NBA Draft Volume II: Terrence Shannon Jr., Chris Duarte, Aaron Henry
NBA Draft Volume II: Terrence Shannon Jr., Chris Duarte, Aaron Henry
One of the most sought-after commodities in the NBA is two-way wings. Organizations are searching for perimeter players who can guard the all-star or high-scoring forward on the opposing team. NBA teams are also looking for wings that can shoot. Terrence Shannon and Aaron Henry are highly regarded as two of the better wing defenders and athletes in the class with various offensive skills as well. Chris Duarte is an elite shooter with positional size. With the NBA Draft quickly approaching, let’s take a look at these three draft prospects.
Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Sophomore, Texas Tech
Terrence Shannon Jr. is a sophomore wing out of Texas Tech who averaged 12.9 points per game (PPG), 4.0 rebounds per game (RPG), and 1.4 assists per game (APG) on 44.8 percent from the field with a 55.1 percent true shooting percentage. He also accumulated 1.1 steals per game (SPG). Shannon also displayed improvement in his three-point percentage from 26 percent to 36 percent taking three attempts a game compared to 1.2 last year.
Shooting a higher percentage on more volume is an encouraging sign for his long-term shooting projection. Shannon Jr. was able to shoot mainly off of the catch being assisted on 70 percent of his makes but showed some ability to shoot off the dribble and create for himself. Texas Tech was about seven points better per 100 possessions with him on the floor than off.
Defensive Versatility/Offensive Flashes
The main draw in favor of Terrence Shannon as a prospect is his defensive ability. The sophomore displayed an abundance of versatility being able to guard multiple positions at a high level. Shannon’s switchability onto point guards, shooting guards, wings, as well as post players is going to be a significant asset for NBA defenses to deploy. His team defense using his speed, active hands, and sturdy frame to make rotations will be a translatable skill immediately.
Shannon also exhibited more comfortability handling the basketball and creating for himself and others. He was able to beat his defender off of the dribble using his strength and quickness. His finishing at the rim numbers was extremely solid, shooting 68 percent at the rim on 84 attempts, being assisted at 42.1 percent according to Barttorvik.com. In my opinion, Terrence Shannon’s combination of exceptional slashing and shot creation flashes, an improved jump shot from three-point range, and high-level defense on and off the ball warrants at least a top 25 selection in the 2021 NBA Draft.
He displays pristine lateral quickness against speedy guards, quick hands, and the strength to guard various wing players as well. Having defenders like Gary Harris, Marcus Smart, Jrue Holiday, and Fred VanVleet who can effectively guard the NBA’s best point guards at the point of attack is an extremely valuable asset to NBA teams, especially in a playoff setting.
Switchability & Guarding Up/Down the Lineup
In this clip, Trendon Watford of LSU, who is 6’9 and has about three inches of height and 30 pounds on Terrence Shannon Jr, tries to drive against him. Shannon beats him to the spot, Watford spins and attempts to shoot over the top. Shannon displays the foot speed, verticality, and strength to bump him off of his spot and force a tough shot. This is a superb display of individual defense.
Point of Attack Defense
In the second clip, Shannon uses his quick hands and length at the point of attack to steal the ball right from the ball handler. He then caps off the play by displaying his huge athleticism with a thunderous dunk. Shannon can be a nuisance for guards trying to initiate the offense.
In the third clip, Terrence Shannon is able to show off his budding self-creation skills. Shannon only had ample opportunity to initiate sets and be a secondary creator for himself and others due to Mac McClung playing a majority of his minutes on the ball. Shannon being able to attack switches will be an asset to his offensive package. He gets Marcus Garrett, who is an exceptional defender switched off of him. Next, he is able to crossover the defender and hit the three-pointer.
Strong Attacking/Finishing at the Rim
In the final clip, Terrence Shannon is able to use his quick and explosive bounce and strength off of the catch to finish at the rim over the big. He was able to convert 68 percent on 84 attempts at the rim. Shannon has a quick first step where he is able to get past his defender on drives or cuts. He can slash to the rim with great force and speed.
In conclusion, every NBA team is looking for versatile wings who can defend and hit three-pointers. Shannon fits the description at 6’6 as a defender who can guard on the ball and off, play competent team defense, and can shoot from a distance while showing flashes of creation and passing for himself and his teammates. Shannon will have to prove that the shooting leap is real as well as tighten his handle and decision-making for himself and others.
Chris Duarte, G/F, Senior, Oregon
Chris Duarte has had a very inspiring journey to arrive at this point in his career. He was born in Puerto Plata, the Dominican Republic before coming over to the United States. Duarte then attended Northwest Florida State Junior College for two years before going to the University of Oregon. He accumulated many accolades during his senior season while becoming one of the better players in college basketball, such as the Jerry West shooting guard of the year award, Pac-12 player of the year, Pac-12 All-Defensive Team, and Second Team All-American.
