Analyzing Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, and Wendell Moore

November 27th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, Paolo Banchero and Duke squared off against Chet Holmgren and Gonzaga in an early season, non-conference matchup in what could be a preview of the 2022 Final Four in the future.  Banchero made his presence felt early often, and he showed off strong all-around skills, especially in the first half.  He was terrific in that time span, and he had 20 first half points to help Duke get the lead.

He started cramping up in the second half, and Chet Holmgren steadily kept competing and making hustle plays to keep his team in the game.  In the end though, Duke was able to get some much needed help as they received strong interior play from Mark Williams, and a very good all-around game from junior swingman Wendell Moore to get a tough, decisive victory over Gonzaga.  Here are my thoughts on how Banchero, Holmgren, and other various prospects fared on this day.

Duke’s 6-10 freshman big man, Paolo Banchero played very well, as he scored 21 points in his team’s win over Gonzaga.
(Photo:
Lance King/Getty Images, via 710 ESPN Seattle – My Northwest)

Paolo Banchero had a very good showing in his team’s win over Gonzaga.  He did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball, and he also was solid as a facilitator and defender when he was on the court. He did a very good job of knocking down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  Banchero showed a knack for making long two-pointers off the dribble, and he was able to seamlessly make a step-back jumper from just inside the arc.  He also excelled at making threes, as he was able to do so both off the catch and dribble.  Banchero has a lot of range on his shot, and he was able to smoothly make a pull-up three early on.

He also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  Banchero excelled at scoring on strong, right-handed drives to the hoop.  He can take on the contact to score, as he was able to do so and get the extra free throw once.  He also managed to score on a powerful dunk another time.  Also, Banchero was able to score on a nice backdoor cut to the hoop another time.  He did have cramping issues in the second half, and it made it tougher for him to score off the dribble or in the post.  As a result, he didn’t seem to have the quickness or energy to try to take the ball to the hoop, so he would be passive on offense in the second half.  When he would look to score late in the game, he would sometimes miss as a result of not having enough energy to try to score off the dribble.

Also, Banchero displayed solid playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that would make the extra pass to find open teammates on offense.  When handling the ball in transition, he was able to throw an accurate lob pass to set up a score for a teammate.  He also showed that he can throw crisp, accurate passes off the dribble as well as in the post.  On one play though, he dribbled off his foot when looking to make a play from the high post, which led him to commit his lone turnover of the game.

Plus, he did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball.  Banchero was fairly active at crashing the glass, and he was able to get boards on both ends of the floor.  Adding to that, Banchero played fairly solid defense in this game.  He was able to sprint back on defense in order to intercept a long pass to get a steal.  On the downside, he also was called for committing a foul on a drive when he inadvertently tripped up an opposing ball handler.

In general, Paolo Banchero played very well to help Duke get a close win over Gonzaga at the 2021 Continental Tire Challenge.  He is a very athletic, skilled scorer that can make shots from all over the floor, and he showed a diverse skill set, especially in the first half.  He will need to improve his conditioning and stamina, especially to avoid cramping issues in the future, but it seems that Banchero may have nudged his way ahead of Holmgren to be the favorite in the number one overall pick discussion for the 2022 draft.

Chet Holmgren played fairly well yesterday. He didn’t have a dominant showing against Duke, but he was able to make solid hustle plays on both ends of the floor, and he stayed competitive all the way to the end.
(Photo:
L.E. Baskow/Associated Press, via Forbes)

Chet Holmgren had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Duke.  He struggled early on due to foul trouble, but he was active at making plays on both ends of the floor in the second half.  There were times where he still wasn’t assertive enough on offense, but he kept competing to help his team stay in the game. Holmgren showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He excelled at scoring on two-handed dunks off of backdoor cuts.  He also would score on put backs, and he was able to dribble in to score on a put back dunk late in this match.

Plus, Holmgren did a good job of scoring in the post.  He has a good set of moves along with having the shooting touch and athleticism that enables him to score in the paint.  He was able to utilize a drop step move to score early on.  He also scored on a nice, one-legged fadeaway jumper.  Later on, he caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk. Also, he was able to dribble in to score on a one-legged, fadeaway jumper from the mid-range to show his ability to knock down shots from that range.  On the downside, Holmgren missed on all of his three-point attempts.  He struggled to find his rhythm from beyond the arc, and that seemed to lead him to get a bit tentative when he would get the ball from out there.

