Antonio Blakeney

Antonio Blakeney profile
RCSI: 14 (2015)
Height: 6'3" (191 cm)
Weight: 191 lbs (87 kg)
Position: SG
High School: Oak Ridge High School (Florida)
Hometown: Orlando, FL
College: LSU
Current Team: Jiangsu
Win - Loss: 11 - 14


Antonio Blakeney NBA Draft Scouting Report

Josh Riddell
Josh Riddell
May 29, 2017, 08:14 am
Antonio Blakeney was Ben Simmons' running mate at the AAU level with Each 1 Teach 1, emerging as one of the top volume scorers in the Nike EYBL, while also winning Florida's Mr. Basketball award and being named a McDonald's All-American. He had a solid, albeit inconsistent freshman season as part of a disappointing LSU team that fizzled out under Simmons, and didn't find much interest when he decided to test the NBA Draft waters last spring. Things went from bad to worse after returned to LSU for his sophomore season, where he played almost entirely off the national radar on a team that went 2-16 in SEC play.
Blakeney saw his statistical production rise to 20.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per 40 minutes thanks to a higher usage rate, but his efficiency numbers left a lot to be desired with a negative assist to turnover ratio and a 55% TS%.  
With head coach Johnny Jones replaced by Will Wade, Blakeney made the decision to forego his final two years of eligibility and move on to the next phase of his basketball career. The #14 ranked RSCI recruit in 2015, Blakeney still has clear-cut NBA potential with his athleticism and scoring prowess, but will need to repair his stock in the eyes of scouts after two underwhelming seasons in college.
Measured at 6'4 with a 6'7.5 wingspan, Blakeney is slightly undersized a NBA shooting guard, and will have to fill out his 197 pound frame to handle the physicality of the pro game. Although he lacks elite size and length, he has a high level of athleticism which is the starting point for his potential. He has tremendous explosiveness, good speed with the ball in the open court, and excels in transition, where he scored 1.3 points per possession per Synergy Sports Technology, a mark that ranks an impressive 6th out of 101 players with at least four transition possessions per game.
Blakeney looks like a combo guard physically, and has some ability to operate both on and off the ball, but hasn't yet shown enough development with his feel for the game to indicate he can make the transition from the wing full time. On the ball, he has shown potential as a scorer as he can use his quick first step to get into space, but he has struggled to create efficient looks for himself with his 56% true shooting percentage ranking sixth worst among shooting guards in our top 100. He was erratic with his decisions once he got into the lane by driving into traffic, picking up his dribble too early or leaving the ground without a clear passing lane, putting himself in tough spots with no exit plan.
Scouts will like that he has experience in a ball screen offense with such possessions accounting for 36.5% of his total derived offense according to Synergy Sports Technology, but he will have to make substantial improvements in his basketball IQ to show he can have success at the NBA level. He forces his way into traffic too often and while he has demonstrated that he is more than a straight line driver, when he gets going at a top speed his handle gets too loose and he will lose the ball in traffic. He also wasn't much of a creator for his teammates, accounting for just 1.7 assists per 40 minutes, while his -2.60 pure point rating was lowest among all shooting guards in our top 100. He plays a selfish brand of basketball, looking much more comfortable seeking out his own offense than trying to make teammates better. Blakeney's court vision and decision making need a lot of work, leaving scouts with questions about his role at the next level considering his struggles to score efficiently at the college level.
Blakeney has long shown a propensity for contested jump shots off the dribble, which factored into his poor efficiency. Even still, he converted 41% of his 146 jump shots off the dribble as logged by Synergy Sports Technology, a strong mark at that volume. He is a streaky shooter who can get hot in spurts, but will also force up some bad shots outside of the rhythm of the offense when he gets overconfident.
Gunners in Blakeney's mold have some value in today's NBA, but he will have to become a more consistent three point shooter to validate this style of play, as he is a career 31% three point shooter in nearly 500 attempts in games we have logged in our extensive database. While he has impressive shot-making prowess, getting tremendous rise and creating separation from defenders, he often releases his jumper just after the apex of his jump, and he has a tendency to sway sideways, both of which impact his percentages, along with his poor shot-selection.
Defensively, the tools are there for Blakeney to be a solid on-ball defender, but he is far from a stopper. He has solid length to contest jump shots and the lateral quickness to stay in front of the ball which could allow him to be a pest when he is locked in. He helped his team rebound by crashing the glass for 4.6 defensive rebounds which he loves to turn into transition opportunities with his speed.
LSU had one of the worst defenses in the nation last season and this can partly be attributed to Blakeney's poor energy and awareness, which affected his level of impact. His effort level has waned at times as he doesn't always work hard to defend and fight through screens. He also doesn't always see action off the ball and is a step slow to rotate over or chase his man off cuts, so he'll have to improve his awareness to defend the complex schemes of NBA offenses. There are also questions about his ability to add strength as his frame hasn't changed that much in two years and is holding him back from become a more versatile defender, as he can get bullied by bigger guards.
After a forgettable collegiate career, Blakeney will look to put that behind him and impress scouts with the hopes of landing a NBA roster spot next season, likely in the form of a two-way contract. He will have to demonstrate to teams that he is capable of playing winning basketball, and will likely need at least a few years of seasoning in the D-League. If he doesn't get drafted, teams will certainly continue to monitor his development because of his athleticism and scoring instincts, and if Blakeney can improve his shot-selection, decision making and defense, he could get an opportunity to play himself onto a roster down the line.

