One of the higher rated prospects attending the PIT, Tyrese Rice had a quiet albeit productive week, but was playing noticeably out of character. Known for his scoring prowess in the ACC, Rice looked to function more as a facilitator, only showing the shoot-first mentality were used to seeing from him when his team fell behind significantly which is did in each of the first two games. Though he didnt take over like some may had expected him to coming in, he had three very solid games and built upon the strong body of work he had coming in.
The time Rice spent in Portsmouth put an interesting perspective on the tools weve elaborated on in past reports. Though he ranks amongst the top assist-men in our database, he also found himself amongst the most turnover prone thanks in large part to just how heavily Head Coach Al Skinner relied on him to dominate the game. Rice didnt have to do much scoring in Portsmouth and picked his spots well, which is represented in how efficiently he distributed the ball. While he did force a couple of drive and dish attempts, Rice looked extremely good running the point in a more conservative fashion than weve seen from him, and masked the fact that he doesnt have great court vision. Moving forward, Rice will need to cut down significantly on his turnovers to achieve his potential as a point guard.
In addition to his solid passing ability, Rice showed the same scoring ability he did during his college career. A capable catch and shoot threat, he shot the ball well from the perimeter all week, knocking down numerous catch and shoot jumpers and pull ups many of which were contested. He developed the ability to knock down tough shots from the perimeter during his time at BC, and that skill should serve him well wherever he lands next season. His shot selection was better than were used to seeing and he did a nice job balancing his responsibilities as a scorer and passer here. Unfortunately, the news on the offensive end isnt all good, and Rice showed some concerning weaknesses in the three games of his we got to see.
Much of Rices offensive production in the NCAA was predicated on his ability to get to the rim, and in turn, the free throw line. While he does show an excellent first step, his finishing ability is going to diminish significantly on the next level. A bit on the short side, Rice doesnt compensate for his height with great strength, length or leaping ability, which means his ability to score in the lane doesnt project well to the NBA game. Whether Rice can develop the short range game to overcome the problems hell face as a finisher will determine his long-term efficiency as a scorer.
On the defensive end, Rice didnt show the greatest intensity, which isnt a great sign considering he could really have benefitted from a good showing on that end. Considering his history, Rice is being viewed as number one option with underdeveloped skills as a role-player. That designation doesnt bode well for his NBA future, but still puts him in excellent position to excel in Europe or the D-League. Should Rice overcome some of his weaknesses or improve his shooting consistency, it wouldnt be surprising to see Rice in the NBA at some point down the road.