Scouting the 2017 Portsmouth Invitational: NBA Draft Prospects

In my 4th trip to PIT this by far the best event.  This senior class isn’t particularly exceptional but some of the best seniors came, making the talent level higher.  Also less tradational big men were invited this year, so instead of classic PIT lineups with two 6’10”ers clogging up the middle, the lineups were more modern and translatable.  The games were more fluid, the rosters were put together better so there weren’t so many horrible team fits, and it produced better offense, more ball movement than normal and pretty high scores.

With NBA rosters expanding even more, it seems the hunt for end of roster talent has picked up rapidly.  NBA teams had anywhere from 3-10 front office members at PIT.  Some teams use this as a pre-draft process meeting place but still, the gym was packed with NBA scouts.

600 Spots

NBA teams already have had to search for: 2nd round picks, training camp guys to fight out for a final roster spot, and 4 affiliate players for your D-League team.  And now add on two 2-way contracts they have to fill out.  Also were up to 25 D-League teams.  If all these spots are filled, basically the NBA at capacity, 100 D-League affiliate spots, 50 2-way contracts, and the 450 NBA guaranteed rosters spots, that’s 600 players the NBA will be giving decent money to.  

Tough to know what teams will give out for training camp money to their D-League affiliate players but typically a players gets at least $25-100K + an ‘A’ D-League Contract + (any NBA call-ups they get during the season).  600 players is a lot of slots to fill and a lot of talent being kept stateside.

NBA Draft Prospects at PIT

Derrick White (1.5, Colorado, 22.8 years)

The top prospect in Portsmouth.  PG or combo guard, basketball is headed to multi-playmaker lineups and White fits into that modern style quite well.  White plays at his pace, always looked very in control.  Tough shot maker, hit some 3’s with a defender draped over him.  White also used his shot blocking ability, knocked a Jabari Bird layup right off the backboard (4 blocks in 3 games).  He could even climb into the late 1st round/early 2nd round of the Draft. Only scratching the surface of his talent.

Kadeem Allen (1.0, Arizona, 24.2 years)

Allen is a big, athletic PG.  Even in the pick up ball style PIT can drift into he stood out by playing real basketball.  Quick decision, automatic shots, pressure defense.  Allen seems to already know his role and is comfortable in it.  And defensively is really where he has an advantage, so big, strong, and athletic.  He just hunts down other guards.  Best guard defender at PIT. One European scout called him, “the most interesting prospect.”

Jabari Bird (2.5, California, 22.7 years)

NBA level athlete. Very efficient game. Shoots spot-up 3’s or attacks the basket, gets all the way to the rim or drew fouls.  He’s physical, strong, and has a good vertical leap.  Routinely would go in for spin fishes or put down alley-oops during the week.  Fits the mold of a modern wing, really helped himself at PIT.

Sterling Brown (2.5, SMU, 22.1 years)

Competitive and intense, Brown brings a lot to the court.  Really an interesting playmaker off the dribble and at 6’5”/225lbs, it’s a unique combination.  Brown showed off his all-around game, good at attacking and facilitating. Active defensively, top 5 in steals.  Strong, has a pro-ready frame.  An NBA scout said, “Had him in my top 60 draft prospects all season.”

Davon Reed (3.0, Miami, 21.8 years)

Long and lean. Reed is smart, defends, and has NBA length for a wing.  This could get him drafted.  Picks his spots when to attack, can get by the initial defender but didn’t have the speed to get through the 2nd line of defense.  A lot of drives stopped outside the paint, leading to a mid-range game or kick-out pass.  Takes pride on defense. He’s still lean considering he has a 7’ wingspan.  Reed showed a lot of intellect in NBA interviews, one NBA scout calling him, “really smart, he’s like a scientist.”

Amida Brimah (5.0, UConn, 23.1 years)

Proved more in a few days at PIT than much of the past 2 years.  Brimah is absolutely huge, Almost 6’11” with a 7’6.5” wingspan.  And he’s active, loud, and vocal on defense.  Erased a number of shots, tied for tourney lead with 6 blocks.  Looked like a worthy NBA big man project.