Observations on Henri Drell

May 29, 2019

by Alan Lu

Recently, I decided to take the time to watch Baunach’s 6-9 forward Henri Drell from Estonia, as he is a prospect that could potentially end up going in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft this year if he stays in it.  I was able to see him play in a German Pro A basketball game against BV Chemnitz 99 that was on November 24th, with thanks to YouTube via RZA Sports.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared in that game, as well as how his skills may translate to the NBA.

Henri Drell possesses an adequate ability to score on drives to the basket.  He has a fairly good first step to the hoop, and he can use either hand to finish plays around the basket.  Drell can use can ball handling moves to get his past his man, and he will also use long strides that can enable him to garner scores and free throws for his team.  Plus, he also does a good job of contorting his body in ways that enable him to frequently get foul calls.  Every once in a while, he may miss in traffic though, as he may try to force up tough shots on occasion.

He also can score on hustle plays.  Drell used a nice misdirection play to score on a quick cut, as he initially went out to the perimeter, and then dove to the rim to get the ball to score around the basket, but he can struggle to make jumpers consistently on offense.  Drell moves fairly well off the ball, as he was able to run the floor to score on a quick three in transition, and he also ran off of a curl to make a quick long two from the baseline.  However, he also struggled to make jumpers off the dribble, and he also had some trouble knocking down spot-up jumpers in this game.

He also will likely need to improve his playmaking skills.  For the positives, Drell will look to find the open man, and he can sometimes make good reads on the floor.  On one play, he was able to push the ball up the floor off of a defensive rebounds as he drove down court in transition, and he threw a nifty drop off pass to set up a score for his teammate.  However, he can ben inaccurate with his passes, he also over-dribble which can cause him to lose the basketball.  Drell will need to improve his ball handling, and he also has a tendency to try the force the issue too much, which can lead him to commit turnovers.

Drell also did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball.  He would leap up to get defensive boards to help his team in games, and sometimes he would push the ball up the floor.  However, sometimes he may not get boards in his area, which can lead him to commit fouls and allow put back scores.  He also played decent defense in this game.  Drell is an active help defender, as he has good timing and instincts to rotate to block shots to force misses, as he can swat shots when defending drives or three-point shots.  He also will play passing lanes, as he has the range and anticipation skills to get steals and deflections to help his team on defense.  He is a roamer that would rotate to contest shots off of cuts and rolls to force misses, and he also drew a charge on a fast break drive to get a stop for his team.

However, Drell’s heavy roaming tendencies might not help him as much in the NBA, though it certainly allowed him to play solid defense in this particular game.  More specifically, he might theoretically struggle to guard shooters, as he would tend to cheat way off his man to go for steals and blocks.  Sometimes he would help off his man, which would cause him to be late to rotate back, as he would then get beat off the dribble due to being slightly out of position.  He also doesn’t hold ground very well when defending in the post, as he was badly outmuscled on one play down low to allow a score once.  He also can tend to struggle to defend screens, as he trailed his man on a cut to allow a couple of scores.

In general, Henri Drell is a skilled, energetic combo forward that could project into a defensive specialist role at the next level.  He can attack the rim to get scores, and he also is an active rebounder and defender.  However, he will need to make more jump shots consistently and improve in the finer points of the game.  If he stays in the draft, he could end up potentially going in the late second round, as he could be a draft and stash candidate.  He will need more time overseas to work on his overall game, but if he continues to improve his game, he could perhaps end up being an effective role player in the NBA.