On the downside, Holmgren was fairly turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, he is an unselfish player that can pass and handle the basketball.  Holmgren will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he would look to throw long passes to get them to his teammates on the move.  On the downside, sometimes he would throw hasty, inaccurate passes that would get intercepted.  He also fell down after grabbing an offensive rebound, as he collided with an opposing player, and that caused Holmgren to fall and be called for a traveling violation late in this contest.

Also, Holmgren showed a decent ability to rebound the basketball.  He would leap up to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor, and he would hustle to get offensive rebounds.  He also managed to push the ball quickly up the floor off of a defensive board.  On one play though, he ended up getting outmuscled by an opponent when trying to box out, which led him to allow an offensive rebound in his area.

He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Holmgren did a very good job of blocking shots off the dribble.  He also would actively contest shots in the paint to force misses.  On the downside, he would sometimes give up too much space to his opponents or not contest shots despite being in the area.  On one play, he rotated down low but went away from an opponent, which led his team to allow an opponent to score on a layup.  He also got outmuscled on a drive when defending on a switch, and he ended up committing a reach-in foul and allowing a score simultaneously.  Later on, he dropped back too far and didn’t contest a long two-point shot on a switch, which led his team to give up the basket.

In summary, Chet Holmgren played fairly well in his team’s loss to Duke.  He didn’t exactly dominate like how he did against UCLA, but he still was able to make impactful plays on both ends of the floor.  He’ll need to be a more consistent outside shooter, be more assertive on offense, and get a lot stronger in the meantime.  Still, he’s an incredibly versatile player whose intriguing offensive skills combined with his strong shot blocking prowess and interior defense would make him a very good top 3 pick for the 2022 draft.

Duke’s junior swingman, Wendell Moore was named MVP of the Good Sam Empire Classic, after helping his team to defeat Gonzaga yesterday.
(Photo:
Ellen Schmidt/Associated Press, via The News & Observer)

Wendell Moore also played very well in his team’s win over Gonzaga.  He had a strong all-around showing, and he consistently played well to help get his team the victory. Moore did a very good job of scoring off the dribble.  He would take it hard to the hoop to score, and he can use either hand to do so.  He also would take on the contact to finish plays around the basket.  He also was able to score on a crafty layup on a drive in transition, and he also managed to score after getting a steal later on.  Sometimes though, he would try too hard to make a big play on fast break drives, which would lead to some misses.

Also, he shot the ball well in this game.  Moore was able to dribble off of a screen to make a long two-pointer.  He also managed to make an open, spot-up three another time.  He didn’t look to take jumpers that often, but he was effective in knocking them down to help his team space the floor. Plus, he also displayed solid playmaking skills.  Moore is an unselfish player that would consistently get the ball to open shooters to set up scores for them.  He also can make swift passes off the dribble to find the open man.  He did commit a few turnovers, though.  He had a ball stolen away from him off of a drive once.  He also tried to split a double team when handling it another time, but he ended up being called for a charging foul.

He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  Moore also played good defense in this game.  He would get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections.  He also rotated to poke a ball away in the post to get another steal.  He also managed to contest a long two to force a miss.  On the downside, sometimes he would be late on his rotations and get beat on misdirection plays, which would lead him to allow scores to his opponents.

Overall, Wendell Moore had a strong showing in his team’s win over Gonzaga.  He is an athletic, physical swingman that played very well on both ends of the floor, and he did a great job of making plays, especially down the stretch.  He quietly played very well throughout this contest, and he has significantly improved his game to the point where he could legitimately end up being a first round pick in the 2022 draft.

Duke’s sophomore center, Mark Williams played very well in this game.  He thoroughly excelled as an interior player, and he especially fared well as an inside scorer, shot blocker, and interior defender to help his team get the victory. Williams showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He did a great job of scoring in transition, on rolls, and he also ran in to score on a tip-in after grabbing an offensive rebound.  He would throw down thunderous dunks off of rolls, and he also managed to leap up to catch a lob to score on an alley-oop dunk on the break.

Plus, he also did a good job of scoring in the post.  Williams caught a lob to score on an alley-oop dunk.  He also used a spin move to score on a quick, left-handed hook shot.  He even decided to take a three-point shot in this game, but Williams missed that time from beyond the arc. Also, he displayed perhaps adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Williams was able to pass out of the post to find an open shooter once.  On the other hand, there was another play where he threw a low pass that ended up getting deflected by an opponent another time.