Three-Point Shooting/Shot Versatility
The appeal with Duarte starts with his three-point jump shot. Three-point shooting and players who can space the floor effectively are of great importance to NBA teams. He averaged 17.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.9 STL, and 2.7 APG on 53.2 percent from the field and a scorching 42.4 percent from the three-point range on 65.7 percent true shooting percentage. Duarte also reached the free-throw line three times a game shooting 81.0 percent from the stripe. He is a career 80.3 percent free-throw shooter, which is a good indicator that the three-point shooting is real. Duarte has also shown the ability to shoot in a myriad of ways. He’s comfortable shooting off of the dribble, executing dribble handoffs, relocating, and NBA teams are always searching for floor spacers who can shoot, and Duarte definitely fits the bill.
Shot Creation for Himself/Others
Chris Duarte’s ability to create offense for himself is a big part of his game. NBA teams look for players that can create offense when the shot clock is winding down, or for players who can fill it up off of the bench. Duarte displays superb footwork, a nifty handle, and various shot fakes to create open looks for himself. He can score at all three levels from three, the mid-range, and at the rim. He can make basic reads in the pick and roll as a secondary creator. Presently, he is more adept at scoring out of actions than passing, but he can do it.
In this clip, Duarte is able to stop and start while crossing over his defender for a deep stepback three over the bigger defender. His ability to beat switches off of the dribble and at the rim will be extremely beneficial for an NBA offense.
Shot Variety/Off Ball Equity
In the first clip, Chris Duarte shows his value of moving without the ball. Oregon runs a flare screen to set up an open three-point look for him and drains it. He shot an unbelievable 47.7 percent on catch-and-shoot jump shots this year at Oregon. He can successfully execute actions off of pin downs, flare screens, and stagger screens. No doubt, he is a well-rounded shooter.
Cutting is Spacing & Spacing is Cutting
Cutting is also an underrated skill that Duarte possesses. He has shown the capability of leveraging his shooting gravity by back-cutting defenders who play too tight of coverage or lose focus. He has a quick first step, so once he gets a bit of space it is tough to catch up to him. Cutting is not only a useful skill to score, but is an underrated aspect of spacing as well. Many teams in the NBA run a variety of their sets through bigs or forwards at the top of the key or in the post, so Duarte’s cutting can have an impact as far as scoring or setting up opportunities for others.
In the second clip, Duarte fakes like he is going to run a dribble hand-off with Eugene Omoruyi, but then back cuts the defender for the wide-open dunk. He has shown great ability moving without the ball to finish at the rim to score as well as set up an opportunity for a teammate.
Knowledgable Team Defense
Chris Duarte’s team defense is more of a positive than his individual defense right now. He has shown flashes of excellent on-ball defense, but the questions on that end will be due to his thin frame at 190 pounds, as well as possibly being a bit slow to defend guards and not tall enough to defend wing-sized players. However, Duarte has exemplified an understanding of using his quickness and length to get into passing lanes, as well as when to rotate from the weak side for blocks to protect the rim, as well as using his positional size to beat players to the spot.
In this clip, Duarte recognizes the defender getting beat on the switch, so he rotates over for the block to protect the rim. He has shown numerous instances of rotating to block shots as well as being in the right spot positionally. His height, length, and athleticism will be an asset on the defensive end of the floor.
Shooting Ability Opens Attacking the Rim
Chris Duarte has shown an ability to finish at a high at the basket. He shot 57.3 percent at the rim, assisted on 31.7 percent of the 63/110 attempts. He shows fearlessness and a willingness to attack the rim. Using his deadeye shooting ability to his advantage opens up lanes to the basket. A draw for NBA teams in regards to his game is that he can create offense for himself by getting to the rim at an exceptional rate. In the final clip, Chris Duarte is able to beat the slower defender off of the dribble and throw down the emphatic dunk.
In conclusion, Chris Duarte is a dynamic three-point shooter that can score at all three levels, create offense for himself and others, play effective team defense, as well as provide height and length in the backcourt. The individual defense, as well as the decision-making on offense, are areas of improvement going forward. Duarte will be 24 years old at the time of the draft, so he may not have a ton of upside. Moreover, he will be a contributor immediately in the NBA due to his experience. A playoff contender looking to compete and win right now would make the most sense as far as landing spots in the draft.
