Assessing Rayan Rupert and Iggy Mitchell in a 2022 NBL Blitz Game

September 28th, 2022

By Alan Lu

Recently, New Zealand’s 6-6 swingman, Rayan Rupert has been playing superb basketball in the NBL Blitz, and he has shot the ball really well in the past three games.  I decided to watch him play against the Sydney Kings in an NBL Blitz game that was played on September 23rd, with thanks to YouTube via National Basketball League.  This also provided me an opportunity to watch Sydney’s 6-1, 2003-born point guard Iggy Mitchell play, who also impressed me with his all-around performance in this game. Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

New Zealand’s 6-6 swingman, Rayan Rupert (on the right, with the ball) played really well in the NBL Blitz, and he has shot the ball tremendously in the past several games that could enable him to be a lottery pick in the 2023 draft.
(Photo:
Graham Denholm/Getty Images, via Stuff.co.nz)

Rayan Rupert is a very athletic swingman that has been shooting the ball terrifically in the NBL, especially recently, and he also has shown the tools to be able to excel on the defensive end.  It’s clear that he’s really worked on his jump shot, and it’s paid dividends as he’s consistently been making shots right now, especially from the outside.

Midway through the 4th quarter, Rayan Rupert makes a quick, open three-pointer, which was his fourth made three of the game.
(Source: YouTube/National Basketball League)

Rupert did a great job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team.  He would often make quick, open spot-up threes off the catch, and he really was able to take advantage of his opponents’ inattentiveness on the floor.  ‘

Midway through the 2nd quarter, Rayan Rupert gets the ball on a dribble handoff, and he quickly makes the three-point shot.
(Source:
YouTube/National Basketball League)

He also was able to move off the ball and get it on a dribble handoff, and he then used a screen, which enabled him to make a quick, bank three-pointer from well beyond the arc.

He also dribbled off of a screen and drew a non-shooting foul, and he would’ve scored on a mid-range floater if that call had not been made.  He also showed a knack for drawing fouls on hustle plays, and he was able to get free throws after running the floor hard to get the ball.

He also showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble.  Rupert used a quick crossover to his left and then changed directions to go right in order to score on a quick, running layup.  On the other hand, he also missed on a rushed, off-balanced runner another time.

Also, Rupert displayed adequate playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that can make drive and kick passes to find open shooters, and he also has solid court vision, which enables him to make accurate passes on the break.  On one play though, he threw a weak pass off of a drive, which got intercepted that time.

Plus, he also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  Rupert was quite active at crashing the glass, and he would tend to push the pace off of defensive boards.  However, there were times where he didn’t box out his opponents, which would lead him to allow them to score on tip shots.

In addition, Rupert also played adequate defense.  He was able to rotate to pressure an opposing ball handler on the sideline, and helped force a shot clock violation, in which he would’ve deflected the pass to a teammate if they had let the play continue.  Rupert has very good length and lateral quickness, and it allows him to rotate quickly on the floor.  He would also use his length to close out on shooters to force some misses.  He also defended a lead ball handler aggressively up the court, and he then cut off penetration and forced the miss that time.  On one play though, he switched to defend a roll man but didn’t quite get in good defensive position, and he instead tried to front him and go for a steal, but he missed and ended up being out of position and allowing a dunk instead.  He also sometimes can struggle to stay in front of his man, as there was one play where he got beat off the dribble and then committed a foul.  For the most part, Rupert brought good energy on the defensive end, but occasionally he would take bad gambles that could lead him to be out of position at times.

In general, Ryan Rupert had a superb showing in this game, and he is a very athletic swingman that has been shooting the ball very well lately.  He also is a player that projects to be a plus-level playmaker and a solid defender at the NBA level, and it will be imperative for him to keep shooting the ball well like he has been, and to keep playing well.  He has been playing very well so far, and he could project to be a lottery pick in 2023, and with continued development, he could develop into being a solid player in the NBA.

Iggy Mitchell is a mobile, skilled point guard that played very well for the Sydney Kings in this game.  He thrived at making plays on both ends of the floor, and he consistently made strong plays to help his team on the court.

Mitchell did a great job of scoring on fast breaks.  He ran the floor hard and managed to score on a give and go in traffic.  He also pushed the pace off of a defensive board and drove to the hoop to score on a smooth layup in transition. 

Iggy Mitchell was able to capitalize off of a passing turnover in order to get the steal and fast break dunk in the 2nd quarter of this game.
(Source: YouTube/National Basketball League)

Plus, he also grabbed a steal and then drove up court to score on an emphatic, two-hand dunk on the break.  He also moved off the ball to make an open, spot-up three off the catch.  On the downside, he missed on a tip-in after getting an offensive rebound, as he didn’t grab it, but instead just tapped it hurriedly off the glass in a rushed attempt to score.

He also showcased solid playmaking skills.  Mitchell is a very good passer that sees the floor well.  He did a good job of making dribble handoff passes, and he also excelled at making quick interior passes to teammates on the break. 

Iggy Mitchell made a really nice, look away pass to find his teammate in stride to set up the score for him on the break.
(Source: YouTube/National Basketball League)

He also threw a nifty, no-look bounce pass to set up a score for a teammate in transition late in this match.  On one play though, he tried to drive to his left, but he exposed the ball with a high overhead ball fake, and he had a ball stolen away from him by a defender.

Also, Mitchell did a good job of rebounding the basketball, and he would tend to push the ball up the court after getting defensive boards.  He also defended very well.  Mitchell ran in to intercept a poorly thrown pass to get a steal, and he poked a ball away to nearly get another.  He also did a good job of contesting outside shots to force misses.

Overall, Iggy Mitchell had a strong showing, and he played very well on both ends of the floor.  He has been flying under the radar as a draft prospect, but he played very well in this game, and he consistently made strong plays when he was on the court.  He will be a prospect to keep track of as the season progresses, and he could project to be a reliable, game managing point guard if he makes his way to the NBA someday.

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