NBA Draft Scouting Report: Emmanuel Mudiay

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Prospect Weaknesses: 

Emmanuel Mudiay’s most glaring weakness just so happens to be, in today’s day and age, the most important element of the NBA game: jump-shooting. Mudiay’s shot, though not a disaster, has its flaws and it will most likely require years of work to develop into a legitimate weapon. Unlike D’Angelo Russell, Mudiay’s release takes some time and he will likely have defenders playing off of him until he convinces them to do otherwise. The team that drafts  him will likely do so with the understanding that Mudiay will never be an elite shooter.

Though we highlighted Mudiay’s basketball IQ as a strength, his game still lacks a level of refinement that he will have to develop under NBA coaching. This is probably an area that was effected negatively by Mudiay’s not attending SMU. Especially under the tutelage of Larry Brown, one could argue that a year of seasoning under top-flight coaching could have had this element of his game more advanced than it currently is. No amount of workout footage can legitimately convince a team drafting Mudiay that he won’t work through some growing pains.

Though he doesn’t necessarily depend on his physical skills on the court, it’s no secret that Mudiay prefers to operate out of the open court compared to half-court sets. He is capable of slashing and creating space off the dribble, but sometimes Mudiay’s decision-making can get him into trouble in the turnover department. He’ll benefit a good deal from working with a fixed point, something that he hasn’t had the luxury of in a few years. That said, he’ll still have to prove he can slow his game down when transition is not an option.

Though missing an entire season due to eligibility or amateurism issues would have been worse, Mudiay’s playing in China did not help him in the sense that not too many scouts have seen him play at his highest competitive level. D’Angelo Russell’s stock soared because he was able to excel on national television and was an accessible commodity for scouts to see. As mentioned before, Sam Hinkie was reportedly the only GM to watch Mudiay play in China. There’s only so much a scouting department can gather from evaluating film compared to seeing a player in person.

ESPN’s evaluation of Mudiay noted that his skipping of the NBA Draft Combine was more of an issue for him than others who made that decision.

"Mudiay was actually the first player to announce he’d be completely skipping the draft combine. While GMs generally shrugged off the decision from Okafor and Towns, they were much more agitated about Mudiay. Why? Most of the key decision-makers in the NBA haven’t seen him live. While he never was going to do 5-on-5, having the medical testing, measurements and interviews would’ve been really helpful. His decision clearly is affecting his draft stock as more than one GM asked how they could have him higher than Russell when Russell has done and proved so much more."

Though Mudiay’s bill of health has apparently checked out, the fact that he missed so much time in China with his ankle injury certainly can’t be considered a positive.