Adding to that, Williams did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He has a keen nose for the ball, and he would leap up to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor. He also played solid defense in this game.  Williams did a tremendous job of blocking shots to help his team protect the paint, and he would often swat shots off the dribble to do so.  He also managed to intercept a pass acrobatically off of an opponent’s drive to get a steal, and he also was able to pick off a pass to get another.  Plus, he also did a good job of not biting on a pump fake on a drive late in the game, and he stayed in position to contest the shot to force a key miss down the stretch.

On the downside, sometimes Williams would be too aggressive in trying to make plays, which would lead him to commit touch fouls.  Other times, he would be late on his rotations, which would lead him to allow scores.  He also would give up deep position every once in a while, which would sometimes lead him to allow opponents to score in the post. Overall, Williams put forth a superb performance in his team’s win over Gonzaga.  He excelled at scoring and defending in the paint, and he was a key factor in helping his team secure the victory.  He is a very athletic center that played well on both ends of the floor, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the first round of the 2022 draft.

Julian Strawther had a good showing in his team’s tough loss to Duke.  Gonzaga’s sophomore forward scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds in this game, and he excelled as a shooter, scorer, and rebounder when he was on the floor. Strawther shot the ball well, especially from beyond the arc.  He showed a knack for scoring on open, spot-up threes, especially from way out. 

He also managed to score on a mid-range floater.  Plus, he also managed to score from the post another time.  He also did a decent job of scoring off the dribble.  He was active in scoring on hustle plays.  On the downside, sometimes he would try to force the issue too much when he would take it to the basket, which would lead him to miss tough shots in traffic. Strawther also did a great job of rebounding the basketball, and he was quite active at crashing the glass to come away with many boards on both ends of the floor.  He struggled a bit defensively though, and he had some trouble defending quicker opponents, which would lead him to end up out of position.

Overall, Julian Strawther is an agile, athletic scorer that can make shots from anywhere on the floor, and he also can rebound the basketball.  He’ll need to be a more consistent player in games, but he is a talented prospect that could project to go in the late first to the second round range whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

Rasir Bolton played very well in his team’s loss to Duke.  He shot the ball very well early, and he then was able to leverage his ability to knock down outside shots to be able to score on quick moves to the basket.  He also showed some playmaking and defensive skills in this game.

Bolton did a good job of knocking down jumpers, especially from beyond the arc.  He showed that he can make threes both off the catch and dribble, and he was able to run off of a ball screen to make a quick, open corner three.  Plus, he also was active at scoring on hustle plays, and he was able to do so off of cuts as well as in transition.  He also managed to split a double team and he used a hesitation move to score quickly late in this game.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills.  Bolton is a quick, agile player that can quickly get to the rim, and he was able to make a swift, drive and dish pass to set up a score for a teammate down low.  He is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass.  On the downside, there was one play where he threw a long pass that ended up getting intercepted.

Also, Bolton did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would chase down balls to get defensive boards, and he would sometimes push the ball up the court afterwards.  He also played satisfactory defense.  He is an active defender that would poke balls away to nearly get steals for his team.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to defend quicker opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to end up out of position.

Overall, Rasir Bolton had a strong showing in this game, and he especially excelled as a sharpshooter and scorer against Duke.  Currently, he is a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft, but his shooting, scoring, and athleticism could enable him to make it to the NBA one day.

Drew Timme had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Duke.  He was a bit inconsistent as a scorer in the post, but he especially thrived as a low post scorer when he would be matched up against smaller defenders.  He committed a lot of turnovers, but Timme also made a lot of great passes to get assists in this game, too.  Defensively though, he had a lot of lapses, and he seemed to struggle on that end, as he also ran into foul trouble late in this game.

Timme showed a decent ability to score in the post.  He can get deep position down low, and he can use either hand to score on quick jump hooks.  He also managed to use a shoulder fake to score on a left-handed hook once.  He also was able to use a step-through move to score on a crafty, reverse layup early on.  On the downside, he seemed to have more trouble scoring against taller, more athletic defenders, which would lead him to miss tough shots in traffic. 

