L.J. Peak NBA Draft Scouting Report and Video Analysis

L.J. Peak NBA Draft Scouting Report and Video Analysis
Jun 02, 2017, 10:27 am
A native of Gaffney, South Carolina, L.J. Peak committed to Georgetown in 2014 and found success early in his career being named to the All-Big East Rookie team his freshman season. Making further progress in his sophomore season coming off the bench, Peak settled into a more consistent role as a junior, starting all 32 games he appeared in while posting averages of 19.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per 40 minutes on 60.2% true shooting percentage. Despite not being named to any of the Big-East All-Conference teams, largely due to the extremely disappointing season Georgetown had as a team, Peak declared for the 2017 NBA Draft.
Peak, who surprisingly did not receive an invitation to participate in the NBA Draft Combine, measured 6'4.5 with a 6'9.5 wingspan while weighing 215 pounds by USA Basketball during the tryouts for the FIBA U19 World Championship in 2015, solid measurables for an NBA shooting guard. Peak isn't an overly explosive vertical athlete, but he plays with pace and understands how to change speeds both in transition and in the half court. At the NCAA level, Peak was able to use his strength and overall physicality as a means to score, particularly around the rim where he initiates contact at a high rate (7.3 FTA per 40 minutes), and will have to continue to find ways to be successful in the pros where he won't have a distinct strength advantage.

Offensively, Peak has showcased a wide variety of skills from facilitating to attacking and finishing at the rim to occasionally making shots from beyond the arc. At the rim, Peak was able to use his strength and length, but also showed a willingness and ability to employ a variety of advanced footwork to create separation to get clean looks. Peak needs space to finish above the rim, but has shown solid touch, shooting 61% on all attempts around the rim.   
The 21-year-old was an inconsistent shooter in three seasons at Georgetown, shooting 40% from beyond the three-point line as a sophomore, but seeing a drop in percentage with an increased workload as a junior, making only 32% on 101 three-point attempts. His shot isn't broken by any means, as he shot 79.6% from the free-throw line this past season, but there are inconsistencies in his perimeter jumper, most notably his shooting elbow flaring out at times while also landing off balance. At times, Peak's reluctance to take perimeter jumpers hurts his overall game, as he forces the issue at the rim, which resulted in charges, bad passes and low percentage shots. If Peak fails to improve as a shooter from the NBA line, it could be difficult to find a niche, particularly off the ball where teams can exaggerate tags without worrying about closing out a shooter.
To his credit, Peak has found a number of ways to impact the game that don't require him to be a ball dominant player. He's a smart cutter off the ball, he plays hard, and has a level of maturity that coaches appreciate. Playing on an underachieving Georgetown team kept Peak out of the spotlight to an extent but he fits the mold of versatile wings with the potential to bring energy on both ends of the floor.
While Peak lacks one distinct NBA skill, he has the potential to blossom into a valuable role player, especially as a secondary ball handler type in bench units. Peak has shown an ability to generate offense for both himself and teammates, playing on the ball as a playmaker quite a bit while at Georgetown. He's patient in the pick and roll, understanding how to change his speeds and attack downhill to get to the rim, scoring 0.916 points per possession. At the NBA level a concern with Peak is his ability to keep defenses honest, particularly in high screen and roll actions. If Peak is unable to make jump shots off the dribble from the perimeter consistently, his effectiveness as a playmaker will be nullified. Peak's value as a playmaker can't be understated, however, as he averaged 4.2 assists per-40 minutes, which is the fifth best mark among wings in the DX top 100 prospects. He has a solid feel for creating offense for his team in the pick and roll and does a nice job collapsing the defense and kicking to open teammates.  Overall, Peak is a versatile perimeter player without a true translatable skill.  His shooting will likely be the key to unlocking his potential as an NBA role player.

On the other side of the ball, the former Hoya has the physical tools to become an impact defender at the NBA level thanks to his strength and length. His 215-pound frame and 6'10 wingspan should allow him to guard multiple positions, much like did at Georgetown where he would matchup with the other team's best player fairly consistently. He's strong, long and has shown flashes of competitiveness, especially at the 2015 U19 World Championships where he served as the team's lockdown defender on a fairly talented roster headlined by Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum. His tools didn't always translate into defensive production on paper, as he averaged only 1.3 steals per 40 minutes, though this could have been a product of his environment and system as Georgetown ranked in the bottom half of NCAA schools in terms of opponent turnover percentage.
Off the ball, Peak has a tendency to over-engage on actions, leaving shooters to try and stop the ball, forcing himself into long closeouts. He has to be ready to guard multiple actions, stunt and recover, and direct the ball in pick and roll actions. On his closeouts, Peak tends to be a bit jumpy on fakes, opening his stance to allow straight line drives. Peak has the tools and pedigree to find his way onto an NBA court, though he needs to commit to rebounding on the defensive glass, where he averaged a pedestrian 3.3 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes.
Overall Peak is a capable athlete who has shown distinct versatility on the offensive side of the floor, but lacks one clear cut NBA skill. His perimeter shooting is a major question mark at this stage as his percentages have fluctuated significantly in three collegiate seasons, but he has the potential on both sides of the ball to help find his way onto an NBA roster. If he can shoot the ball well in workouts he could potentially sneak into the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft.

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