Assessing Nico Mannion, Jaden McDaniels, and Josh Green

January 31st, 2020

by Alan Lu

Yesterday, I decided to take the time to watch Nico Mannion and Arizona play in a Pac-12 basketball game against Washington, as this featured numerous prospects that could end up being selected in the first round of the upcoming draft. It was a very entertaining game that went back and forth, and Nico Mannion and Jaden McDaniels were the standouts amongst the top prospects in this match. In the end, Arizona was able to hang out to get a tough road win over Washington. Here are my thoughts on how Mannion, McDaniels, and the others fared, as well as how their games may stack up for the NBA.

Nico Mannion is a likely lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.  (Photo: Josh Galemore/Arizona Daily Star, via tucson.com.)
Arizona’s freshman point guard, Nico Mannion had a solid showing to lead his team to a tough road win over Washington. (Photo: Josh Galemore/Arizona Daily Star, via tucson.com.)

Arizona’s freshman point guard, Nico Mannion played very well in his team’s win over Washington. He had a solid all-around game, as he especially excelled as a shot maker and distributor on the floor to help his team get the victory.

Mannion did a very good job of knocking down three-point shots to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He has a very quick release that enables him to easily get his shot off, and he also has a lot of range on his shot. He also was able to make threes both off the catch and dribble. He also excelled at scoring on crafty drives to the basket. He managed to score on a runner, and he also managed to draw free throws on a drive in transition. He also showed a knack for getting to the free throw line, and he did a good job of making them when he was there.

He also displayed solid playmaking skills. Mannion is an unselfish player that possesses good court vision, and he excels at finding teammates on the move to set up scores for them. He throws crisp, accurate passes off the dribble, and he also threw a nice lob pass to set up a score for a teammate in transition. He did have a couple of passes intercepted as he may not always get enough on his passes though, but generally Mannion showed a good ability to find the open man to rack up assists.

Plus, he also showed a knack for grabbing rebounds to help his team on the glass. Mannion would chase down balls to get boards on both ends of the floor, as he was able to get them in traffic, and he would often push the ball up the court afterwards.

Also, Mannion played adequate defense. He was active as a defender in this game, as he ran in to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also poked a ball away from an opponent off of a drive to force another turnover. Plus, he also managed to jump on a loose ball to help his team collect another steal, as he showed good instincts, awareness, and recognition skills to do so. However, he had some trouble guarding shooters, as his lack of size made it tougher for him to guard taller shooters, and sometimes he would give up too much space when defending jumpers.

Overall, Nico Mannion had a solid showing in his team’s win over Washington, as he continually made very good plays on both sides of the ball in this game. While he may not possess elite size or physical tools for the point guard position, he is a smart, cerebral playmaker that has a knack for making very solid plays on offense, and he may be a likely lottery pick, as he could end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

Washington's 6-9 freshman forward, Jaden McDaniels entertained for the blocks and dunks, but he also struggled to make shots or to limit turnovers in his team's loss to Arizona. (Photo: Conor Courtney/The Daily, via dailyuw.com.)
Washington’s 6-9 freshman forward, Jaden McDaniels entertained by blocking a lot of shots, he also threw down a monster dunk off of a drive and also made a three, but he also struggled to consistently make shots or to limit turnovers in his team’s loss to Arizona. (Photo: Conor Courtney/The Daily, via dailyuw.com.)

Washington’s freshman forward, Jaden McDaniels had some very good moments in his team’s loss to Arizona, though he had an up and down performance throughout this contest.

McDaniels showed a knack for scoring on smooth drives to the basket. He has a subtly good first step and a solid set of dribble moves that enables him to regularly get past his man, and he would regularly get scores at the rim. He used a spin move to score on a runner, and he also used an agile, hesitation move to score on a layup another time. He also drove left to the hoop to score on a scintillating, high-flying dunk from the baseline. He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays, as he was able to run the floor to score in transition.

However, he struggled to consistently knock down jumpers in this game. McDaniels often had trouble making pull-up jumpers or threes from beyond the arc. On the bright side, he was able to make an open spot-up three once off the catch, and he also used a pump fake move to draw free throws on a pull-up, mid-range shot on a separate play.

However, he was quite turnover prone in this game. For the positives, McDaniels is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he handles the ball well, especially for a player his size. On the downside, he tended to be too careless when handling the basketball, which led him to commit a lot of turnovers. He was called for a push off on a drive, also was called for traveling another time, and he also lost the ball when handling it late in the game. He also can sometimes throw hasty ill-advised passes, as he had one that was picked off by a defender.