Aaron Henry, G/F, Junior, Michigan State
Aaron Henry is a junior wing out of Michigan State University. The Indiana native averaged 15.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.6 APG on 44.9 percent from the field, and 29.6 percent from the three-point territory on 52.1 percent true shooting percentage. Henry has improved his game across the board in all aspects. He saw a spike in production and productivity in points, rebounds, free-throw shooting, and assists each year at Michigan State. The only percentage that regressed this season was his three-point shooting, which could be attributed to being the focal point of opposing defenses. He shot 76.2 percent from the free-throw line and 72.9 percent across the years, which is an indicator that the three-point shooting will be respectable
Elite Defensive tools
The component of Aaron Henry’s game that should translate instantly is his defensive ability. At 6’6 with a 6’10 wingspan, Henry can effectively guard point guards at the point of attack, off guards, and some wings depending on opposing personnel. Henry having the length and the wingspan leads me to believe that he can guard a majority of the wings in the league. Personally, a case can be made that he can guard a wing in the ilk of a Paul George, Devin Booker, or Kawhi Leonard and hold his own. At 210 lbs, he can absorb contact from more physical guards or forwards. Having some bulk as well as a long wingspan at 6’6 with quick hands and lateral quickness makes for an extremely diverse defensive profile.
Henry averaged 1.3 steals per game as well as 1.3 blocks per game. His defense is underrated in parts of the game that go unnoticed. He uses his length and quickness to effectively close out to shooters one on one as well as making rotations off of the ball. He can get into the airspace of shooters due to his long wingspan and his ability to stay within range of shooters. Like former MSU guard and current Orlando Magic, Gary Harris, he is superb at disrupting dribble handoffs. Another element of his defense that is underrated is his willingness to fight over and through screens. He is able to bridge the gap and recover to the ball handler quicker than most defenders.
Aaron Henry is a left-handed player but his ability to be ambidextrous and use his right or left hand to finish in the paint is a valuable skill. Henry made it more of an emphasis to look for his shot this year, as evidenced by his increase in shots attempts from nine to 13 a game. He added more offensive skills to his game in his junior season. He was able to use his right or left hand in the post against smaller guards using his physical frame.
The floater is also a very prevalent shot in the NBA, with guards having to use it against various defensive coverages such as the drop. In the first clip, Henry displays patience in the pick and roll by getting the defender on his back and shooting a righty floater over the defender. The in-between game has been a nice addition to his repertoire.
Isolation/Point of Attack Defense
Aaron Henry’s isolation on defense is fantastic. He can move his feet with the quicker guards and absorb contact from the bigger and more physical wing players. In this clip, Jaime Jaquez tries to create versus Henry but does not get far. Henry is able to slide his feet, bump him off of his spots on the spin moves, and then uses his length to swat the shot.
Shooting is the Swing Skill
The three-point shot is going to be a gigantic swing skill for Aaron Henry. The stout defense, positional size, and athleticism are all bankable skills. However, if Aaron Henry can shoot league average from three he can outplay his draft position by a decent margin. He shot 38.5 percent on one attempt his freshman year, 34.4 percent on three attempts, and 29.6 percent on similar volume his junior year.
His main use in the NBA will most likely be as a catch-and-shoot jump shooter, but he showed this season that he can shoot of movement as well. In the clip below, Michigan State sets up horns set with Henry operating at the elbow. After seeing Franz Wagner get caught on the screen, he comes off and drills the three with confidence.
Aaron Henry put pressure on the basket in many ways. He can attack off of the catch, off of the dribble, and cut off of the ball. Henry can finish using both hands and display his athleticism at the rim. According to Barttorvik.com, he shot 64 percent at the rim on 63 attempts while being assisted 51 percent of the time. One of the more impressive aspects of his finishing ability is the craft he uses inside. In this clip, he runs a pick and roll while the defense is not fully set, the defense miscommunicates, and Henry throws down a thunderous slam.
Increased Playmaking Responsibility
Aaron Henry has seen a jump in his assists per game each year at Michigan State. He averaged 1.6, 2.9, and almost four during his three years respectively. Henry was tasked with creating more for himself and others this year and he excelled in that role. He averaged 3.6 assists to 2.9 turnovers a game. His passing also was not one-dimensional either. Henry became a capable playmaker in his junior year
He had more responsibility running pick and rolls, where he was able to score and pass to rollers or make skip passes to shooters. The versatile forward can also pass on the move, off of the dribble, and out of the post. In this clip, Henry takes his man off of the dribble to the baseline, sees he takes two to the ball, pivots out for the nice bounce pass for the dunk.
Lastly, Henry’s individual and team defense, positional size, length, and athleticism are all translatable skills as soon as he enters the league. The jump shot is a work in progress but should be seen with optimism due to his free throw shooting and two-year shooting sample from three-point range.
He will be tasked with guarding the league’s best point guards immediately, as well as some wing players. His capability running pick and rolls and improved decision-making will also be an asset to an NBA offense. If he can prove that he can shoot as well as being able to stay on the floor offensively, he can carve out a role as a high-level rotation player. Personally, Henry’s attributes and potential should garner first-round consideration.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images