After one of its most successful tournaments in recent memory last year — which saw six players get drafted and a total of 16 players earn NBA contracts (including two-way and 10-day deals) — the 2017 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament was once again loaded with talent.
Nobody clearly separated themselves from the field like Colorado’s Derrick White did last year — White worked himself into the first round of the 2016 Draft — but once again a handful of players have a shot to hear their names called during June’s draft this year.
Here’s the top performers in order of how we’d rank them from an NBA prospect perspective (full stats available HERE)…
Gary Clark (Cincinnati) 6-7, 219 lbs, 6-10 WS, 8’10 SR, 23.6 age (as of draft night)
Stats: 12.3 ppg, 1.3 apg, 5.3 rpg, 0.7 spg, 0.7 bpg, 51.9 FG%, 6-13 3FGs, 3-3 FTs
Clark didn’t have the strongest showing at Portsmouth, but watching him in person it was easily to project him into a role at the next level. He shot well from the perimeter, can defend up to three positions and also brings a lot to the table in terms of intangibles. He plays an old school style, but his versatility helps him in today’s NBA as does his shooting and passing ability. As the only player of the year from a major conference at the event, Clark didn’t blow away the competition statistically but has a strong resume to fall back on. He was also the only conference defensive player of the year in attendance and should have done enough to get invited to the NBA Combine.
Devon Hall (Virginia) 6’5, 211 lbs, 6’9 WS, 8’6 SR, 23.0 age
Stats: 17.3 ppg, 3.3 apg, 5.7 rpg, 1.7 spg, 3.3 A/TO ratio, 43.2 FG%, 11-13 FTs, 9-15 3FGs
Hall isn’t the quickest or most explosive, but he stands out on the court because he has such a well-rounded game. The 6-foot-5 guard contributed across the box score in Portsmouth and ranked first in three-point shooting while hitting the second most attempts. A legitimate shooter with a solid floor game, a high IQ and the ability to defend both backcourt positions, he projects as a ball moving two-guard at the next level and should be under consideration for an NBA Combine invite.
George King (Colorado) 6’6, 212 lbs, 7’0 WS, 8’6 SR, 24.4 age
Stats: 18.0 ppg, 1.7 apg, 7.7 rpg, 0.7 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 2.5 A/TO ratio, 57.9 FG%, 3-3 FTS, 7-13 3FGs
For the second straight year, a player from Colorado was among the biggest surprises. King was someone we had our eye on coming into the event because of his 7-foot-0 wingspan, rebounding and three-point shooting, but we didn’t include him among our top most intriguing prospects because he was already 24 and didn’t show much offensive skill beyond shooting in Boulder. In Portsmouth, though, King was not only one of the best defenders in attendance but also one of the most productive offensively. He benefited from his advanced age and physical tools, but the 6-foot-6 wing created shots off the dribble for himself and even made plays for others at times. All in all, he took care of the ball and showcased himself well as a three-and-D prospect. He’ll need to build off his success in Portsmouth to get drafted as he doesn’t have the greatest upside or most intriguing skillset, but he was one of the more NBA-ready players in this year’s field.
Elijah Stewart (USC) 6’4, 195 lbs, 6’11 WS, 8’5.5 SR, 22.6 age
Stats: 16.0 ppg, 3.0 apg, 4.7 rpg, 1.0 spg, 1.7 bpg, 4.5 A/TO ratio, 46.2 FG%, 5-6 FTs, 7-17 3FGs
Like King, Stewart showed himself well as a three-and-D prospect, but Stewart — who’s still only 21 and not as developed physically — might have more upside. He isn’t as ready to contribute at the next level now, but he was among the rangiest defenders in Portsmouth and has excellent end-to-end speed. A long-strider, Stewart is more explosive than King as well, but his strength limits him from making as much of an impact on the boards. The 6-foot-5 guard isn’t much of a facilitator despite the posting the third best A/TO ratio in Portsmouth and he needs to improve as a finisher, but he takes care of the ball and gets open for lobs in transition. A good looking shooter who can connect from range off one or two dribbles, Stewart is a prime candidate to earn a two-way contract in the G-League.
Kenrich Williams (TCU) 6’7, 205 lbs, 6’8 WS, 8’7.5 SR, 23.6 age
Stats: 7.0 ppg, 1.3 apg, 8.0 rpg, 2.0 spg, 0.6 bpg, 0.6 A/TO ratio, 40.9 FG%, 2-9 3FG, 1-2 FTs
Williams performed better defensively than expected but statistically he had a rough showing offensively. The 6-foot-7 forward struggled from the NBA three-point line, which combined with his free throw struggles (he’s never shot better than 69 percent from the stripe in his career) raises concerns about the legitimacy of his college three-point shooting (he shot a career-high 39.5 percent from three as a senior). Still, Williams remains intriguing because of his instincts and rebounding. He crashes the glass, can defend at least two positions and didn’t appear to play as poorly offensively as his numbers indicate (he had a couple strong takes to the rim). But he didn’t help his stock with this showing either.
