Thoughts on Terry Armstrong and Kouat Noi in an NBL Preseason Game
April 24th, 2020
by Alan Lu
Several weeks ago, South East Melbourne’s 6-6, 2000-born swingman Terry Armstrong declared his intentions to enter the 2020 NBA Draft. He is a U.S. born player who decided to go overseas to play in the NBL this year along with LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton, but unlike those two, Armstong didn’t play nearly as well or as much as them, and he was stapled onto the bench for most of the season. Armstrong doesn’t have nearly as much draft stock or game tape, for that matter, but some people seemed to be high enough on him to consider him as a candidate for the second round.
I decided to watch him play against Cairns in an NBL preseason game that took place on September 7th, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via National Basketball League. This also presented an opportunity to watch Kouat Noi play, who played for TCU and decided to turn pro but withdrew from last year’s draft. Here are my thoughts on how Noi and Armstrong fared, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.
Terry Armstrong is an athletic swingman that showed some interesting skills, as he has the potential to develop into an adequate player on both sides of the ball. He showed a decent ability to score off the dribble, and he would tend to go to his right to score on strong drives to the hoop. He also can draw fouls upon his defenders, as he possesses a good first step to the basket.
He didn’t take many jumpers or shots in general, and Armstrong did not take any threes in this game. He would tend to use a ball fake and then dribble towards the hoop when looking to score, but he was unable to make pull-up, mid-range jumpers when he hoisted them up.
He also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Armstrong is an unselfish player that can throw timely passes to find teammates on the move, and he will look to find the open man to set up scores for them. Sometimes though, he can be prone to committing ball-handling turnovers. He was called for traveling when looking to drive to the rim once, and he also was called for stepping out of bounds another time. Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Armstrong was able to leap up to get a defensive board, as he then pushed the ball up the floor afterwards.
He has the potential to excel defensively, but he will still need to improve significantly on this end. Armstrong was able to dive for a loose ball on the ground to tie up an opponent to nearly get a steal, but the possession arrow went to the other team. He also successfully defended an opponent on a drive on the break to force a miss once. On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to defend opponents off the dribble and fail to cut off the penetration, which would lead his team to allow scores. There was another play where he wandered too far away from his man and was late to rotate back, and he didn’t even contest the shot, which led him to allow his man to score on an open three-point shot.
Overall, Armstrong is a bit of a mystery man, as he was initially committed to going to Arizona before ultimately deciding to play for South East Melbourne in the NBL. He didn’t get much playing time though, and while he decided to enter the draft anyways, it seems to be a baffling decision, as he seems to have very little draft stock right now. It seems that from his playing style, that Armstrong could have greatly benefited from getting significant playing time if he were to have played for a team that would have given him those minutes, and it seemed that he may have overwhelmed by trying to have to make the transition to the NBL this year.
For the positives, he is an athletic combo guard that can ably create his own shot, but he will need to improve his jump shot and also look to improve his focus defensively. But mostly, he will need to find a team that could enable him to get solid rotation minutes next season. Southeast Melbourne didn’t really find a way to give him much playing time either in preseason or in the regular season, and that will certainly hurt Armstrong’s chances to get drafted. But if he can work hard on his game and overcome the likely obstacles he may face down the road, he could perhaps find a way to make it to the NBA, as he may be a similar player to current Charlotte Hornets guard, Kobi Simmons in the association.
Kouat Noi is an athletic, skilled swingman that will look to score the basketball, and he is a jump shooter that will look to space the floor for his team on offense. He is an adequate shooter that can make threes off the catch or dribble, and he brought the ball up once to make a pull-up three midway through this contest. On the downside, he is a streaky shooter that can sometimes be prone to rushing his shots, which can lead him to miss outside shots.
He also is an agile player that can get scores around the basket when he chooses to do so. Noi was able to score on a quick cut to the hoop on a give and go, and he also used a crossover to score on a smooth layup off the dribble. He didn’t look to attack the basket very often, but he would pick and choose his spots to go to the hoop to score.
Plus, he also ran the floor to score on a powerful dunk on the break. However, he would tend to miss on rushed drives in transition, as he doesn’t seem to change directions very well, and he had trouble scoring in traffic in this game.
He also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Noi looked to score quite often, but he also is a capable passer and ball handler when he is on the floor. He ran the floor and threw a nice touch pass on a give and go on the break to set up a score for his teammate, and he also can throw passes off the dribble. He did throw one pass that got deflected once, but he did a good job of not turning the ball over in this game.
Plus, he also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball. Noi was quite active at crashing the boards, and he would aggressively leap up to get defensive rebounds. Sometimes, he would also push the ball up the floor after getting them to help create early offense for his team.
He also played adequate defense. Noi has good length and athleticism to defend opposing ball handlers, and he would crowd them to make it difficult for them to dribble the ball, and he also was able to deflect a couple of passes out of bounds. He has possesses a solid motor, as he was able to quickly get back on defense to slow up the other team to force them to get into a half-court offense once.
Sometimes though, he can tend to over-help in the paint, which can lead him to being late to rotate back and to allow opponents to score on three-point shots. Other times, he may struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, as he may not show much resistance when guarding them, which can lead them to get scores around the basket.
Overall, Noi is a solid role player in the NBL, and he is an athletic, versatile scorer that can make shots in a variety of ways. He was a good acquisition for Cairns, and he could end up being a good player in that league for a long time. Noi is on the old side for a prospect, but according to RealGM, technically he is still eligible to be drafted this year, as he may be classified as an automatically draft-eligible prospect. As for the time being, he will need to make more shots consistently, and improve his ability to guard opponents out on the perimeter. He hasn’t shown up on any draft boards and is an unlikely candidate to get drafted, but he could be a 3 and D candidate for the NBA, as he could be a similar player to former Boston Celtics’ player, Chris Johnson in the NBA.