Skill Study: Post Centers

In part one of our Skill Study series, I look at up-and-coming import post players. Clips represent performance — the good and the bad. We’re not cherry-picking.

Gavin Ware (5.0, 24.0 years, 206cm, class of 2016, Levallois Metropolitans)

Post Player Type: Power, deep position, finishing

An animal. Establishes deep position, knocks defenders off balance, tremendous finisher with either hand. Good touch on baby hooks. Strong through-contact finishes. The best post player in this group.

Who he is

Former Mississippi State center who impressed at PIT and had a productive rookie season in Antwerp. Scoring machine, averaged 13.5 PPG in 24.4 MPG (16.6 per 30), has incredible power and touch. Trigger-happy from mid range. Good foul shooter. Weaknessess: Defense, maturity, general intangibles.

Numbers

2017-18 Post Stats: (all via Synergy Sports)

18 post finishes, 31 PTS (12/15 FG), 0 TOV, 0 kick passes that assisted a possession finish.

2016-17 Post Stats:

Generated 4.6 post PPG in 2016-17, through own score or pass. Finished on 1 PPP on individual post ups. Middling 16.7 percent pass rate in post ups. Average turnover rate in post ups. Turned the ball over on 13.3% of his post possessions. Draws shooting fouls at an average rate in the post. 11% of his post possessions finished in a shooting foul.


Assem Marei (5.0, 25.4 years, 205cm, class of 2015, Medi Bayreuth)

Post Player Type: Aggressive, footwork, Below the rim

More powerful than you’d think at first glance. Regularly backs big/heavy defenders down until right under the basket. Simple & effective game. Good footwork. Decent left hand. Pivots well. Uses the rim as protection against the shot blocker. Always follows his own shot. Below average foul shooter. Post game has come a long way. Has been improving year by year.

Who he is

High-motor, high-character former NCAA D2 player who came into Europe with Afrobasket experience and had a strong 2016-17 season with Bayreuth after a solid rookie season in LKL & FIBA Europe Cup with Siauliai. Has been one of the BBL’s best centers early in 2017-18, arguably top 3. Gets significantly better every season. Is a relentless worker, incredibly active on the offensive glass. Average defender. All things considered, the best all-around player amongst these four at this point. A competitor. Look out for an upwards move next summer.

Numbers

2017-18 Post Stats:

26 post finishes, 30 PTS (14/20 FG), 5 TOV, 6 kick passes that assisted a possession finish.

2016-17 Post Stats:

Serial post scorer. Generated 5 post PPG in 2016-17, through own score or pass. Finished on 0.76 PPP on individual post ups. Middling 20.6 percent pass rate in post ups. Low turnover rate in the post. Turned the ball over on 12.6% of his post possessions. Draws shooting fouls at an average rate in the post. 9% of his post possessions finished in a shooting foul.


Steve Taylor Jr. (5.0, 24.6 years, 202cm, class of 2017, JDA Dijon)

Post Player Type: Aggressive, POwer, faceup, Attacking

A lot of power, but fairly quick on his heels too. Loves to face up, put the ball on the floor and attack. Finishes through contact. Good touch at the rim. Good footwork. Right hand dominant. Makes contested finishes. Not as much used in the post so far in Dijon as he was in college.

Who he is

Rookie for Dijon. Already 24 and a half. Had an unfulfilling career at Marquette before transfering to Toledo. Serial post scorer in Toledo last season, 14th in the nation in post PPG generated through own score & kickout; 3rd in rebounds per game. Had a lot of freedom, took 79 jumpshots as a senior, made just 19. Impressed at PIT. Lousy, 50% foul shooter.

Numbers

2017-18 Post Stats:

7 post finishes, 10 PTS (5/6 FG), 1 TOV, 1 kick pass that assisted a possession finish.

2016-17 Post Stats:

One of the top post scorers in the country. 14th in NCAA D1 basketball in 2016-17 in post points generated (10.2 per game), through own score or pass. Finished on 0.86 PPP (55.3 FG%) on individual post ups. Above average 30.2 percent pass rate in post ups. Average turnover rate in the post. Turned the ball over on 15.4% of his post possessions.


Geoff Groselle (5.0, 24.6 years, Class of 2016, Eisbären Bremerhaven)

Post Player Type: Long, Pivoting, Lefty

Legit 7-footer. Not a huge arsenal of moves, but surprisingly good footwork and a clinical finisher. Serviceable off-hand. Pivots well. Very patient. Starting to draw double teams and coming along as a passer. Just average base strength, but not afraid of contact. Below average foul shooter. Not an accomplished, sure-fire volume post scorer yet, but must be monitored.

Who he is

Blue collar interior presence who goes to work in the paint. Last time he shot below 60% from the field for a season was his Freshman year at Creighton. Came into Braunschweig on a tryout contract as an unheralded rookie and ended up having a low key excellent season. The transfer to Bremerhaven may seem like a lateral move from afar but means a significant pay raise and guarantees plenty of touches & scoring opportunities. Not an elegant player but he gets things done & keeps improving. An upwards move to a playoff-level team within the BBL (or a similar league) next summer is realistic.

Numbers

2017-18 Post Stats:

17 post finishes, 29 PTS (13/14 FG), 2 TOV, 4 kick passes that assisted a possession finish.

2016-17 Post Stats:

Scored 3 post PPG in 2016-17, through own score or pass. Finished on 0.78 PPP on individual post ups. Middling 22.2 percent pass rate in post ups. A little turnover-prone in post ups. Turned the ball over on 17.9% of his post possessions. Draws shooting fouls at an average rate in the post. 11.1% of his post possessions finished in a shooting foul.