022 draft.
(Photo:
Francis Gardler/Lincoln Journal Star)

Hunter Sallis had a solid showing in his team’s win over Lincoln.  He is an athletic guard that has versatile scoring skills, and he was able to score in a variety of ways in this game.  Sallis excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  On one play, he managed to score on a quick, turnaround layup off of a backdoor cut while getting an extra free throw afterwards.  He also used a crafty Euro-step move to score on a speedy drive in transition.  Another time, he ran the floor and caught a lob pass to score on an emphatic, alley-oop dunk on a give and go on the break. He also showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble.  Sallis was able to score off of a strong, left-handed drive to the hoop.  He also would often draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.  He also used a Euro-step move another time, but missed on a contested, double-pump leaner in traffic.

He also showed off a fairly solid mid-range jump shot, though he also tended to take quite a lot of mid-range shots in this game.  Sallis would tend to favor going to his left, but he showed a proficiency to dribble the ball with either hand to score on smooth, pull-up, mid-range jumpers.  He did miss his fair share of shots from that range though, and sometimes he would try to flail away or get sloppy with his footwork when looking to score off the dribble, which would get him into trouble sometimes. While Sallis didn’t take many threes in this game, he excelled at making them from downtown when he would hoist up long-range shots from beyond the arc.  Sallis was able to make an open corner three over a smaller defender.  He also used a crossover move to make a smooth, pull-up three another time.

Also, Sallis displayed fairly average playmaking skills in this game.  He can throw solid interior passes to find teammates on the move, and he also can make an assortment of passes off the dribble to create scoring chances for his teammates.  He also showed a knack for finding cutters off the dribble.  On the downside, he can sometimes get sloppy with his footwork when handling the ball, which would lead him to commit traveling violations.  He also can struggle to handle the ball when pressured and doesn’t always make great decisions with the ball.  On one play, he dribbled towards the sideline and was also pressured by a defender, and he ended up losing the ball out of bounds.  Another time, he tried a behind-the-back dribble move when driving into traffic, but he ended up losing the ball to an opponent.

Sallis also was able to leap up to get a pair of defensive rebounds, and he was able to push the ball quickly up the floor early on once.  On another play though, he was caught ball watching as he didn’t block out his man, and his team ended up allowing a put back score that time.  He also played adequate defense in this game.  Sallis is an active help defender that can make plays on the ball to help his team get steals and blocks.  He was able to hustle hard back on defense to block a shot hard off of a fast break drive off the glass to a teammate.  He also excelled at swiping balls away when guarding opposing ball handlers and roaming to get steals and deflections for his team.  He also would often actively contest jumpers to force misses.  Another time, he helped double and press an opponent in the backcourt, and he helped force his opponent commit a traveling violation early on. 

On the downside, his team would sometimes be in a zone press, but there would be times where neither he or anyone on his team would pick up a man that would move off the ball, which would lead them to allow scores.  He would tend to be caught ball watching, as he would lose track of his man and give up open jump shots.  Other times, he would get beat off the dribble as he would not always move his feet well, which would cause his team to commit fouls and allow scores.  Overall, Hunter Sallis played well, and he excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor to help his team get the win over Lincoln.  He’ll need to trust his three-point shot more, and he will also need to be a more focused defender in games.  Sallis is a talented prospect that could project to go in the mid-first round range in the 2022 draft, and he could end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

Loyola-Chicago’s 6-6 incoming freshman swingman, Saint Thomas also had a strong showing to help lead Millard North to a win over Lincoln in this game.  Thomas showed off solid all-around skills, and he is a very good shooter that also excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor. Thomas did a very good job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He would run the floor and off the ball to make spot-up threes off the catch.  He also was able to make a smooth, step back three from the corner.  Another time, he was able to pull up to score on a deep three from way out in transition.  Thomas also showed a fairly solid ability to knock down mid-range jumpers.  On one play, he was able to make a fadeaway jumper from the mid-range another time.

Plus, he also generally excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Thomas showed a knack for scoring on drives in transition, and he also managed to throw down a powerful, two-handed jam once.  He also would score on strong put backs after grabbing offensive rebounds.  Sometimes though, he would miss on tough, contested put backs other times.  He seemed to struggle more to score in one-on-one situations, though.  On one play, Thomas missed on a runner off of a right-handed drive.  When posting up another time, he backed his man down, but he ended up missing completely on a baseline, turnaround jumper.

