Evaluating DeAndre Ayton, Robert Williams, and Tyler Davis

December 6, 2017

By Alan Lu

I decided to watch DeAndre Ayton and Arizona take on Robert Williams and Texas A&M, as this game featured two top teams that have prospects that may be likely to be taken in the lottery.  It was a close game that went all the way down to the wire, and both teams excelled defensively.  In the end, Arizona was able to hang out to churn out a three-point win over the Aggies.  Here are my thoughts on how DeAndre Ayton and Robert Williams played, as well as how various other prospects fared on this day.

Arizona’s 7-0 freshman center, DeAndre Ayton put forth a solid showing, as he played well in virtually all facets of the game to help his team get the win over Texas A&M.  He showed a very good ability to score in the post.  Ayton possesses solid footwork and shooting touch, and he was able to score after using a drop step, step through move to get past defenders. 

Also, he did a great job of using off-ball movement to garner other scores.  Ayton managed to score on an alley-oop after catching a lob pass off of a roll to the rim, and he also threw down a thunderous dunk on another roll.  He also drew many free throws, as he also excels as a cutter to the basket.  He did flash the ability to knock down jumpers.  Ayton was able to use a jab step to make a mid-range jump shot, as it swished in early in the game.  He did struggle to make jumpers consistently, but he can make enough of them to keep his defenders honest.

Plus, he also displayed solid playmaking skills.  Ayton is a patient player that sees the floor well, and he would make good reads due to possessing good court sense, as he would make touch passes and find his teammates quickly from the post to set up scores for his teammates, but he did occasionally struggle to protect the basketball, as he had the ball ripped away from him a couple of times when he would look to score on offense.  Ayton did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He especially excelled at crashing the defensive glass, and he would leap up to get many boards for his team.

He also played fairly good defense.  Ayton made an impressive chase down block to prevent an opponent from scoring on a drive in transition, and he would contest jumpers to force misses.  Ayton did a good job of defending drives, as he would stay in front of his man and help his team get stops.  However, he did have some trouble defending in the post, as he would occasionally commit fouls and allow scores.  He did commit a crucial foul late in the game as he fouled an opponent on a three-point shot, but that did not prove to be costly, as his team held on for the win.  In general, DeAndre Ayton played very well, as he made a lot of solid basketball plays to help his team get the win.  He is a skilled big man that has been consistently productive, and he could contend to be the top pick for the upcoming draft.

Texas A&M’s sophomore big man, Robert Williams made some solid defensive plays throughout the game, but he never really contributed enough on offense when he was on the floor.  Whether of he may be far more unskilled than previously thought or has no real desire to assert himself on offense, Williams generally underperformed as his play on the offensive end was heavily disappointing in his team’s loss to Arizona.

Williams did play solid defense, and he is a long, rangy player that can make a lot of plays on that end of the floor.  He can swoop in to block shots ferociously and emphatically on drives, and he can send shots back really far.  Plus, he also excelled at collecting steals and deflecting passes.  He did a very good job of playing passing lanes, and he also ripped a ball away from an opposing ball handler to force a turnover.  However, he did struggle to defend in the post at times, as he would occasionally commit fouls and allow scores.  Another time, Williams over-helped on a drive, but lost track of his man man, as his team ended up allowing a score off of a roll to the rim.

Also, he showed a decent ability to collect rebounds.  Williams hauled in his fair share of boards, but he did not get nearly enough of them for someone that is as tall and athletic as he is.  He would leap up to get some defensive rebounds, but he also would occasionally be out of position, as one play, he committed a wild over the back foul when going after an offensive board.

Offensively, he just didn’t fare very well.  He did show an ability to finish plays around the basket, as Williams did score on a roll to the basket.  He did miss a put back, though, but he did show adequate low post scoring skills, as he was able to score on a jump hook, and he managed to draw a foul when posting up off the ball. 

The problem was though, Williams didn’t call for the ball nearly enough, and he never was able to establish his footing on this side of the ball.  He also would never look to dribble the basketball if he was out on the perimeter, and he would never even think to take a three, except for the last second heave in his team’s failed attempt to tie the game late in regulation.  He also struggled to make jumpers, as he missed both of his mid-range jump shots.

Williams was about average at best as a playmaker in this game.  He would look to pass the basketball, and he showed the ability to throw entry passes as well as pass out of the post when he is not facing heavy ball pressure.   However, he had trouble passing out of a double team as the help quickly rotated towards him, and Williams ended up getting his pass intercepted after initially trying to post up.  He also threw another pass that was picked off.

In this game, Robert Williams showed off some interesting skills, but he just could not seem to put his skills altogether for long stretches.  What may be clear is that his vast athleticism and ability to block shots could enable him to be a defensive specialist at the next level, but his seeming lack of offensive skills could make him a very risky pick in the lottery.

