Georgetown's Patrick Ewing
Jr. was one of the players we were most looking forward to seeing at the Portsmouth Invitational; unfortunately his time on the court was cut short due to an ankle injury suffered midway through his second game. While the injury may have limited his playing time and skewed his numbers, the senior was still able to create plenty of intrigue during his game and a half of action.
Ewing is a very interesting prospect, though maybe a little beyond the tweener label; he doesn't have a completely set position either. At 6'9 238 pounds, he is a little undersized to be a frontcourt player in the NBA, but his solid frame and length could allow him to still be successful at this position. Ewing isn't an off the charts type of athlete, but he does have pretty good speed and quickness for a player of his size. His explosiveness seems to be somewhat hit or miss at times, as he seems to have more success when he can set his feet under him for split second as opposed to taking off while moving at full speed.
Offensively it is very hard to categorize Ewing as he gets his points in a variety of ways, not really showing to be more effective in one area than any other. He does look to spot up a fair amount on the perimeter where he primarily is a catch and shoot type player. While he can connect from beyond the arc if left open, he doesn't attempt shots from this range too often or with much success. Ewing is a much better shooter from mid-range than he is from the outside, although he still isn't a consistent threat from outside the paint due to his slow, inconsistent release.
When Ewing puts the ball on the floor there are usually mixed results. At times he will make remarkably fluid plays while driving to the basket, executing agile moves that belie his physical build. However, he is often held back by his below average ball handling skills that prevent him from being a bigger threat to drive from the outside. From what we saw during the season and at Portsmouth, it is clear that Ewing is uncomfortable when he is forced to change direction too often, when given a straight path to the rim though, he does become a scoring threat. Again though, he seems to lose a bit of his explosiveness when he is in full stride, his touch around the hoop needs to improve as well.
Where Ewing has shown the most success offensively has come off the ball. He shows a tremendous knowledge of where and when to cut in order for teammates to feed him around the basket. Ewing doesn't simply rely on his teammates to move the ball in order for him to be effective, he reads defenses very well and knows where the holes are. It isn't uncommon to see him beyond the arc on the weak side then dive to the lane in perfect position to receive a pass and convert an easy shot opportunity.
Ewing doesn't post up too often on the offensive end, but when he does we have seen some flashes of potential. He typically relies on a baby hook shot to the middle, but his touch with this shot still needs to be refined somewhat. From time to time Ewing will execute some impressive finesse moves, incorporating head and ball fakes. However, as is often the case with raw offensive players, he will rely on his quickness against slower defenders to get his shot off on the block.
Defensively Ewing stepped up his play at Portsmouth. While his numbers during the regular season were solid, he had an added aggressiveness during his time on the floor last week. His off the ball instincts certainly carry over to this end of the floor, where he was able to come away with several blocks and steals as a help defender. Ewing certainly has the leaping ability to alter shots in his immediate area and his length allows him to effectively play passing lanes. The biggest concern right now is his lateral quickness. From what we've seen it doesn't appear that Ewing would be able to keep up with many perimeter players in the NBA, but he does have the toughness that would allow him to hang in the paint.
At the end of the day, unless he absolutely blows scouts away with individual workouts, Ewing isn't likely to get drafted by an NBA team. With that said though, scouts like him enough that it isn't beyond the realm of possibility that he could find his way onto someone's roster in the future. His combination of size, athleticism and ever increasing versatility make him an appealing prospect. Clearly Ewing is going to wind up playing basketball somewhere after the summer, the question now is will it be overseas or in the D-League?