Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Andrew Nicholson, Find or Fraud?

Red flag: Andrew has a very weak scream-face
Nicholson remains one of the more intriguing prospects in the late 1st round. The St Bonaventure product put up impressive numbers, concluding the season on a strong note against a clearly superior team, on the offensive end at least. Nicholson is 6’9 225-235, and by all accounts has a large wingspan, although unverified to date. His senior year was a solid improvement from his junior year, as he improved his PPS, 3pt shooting, rebounding, and shot blocking. His FTA took a noticeable dip as his role was reduced, but still solid for a #1 option in college.

Nicholson’s primary strengths come from his versatility. He has a solid back to the basket game, can face up defenders on the dribble, pull up jumper, or set shot, and has pretty good timing to be a shot blocker. His late season surge in shooting is likely not a fluke, as his fundamentals and point of release look to be extremely consistent at this stage. In fact, the Bonnies were running screen plays for Nicholson against FSU, much like teams would run screen plays for sharpshooting SGs and SFs in the pros. His shot blocking and timing, while not elite, is solid for an NBA PF. His block numbers are pretty gaudy until you consider the poor defense of his team, allowing more block chances, and the competition level. Nicholson corralled most of his blocks against anonymous college basketball teams.

On the downside, Nicholson’s defensive instincts thus far are not very good. When there’s traffic on offense or on defense, he gets lost quite easily. On defense, he’ll instinctively look to reset to his man, regardless of what’s happening around him. Offensively, he took the ball into traffic way too much and God help him if there’s a double-team: he won’t see it coming. His rebounding, while improved from the past season, is still only average for what you’d expect from someone his size. His passing is abysmal and unnatural at this stage, which is a big red flag considering his primary positive note is his scoring.

Overall, we’re looking at a player who’s #s don’t really reflect the impact he had on his team.  Think we’re looking at a guy who’s going to struggle to catch on in the NBA after putting up some hollow numbers initially. He has to get a better feel for the game and working in a 5 on 5 situation with talented players, or else the game will entirely pass him by.

Eternal Optimist sees: Jason Thompson
Negative Nancy sees: Jamareo Davidson
What I see: J.J. Hickson

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