Top NBA Draft Prospects in the SEC, Part Five: Prospects 8-11

Julian Applebome
Julian Applebome
Kyle Nelson
Kyle Nelson
Ryan Thomson
Ryan Thomson
Oct 05, 2016, 05:01 pm
Kyle Nelson

After recruiting Ben Simmons and his AAU teammate and fellow McDonald's All-American Antonio Blakeney, LSU was hoping for a banner 2015-2016 campaign. Instead, the team faltered, never quite finding its rhythm despite the infusion of elite young talent, and finished a disappointing 19-14, missing the postseason entirely.

While Ben Simmons occupied most of the spotlight in Baton Rouge from day one, Antonio Blakeney overcame an inconsistent start –actually losing his starting role briefly in January – to earn a spot on the 2016 Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team. He then tested the NBA Draft waters, but ultimately withdrew his name and returned to school. Now, as LSU's top returning perimeter threat, Blakeney has the chance to do what Ben Simmons could not: lead LSU back to the post-season, while solidifying his draft prospects in the process.

At 6'4 with a 190-pound frame and a 6'7.5 wingspan, Blakeney is undersized for an NBA shooting guard, without standout length to compensate. It does not appear that he has added much muscle to his wiry frame since his senior year in high school, when he was measured at 189 pounds. He is an elite athlete, however, with a huge vertical leap, as well as excellent quickness and agility to complement his explosiveness.

Blakeney's first year of college basketball was defined by inconsistency, which plagued the entire LSU team. After a decent start to his freshman season, Blakeney hit a wall in December and January, before rallying to average 17.4 points per game over his last 10 games.

The overwhelming share of Blakeney's field goal attempts came off jump shots, and despite showing impressive shot-making prowess, he struggled to do so in an efficient manner, due to his often poor shot-selection, converting 33.5% of his overall 3-pointers.

On film, his mechanics are inconsistent, varying by his shot's degree of difficulty and the amount of pressure he faces. He gets a lot of elevation on his jump shot, but tends to shoot just after the peak of his leap, often leading to off-balance attempts, and demonstrating a slight hitch when he shoots off of the dribble. These issues and his questionable shot selection explain a lot of his streakiness as a shooter, and scouts will be watching to see if he has improved his mechanics and decision making as a sophomore because he has the potential to be a very good shooter at the collegiate level.

