Height – 6’9″
Weight – 195 lbs.
Wingspan – 6’8.5″
Age – 19
Team – Cedevita
DraftExpress Rank – 20
Stats – 71 games, 23.1 minutes, 12.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 47.0 FG%, 31.3 3PT%, 80.4 FT%
Luka Doncic is stealing nearly all the headlines of European basketball prospects and rightfully so. But Dzanan Musa is a 19-year old who just finished his third season playing professional basketball and is arguably the best scorer in this draft. Yes, even up there with Trae Young.
Musa is a wing player who was tasked with a fair share of the ball-handling and playmaking when on the court with a 24.8 percent usage rate. As far as irrational confidence guys go, Musa is going to top that list for some time but he also shot at absurd clips.
Nineteen-year-olds who put up 45/31/80 splits in professional basketball don’t come along often. The list of 19-year-olds to do that in the NBA since 1946 is a short one because it’s just Jayson Tatum.
Efficiency-wise, Musa had a 60.3 percent true shooting percentage and an offensive rating of 117.2. His per-36 minute stats of 19.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists give you an idea of how productive he was at 19 years old playing professionally.
He has his struggles defensively. He has his struggles offensively. But he’s one of the most fun prospects that’ll come out of this draft.
Three-point shooting – It’s hard to pick a spot to start with Musa’s offense because he’s a bonafide three-level scorer. We’ll start out and work our way in.
From range, Musa is a capable three-point scorer. So much so that he relies on it to a fault at times. He’d often rather bury a long three-pointer than try to blow by him. But when you have range like this, you can get away with that at times.
He shot 31.3 percent from three last year, down from 32.7 percent last season and 34.9 percent in his first season.
Musa’s scoring isn’t just pull-up threes. He’s a scorer that can come off multiple types of screens and knock down threes in rhythm.
In the first clip, Musa comes off a screen to the top of the key, then wraps around two screens, gets his body square and fires quickly.
In this clip, Musa comes up through the middle of the lane, sees his defender trying to cut through and fades to the wing for an open look that he again buries. This is similar to an action the Lakers run as well.
Mid-range scoring – Musa doesn’t show it as much but he can also knock down shots from the mid-range, particularly out of pick-and-rolls.
Finishing – While Musa’s athleticism and quickness draws some questions, he’s an adept finisher at the rim with an array of moves ranging from euro steps to floaters and everything in-between.
Mix that in with a great awareness and high basketball IQ and you get plays like this. Musa recognizes his teammate flashing into the high post and sees his defender helping. He instantly cuts, his teammate finds him and it creates an easy dunk.
Passing – While the assist numbers were relatively modest, he certainly has the ability to create for teammates and did so particularly out of the pick-and-roll.
His vision isn’t only limited to pick-and-roll passing. With his 6’9″ frame, he can see over the top of defenses. Watching his playmaking, it reminds me a lot of what I saw from Kyle Kuzma at Utah last season.
Are you in love Musa’s offense yet? Alright well maybe skip this part. Because as good as Musa is offensively, he’s nearly that bad defensively.
First, his frame doesn’t do himself any favors. He has a limited wingspan which doesn’t help cover up some of his other physical deficiences. Watching his film, he also has a weird, hunched over stance on both offense and defense that takes him from his 6’9″ listed height to something closer to 6’6″ or even 6’5″.
He doesn’t have the quickness to stick in front of guards and he doesn’t have the frame to handle bigger forwards. The latter could be attributed to the fact he’s still a teenager and you could see him naturally bulk up as he ages.
His effort wanes at times defensively and he can lose focus off ball but he has good enough instincts he can jump passing lanes (1.04 steals per game this season. 1.53 as a 17-year old).
Some profiles are much lower on Musa’s defense than I and for fair reasons. There aren’t many positives to take away from the limited tapes of him defensively. But I’m willing to give a 19-year old who had so many responsibilities offensively the benefit of the doubt.
Fit With Lakers
Clearly, a team is going to be drafting Musa for his offense and hoping his defense comes along. But his offensive game is so advanced, especially for his age, that he will contribute right away for whichever team drafts him.
With the Lakers, Musa would give the Lakers wing depth and shooting but most importantly, they’d give the team a secondary playmaker that they badly needed. It would take a burden off Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram and allow the Lakers to run more actions with a player in Musa who was comfortable running an offense in a professional league.
And, most importantly, it would give the team an irrational confidence guy that all great teams must have.