He also displayed satisfactory playmaking skills in this game.  Thomas is an unselfish player that excels at passing off the dribble, and he also would often find cutters to notch assists.  He is a good passer that would tend to throw crisp, accurate interior passes, and he can pass out of the post as well as off the dribble.  He also threw an accurate lob pass to a teammate on a give and go to set up a score on the berak.  He also can push the pace to get the ball out to shooters in transition. Sometimes though, he can struggle to handle the ball when pressured, as he got the ball poked away when handling up the court to commit one turnover.  When struggling to break the press another time while pushing the ball off of a defensive board, he stepped out of bounds another time.  Other times, he can sometimes throw hasty, inaccurate passes that would end up getting intercepted by his defenders.

Also, Thomas did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would chase down balls to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  He also would tend to push the ball quickly up the floor after getting defensive rebounds.  On another play though, he was caught ball watching as he didn’t box out his man, and he ended up allowing an opponent to grab an offensive rebound and score later on.

He also played adequate defense in this game.  Thomas would rotate to block and alter shots off of drives to his teammates due to possessing good timing.  He also ran in to intercept a pass, and he also would jump on loose balls to help his team get steals.  He also was able to deflect a pass out of bounds another time.  Sometimes though, he would space out defensively, as he would sometimes not pick up his man or follow him, which would lead his team to allow opponents to score on open threes.  He also would sometimes get beat off the dribble, which would put his team in compromised situations.  Other times, he would sometimes commit aggressive touch fouls on the defensive end. Overall, Saint Thomas is an athletic, skilled swingman that shoots and passes the ball well, and he showed off a solid set of all-around skills.  He is an underrated prospect, and he could be a prospect to keep tabs on in the future.

Lincoln High’s 6-4, soon-to-be high school senior guard, Josh Dix played well in his team’s loss to Millard North.  Dix really excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game, and he also rebounded the ball well when he was on the court. Dix is a good shooter that really excelled at knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He showed a knack for making threes both off the catch and dribble.  Dix was able to run off of a quick ball screen to make a spot-up three.  He also dribbled left off of a screen and elevated to make a smooth, pull-up threes.  He made threes often, which made it hard for his opponents to guard him on offense.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Dix would often score on speedy drives in transition, and he would draw extra free throws on those plays afterwards.  He also ran in to score on an acrobatic tip-in after grabbing an offensive rebound on the fly later on.  He also nearly scored on a dunk off of a backdoor cut, but it didn’t count because his teammate was called for traveling that time.

Dix also showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble.  He would score on aggressive drives to the hoop, and he would go hard to the rim to draw fouls to get to the free throw line.  Sometimes though, he would miss in traffic, especially when he would not able to get foul calls.  He also had trouble making pull-up, mid-range jumpers in this game.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Dix is a score-first heavy guard, but he also is a quick player that was able to make some plays on offense.  He showed that he can make an assortment of passes off the dribble to set up scores for his teammates.  He also would throw interior passes to find teammates on the move, and he also can throw long outlet passes to get the ball to teammates on the break.  However, sometimes he would get sloppy with his ball handling, which would lead him to commit numerous careless ball-handling turnovers.  Other times, he can struggle to handle the ball when pressured, and he had a ball stolen away from him another time.

Also, Dix did a good job of rebounding the basketball, and he would tend to push the ball quickly up the floor after leaping up to get defensive boards.  He also played solid defense in this game.  When defending in the post, Dix was able to block a shot off the glass to a teammate.  He also would run in to get his hands on passes to get a bevy of steals and deflections.  He also jumped on a loose ball to get a steal once, and he also managed to poke a ball away to nearly get another steal.  He also would often contest mid-range jump shots to force misses.  He also helped double and press an opposing ball handler to get his man to commit a ball-handling turnover by stepping out of bounds late in this contest.  On the downside, sometimes he would struggle to defend quick guards off of pull-up mid-range jumpers, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Another time, he got beat on a spin move when defending a drive, which led a teammate to have to rotate to commit a foul another time.

Overall, Josh Dix had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Millard North.  He is a fairly athletic combo guard that excelled as a shooter, scorer, and defender in this game.  He will need to improve his playmaking skills, but his ability to knock down shots could make him a prospect to keep an eye on in the future.

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