Analyzing Donovan Mitchell, Tyler Lydon, and Others

May 7, 2017

By Alan Lu

Several months ago, I had decided to watch Louisville’s sophomore guard, Donovan Mitchell play in an in-conference basketball game against Syracuse, as Mitchell had been rising up draft boards.  This game was played on February 13th, as it was broadcasted on ESPN, and we had been live tweeting this game throughout the day.

It ended up being a very close game all the way down to the wire that resulted in a Louisville overtime win on the road, though no one player appeared to stand out in this contest.  So without further ado, here is the lost write-up that will now turn up here, as Mitchell is considered to be a first round prospect for the 2017 NBA draft.

Louisville’s sophomore guard, Donovan Mitchell may have played the best here, even though he ended up fouling out late in regulation.  He showed off solid scoring skills, adequate defensive skills, and tremendous athleticism, as for most of the night, he looked to be the most impressive player as he continually made big plays on the road.

Mitchell showed a terrific ability to score on hustle plays.  He can really finish plays above the rim, as he showed a knack for catching lob passes to throw down thunderous, one-handed alley-oop dunks.  He really excels at scoring on fast breaks, as he can even use an overhead ball fake to get buckets.

However, he appeared to be quite streaky with his jumper.  Mitchell showed the ability to make open threes off the catch early, but he struggled with his jump shot later on.  He even tended to miss contested shots from long range, as he showed some questionable shot selection.  He also had trouble making jumpers on the move, as he tended to miss on pull-up jumpers.

Plus, he also showed off decent playmaking skills.  He showed a good willingness to pass the basketball, as he would usually find the open man, sometimes off the dribble to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  However, he occasionally would commit careless turnovers, and on one play, he dribbled off of his own foot out of bounds while he was looking to pass.  Also, Mitchell displayed a willingness to crash the glass.  He did not collect many boards, but he did garner multiple rebounds on both ends of the floor, and he would show off terrific leaping skills and athletic ability in doing so.

He also appeared to possess an adequate ability to defend his opponents.  Mitchell is a quick player that can jump passes to collect numerous steals, and he also managed to knock a ball away from an opposing ball handler to almost garner another.  He also will contest shots to force misses, and he also drew a charge when defending the drive another time.  However, he also can play too aggressively on the defensive end, which can net him quick fouls.  He tended to pick up reach-in fouls, and he eventually fouled out of this game before the start of overtime.

In general, Donovan Mitchell put forth a good showing in his team’s win over Syracuse.  Though he fouled out and did not play in the overtime part of this match, Mitchell flashed an interesting set of skills on both ends of the floor.  On one hand, he is likely undersized to play the two, and it is not certain if he can play the point.

On the other hand, Mitchell is a terrific athlete that can score the basketball, and he has the physical tools to develop into a plus-level defender in the NBA.  In some ways, he may remind scouts and teams of current Miami Heat guard, Dion Waiters.  If that is the case, the NBA team that will pick him will be thrilled to do so, as Mitchell could be a good value pick in the late first round of the 2017 draft.

From a box score standpoint, Syracuse’s sophomore forward, Tyler Lydon filled up the stat sheet, as he brought positive contributions to his team in almost every facet of this game.  But visually, there were times where he appeared to be too passive and content to hang in the background, especially on offense in overtime, as his ineffectiveness in crunch time may have allowed the other team to grab the victory.

For the positives, Lydon showed a good ability to mix it up in the paint to garner scores.  He is a patient scorer off the dribble, as he has a pump fake move that he can use to draw fouls, and he can also score on a leaner.  Plus, he also threw down a nice tip dunk to score late in the first half.  He also showed off adequate low post scoring skills, as he managed to score on a jump hook, and he showed the body control to draw numerous fouls on the opposition.

Plus, he also showed a decent ability to shoot the basketball.  He was able to make a couple of open spot-up threes off the catch.  However, he also tended to miss more outside shots when he would look to spot up from well beyond the arc.  Also, Lydon displayed solid playmaking skills.  He showed a solid ability to make interior passes, as he would make plays off the dribble to set up numerous scores for his teammates.  But a couple times, he would throw inaccurate passes that get intercepted by defenders.

He also showed off a decent ability to rebound the basketball.  Lydon was especially active at crashing the glass on the defensive end, as he would leap up to get numerous boards, and he also managed to chase down a loose ball to get another.  In addition, Lydon played very good defense.  He did a great job of collecting blocks and steals, as he would show solid leaping and timing to swat shots off of drives, and he would use his length, quickness, and instincts to jump passes in order to get steals.  He had a knack for deflecting balls off of his opponents to help his team get the ball back, and he would also contest shots to force misses.

