NBA Position: PF
Hometown: Memphis, TN
High School: Memphis Central High School
Ceiling: Paul Silas
Basement: Oliver Miller
NBA Comparison: Nick Collison
- Efficient Scorer
- Elite Offensive Rebounder
- National Experience
- Young for Class (20yrs 5mon on draft night)
- Size, Height
- Inconsistent Shooter
- Defensive Liability
Over the years Stokes has been the young prospect playing a level higher than he should be at. Stokes just turned 19 this year and to put that in perspective he is only 12-14 months older than Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Julius Randle despite having two full years of college basketball under his belt.
Stokes also has a few appearances with Team USA already giving him to play with the best amateur athletes at the college level as well as around the world.
For his age Stokes has a lot of polish to his game as a big man. He does a good job getting position with his strong, wide frame on the block. He is not as long or traditionally sized at the four position, but has the strength and post presence to score down low.
Athletically he is above average despite his bigger frame and lack of height. On the block more traditional big men can contest and alter his shot due to his lack of size.
Because Stokes is not a 6-10 or 6-11 power forward he has to rely on touch and finishing his shots over the defense. With that, offensively, he relies heavily on scoring after offensive rebounds and in transition. Stokes is an elite rebounder on the offensive glass with his strength, nose for the ball, and hands. He has great hands on the offensive end that allow him to rebound the ball in traffic, but also on offense catch passes on the block no matter the quality.
At this stage in his development Stokes is not a consistent perimeter shooter or an effective threat in pick-and-rolls as the roll man.
A lot of that has to do with the offense run at Tennessee, but at the NBA level Stokes will be a liability without a better touch from the mid-range on his jump shot and the ability to set effective picks then roll to the rim strong.
For his position Stokes is a quality passer than sees plays develop and has been able to make plays out of double-teams. He is patient with the ball and allows the game to come to him.
The one elite skill he has is on the offensive glass cleaning up misses and then going back up and finishing. He was in the top 18% of the country last year in this category scoring 116 points on only 64 shot attempts. None of those were called plays for Stokes or interrupted the offense. He is able to be an effective offensive player without having much of a skill-set outside of the paint.
For his skill-set similar players with high offensive rebounding percentages can be very valuable. Over the years undersized fours like Udonis Haslem and Paul Silas have made an impact with their ability to create extra offensive possessions.
At the NBA level most non-shooters are able to refine their shot and become more of a threat on the perimeter.
Over the years players like Chandler Parsons, Kawhi Leonard, Kenneth Faried, and others have worked on their mid-range game to become more of a versatile offensive threat outside of the paint.
Defensively Stokes has a near 7-1 wingspan to make up for his lack of traditional height. A quality standing reach with a long wingspan can make up for inches off the top of his head. As NBA executives have said, you do not play with the top of your head.
He uses his strength advantage to move smaller big men off the block and prevent them from gaining effective position. Stokes is a quality team defender with his length and instincts as well.
Overall Stokes is a throw-back role player in the paint that is capable of creating extra possessions and scoring efficiently with offensive rebounds. He is not a polished offensive player outside of the paint, but there is room for development as a 19 year old junior in college. Stokes is not a defensive enforcer, but can use his strength to move more finesse big men off the block.