Amit Mann is joined by Richard Stayman to discuss the game of projected top-10 pick Anthony Black, who the Raptors reportedly interviewed earlier in May. Listen to the full episode on risers after the NBA Combine on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed.
AMIT MANN: Yeah, so Anthony Black was a Raptor. Was a person that the Raptors have reportedly interviewed. And you can see, naturally, why any franchise-- especially the Toronto Raptors-- would be interested.
He kind of reminds me of what they want Dalano Banton to be, but he's not there yet because of-- I mean, the IQ just isn't necessarily there yet. Being able to be a step ahead with his reads. But yeah, your thoughts on Anthony Black?
RICHARD STAYMAN: Yeah, Anthony Black's pretty good. There's a reason he's up there in the top 10. I think it's going to be really hard for him to escape the top 10. He's, right now, is still a little bit theoretical. Where he has the tools to be good, right? Very good athlete. His frame is outstanding. His motor is good. His defensive tools are there.
He's good in the pick and roll. I think the pick and roll upside, actually, is hidden because the Arkansas spacing was so bad. But he still has to refine a lot of those point guard skills in getting them consistent. Where he's-- I mean, I saw. I just saw him in high school. He's from Dallas. I'm in Dallas.
And he still has had this turnover issue where-- too many simple turnovers that guys at his caliber just should not be having. So I think he's got to brush up on that. That's something that most point guards at his age struggle with, so I'm willing to give it a pass. What really worries me is the jump shot and the passiveness.
He's got this good frame. Is he willing to go up and bang against other guys, and take the hit? He's got to prove that he can do that night in and night out. And then, also, the jump shot's just-- it's not that. It doesn't really stand out. Like, the percentages aren't strong. He doesn't have a high free-throw percentage. His three-point percentage was mediocre.
And the numbers on that were 30% from three, 70% from the line. Generally, with a guard, you want to see-- my bar is 75. It's a safe bet. You can go down to 73, and that's like a gamble. But 30-- the three-point percentage, whatever. But the free-throw percentage does alarm me.
AMIT MANN: Yeah. Guard that can't shoot very well is a bit of a problem. Especially in today's NBA. And you can develop those skills. I saw there was a video that was circulating of him working with Steph Curry's trainer on his jump shot, and it looks quite different now. I don't know if you saw that, but it's a lot tighter. It's a lot more fluid. It looks, actually, similar to Steph Curry's. But yeah.
RICHARD STAYMAN: See, I never believe those workout videos. We saw the one in 2020 where Devin Vassell supposedly broke his jump shot, and he's fine. Like, I just feel like you can't make a significant enough change in that much time, where I don't read any of that stuff anymore.
AMIT MANN: Did you see the video?
RICHARD STAYMAN: No, no. For that, reason I didn't even let myself get there.
AMIT MANN: Oh, I see what you're saying. I was curious if you saw something with the mechanics. Like, obviously, shooting just empty gym, no one's contesting it. Like, it's a lot easier than anything else. But maybe the mechanics might be a little bit more sustainable, I suppose. But what with him, though, I mean the size.
The ability to read defenses and be a step ahead of it, as I said earlier, does stand out. And then you add in that he just has that frame. And then, you can change paces a lot faster than probably other guards. And you're weapon-- when you're going downhill-- because of that speed. He's really enticing you. Also, the defense. He seems like he really embraces being a ball stopper.
RICHARD STAYMAN: Yeah, I think he's-- again, the defense will come around. He just still has to learn some ins and outs, like pick and roll defense. But he's young. I'm willing to bet on that. Again, the tools are there. I think he has a very safe path to being a two way guard.
AMIT MANN: How do you feel about him as a pick and roll ball handler?
RICHARD STAYMAN: He's definitely there. He's got the skill. Again, I kind of think-- Arkansas, their bad spacing hid him a little bit.
AMIT MANN: Yeah.
RICHARD STAYMAN: I think he can. It's-- For himself, I think he's better than creating for others out of the pick and roll. But eventually, like as you get more and more reps, I feel like that's going to come for-- if you're a point guard, like, that'll be a real test for him. Is he really a point guard? Because, as time comes, will he be able to make those reads for his teammates just as easily as he's making it for himself.