Thomas Wilder (Western Michigan) 6’3, 180 lbs, 6’8 WS, 7’11 SR, 23.1 age
Stats: 12.7 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.0 rpg, 1.3 spg, 0.3 bpg, 2.0 A/TO ratio, 50.0 FG%, 9-10 FTs, 3-12 3FGs
We felt like Wilder was one of the most underrated prospects heading into the event, and although he didn’t produce enough to elevate himself into garnering more national recognition, his quickness and playmaking ability — the main reasons we’re intrigued by him — were on full display. The 6-foot-3 guard created separation as well as anyone at the event with his advanced ball handling skills which he used to hit a number of floaters and stepback jumpers. Often times it looked like he could get wherever he wanted. But Wilder — who shot above 40 percent from three between his sophomore and junior seasons only to shoot 32.4 percent from range as a senior — struggled to shoot from the outside. He also doesn’t have an ideal frame to handle contact at the next level and his feel for the game is a work in progress as he adjusts to being a floor general, not just a playmaker. Still, he checks a lot of boxes and could be a real NBA prospect if he’s able to ease concerns about his shooting.
Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure) 6’2, 190 lbs, 6’4 WS, 8’0 SR, 22.1 age
Stats: 14.0 ppg, 4.7 apg, 4.3 rpg, 1.0 spg, 3.5 A/TO ratio, 45.7 FG%, 4-8 FTs, 6-17 3FGs
While at St. Bonaventure, Adams developed a reputation as a scoring guard but in high school he was purely a table setter for Villanova’s Phil Booth and Ohio State’s Kam Williams, both more highly-touted guards at the time. So it was no surprise that Adams exceled both as a scorer and a facilitator in Portsmouth, although he didn’t get a ton of help from his teammates, including Houston’s Rob Gray who had one of the more disappointing showings among the prospects in attendance. Adams looked like a natural in the pick-and-roll and showed the ability to score at all three levels. He’s not the most physically imposing player, but he’s competitive and knows how to play. A two-way contract should be in his future.
Jo Lual-Acuil (Baylor) 6’11, 229 lbs, 7’4 WS, 9’4 SR, 24.2 age
Stats: 10.3 ppg, 1.0 apg, 10.3 rpg, 0.7 spg, 1.7 bpg, 1.5 A/TO ratio, 55.6 FG%, 1-2 FTs
The former Baylor center was the event’s leading rebounder on a per-40 basis. He also protected the rim and found success in pick-and-rolls. As someone who’s relatively new to basketball, Lual-Acuil has an NBA ceiling even though he’ll likely need to prove himself in the G-League first. That’s the route Johnathan Motley, Lual-Acuil’s former teammate at Baylor, took to the league after he went undrafted last year. Lual-Acuil was the best center prospect in attendance in our opinion.
Best of the rest (in order):
Dakota Mathias (Purdue) – 6’3.5, 198 lbs, 6’6 WS
High IQ, well-rounded SG. Lacks athleticism/defensive versatility.
Angel Delgado (Seton Hall) – 6’9, 245 lbs, 7’0 WS
Big-bodied, rebounding big man. Lacks skills/plays mostly below the rim.
Kendrick Nunn (Oakland) – 6’3, 191 lbs, 6’7 WS
Talented scoring guard with impressive frame. Character concerns/not a facilitator.
Johnathan Williams (Gonzaga) – 6’9, 222 lbs, 7’1.5 WS
Tough, athletic big man with solid skillset. PF/C tweener.
Isaiah Wilkins (Virginia) – 6’6.5, 232 lbs, 7’2 WS
High IQ forward, excellent team defender. Not a great athlete/lacks offensive skill.
Jaylen Barford (Arkansas) – 6’2.5, 213 lbs, 6’4 WS
Excellent one-on-one scorer. Undersized even at PG; not a facilitator.
Hayden Dalton (Wyoming) – 6’9, 192 lbs, 6’11 WS
Toolsy combo forward with two-way potential and upside. Thin frame/still a couple years away.
Yante Maten (Georgia) – 6’8.5, 255 lbs, 7’1 WS
Productive college PF with high motor and solid shooting touch. Projects as an undersized center at the next level.
AJ Davis (UCF) – 6’8.5, 213 lbs, 6’11.5 WS
Versatile, high-motor defender with strong pedigree/upside. Unpolished perimeter skillset.
Jeff Roberson (Vanderbilt) – 6’6, 218 lbs, 6’10.5 WS
Multi-positional defender with solid all-around game. Lacks standout attributes.
Matt Farrell (Notre Dame) – 6’, 174 lbs, 6’4 WS
High IQ PG with great offensive skillset. Undersized and not very athletic.
Justin Tillman (VCU) – 6’7.5, 215 lbs, 7’3 WS
High energy big man with soft touch around the rim. Offensive skillset of a center.