He also was able to chip in to get his fair share of rebounds, as he would look to crash the glass on both ends of the floor, and sometimes he would push the ball up the court after grabbing defensive boards.

Also, McDaniels played fairly good defense. He did a tremendous job of blocking shots, as he would swat shots in the post and off of drives due to possessing great length, athleticism, and timing to do so. He would actively contest shots in the paint to force misses, and he also managed to intercept a pass to get a steal. On the downside, he can struggle to defend in space at times. He bit on a pump fake when defending in transition, which led him to commit a foul and allow the basket that time. He also tripped an opponent when defending a baseline drive another time, which led him to pick up another foul.

There also have been some concerns about his on-court behavior, and he didn’t really do much to quell them in this game. Despite having scored on a thrilling, high-flying dunk off of a baseline drive, he was called for a technical foul after having taunted after scoring, as the after-effects ended up costing his team some points as a result of that.

In summary, Jaden McDaniels had a rather interesting game, as he would tend to make a series of highlight-reel worthy plays, but he also didn’t shoot or take care of the ball very well in his team’s loss to Arizona. Right now, he will need to be a more consistent performer in games, and cut down the number of mental mistakes he tends to make, but he is a very talented player that could end up being a lottery pick in 2020, as he is a prospect that may have a great deal of upside for the next level.  McDaniels has been a frustratingly inconsistent player this season, but if he can put his skills altogether, he could end up being a very good player in the NBA.  

Arizona's freshman guard, Josh Green played very good defense, as he made solid team plays to offset his poor shooting night in his team's win over Washington.  (Photo: Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press)
Arizona’s freshman guard, Josh Green played very good defense, as he made solid team plays to offset his poor shooting night in his team’s win over Washington. (Photo: Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press)

Arizona’s 6-5 freshman guard, Josh Green made some good plays on both ends of the floor despite having an uneven performance overall in his team’s win over Washington.

Green played solid defense in this game. He showed a knack for collecting steals and deflections, as he will aptly play passing lanes and jump on loose balls, and he also ran up from behind to poke a ball away right after an opponent grabbed a defensive rebound. Plus, he has good footwork and agility to stay in front of opponents off the dribble, as he can cut off penetration to prevent them from getting easy baskets. However, sometimes he can be too aggressive defensively, as he also was prone to fouling jump shooters.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Green is a fairly good passer and ball handler that sees the floor well, as he was able to throw a nice dump off pass off of a drive to notch an assist, and he passes well off the dribble to set up scoring opportunities for his teammates. However, he also committed a couple of turnovers. On one play, he threw an inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds once, and he also was called for a charging foul on a drive in transition another time.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Green showed the willingness to get boards, as he was especially active at crashing the offensive glass to help his team get offensive rebounds.

Plus, he also excelled at scoring in transition, as he is an athletic player that possesses a good ability to score on off-ball motion plays. Green would run the floor to get open on the break, as he was able to score on a high-flying layup while getting an extra free throw once, and he also caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop layup another time. However, he struggled more when trying to create his own shot off the dribble, as he had his shot blocked in the post, and he also had trouble making mid-range jumpers or scoring on half-court drives. In addition, he also did not take a three-point shot, much to my chagrin and disappointment.

Overall, Josh Green defended well, and made some solid team plays in his team’s win over Washington. He did not excel as a shooter or scorer in this game, but he showed that he can lock people down on the defensive end. Right now, he may be a candidate to be selected in the late first round range of the upcoming draft. He will need to be a more consistent shooter and scorer in games, but his strong defensive skills, combined with having good athletic gifts for a player his size could enable him to be a solid role player in the NBA.

Washington’s 6-6 junior swingman, Nahziah Carter had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Arizona. Mostly, he excelled as a shooter, scorer, and defender in this game.

He showed off versatile scoring skills, as he excelled at making spot-up threes off the catch, and he also excelled at making shots off the dribble. He was able to score on an aggressive baseline drive as well as on a pull-up, mid-range shot.

He also showed off fairly good rebounding and defensive skills. He would chase down balls to get defensive rebounds, and he was able to push the ball up the court once. He also played decent defense. Carter was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also drew a charge on a drive in transition. Sometimes though, he would commit fouls due to over-aggressiveness.

However, he was fairly turnover prone on offense. He did show off adequate passing skills, as he was able to kick a ball out to a shooter off the dribble to notch an assist, and he can find open teammates to set up scoring chances for them. On the downside, he also had a pass picked off once, and he also committed a couple of ball-handling turnovers in traffic due to recklessness.

