Player Analysis – Timothe Luwawu

Player Analysis – Timothe Luwawu by Amit Tailor

This article was originally featured on BasketballOutliers.Blogspot.com. Make sure to follow @bballoutliers on twitter!!!

Before I start today, I’d really like to thank Fran Fraschilla for endorsing this work. I hope this is entertaining and fun to read for my readers and followers as well.

Let’s talk about the French guard Timothe Luwawu (who’s name is a mouthful). Luwawu played with a young BC Mega Leks team this season, which is in the Adriatic league. Pretty good competition, and when you look at their roster, you’ll see some familiar names like Alpha Kaba (possibly the subject of a future post) and the young Croatian big man, Ivica Zubac (definitely the subject of a future post).

Now why is Luwawu the subject of this blog? He fits the mold of outliers – a foreign player who migrated away from France to play in the Adriatic league, and not a whole lot of fanfare or data to find by his name (at least publicly). This season was a strong one for him that saw tremendous improvements in many facets of his game such as 3 point shooting and playmaking out of pick and roll.

Luwawu measures in at 6’7″, 205 lbs. He looks the part of a 3 and D type player, with long arms and freakish athleticism, especially at the levels he’s played at so far. Per nbadraft.net and Draftexpress, and a quick film study on him, we see his strengths will allow him to fit into the NBA game pretty easily. Unfortunately, Luwawu didn’t participate at the NBA Combine, as Mega Leks was finishing their season. This makes him even more of an outlier since a ton of people like myself can only go off of film and data. Believe it or not, there is still value in seeing guys up close and live.

1) Athleticism – no secrets here. This guy is an athletic freak and you’ll see that’s the first section of our film study. He is a nightmare in transition because of his ability to finish over the top of defenders. Even with a low shooting percentage at the rim, he still showed some athletic dunks and finishes at the rim. And though we don’t see enough of his athleticism translating to defense right now, he definitely has the tools and makeup to be a strong wing defender that can defend 3 and maybe 4 NBA positions. When on the ball, I think he’s got such good downhill speed and change of direction mobility that makes him hard to contain in 1 on 1 situations. This may not fly with NBA level defenders, but for now it’s fun to watch him speed down one way and change directions on a dime. Playing more under control in pick and roll and downhill attack situations will help his case too.

2) Playing in PNR – we mentioned this yesterday about Furkan Korkmaz, but creating out of PNR for 2 guards is an important skill too. While Korkmaz wasn’t doing it very much, Luwawu played out of a ton of them. BC Mega Leks was a heavy middle and side PNR team, and his ability to get downhill with them was impressive. If he tightens the handle some with some counter moves and hesitations, he can be a big problem for opposing 2’s and 3’s. BC Mega Leks ran a common NBA action where 2 screeners are setting a double high screen right past half court, which gives the handler a ton of space to play in a downhill attack. Luwawu was really good at this and got to the rim a ton. What would have made him more lethal is finishing at the rim with more consistency. One thing that really stood out here was the ability to play through contact and through the whistle to earn himself some trips to the line. According to both draft sites that I routinely visit, he wasn’t great at finishing off the and 1 opportunities. The other thing that really stood out was how frequently he shot right out of the ball screen coverage. I think we’re seeing a huge increase in teams going under on ball screens, and I don’t blame the teams in the Adriatic league for doing so on Luwawu as he shot just 29% from 3 a year ago. With the way the game is going right now, it’s cool and maybe even encouraged to shoot right out of pick and roll coverages with so many defenders/schemes going under.

3) Improving 3 point shooter – So Luwawu shot 29% from 3 a year ago. This year we saw a jump to 36% from 3. On film, we see this improvement with a nice mix of catch and shoot 3’s as well as off dribble 3’s. Couple this with a respectable 33% corner 3 percentage and you’ve got the makings of a reliable 3 and D guy here. Now what I will say, and I think this has been documented by both draft sites, is that he doesn’t use his legs enough consistently. I’m also a little bit concerned with the NBA 3 being a little bit deeper, but with the right player development coaches/system, I think these mechanical things will be easy to fix.

4) Defensive playmaker – At 6’7″ with long arms and good athleticism, Luwawu has the tools to be a sound defender. Comparisons to Thabo Sefolosha are reasonable to see. It’s been well understood that a better attitude on defense will help him make the most of this. On film, we see he plays passing lanes well and is somewhat of an opportunistic defender. He has 59 steals on the season, which gives him just under 2 per game. There are times where we see him apply disruptive ball pressure, but the general consensus seems to be that there needs to be more of this.

Strengths:
– NBA level athlete
– Good positional size
– Ability to create in PNR
– Improving shooter
– Upside as defensive playmaker
– Only 20 years old

Weaknesses:
– Finishing at the rim (just 58%)
– Consistency on defense
– Consistency in shooting 3’s
– Attitude adjustment
– Roughly 1:1 Assist/TO ratio


Lastly, I’d like to thank a few people who helped me contribute to the title of this post. My girlfriend definitely came up with the title, and my friend Michael Visenberg from NBADraft.net had a few solid nicknames for Luwawu, such as the Arc de Three-Umph and Savoire Faire Up There. It’s been fun doing these and I can’t thank you guys enough for reading!

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