Texas A&M’s 6-10 junior center, Tyler Davis played very well in his team’s loss to Arizona.  He showed off a variety of scoring skills, as he made shots from all over the floor, and he also made some plays defensively to help his team get stops.  Davis showed a gifted ability to score in the low post.  He excelled at scoring on jump hooks, and he also has a quick spin move that he can utilize prior to scoring on his opponents.  Also, he showed a good ability to score on high post drives, and he excelled at doing so when he would get his shots up.  Plus, he showed a solid ability to space the floor, as he was able to make an open three off the catch to show his range.

However, he displayed below average playmaking skills.  He did not look to pass often, though he was able to pass from the post once that eventually led to his team scoring on that offensive possession.  But he committed several turnovers, including a costly one late in the game.  All of them were when he would try to drive to the basket, as two of them were a result of traveling, and one was when he committed a charging foul after barreling his way to the hoop.

He did not grab many rebounds when he was on the floor, however.  Davis did seem to play decent defense.  He managed to break up a lob pass to help his team get a steal, and he also contested a high post drive to force a miss.  However, he would commit fouls on plays around the basket, and he also was late to contest a shot, which led his team to allow a score on a mid-range shot.  In this game, Tyler Davis played really well, as his strong play on offense helped Texas A&M stay in it all the way until the end.  He excelled as a scorer, as he made shots from all over the court, and his ability to get buckets could enable him to potentially be a first round pick in 2018.

Arizona’s freshman guard, Brandon Randolph had a solid game, as he excelled as a scorer when he was on the floor.  He made shots in a variety of ways, and his strong play helped get the win for his team.  He did a very good job of scoring on drives to the basket, as he can score on quick moves to the hoop both in the half court as well as in transition, and he also was able to score on a floater.  Also, Randolph showed a good ability to space the floor, as he was able to knock down a spot-up three in the corner.

Plus, he showed fairly good playmaking skills, as he was able to kick it out to a shooter off of a drive to set up a scoring chance, and he also pushed the ball up the floor off of a defensive rebound, and handled the ball well in transition, but he was called for stepping out of bounds once off of a drive to commit his lone turnover.  He also displayed adequate defensive skills.  Randolph managed to alter a shot inside the paint to force a miss.  But there was another time where he had trouble defending a drive, as his team allowed a score on a separate possession.

In general, Brandon Randolph played very well, and he is a skilled combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he can help his team in a number of ways.  He is an intriguing prospect that could end up being a potential first round pick in the future, especially if he can show that he can consistently play well as the season progresses.

Texas A&M’s junior forward, D.J. Hogg had a tremendous showing against Oklahoma State, but in this game against Arizona, Hogg did not play nearly as well.  He had trouble getting his shots off, and he also struggled defensively, as he was tasked to guarding quicker players.  His average athletic gifts made it very tough for him to make plays consistently on this day, but he did shoot the ball well when he would elect to take shots.

For the positives, Hogg did a good job of knocking down jumpers in the few times he would hoist them up.  He was able to make a quick spot-up three in the corner after being left open, and he also made a pull-up, mid-range jumper.  He also showed a decent ability to score on drives to the basket, and he also was able to score on a patient floater.  He also managed to draw free throws after being trapped by multiple defenders, as he finagled a way out by dribbling out of it to draw a foul on an opponent, but he did have his shot blocked once another time.  In addition, he also ended up missing on a put back attempt.

Hogg did show adequate playmaking skills.  He was able to pass from the post to collect an assist, and he also kicked it out to a shooter off of a drive to set up another scoring opportunity for his team, but Hogg did not seem to be involved nearly enough on offense, as he did not really look to take shots or to get the ball very often in this game.  He also was able to collect some rebounds, and he would crash the glass to haul in plenty of defensive boards.  However, he did commit a foul on an opponent’s put back attempt.

Also, he did not defend very well.  Hogg struggled to stay in front of his man on drives, as he tended to pick up quick fouls, and he would trip ball handlers a couple of times.  He also allowed a score another time, as he had trouble defending quicker players in this game.  Hogg did not have his best game, as he ended up being in foul trouble, and he also was not assertive enough on offense.  But he can be a solid player when he does so, as his offensive skills could enable him to be a second round pick whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

It was anticipated that Allonzo Trier would turn in a good game against Texas A&M, but he did not, as he just did not play very well on this day even though his team still ended up getting the win.  Trier struggled to score consistently, as he had trouble making threes and scoring on drives against Texas A&M.  He did draw free throws on a pull-up mid-range jumper, but in this game, he had trouble continually knocking down shots when he was on the floor.