However, he would occasionally show lapses that would lead his team to allow scores.  Lydon lost track of a cutter once to allow his man to score on a dunk.  Another time, he gave up too much space to allow a score on a mid-range jumper.  On a separate occasion, he committed a foul in the post as he struggled to move his feet that time.

Overall, Tyler Lydon may have had the best all-around game on either side, though his team did end up losing this game, but he was pretty much a non-factor in overtime, as he faded into the background late in this contest against Louisville.  Most likely, Lydon may not end up being a star player at the next level, but his skill set could allow him to be an effective role player in the NBA, which could make him a good pick for a team in the late first round of the upcoming draft.

Syracuse’s senior swingman, Andrew White had his moments at various times, as he did manage to make some tough shots, but he also was awfully streaky with his jump shot, as he really struggled to make threes consistently in this game.  White showed a fairly good ability to garner scores off the dribble.  He showed a good first step, as he would score on strong moves to the basket.  He also managed to make a step back, long two, but White struggled more to make mid-range jumpers.

Plus, he showed a good ability to score on hustle plays.  White managed to score on a back door cut to the hoop, and he also scored another time on a broken play.  Plus, he did a good job of drawing fouls after grabbing offensive rebounds for his team.  He did have his shot blocked once, but generally White excelled at scoring when he was around the basket.

However, White really struggled to knock down threes.  He did make a few open threes off the catch, and he has a quick release.  But he tended to miss far more often from downtown, and some of his misses looked especially bad.  He really had trouble trying to make pull-up jumpers from long range, but he did manage to draw three free throws once when he attempted one in the corner.

Also, he displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  White tended to look for his own shot quite often, but he showed the ability to find open teammates when he would look for them, as he can even do so off the dribble.  However, sometimes, he would be inaccurate with his passes, which would lead to a few turnovers.

White did a very good job of rebounding the basketball, as he would leap up to haul in numerous boards on both ends of the floor.  However, he did commit an over the back foul once when he attempted to go for an offensive rebound once.  Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average.  White managed to find a loose ball to get a steal, but he ended up in foul trouble late in this game.

In all, this was not Andrew White’s best performance, but he showed off solid athleticism, and the potential to excel as a two-way player at the next level.  It will be imperative for him to show he can consistently knock down shots and defend his man in the NBA.  If so, he could end up being an effective role player there.  Right now, he may project to be a borderline second round prospect at the moment.

For Louisville’s athletic sophomore swingman, Deng Adel, this was not his best game, either, but he did show off an intriguing skill set that could potentially help him in the NBA.  He showed an adequate ability to shoot the basketball, as he excelled at knocking down quick open threes off the catch to space the floor for his team.  He also managed to make a pull-up jumper from the mid-range area.  However, Adel struggled to knock down mid-range jumpers consistently.   He also showed a decent ability to score off the dribble when he was able to get a shot up, as he managed to draw free throws on a baseline drive to the basket.

However, Adel really struggled with turnovers in this game.  For the positives, he did look to be an adequate passer, as his best pass was when he threw a crisp, lob pass to set up a dunk for his teammate on the break.   However, Adel especially had trouble handling the basketball, as he traveled once, and had the ball stripped while holding it another time.  Also, he was sometimes inaccurate with his passing in this game.  He also showed a decent ability to rebound the basketball.  Adel would haul in plenty of defensive rebounds, as he would leap up to do so to collect them for his team.  Defensively, he didn’t look to be too noticeable, but he did manage to collect a steal when he was on the floor.

Overall, this was not Deng Adel’s best showcase as a prospect for the NBA, but he is an athletic swingman that can shoot and pass the basketball.  Right now, he may project to be a borderline second round candidate, but his ability to shoot combined with his physical tools and upside could make him worth the gamble for an NBA team late in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Other Notes:

Louisville’s senior center, Mangok Mathiang showed off adequate passing and defensive skills, as well as some inside scoring skills in his team’s win over Syracuse.  In this game, he managed to swat a shot off of a drive, and he also jumped a pass to get a steal, as he possesses good hands, athletic ability, and instincts.  But sometimes he would be late on his rotations, which would lead him to allow scores or commit fouls as a result.

He didn’t look to score often, but he was able to use a pump fake to score on a strong put back, as he also drew an extra free throw on that play.  He struggled to score more in the post though, as he had more trouble executing moves in traffic in this game.  In all, Mangok Mathiang will likely not get drafted, but he was a good role player in his four years at Louisville.  If he does make his way to the NBA, he could end up being a defensive specialist in this league.

