Impressions of Players at the 2017 Nike Hoops Summit

April 8, 2017

By Alan Lu

On Friday, I was able to sit down and watch numerous talented prospects play at the 2017 Nike Hoops Summit.  Here are my thoughts on how they played, as well as how they may rate as prospects for the NBA.

Michael Porter Jr. put his whole skills on display, and he put forth a terrific showing to lead Team USA to a win at this event.  Porter really excelled at getting scores off the dribble.  He has a solid first step, and he has great acceleration and finishing ability to routinely score at the rim.  He also scored on many hustle plays, and he also managed to make a three, although he struggled more to shoot the basketball from the outside.

He also played unselfishly, as he would look to pass the basketball.  However, he would commit too many careless turnovers at times, as he would force the issue by trying to make plays in traffic.  Porter defended very well, as he is a rangy defender that can pick off passes, and he also managed to leap up to swat a shot to protect the paint for his team.  Right now, Michael Porter Jr. is a tremendously athletic, skilled basketball player that could perhaps end up being the top pick of the 2018 NBA Draft.

Jarred Vanderbilt is a really skilled combination forward that showed off a strong all-around game.  He made a deep three from beyond the arc to show his range.  Plus, he also is a gifted passer and ball handler that can set up scores for his teammates, and he also can quickly get scores off the dribble.  Vanderbilt also can get scores off of cuts and rolls, and he excelled at collecting rebounds and steals when he is on the floor.  He played really well here, and he could end up being a lottery pick in next year’s draft.

For the World team, Kostja Mushidi played very well.  Mushidi did a great job of making quick, spot up threes, as he has a quick release, and he can knock them down easily in the corners as well as in transition.  He also managed to score on a mid-range jump shot.  Plus, he is a good playmaker that passes and handles the ball well, and he possesses solid court vision.

He does not look to create his own shot off the dribble enough in the half court, and he can commit turnovers every once in a while due to carelessness, but overall, Mushidi turned in a strong performance, as he played the best among players that participated from the World squad.  Right now, he may likely be a good pick for an NBA team in the late first round of the 2017 draft.

Collin Sexton put forth a strong showing in a win for USA.  He is a gifted athlete that passes and defends really well, as he possesses great court vision, and he is a rangy defender that can quickly pick off passes and he can take them the other way for fast break scores.  Plus, Sexton excelled at getting scores off the dribble.  He will need to improve his jump shot, but Sexton is a smart, skilled point guard that could end up being a top 5 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Jaren Jackson Jr. had a strong showing in a double-digit win for USA.  Jackson really excelled at scoring, rebounding, and defending when he was on the floor, as he threw down a slew of thunderous dunks, including one off of a quick baseline drive from the high post.  Plus, he is a very good athlete that can quickly garner rebounds, and he also has the timing to swat many shots.  He did struggle with turnovers, but Jackson is a very talented big man that could end up being a first round pick in 2018.

Mohamed Bamba is a very tall, athletic big man that may have the skills to be an elite rim protector in the NBA one day.  He is a tremendous shot blocker that has great instincts, and he also leapt up high to pick off a pass to nab a quick steal for his team.  Bamba is an energetic player that can finish plays around the rim, rebound, block shots, and defend, and he could be one of the top center prospects to watch in 2018.

Tadas Sedekerskis quietly had a good game, though he also tended to blend into the background.  Sedekerskis excelled at knocking down spot-up threes, and he is a good athlete that can get scores on the break.  He is a good passer that can make accurate passes to his teammates, and he generally tended to play a smart brand of basketball.  Right now, he could be an intriguing prospect in the late first to the second round range of the draft for either this year or next year.

Isaiah Hartenstein turned in a mixed performance in the World team’s loss to Team USA.   Hartenstein neither started nor ended particularly well, but he played well midway through the game.  He is a big man that can shoot and pass the basketball, and he can block some shots. He also managed to excel at scoring on drives, despite looking awkward in his movements in taking it to the rim, but he struggled to defend the opposition as he had trouble keeping up with them, and he ended up in foul trouble.

Hartenstein also did not rebound as well as hoped, and he does not appear to nearly be the athlete as he was advertised.  Overall, Hartenstein put forth a decent box score stat line, but visually his play looked to be disappointing.  Right now, he could likely end up being picked in the mid to late first round range of the upcoming draft.

Borisa Simanic did not play very well, but he had his moments on occasion.  Simanic showed the ability to knock down a mid-range jumper, and he also is an adequate athlete that has the timing to block shots.  However, Simanic committed too many turnovers, was not strong with the basketball, and he struggled to move his feet defensively.  He did not seem to show a great feel for the game, as there were too many times where he would either be too passive or would make a careless play to hurt his team on the floor.  Right now, if he were to declare, perhaps an NBA team could pick him in the second round based on upside, but most likely he is not ready for the draft, and he should stay overseas to hone his overall game.

Like Simanic, 7-2 center Felipe Dos Anjos also did not play well.  Dos Anjos did not do much of anything at this event, but he is very tall, and he has very good size to play center in the NBA.  But he did not really seem to show much of anything when he was on the court, and he should stay overseas to hone his skills.

Other Notes:

Lindell Wigginton did a very good job of making floaters and mid-range jumpers, and he did a very good job of setting up scores for his teammates.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker also made a couple of threes early, and in the second half, he managed to score on an acrobatic drive to the hoop.  But he struggled to make shots consistently, and he also committed a handful of turnovers.  For college basketball, he shows promise as a player that could be a leading scorer on his team one day.

Overall, this was an interesting game with a lot of elite talent on the floor.  Most of the players will not be in the 2017 NBA Draft, but they will likely be in the 2018 draft.  Regardless, there will be some very interesting prospects for next season, as it will be fun to watch them play in either college basketball or overseas.

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