By Max Feldman
Polarizing, a word commonly thrown around within the professional basketball evaluation and scouting world, but to FOG meaning the fit of future prospects into professional sports, specifically here, in the modern NBA. The training process of players to complete their game in a diverse package to fill their ‘bag’ is a modern trend, but these are players at the High School level who have a natural skillset or an already complete bag that can’t be taught. These prospects are simply different.
7 foot, 205 pounds, 7-5 wingspan, 40 inch vertical, 18 years old
The Temecula, California native is as strong as an NBA prospect as I have seen in the last 5 years. Not just as a big man, but as a modern fit with natural touch and footwork. Next season Mobley will play with his older brother Isaiah at Southern Cal under their father, a USC assistant coach. The 2019 Gatorade High School Player of the Year can be confidently labeled as a generational talent because of his length at 7 feet and his ability to always make his presence felt. With a variety of low post moves with hooks going both ways, face-up footwork and feel coming off of screens, Mobley’s skillset is beyond his years. Besides his lanky stature at just 205-210 pounds, there is simply nothing that can be nitpicked on in Evan Mobley’s game. Mobley ranks among the highest rated high school prospects of the last decade, tied with only New York Knick guard, RJ Barrett. Even at his weight, defense is not nearly a weakness for him. Mobley uses his length and instincts to eat up shots and rack up block numbers, well fouling at a low rate. At USC and at the next level, Evan Mobley gives coaches the opportunity to allow their guards to be aggressive in the passing lanes and go for steals because of Mobley’s ability to defend the rim incredibly well. He’s a quick leaper resulting in easy put back dunks, easy dump off dunks in the lane and no easy layups for the opponent. He will not absolutely fill up the point column each and every outing, but the tools and plays Mobley produces can’t be replaced or mimicked. The prime comparison is Anthony Davis. He entered the Kentucky Wildcat program with a slender frame, had undeniable talent, was selected first overall, and is now a unanimous All-Star with a bulky frame. Evan Mobley has spots to improve – ability to stretch the floor consistently, playmaking and develop his body – but the future Trojan has incomparable intangibles and the frame to be confidently projected as a future NBA MVP.
6-5, 215 pounds, 6-8 wingspan, 17 years old
If we are talking about a player’s ‘bag’, there simply is not any player with as deep of a bag as Josh Christopher has at the high school level. Watching Christopher on the offensive end, he already looks like a NBA wing at just 17 years old. There is a reason that Mayfair and Josh Christopher do not go many outings without a fully packed arena of fans. Christopher comes to mind quickly with this topic because of his fit in the modern NBA, as a ball dominant creator off of screens or the isolation. Currently uncommitted, Christopher is a deadeye shooter off of his go-to hesitation dribbles, has a quick first step to get to the mid-range and rise up, go to his floater or draw contact and get to the line. Likely bold, but Christopher has a lot of Paul George in the way that he attacks on the offensive end. His talent level sticks out in High School not because of his crazy athleticism or windmill dunks, but his ability to attack as a pick and roll handler, post up smaller defenders and drain pull-ups from anywhere in the half court. Not to say there Is not a long way for Christopher go in terms of maturity, shot selection and athletic development, but he has the offensive ‘bag’ comparable to a seasoned NBA All-star. You’ll be hearing plenty of Josh Christopher hype as his career furthers.
6-5, 205 pounds, 17 years old
I, at FOG, have been all over Nix since the website launched. The name of the game for the Alaska native? Flair. But it’s different than past players. Nix makes the flair he plays with seem incredibly natural. Without advanced athleticism, rarely rising vertical in his career thus far, Nix fills the stat sheets as a plus rebounder at his lead guard spot. He is far and away the strongest passer in the class of 2020, creating with ease by throwing no-look and underhand passes in uncomfortable positions. All his high school and AAU film show that his attitude as well as his ability to slow the game down continuously determine the pace of every game he steps into. Already committed to UCLA, he will have the potential to cement himself as a promising NBA lead ball-handler. While he won’t score 40 or throw tomahawk dunks over the top of the opposition, he’ll prove himself as a level-headed playmaker who elevates the game of his teammates and is consistently a step ahead of the opposing guards. Already with NBA size, the college level will allow him to develop his athleticism and continue to groom his skillset as a do-it-all lead guard. Nix is polarizing as a prospect due to natural creativity, consistent shooting and attacking and all pulled together by his ability to see plays and offensive sets develop before they begin.