Below is the third part of a occasional series with NBA analysts providing their take on the Lakers’ needs heading into the 2015 NBA Draft on June 25. Below is a recent interview with Ryan Blake, who has been an NBA scouting consultant for over 30 years and is the President of Basketball Operations for Vantage Sports, Inc, a video analytics company.
What are your impressions of Emmanuel Mudiay? (Mudiay played overseas in China after originally committing to Southern Methodist).
Blake: “He’s a combo guard. He can run both spots and attacks the rim. He has a lot of strength and is a crafty ball handler. He’s a good floor man as well. He’s a different type of player. I like his maturity. I think Mudiay is more of a high risk, high reward guy. But I think he’s going to be a good player. Our guys from China really really like him. But he has to prove that he’s going to be a better shooter.”
How much of this is based off of film versus what people tell you?
Blake: “We have film of him with a company that I help run called Vantage Sports. It’s Synergy on steroids. We have a lot of advanced stats that nobody else has that help in terms of success on pick-and-rolls and percentages in that and in rebounding. We have all the video on that stuff. When we get stats and analytics, it’s automatically generated. But you want a full year of that. With those stats, it’s not just, ‘Oh, he has great stats.’ There are things that help confirm the eye test. Is he a good defender? There’s a lot of aspects in defending with closeouts and rotations and recognizing things. When it comes down to it, a lot of defense is based on knowledge and effort. A lot of things he does defensively is really really good. But he does have that handle and he does have that quickness. I think he has a maturity that is high.”
What are the risks still of drafting someone whose games aren’t readily available and without the chance to see him play in person?
Blake: Being high-risk, high reward, sometimes you take a Brandon Jennings who left high school and went overseas to play. Regardless of what happens, when you sign that contract, he’s eligible for the draft the following year. Jennings didn’t play a lot. It’s hard to really really gauge how good a player is regardless. He didn’t play a lot in Italy. But he was a good player and had all this skill. There’s a risk that if you go overseas and you get hurt and you don’t play, you’re still going to the draft. That didn’t happen with him. But he didn’t get a lot of games in. Dante Exum, he’s a high risk. He had a lot of skills. But he spent his time working out. He didn’t spend his time playing and getting experience. What’s so important that we agree on is the learning curve. All of that makes it very difficult to gauge.”