Assessing Gui Santos

April 22nd, 2021

By Alan Lu

Recently, Minas’ 6-6 Brazilian forward, Gui Santos declared to enter the 2021 NBA Draft.  He was projected to be an early second round pick in the 2022 draft by ESPN prior to his announcement, and I wanted to take the time to watch him play to assess his skills.  Therefore, I decided to watch him play in two games in Brazil’s top league, the NBB for Minas.  I saw him play in a January 31st game against Unifacisa, with thanks to YouTube via Basquete Unifacisa.  I also saw him play in a March 25th game against Flamengo, with thanks to YouTube via FIBA Basketball Champions League Americas.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared in both games combined, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Minas’ 6-6 swingman, Gui Santos is an athletic, skilled basketball player that could end up being selected in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Mariana Sá LNB, via O Tempo)

Gui Santos is an athletic, skilled swingman that excels at attacking the basket to score the basketball.  He is a very good scorer off the dribble that has a quick first step.  While he especially excels at going to his left, he is a solid ball handler that changes directions well, and he can deftly maneuver around defenders to consistently score and get free throws at the rim.  He also showed the knack for scoring on floaters, and he is a gifted shot creator that was very effective at scoring on aggressive drives to the hoop.

He also excels at scoring on hustle plays.  Santos has good athleticism and balance to score around the basket, and he was able to get the ball on a backdoor cut, use a pump fake, and then turn to score on a fade-away jumper off the glass while getting an extra free throw.  He also was able to score on a quick tip-in off of an offensive rebound.  Plus, he also used a crafty behind-the-back dribble move to draw free throws on an aggressive drive in transition. He also flashed the ability to score in the post.  Santos was able to drive the ball to the post, and he was able to use a drop step move to draw free throws to get to the foul line.  Another time, he used a quick spin move, but he ended up missing on a quick, turnaround jumper.

On the downside, Santos struggles to consistently knock down outside shots.  On the plus side, he showed that he can pull up to score on mid-range jumpers, and he was able to handle the ball off of a screen and use a pump fake to score on a mid-range floater from just inside the right elbow.  However, he had trouble connecting on his threes, as he was unable to make them off the catch or dribble, and he had one bad pass as he over-shot it past the rim once despite being left wide open from beyond the arc.

Also, he displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Santos is an unselfish player that can throw timely interior passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  On the downside, he can tend to dribble around for too long, and he will sometimes over-dribble, which can lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers. Plus, Santos is a very good rebounder.  He would often chase down balls to get boards on both ends of the floor, and sometimes he would quickly push the ball up the court after getting defensive rebounds.

He also looked to be a satisfactory defender in both games.  Santos does a good job of playing passing lanes, and he would get his hands on passes to get steals, and he also managed to block a shot.  He has solid feet to defend out on the perimeter, as he would actively contest threes as well as contest shots off of drives to force misses.  He also showed a good motor, as he would hustle back to try to help his team defensively.  Sometimes though, he would get caught on screens, and he would have trouble fighting through them when defending pick and rolls.  He also would give up too much space to shooters, which would allow them to score on three-point shots.  He also would occasionally get beat off the dribble to his left, as he doesn’t always move his feet well when defending out on the perimeter.

Overall, Gui Santos is an athletic, skilled swingman that could be a solid pick for NBA teams to consider in the late first to the second round range in the 2021 draft.  His solid blend of athleticism, scoring skills, and two-way potential could enable him to find a niche as a role player in the NBA.  He will need to improve his outside shot and he’ll need to improve his free throw shooting, which could help him go a long way, as well as to expand his offensive game even more. 

In a favorable scenario, if he adds a more reliable jump shot on offense, he could end up being a solid role player similar to current Miami Heat’s veteran forward, Trevor Ariza in the association.  Otherwise, he could still project to be a fringe rotation player at the NBA level, or at least carve out a very good career overseas if he elects to remain there for the duration of his professional basketball career.

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