[Ed-Ace: As we begin to look to the next year of Michigan basketball, this is very much worth a front-page bump.]
Livers is an impressive passer from the top of the key. [Bryan Fuller]
As we look toward the future of basketball with the departures of Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin, I figured now would be a good time to examine one of our 17 incoming recruits in Isaiah Livers in the context of scouting/analysis as opposed to highlights.
This is similar to what I provide for college coaches in terms of depth, but perhaps not volume (this is a 2 game sample size from state playoffs, would likely provide coaches 4).
I broke this 4:23 clip into 4 segments:
a) Shooting - beginning to 1:14 mark
b) Ballhandling/Passing/Creating in Half Court - 1:15 to 2:58 mark
c) Post Offense - 2:59 to 3:50 mark
d) Transition Offense - 3:51 to end
3 point shooting numbers
Raw Numbers: 5/10 for 50%
Off the Catch: 2/5 for 40%
Off the Dribble: 3/3 for 100%
Off the Handoff Going Right: 0/1
Off the Jabstep/Isolation: 0/1
Midrange shooting numbers
Raw Numbers: 2/3 for 67%
Off the Dribble: 2/3 for 67%
Mechanics - True jumpshot with good elevation. Good mechanics on shot overall, but displays a slight kick in his legs at times that makes taking a balanced shot difficult. Good upper body mechanics, but release point is a bit late, causing shot to lack enough arch at times.
Off the catch - good shooter off the catch, difficult to block his shot based on elevation in conjunction with height/length. Will usually take a quality shot off the catch with a good chance of connecting
Off the Dribble - excellent shooter off the dribble going left. His ability to hit a stepback jumpshot off 1-2 dribbles from either midrange or 3 rates among the very best in the country for prospects of his size. Not as fluid as a shooter going right (common to many right hand prospects).
BALLHANDLING/PASSING/CREATING IN HALF COURT
Average to above average ballhandler for a prospect of his size. His dribble is hard enough to control the ball without threat of losing it when he has space to operate. His head is often down when he dribbles against pressure defense though, mitigating his ability to create for others because he doesn't see the entire floor. Doesn't have good enough first step acceleration to create separation off the dribble against guards/wings in a straight line. Doesn't display ability to change direction with the basketball when his defender beats him to the spot or helpside defense cuts off his initial straight line. Does not get all the way to the rim off the dribble based on lack of accelertaion and change of direction ballhandling. Prefers to go left with much more volume because that is where he is comfortable getting off his shots. Can get off his own shot going left off 1-2 dribbles. Not a real turnover risk when handling because he generally kicks the ball out when defender cuts him off or helpside cuts off drive after 2 dribbles. Not a high volume isolation/pick and roll prospect off the dribble at this point in his development in half court settings.
Very good passer from the top of the key and the free throw line area when he has space to operate and see the floor for a prospect of his size. Does a great job of leading teammates to open areas and gaps where they are in position to score. Better passer from stagnant position as opposed to off the dribble because his head is up and he can see over the top of the defense based on his size/height. Off the dribble, he is almost strictly a kick-out type prospect as opposed to a creator that will find bigs for easy dumpoffs once the helpside defense commits. Doesn't see the floor as well off the dribble. Would likely thrive as a passer at the FT line area against a 2-3 zone.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the offensive scouting report and a link to its defensive counterpart.]
Post game not really developed or fluid at this point. Does not effectively use pivot foot to create separation for clean looks. Slow movements in post area, fails to make aggressive moves in a straight line toward the middle or quick baseline spins moves that should be relatively easy for a prospect of his size and athletic ability. Fails to use size and strengh advantage to his benefit at the high school level. Consistently takes fadeaway jumpers/hooks after taking 2 dribbles to get closer to the basket. Does not embrace contact in paint area when receiving post entry passes. Tendency is to take 2 dribbles to get himself within 8-10 feet of the basket and then settle for fadeaway jumper or hook.
Runs the floor extremely well for a prospect of his size. Really fluid as a ballhandler in transition and consistently looks to get the ball in the middle of the floor to open up finishing lanes for teammates. As a transition ballhandler, he's much better as a passer than a fnisher. He finds the middle of the floor and generally finds teammates for good looks once the defense commits to cutting off the middle. He's a good finisher as the trailer in transition and displays the ability to finish with either hand with good elevation and body control. Great ability to be a rebound and go type at the next level with his combination of athleticism, size, ballhandling and passing.
Above average to good verticality. More fluid jumper off 1 leg but still gets good elevation off 2 legs.
Average to above average lateral agility for a prospect of his size. Displays ability to stay with guards/wings for 2 dribbles and will beat larger wings to the spot on defense at times. Ability to be above average perimeter defender with continued strength/conditioning and development at college level.
Average strength, not weak by any means, but doesn't necessarily use his strength advantage to his benefit at the high school level. Does not embrace contact in tight spaces at this point. Will need to develop more aggressive mentality in that regard
Straight Line Speed
Above average speed for a prospect of his size. Not a blazer, but can transition from defense to offense in hurry on a functional basis, either with, or without the ball.
Good athlete in space, but doesn't display quick-twitch athleticism in tight spaces when being defended. Generally needs space/running start to utilize athletic abilities
HIGH LEVEL SUMMARY
Likely Position in College
A small power forward that can stretch the defense with his shot and take advantage of bigger defenders on the perimeter off the dribble, at least early in his college careeer. After a few years of development, he has the potential to be more of a true small forward based on his lateral movement, athletic abilities, and ballhandling/passing skills. There are definitely some tools present in terms of being a playmaker in the half-court, but will need a bit of development to get to the desired level.
Definitely a very good shooter first and foremost. Will likely thrive in pick and pop action where he can catch and shoot from distance. Can also thrive in isolation situations occasionally against bigger defenders where he can utilize the midrange stepback off the dribble to get clean looks. Passing from the top of the key is a tremendous asset - has really good vision and leads teammates to open areas for clean looks. Good handler in transition that will find the middle of the floor and get the ball to teammates for easy layups. Above average/good athlete now with potential to be very good athlete with proper strength and conditioning development.
Areas for Development
Needs to develop ballhandling while keeping the head up and develop change of direction dribbles in order to become more of an on-ball playmaker. This will help him see the floor better to create easy looks not only for himself, but more importanly teammates. Will also help him get all the way to the rim off closeouts or when bigger defenders are checking him. Need to adjust release point slightly so that arch is consistent. Need to develop pivot/footwork in order to become post option in the paint. Need to embrace physicality and and contact rather than settling.
For Matt's analysis of Livers' defense, click here.