Overall, Nahziah Carter had a good game in his team’s loss to Arizona. He made shots in a variety of ways, and he also played good defense, as he had a knack for being in the right spots defensively to be able to make solid plays on the court. He will need to improve his ball-handling ability and continue to show that he can guard upper-echelon players throughout the season. Right now, he may be a second round prospect for the upcoming draft, but he is an athletic, energetic swingman that has the skills to be an effective role player in the association.

Arizona’s freshman big man, Zeke Nnaji had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Washington. On the bright side, he did a good job of rebounding the basketball, and though he looked to be average defensively, he excelled as a low post defender, as he has good strength to hold his ground, which would enable him to be in position to force his fair share of misses. However, Nnaji struggled to make shots in this game, and he also had some trouble defending in space.

Nnaji showed an adequate ability to knock down mid-range jumpers. He took them far too often, especially since he was not automatic at making them, but he was able to make several of them despite showing a penchant for taking them. Unfortunately, he also had quite a few misses, especially during the middle of this game, and he did not get to the free throw line once against Washington.

On the plus side, he was able to get a score around the basket while drawing an extra free throw simultaneously. However, Nnaji struggled to score in the post consistently, as he had his shot blocked once, and he also would sometimes miss shots wildly around the basket.

Defensively, he did a good job of defending in the post to force misses, but he struggled to defend out on the perimeter. He would sometimes have trouble staying in front of his man when guarding opponents off the dribble, as he ended up committing a foul once. Other times, he would sag too far off his man, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on three-point shots.

Overall, Zeke Nnaji did not have his best game, but he rebounded well, and he also played good low post defense. He has played well on the season, and that could enable him to go in the late first to the second round range in the 2020 draft. He will need to be a more consistently performer in games against tough competition, but still, Nnaji may have the skills to end up being an effective role player in the NBA, as he could end up being an energy player in his role at the next level.

Washington’s 6-9 freshman big man, Isaiah Stewart did not play very well in his team’s loss to Arizona, and his woeful 3 for 13 performance from the field may raise some doubts about whether or not if he has what it takes to be able to succeed at the next level.

For the positives, Stewart played well during the middle of the game, and it was in that stretch where it appeared that he would find his way to play to his normal capabilities in college basketball games.

Stewart was able to make a spot-up three off the catch, as he is a big man that can shoot the basketball, and he certainly needs to do that more. He also would score on strong moves in the post, as he showed ample footwork, strength, and balance to be able to score inside. He also managed to draw free throws on a high post drive another time.

However, Stewart tended to miss way too often in the post as well as on put backs, and he would tend to miss on tough, contested shots wildly in traffic. He often would try to barrel his way to the hoop, but he actually didn’t show great balance or shooting touch in this game, and sometimes he would rush his shots that would lead to misses.

He can pass from the post to set up scoring chances for his teammates, but Stewart also committed some careless turnover on offense. He had a tendency to have the ball ripped away from him, as he can tend to expose the basketball too much, and he had trouble protecting the basketball in this game.

On the plus side, Stewart did a great job of rebounding the basketball. He can get tough boards in traffic, and he was quite active on the glass. Stewart is an athletic, physical big man that has very good strength to box out his opponents, and would frequently haul in boards on both ends of the floor.

However, Stewart did not play good defense in this game, despite being able to make some good defensive plays at times. For the positives, Stewart was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also blocked a shot in the post to a teammate, as he is an active help defender that can make solid plays on that end when he’s engaged defensively. He also showed the ability to contest mid-range jumpers as well as shots in the post to force misses.

On the downside, Stewart would tend to not contest mid-range jumpers all too often, as he and his team kept allowing mid-range baskets to Stone Gettings down the stretch. He also had some trouble defending in the post due to his lack of size to play the center position. Another time, he bit on a pump fake when guarding a shooter in the mid-range area, which led him to get beat and to a teammate to commit a foul later on.

Overall, Stewart is a tough, physical big man whose game theoretically fits at the collegiate level, but he really struggled in his team’s loss to Arizona, as this game really seemed to magnify his weaknesses. Stewart often had trouble scoring against length and athleticism, as he would force up tough shots in the post that would lead to misses, and he often had trouble guarding opponents when he would have to defend away from the basket.

Right now, people have considered him to go in the mid to late first round range, but it’s looking to be doubtful on whether or not if he should actually get selected there in the 2020 draft. His game doesn’t seem to be a great fit for the modern NBA. Stewart is a bruising low post player in a game that’s been moving away from the post, he especially doesn’t seem willing to take jumpers, and he also really struggled today against a taller, more mobile Arizona team. Stewart’s range probably should be in the late first to the second round range instead, as arguments can be made that his production, especially for a player his age could enable him to slide into the first round of this year’s draft, but Stewart will need to improve his ability to make shots and defend against length and athleticism to be able to successfully make the transition to the next level.