He also did a decent job of scoring off the dribble, especially when he would get foul calls.  He also was active in looking to score on hustle plays, and Timme was able to score on a backdoor cut.   On the downside, though he didn’t take many outside shots, he tended to struggle more to knock them down the further he would take shots away from the paint.

Also, Timme showcased adequate playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that can make good reads on the floor, and he can pass out of double teams to find open shooters to set up scores for them.  He also can throw crisp, accurate interior passes, and he can find teammates on the move to notch assists.  On the downside, he would sometimes be overly physical, which would lead him to commit offensive fouls.  He also would sometimes throw hasty, inaccurate passes that would end up getting intercepted.  Another time, he had a ball stolen away from him when posting up.

He also was able to leap up to get his fair share of rebounds to help his team chip in on the glass.  Defensively, Timme struggled in this game.  For the positives, he was able to deflect a pass to nearly get a steal once.  He also managed to contest a floater as well as a three to force some misses other times.  However, he would tend to give up too much space to his opponents, which would lead him to allow scores.  Other times, he would be late on his rotations, which would put his team in compromised situations.

Overall, Drew Timme had some good moments, and some bad moments in this game.  He didn’t play nearly as well as he had against Texas and UCLA, but Timme is a productive big man that likely would project to go in the second round range for the 2022 draft.

Duke’s freshman point guard, Trevor Keels also had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Gonzaga.  He didn’t shoot the ball very well in this game, but he did a good job of drawing fouls on strong drives to the hoop down the stretch, and he also excelled as a facilitator and defender to help his team get the victory. Keels did a decent job of scoring off the dribble.  While he had trouble scoring or finding his shooting touch, he would go hard on right-handed drives to the hoop, which would often enable him to draw fouls and get to the free throw line.  However, he also had a tendency to rush his shots and force the issue too much, which would either lead to some wild misses or to him getting his shots blocked.

He struggled to consistently knock down outside shots, as he just didn’t shoot the ball very well in this game.  Keels was able to make a smooth, pull-up jumper from the mid-range, but he struggled to knock down pull-up jumpers in general.  He also was able to score on an open, spot-up three off the catch early on, but he also often missed on spot-up threes from beyond the arc.

Plus, Keels showed a solid ability to distribute the basketball.  He can throw long passes to set up scores for his teammates, as he was able to throw a long outlet pass, as well as a lob to get the ball to them.  He also can swiftly find teammates on the move as well as pass off the dribble to rack up assists.  On one play though, he was called for traveling after taking one too many steps when trying to create something off the dribble. Also, Keels did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball.  He also played adequate defense in this game.  Keels was able to get his hands on a pass to get a steal, and he also poked a ball away another time.  On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to defend opposing ball handlers, which would lead him to commit touch fouls.

Overall, Trevor Keels didn’t have his best game, but he still was able to make solid plays down the stretch to help his team get the win.  He’ll need to improve his shooting and shot selection, but he is a talented prospect whose strong athletic gifts, size for the point guard position, and upside could make him an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the mid to late first round range on draft day.

Andrew Nembhard did not play very well in his team’s loss to Duke.  He struggled to consistently make shots, and he seemed to be sped up, as he made a lot of unusually rash decisions that led him to ultimately be turnover prone on offense. He didn’t look to shoot the ball often, but he was not very effective in this game.  He was at his best as a scorer on hustle plays.  Nembhard was able to score on a backdoor cut, and he also managed to score on a drive in transition.  He ended up missing all of his threes and mid-range shots, and he took some questionable shots that led to some ugly misses.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Nembhard is a very unselfish player that will often look to find the open man, and he can throw long, accurate passes to find teammates on the move to rack up assists.  On the downside, he also often struggled to handle the ball when heavily pressured.  He would get balls stolen away from him, and he also lost the ball on the break another time.  He also was called for traveling prior to passing off the dribble.  Late in this match, he threw a rushed pass that ended up getting intercepted.

Also, Nembhard did a great job of getting rebounds and steals in this game.  Overall though, Nembhard didn’t shoot the ball very well, and he was entirely too turnover prone against Duke.  He struggled to consistently make plays against more athletic defenders, and he might not have a lot of upside as a prospect for the NBA.  Still, Nembhard has been a reliable game manager that can be very productive in most games, and so he is a second round prospect that could project into a backup point guard role in the NBA.

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