At 6’8”, 205lbs, Josh Minott projects as a second-round gem with the potential to become an impressive positionless defender in the NBA. In his freshman year with the Memphis Tigers, the young forward boasted modest numbers of 6.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game in 14.6 minutes, but showed intriguing flashes of athleticism, rebounding, and defense. With a high motor and the ability to make big-time plays, Minott stands out as a player that could develop into an effective team defender in the NBA.
Per Game: 6.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks, 0.9 turnovers, 52.2/14.3/75.4 shooting splits
Advanced: 57.1% true shooting, 7.2 box plus-minus (3.8 offensive, 3.4 defensive), 2.4 win shares, .199 WS/40
Physical: 20 years old, 6’6”, 205lbs, 6’11” wingspan
Josh Minott’s number one strength is his above average length and athleticism. He has incredible leaping ability, covers ground quickly, and can explode into powerful dunks and impressive blocks. His athleticism, combined with an elite motor, gives him the potential to truly defend positions 1 through 5. Throughout his freshman season, Minott showed the ability to contest larger players while staying in front of guards in space. He intelligently uses his length and athleticism to get into passing lanes, pick the pocket of ball handlers, and recover on plays where he gets beat. Although somewhat unorthodox in his shot-blocking form, Minott uses his physical tools to swat away shots, both as a primary and help defender. On top of that, he effectively swallows misses. Per 40 minutes, Minott snags over 10 rebounds per game, an impressive number at his height.
Generally speaking, I think athletic players with size are usually over-rated as defenders (see: Jarrell Brantley), but Minott genuinely has some of the most impressive defensive potential in this draft class.
Although limited on the offensive end (more on that later), Minott has real coast-to-coast ability. He can grab a rebound and quickly push the ball up the court, forcing pressure on opposing defenses and creating highlight plays. While not known as a passer, he has the sneaky ability to make nice plays for his teammates out of these transition plays. In a half-court setting, Minott works effectively as a pick-and-roll finisher and lob threat, slamming home a variety of powerful dunks throughout his freshman season. In ways, he reminds me of a younger Dwight Powell with his paint finishes.
Josh Minott’s stand-out weakness remains his long-range shooting ability. Last season, he shot an abysmal 14.3 percent on three-point attempts (granted, only on 14 attempts). I don’t think his shot is totally broken; coming out of high school, Minott was scouted as an okay perimeter shooter. He even shoots a solid 75.4% from the free-throw line. Nonetheless, I’m not in love with his shooting form: the ball sits off-line and in front of his face, his shooting elbow pokes out, and his off-hand seems to aid in propelling the ball forward. But just because a jump shot is ugly doesn’t mean it can’t work; Jaren Jackson Jr is a career 35.1% three-point shooter and he has one of the ugliest forms in the league. Still, he’ll need to improve as a shooter if he wants to stick in the NBA.
He also often fails to find ways to assert himself in the offense when he isn’t flying high for dunks. He’s not the most effective ball-handler and sometimes struggles to finish his layups. Creating for himself in a half-court setting proved as one of his biggest roadblocks during his freshman year and was likely a key reason why he didn’t play too many minutes throughout the season. He sometimes doesn’t seem like he knows what he’s doing on that end, especially with his inability to knock down jump shots. However, I do suspect a lack of confidence on that end played a part in that.
Given that the Utah Jazz are in dire need of youth, defense, and athleticism, Josh Minott might stand as a perfect developmental pick for the team this draft season. He’s got serious upside as a versatile defender in the NBA, but will likely need a few years in the G-League to refine his skills. While the Jazz will likely look to draft players who can immediately aid in a re-tooling effort this offseason, they also need to find young players to develop for the future. In the second-round, Minott might stand as one of the highest upside players available.
Jarred Vanderbilt, Brandon Clarke
All statistics from sports-reference.com