Evaluating Yago Dos Santos

June 6, 2018

by Alan Lu

I decided to take the opportunity to watch Paulistano’s 5-10, 1999-born point guard Yago Dos Santos from Brazil, as he is currently an early entry candidate for the 2018 NBA Draft, and his team ended up being the league champions of the NBB.  To get a better feel for his skill set and where he is as a player, I decided to watch two games.   I was able to watch him play against Botafogo in a March 1st game with thanks to YouTube via NBB, and I also saw him play against Mogi in a February 9th match also with thanks to YouTube via NBB.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared in those contests, as well as how his skills may translate to the NBA.

Yago Dos Santos is a skilled playmaker that can shoot and pass the basketball, and he has good speed and court vision that allows him to make numerous plays on offense.  He is a very good shooter that can make an impressive array of threes to effectively space the floor for his team.  He has a knack for making open long-range jumpers both off the catch and dribble, and he really excels at knocking them down when opponents give him ample room to shoot the ball. 

Plus, he also can quickly run off screens to make quick threes from beyond the arc.  Dos Santos has a very quick release that allows him to easily get his shot off, and he has a lot of range on his shot, as he can make threes from way out with ease.  But sometimes he can be streaky with his jump shot, as he may be prone to rushing and taking contested jumpers that can lead to misses.

Also, he is a good scorer off the dribble.  Dos Santos is a fast player that can score and draw many free throws on speedy drives in transition, as he can really accelerate to get to the hoop.  He also can score on aggressive half-court drives.  He also can use ball-handling moves to create separation between himself and his defender, as he was able to make a pull-up, mid-range jumper from the left elbow.

Dos Santos also displayed solid playmaking skills.  He is quick, agile playmaker that can deftly push the ball up the floor, and he does a good job of throwing interior passes to set up numerous scores for his teammates.  He is a patient player that possesses good court vision, and he can use swift ball handling moves to set up a nifty pass, as he was able to use a quick ball fake to throw a fancy no-look pass to a teammate to get an assist late in the game against Mogi.  Plus, he also can consistently hit the trailer in transition after dribbling swiftly up the floor.  But sometimes, he can be a bit too hasty in throwing his passes, which can lead him to throw balls away, but generally, Dos Santos did a very good job of making plays and running the point in both games.

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He can get boards off of tap outs and both ends of the floor, and he will tend to push the ball up the floor off of defensive rebounds.  He also played adequate defense.  Dos Santos will hustle back on defense, and he will either funnel his man into help and he also can get his opponent to pass out of a fast break scoring opportunity.  Plus, he does a good job of jumping on loose balls, as he can help his team get some steals.  He also was able to hold his ground when defending in the post, and he also managed to actively contest a three to force a miss.

However, sometimes he can struggle to defend screens, and on one play, he trailed his man, as his team allowed the opponent to score on a pull-up, mid-range jumper.  His lack of size can at times make it difficult for him to successfully challenge jumpers, though he will aggressively close out on them.  Another time, he got beat off of a dribble by an opposing ball handler and ended up committing a reach-in foul when defending his man on the break.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that though he generally played well in both games combined, the NBB may not be considered to be quite as good of a professional league than some of the others.  Recently, their top draft prospects from last year were George de Paula and Lucas Dias Silva, both of whom I was fairly high on, but so far, neither has reached the NBA.  Surprisingly, Dias Silva was not able to get a summer league invite, and de Paula may be more of a project player than initially thought, and according to RealGM, he did not receive much playing time in the G-League this year.

Therefore, for Dos Santos to secure a spot in the second round this year, he will may need to both play at the Adidas Eurocamp and play well there, and he will also need to fare well in workouts.  Otherwise, he may have to consider moving up to the Spanish ACB League, or he may have to find a way to get on a team that will participate in the Eurocup or Euroleague.

Right now, Dos Santos looks to be a second round prospect for the 2018 NBA Draft.  His lack of size and questionable competition level might prevent him from being taken early by an NBA team, but his ability to shoot, pass, and make plays on offense could make him an intriguing candidate for NBA teams to select in the mid to late second round range on draft day, as he could end up being an effective role player similar to Chucky Atkins in the league.

Other Notes:

I was also able to watch Mogi’s 6-11, 1996-born center, Wesley Sena play against Paulistano in the February 9th game.  He is a tough, mobile big man that can get strong scores and rebounds around the basket, and he also was able to show off some perimeter skills on offense.  In this game, Sena excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He had a knack for grabbing offensive rebounds, as he was able to score on a strong put back, and he also drew free throws on another put back.  He also managed to draw free throws on an aggressive cut to the basket.  He also ran the floor and was open late in the game, but no one was able to get the ball to him that time.

Sena also showed off a decent ability to score off the dribble.  He was able to score on a floater after driving aggressively from the high post, as he showed off good strength and scoring touch that time.  On a separate play though, he used a pump fake to drive to his left, but he ended up missing off the glass.  He also attempted to take an open, spot-up three off the catch, but he was unable to connect from long distance.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills for a player his size. He showed a willingness to pass out of the post, though one of his passes ended up being deflected before going right back to him.  He also can throw outlet passes off of defensive rebounds.  Plus, Sena will often set on-ball screens, and he can set a firm, physical screen to help get his teammates open on offense.  But sometimes, he may not get enough steam on his passes, as he can be prone to getting one of his passes intercepted or to throwing a ball away, which can lead him to commit turnovers.

Also, Sena did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would crash the glass to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he would chase down balls to collect them.  However, there was one play where he leaked out too early in an attempt to get open for a transition scoring opportunity, but the other team had rebounded the ball instead, and ended up scoring on a put back.  Plus, he also played decent defense.  Sena has decent footwork when defending opposing ball handlers out on the perimeter, as he will actively contest threes, and he can get them to pass the basketball.  Also, he was able to step up on a fast break drive, as he managed to alter a shot to force a miss.

However, sometimes he can be a bit undisciplined on the defensive end, as he may be prone to biting on a pump fake that led to a score for the other team, and he also ended up fouling an opponent on a drive in transition.  Also, on a separate play, he sagged too far off of an opposing ball handler when switched onto him on a screen, as he gave up too much space that allowed his man to score on a pull-up three.

In summary, Wesley Sena has only been a back end of the rotation player for Mogi, and although Mogi was one of the best teams in the NBB this year, Sena will probably not get drafted, as he is automatically eligible and still has not received an ample amount of playing time this year.  He will likely still need to improve his skills on offense, and he will need to get regular playing time to show that he can consistently play well at this level.  If he works hard over the years and finds a way to get into the NBA, he could perhaps end up being a back end of the rotation player similar to Malik Allen in the association.

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