Syracuse’s senior point guard, John Gillon did not play very well in his team’s loss to Louisville, as he put forth a rather disappointing showing on this day overall.  He did show an adequate ability to shoot the basketball to space the floor for his team.  Gillon made a couple of threes off the catch, as he has very good range, and he even swished a three to tie the game in regulation that would send it to overtime.  But he was also quite streaky with his jump shot, and he also missed on a pull-up, mid-range jumper another time.

Gillon also really struggled with turnovers in this game.  For the positives, he showed an adequate ability to throw interior passes, as he would hit teammates on the move to set up some scores for them.  However, he was also inaccurate on his lob passes, and he also would play too wildly and impatiently on offense, as he lost the ball a few times on drives to the basket.

He didn’t fare much better defensively.  Though Gillon did get one steal, he ended up in foul trouble late in the game, and he also had trouble defending taller opponents on switches, as his lack of size would allow them to make jumpers over the top of him.

Overall, John Gillon is a talented point guard that had some really good games this year, especially against NC State and Duke.  But he was far too inconsistent in most of the other games this season, as that may have cost him his shot at Portsmouth, as he will now be slated to likely go undrafted this year.  Still, he is an athletic playmaker that has the talent to end up on a summer league roster, and when he is on his game, he plays like a player that could be in the NBA.

I did not see much of Syracuse’s senior forward, Tyler Roberson, but he did manage to score on a couple of energetic plays in the paint, and he also blocked a shot.  He did pick up some fouls as he would play too recklessly at times.  As he may be between positions for the next level and did not put up great numbers this year, he will likely not be drafted, and he will likely need to improve his perimeter skills, but he could compete for an NBA summer league roster spot this year or sometime down the road.

I did not see Louisville’s Jaylen Johnson play much, but he is an athletic combination forward that threw down numerous dunks, one off of an offensive rebound.  But as he had put forth fairly pedestrian numbers this year and was not invited to the NBA Draft Combine, Johnson will most likely end up going undrafted if he stays in this draft.

Louisville’s junior guard, Quentin Snider started off really well, as he excelled as a shooter and scorer for his team early on.  He then cooled off considerably, but his ability to put up points in a hurry may have helped his team get the win against Syracuse.  Snider showed a decent ability to knock down jumpers to space the floor for his team.  He especially excelled at making threes, as he can do so off the catch and dribble.  He struggled more when he would shoot on the move, as well as when he would attempt mid-range shots.

He also displayed good playmaking skills.  He threw solid interior passes for most of the night, as he showed off good court vision to set up numerous scores for his team.  Snider did not commit many turnovers, as his unselfish play benefitted his team on offense.  In general, Snider may project to be a potential second round prospect in 2018.  He has a decent set of offensive skills and physical tools for the NBA, but he will need to be a more consistent performer.  But surely, he will be a player to watch next season.

Louisville’s 7-0 junior center, Anas Mahmoud played very well to help his team defeat Syracuse, especially down the stretch.  He is a mobile, high motor big man that largely scored on hustle plays, and he even threw down an emphatic dunk off of a cut.  Plus, he threw solid interior passes, and he can also make a strong outlet pass off of an inbounds play.   Plus, Mahmood provided an interior presence, as he managed to block a shot off of a drive.

Right now, Mahmoud could be an interesting player to watch in 2018.  He will need to expand upon his skill set on offense, but he could project to be a defensive specialist for the NBA.  At the moment, he may project to be a potential second round pick next season.

Syracuse’s freshman big man, Taurean Thompson played quite well in his team’s loss.  He has good athleticism and motor to score on hustle plays, and he also can score on mid-range jumpers and on high post drives to the hoop.  He struggled more on defense, as on one play, he committed a foul to allow a put back score and an extra free throw.  But generally, Thompson may be a skilled offensive minded player that could be a player to keep an eye on in 2018.

Louisville’s seldom used freshman reserve guard, Ryan McMahon was one of the standouts in his team’s overtime win over Syracuse, as he took advantage of a rare opportunity to play in crunch time to shine.  McMahon did a great job of scoring the basketball, as he made a spot-up three off the catch.  He then scored on a quick put back off of an offensive rebound due to making a nice hustle play, as he later drew an extra free throw simultaneously.  He capped off the night by earning some free throws at the end of the game when the other team was intentionally fouling in a desperate attempt to try to cut into the deficit.  While McMahon most likely won’t be on any NBA teams or scouts’ radars any time soon, he played very well in this game, and he is an undersized shooter that played with a ton of heart and grit to help lead his team to this victory.

Overall, those were my observations on how these players fared in this match that was played on February 13th.  The NBA Draft Combine will take place shortly this month in May.  Thank you for reading.