Blakeney almost never creates any offense for teammates, as his 5.5% assist percentage ranked as the second lowest rate in the country among shooting guard prospects. He does show potential in terms of creating his own offense, though, in both pick-and-roll sets and in isolation. Here, he can take a couple of dribbles and pull up or use his quickness and agility to get to the rim. Blakeney is an inconsistent shooter inside of the arc (34% FG), as well, but he also takes a lot of low percentage, high difficulty shots and does not yet have the ball-handling skills to consistently create space for himself.

Blakeney is a good finisher around the basket (57.5% FG), capable of explosive, acrobatic finishes with space and in transition. His average ball-handling skills make it difficult for him to exploit his athleticism without a clear path to the basket, however, and he lacks the strength to absorb contact and finish in traffic, which is also reflected by his pedestrian 4.4 free throw attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted.

LSU was a poor defensive team in 2015-2016, and Blakeney's defense was no exception. While he has some intriguing physical tools, neither his fundamentals nor his court awareness are of a similar caliber. He hesitates to close out on shooters, often drifts out of position, and is far too lackadaisical letting opponents drive by him considering the quickness that he frequently demonstrates on offense. His effort level, in general, is inconsistent, despite stretches where he dials in, uses his lateral quickness to his advantage, and can be a good man defender. With an eye towards the NBA, however, his physical profile may make his transition difficult. Even on the collegiate level, he struggles to fight through screens guarding the pick-and-roll and his average length probably will limit his effectiveness against bigger shooting guards.

Antonio Blakeney played his freshman season in Ben Simmons's shadow, but his performance down the stretch suggests that he may be on the verge of a breakout season. As LSU's top returning scorer and perimeter shooter, he will have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate his abilities on the offensive end of the floor. Regardless of his inconsistent freshman year, Blakeney obviously has a lot of scoring talent, and will certainly get some long looks from NBA scouts if he can improve his defense, passing and decision-making. LSU does not play the strongest schedule next year, but early season matchups against Wichita State and Houston might offer scouts a sense of how close he is to getting there.

2015 LSU Combine Measurements and Analysis

Oct 13, 2015, 06:18 pm
Antonio Blakeney was measured less than four months ago at the Nike Academy in Santa Monica, and, as expected, hasn't changed much in that time. He's only added one pound to his skinny frame (now 190), and remains slightly undersized for a shooting guard at 6'3” without shoes, with a decent 6'7” ½ wingspan.

Blakeney is an elite athlete, and LSU tested him as having a 45 inch running vertical leap, which would be the third highest figure ever according to our extensive database. His 39 inch no-step vertical would rank fourth all-time and his ¾ court sprint time would have tested third best ever. We can only wait and see how Blakeney's vertical numbers hold up when he is invited to the NBA Combine and tested officially down the road, as there is understandably a degree of skepticism among NBA scouts regarding numbers like this.

Nike Academy Scouting Reports: College Shooting Guard Prospects

Mike Schmitz
Mike Schmitz
Jul 02, 2015, 04:12 am
Mike Schmitz

Amongst a large group of collegiate players who all (for the most part) played fairly unselfishly, talented LSU freshman Antonio Blakeney stuck out at times due to his questionable shot selection and tendency to try and play hero ball. Blakeney has the tools to burst onto the NBA scene in time, but Nike Academy proved that he has quite a bit of seasoning to do in terms of his feel for the game.

The only incoming freshman at the camp, Blakeney was a bit of a ball-stopper at times, electing to back the ball out and isolate rather than swing the rock and keep the offense flowing. There's no question that the talent is there with Blakeney. He's an explosive guard who can play above the rim with ease, and create a shot at the end of a shot clock with his ability to create separation and make shots off the bounce.

Blakeney will undoubtedly have a handful of highlight dunks and big-time shots for the Tigers next season, but for him to fully be able to maximize his potential Blakeney will have to improve his shot selection and overall basketball acumen. The Orlando, FL native also struggled to make shots consistently, an area of emphasis moving forward. As a 6' 4.5” scoring two-guard, transitioning from the AAU circuit to the college game and grooming his combo guard skills will be important for Blakeney's eventual draft stock.

2014 Elite 24 Interviews: Antonio Blakeney

Nov 13, 2014, 12:28 pm

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