Other Notes:

Arizona’s 6-4, redshirt sophomore guard, Jemarl Baker showed a knack for making spot-up threes off the catch, and he has a lot of range on his shot. He also drove in to score on an acrobatic reverse layup off of a drive in transition, and he also passed and defended well. Baker was able to throw a long pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break, and he had a penchant for collecting steals defensively. Right now, he’s been a solid role player for Arizona, and he could be a player to watch in the future, as he could be a second round prospect for the 2021 draft.

Washington’s 6-5 freshman guard, RaeQuan Battle could secretly be the best prospect on the Huskies’ team outside of Jaden McDaniels. Of course, Isaiah Stewart shot an abysmal 3 for 13 from the field, and Battle seemed to have an exceptionally good game by scoring 14 points off the bench while draining 4 threes from beyond the arc, but Battle certainly showed that he is a talented scorer that has the potential to develop into being an excellent marksman when he is on the court.

The athletic swingman made a barrage of threes against Arizona, as he showed that he can make spot-up threes from well beyond the arc, and he can make them from NBA range. He also pulled up to make a corner three. He also managed to score on a backwards, reverse layup off the glass in transition, and Battle was able to show that he put up points in bunches.

Right now, Battle may be Washington’s best hope to make the 2020 NCAA Tournament, and he will probably need to play far more to try to help them get there. It’s looking bleak for Washington, as they keep dropping games that they probably should win, but Washington will really need to go to Battle for extending playing time. RaeQuan Battle is a talented player that may possess considerable upside, and if he is able to get consistent playing time in the future, then it may be possible that he could end up being a late first round in the 2021 draft.

Arizona’s 6-9 senior big man, Stone Gettings excelled at scoring in the post as well as on mid-range jumpers, and he often would take advantage of Stewart sagging in the paint to score on open, mid-range shots. When Stewart would press up on him, Gettings would then take him off the dribble to get draw fouls on defenders, which would enable him to get to the free throw line.

Plus, he also showed good hands, as he caught a long pass and used a pump fake to get a score in transition while getting an extra free throw. However, he also committed some careless turnovers on offense, as he can be clumsy with his ball handling at times, and he also seemed to struggle to rebound or defend in this game.

Overall though, Gettings had a solid showing in his team’s win over Washington, and he is a skilled big man that can score the basketball. Though he only possesses average physical tools and less than ideal size to play inside, Gettings can make shots, as that could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA.

Arizona’s 6-0 senior guard, Max Hazzard excelled at making three-point shots, as he can make them off the catch and dribble, and he was able to provide solid floor spacing for his team on offense. He also drove in from the baseline to draw free throws, but he also missed on a long two another time.

He also defended fairly well. Hazzard was able to poke a ball away to nearly get a steal, and he also managed to force the opposition to commit a shot clock violation. Overall, Hazzard is a good shooter and position defender, but his lack of size and iffy playmaking skills, combined with playing in a platoon role off the bench may make him a rather unlikely bet to be drafted in 2020. Still, his jump shot and defensive skills could enable him to make an NBA team’s summer league roster, and a strong showing there could allow him to compete for a spot on an NBA team’s roster next season.

Washington’s 6-9 junior forward, Hameir Wright had some good moments in his team’s loss to Arizona. He excelled at making three-point shots as well as getting scores off the dribble, and he also had a knack for getting to the free throw line. He struggled on the defensive end though, as he would tend to commit silly fouls, as he would put opponents right back on the free throw line.

Right now, he is an athletic, energetic player that can make shots in a variety of ways, but he can tend to be too inconsistent in games, and he will need to be a more disciplined defender when he is on the court. Most likely, he will need to stay in school for another year, but Wright may have the skills to make an NBA team’s summer league roster in the future.

Washington’s 6-3 freshman guard, Marcus Tsohonis showed a knack for making open corner threes in this game, as he is a very good spot-up shooter that can provide solid floor spacing for his team on offense. He didn’t seem to excel at anything else in this game though, and he struggled to shoot off the dribble.

Right now, he is a player that may not have a whole lot of upside, as he is just an average athlete and it seems that he is a stationary shooter that can only make spot-up jumpers, but he could end up being a solid role player at the collegiate level, as his jump shot could help him carve out a career in professional basketball outside of the NBA.