The Adidas Nations finished up last night, with top teams and prospects going head to head in a global event featuring players from around the world. Several top NBA prospects in the nine-team tournament looked to impress international scouts and college coaches. With that being said, who were the top NBA prospects at the event?
5. Wesley Alves Da Silva 6-6 195 SG/SF Team Latin America
Stats: 23.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.3 apg 1.3 spg
Other American-born prospects could have gone in this slot, but the Brazilian gets the edge with his versatility and defensive ability on the perimeter. Da Silva was the leading scorer of the event for Team Latin America throughout four games, displaying athleticism, slashing ability and a high activity level.
Da Silva has a relentless motor he uses to attack the glass on offense and defense. He’s a very good defender with quickness, length and athleticism to stay in front of a variety of players at different positions. Da Silva is very efficient, but that could be because most of his attempts are at the rim.
Da Silva needs to improve his three-point shooting, as he only attempted three three-point shots in four games, making two. He lacks an in-between game and struggles as a passer and decision maker, two areas that really need improvement. At 19-years old, Da Silva will be draft-eligible in the next few drafts. If he improves on his obvious weaknesses, Da Silva could be a second-round draft and stash prospect in time.
4. Rawle Alkins 6-5 200 SG/SF USA 2016 Team Rose
Stats: 21.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 5.4 apg, 1.4 spg
Alkins was the second-leading scorer and fourth-leading assist man in the tournament, showing intriguing versatility and two-way ability that NBA scouts love in a prospect. At 6-5 and 200 pounds, Alkins already has the size and strength of an NBA shooting guard at just 17 years old.
Alkins also has a very high motor and decent handles to get to the rim and finish with contact. Alkins is very athletic and uses that to his advantage on the defensive end where he can guard different perimeter players thanks to his quickness and strength. Alkins stepped up in the championship, scoring 26 points in only 20 minutes to take home MVP honors at the event. Alkins has yet to commit to a college for 2016, but has top colleges to choose from like Kentucky, Kansas, Louisville, North Carolina and Indiana, among others.
Alkins needs to improve as a shooter (just four of 16 from three at Adidas Uprising before hitting six of eight in the championship game) to reach his potential. He also isn’t the best ball handler, and could stand to make improvements there in order to help his chances as an off-guard at the NBA level. Given his youth, Alkins has time on his favor and should be a first round NBA draft pick whenever he chooses to enter the NBA draft.
3. Gary Trent Jr. 6-5 200 SG USA 2017 Team Lillard
Stats: 20.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.3 spg
Trent Jr. is the youngest prospect on this list as he’ll only be a junior this year, but he is consistently a top performer in all the events he participates in. At 16 years old, Trent Jr. already has legit NBA two-guard size at 6-5.5 and a decent 6-6.5 wingspan. Trent Jr. is a sharpshooter – he shot 37.3 percent from three-point land during the Adidas Nations, and was the fifth-leading scorer at the event through six games.
Trent Jr. can score from all three levels while using his handles and athleticism to get to the rim and taking advantage of his size on step back jump shots. He also uses that athleticism to stick with a variety of different position players on the perimeter, showing more effort on that end than most prospects his age. He also moves without the ball well, which is an underrated part of his game.
Trent Jr. needs to work on his all-around game, right now he’s a gunner who looks to score first and score second. His lack of length could be an issue down the line while finishing and contesting longer and athletic wings. Overall, Trent Jr. has elite scoring instincts and a pure jump shot to mesh perfectly into todays NBA, which should make him a lottery pick in the 2018 draft.
2. Wenyen Gabriel 6-10 195 SF/PF Team Africa
Stats: 17.7 ppg, 14.7 rpg, 2.8 bpg, 1.7 spg
Gabriel has been one of the biggest risers this summer on the AAU circuit, but struggled a bit in this environment at the Adidas Uprising on Team Africa. Gabriel was the leading rebounding by a large margin at this event, using his length and activity level to dominate the boards. At 6-10 with a lot of length, Gabriel affects the game on both ends – he averaged 2.8 blocks and 1.7 steals per game at the Adidas Nations.
Gabriel has a pure stroke from the outside and the quickness and athleticism to get to the rim when defenders overcommit. Gabriel only needs a few steps to get to the rim, and finishes around the basket well off the dribble and on offensive rebounds. His body frame and shot remind me of Luol Deng at this stage of his career, and it’s possible he goes that route after recently receiving offers from Duke and Kentucky.
Gabriel desperately needs to put on weight to play at the college level and especially for the NBA. Gabriel struggled shooting at the Adidas Uprising, shooting only 35.6 percent from the field and three of 18 from three-point range through five games. If Gabriel can add weight and gain consistency from the perimeter, look for him to be a top 10 pick in the 2017 draft.
1. Dennis Smith Jr. 6-2 180 PG USA 2016 Team Wall
Stats: 16.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 7.6 apg 2.2 spg
Dennis Smith Jr. is by far the best NBA prospect competing in this event, with the size, strength, quickness and athleticism of an elite NBA point guard. Smith Jr. simply lives in the paint thanks to his physical abilities and handle, and he finishes in the paint well with either hand. He’s also a pure point guard, leading the Adidas Uprising in assists while always looking to get others involved. Smith Jr. got injured Sunday before the championship game, and could have taken home the MVP trophy had he been healthy.
Simply put, there aren’t a lot of weaknesses in Smith’s game at this level of competition, although he leaves a lot to be desired as a shooter, shooting only two of 10 from the three-point line at this event. He shot 70 percent from the free throw line as well, which could be improved with the amount of times he gets to the free throw line.
Overall, Smith Jr. has everything you look for in an NBA starting point guard. Smith Jr.’s decision-making, athleticism and finishing ability are elite at this stage of his development. Smith’s defense is also pretty solid, ranking sixth at the event with 2.2 steals per game. If he keeps rounding out his overall game, Smith should be a top five pick in the 2017 draft.
Honorable mention: Edrice Adebayo PF/C, Markelle Fultz SG, Kobi Simmons PG, Lonzo Ball PG