He also showed average at best playmaking skills.  For the positives, he would look to move the basketball, and he showed the ability to make an assortment of passes.  However, he also committed plenty of turnovers, as he fell down on a baseline drive to lose the ball once, and he also threw a pass that sailed out of bounds.  Trier also may have trouble making decisions when facing heavy ball pressure, as instead of creating a shot against the shot clock, he deferred to DeAndre Ayton with a second left in the shot clock.  This forced Ayton to take a very rushed shot that he missed.

Trier also did not grab many rebounds when he was on the floor.  Defensively, he may have been average at best.  He did block a shot off of a drive and collect a steal, but he also tended to commit fouls, as a couple of them were reach-in fouls, and he also held a an opponent when defending in the post.  In this game, Allonzo Trier did not play very well, as he couldn’t consistently get shots off, and then he would miss the shots he would hoist up.  He also did not consistently excel as a facilitator and defender, but every once in a while he would make some good plays.   Right now, he still could be considered to be a potential first round pick, but he may have too many limitations as a player to be worth selecting in that range, as he may especially struggle when he is not excelling as a shooter or scorer on the floor.

Other Notes:

Texas A&M’s 6-3 senior point guard, Duane Wilson had a solid game, as he played especially well in the first half against Arizona.  Wilson did a good job of knocking three-point shots.  He was able to make two of them off the catch, as one was when he was on a fast break.  He also managed to draw three free throws on a pull-up three late in the game.

Plus, he is a high motor player that can score on hustle plays.  Wilson managed to score on a put back, and he also threw down a thunderous dunk on a breakaway after quickly jumping a pass to get a steal.  However, Wilson had a tougher time consistently scoring on drives, especially when he would use moves or try runners.

He did generally play good defense.  Wilson was also able to block a shot, as he flew in to swat a shot to prevent an opponent from scoring in the post.  Wilson also does a good job of playing passing lanes, heaping on loose balls, and deflecting passes.  However, he did commit a blocking foul on a drive once, and he also was late to contest a three, which led his team to allow a score another time.

In general, Wilson is an athletic, skilled player that excelled as a scorer and defender in his team’s loss to Arizona on this day.  He will need to show NBA scouts and teams that he can consistently play well against tough teams, but this is a solid step forward for him, as he may be slowly putting himself on the map as a prospect for the NBA.

Arizona’s 6-5 sophomore guard, Dylan Smith showed a very good ability to knock down jumpers, as he excelled at making spot-up threes off the catch.  Also, he showed a fairly good ability to get scores off the dribble, and he was also able to score on a pull-up, mid-range jump shot.  On defense, he even drew a charge when defending a drive.

However, he did not end up defending well when he was on the floor.  He had trouble guarding his man on drives, as he would get beat off the dribble once, and he got overpowered another time, which would lead his team to commit fouls.  He also trailed his man on a cut to allow a score, and he committed a foul off the ball another time.  Still, Smith shot the ball well, and he could be a player to keep an eye on, and his ability to shoot the basketball could help him get noticed more by NBA scouts and teams in the future.

Arizona’s 7-0 senior center, Dusan Ristic had an up and down game in his team’s win over Texas A&M.  On one hand, he excelled as an inside scorer and he also score in the post, as well as in transition.  Plus, he also scored on a roll to the hoop after using a hop step move.  However, he did not rebound the ball well, and he had trouble defending in the post, as he ended up allowing numerous scores in this game.

Admon Gilder didn’t really stand out when he was on the floor, but he would attack the basket to get some scores for his team, and he also would jump passes to get steals for his team.  He showed a good ability to score on drives to the basket, and he also scored on a cut to the hoop.  But he did struggle to make jumpers, and he would occasionally commit careless turnovers and fouls in this game.

Tonny Trocha-Morelos did not play very well against Arizona, but he did make a couple of good plays.  Though he struggled with his jump shot, he did make a quick open three in the corner once.  Defensively, he also managed to break up a lob pass as he leapt up to block that from getting through.  However, he had trouble scoring in the post or finishing plays around the basket in this game, and he also struggled to defend his opponents on off-ball motion plays.  He just did not play very well on this day, but his skill set could still allow him to end up on an NBA summer league roster, as he is a shot blocking big man that has some floor spacing capabilities.

Emmanuel Akot did not play much, but he played a total of three minutes.  He missed his only three-point attempt, and he leapt up to get a defensive rebound once.  Once thought to be a first round prospect at first, Akot has struggled to get playing time, and he has struggled mightily with his jump shot this year, and he may be more of a long-term project for Arizona, as he has not seemed to adjust nearly as well to college basketball as expected.