Oscar Tshiebwe Scouting Report
By: Alex Brown @AhbAnalytics
2020 Draft Age: 20.58 years
Measurements: 6’9, 258 lbs, reported 7’4 (+7) wingspan. Already a man among boys as a freshman. Comparable to fellow Congolese player Bismack Biyombo.
Background: Oscar Tshiebwe left Congo at age 15 (2015) after he started playing basketball around age 14 and attended Bismack Biyombo’s camp. He also grew up playing soccer (+), which is typically a good indicator for a big. He was 4-star recruit according to ESPN, and Pennsylvania’s player of the year in high school. His legal guardians (US) that took him in are also are the legal guardians for Sagaba Konate.
Personality: Enthusiastic, humble, likable. Brings energy, hard working on and off the court. He has a business-like mentality on the court. brings it every night ready to get things done… Lets others help him, doesn’t have an inflated ego. Loves to compete. Plays more instinctual than cerebral. Still learning the game.
Athleticism: Freakishly athletic in space. Moves extremely well for a guy his size. Strength-based leaper, but by no means an outlier vertical threat in the NBA. He has excellent speed & agility, and really moves his feet well for his size. His acceleration at his size and weight is also incredibly impressive and his best physical trait.
Projected Fit: Energy Role-Player
Projected Draft Landing: Mid-Late Second Round (should he declare in 2020)
- High: High energy rotation player after a longer than average development cycle. He uses his superior acceleration, motor, and strength to be a contributor in multiple key areas including on the glass, as a play finisher, and as a 2 to 3 (max) position defender (w/2 stocks) due to his agility and strength combination. Through increased lower body explosiveness training he unlocks more vertical pop that helps him make use of his tools more effectively.
- Medium: Average energy big who’s superior motor & acceleration allow him to be an impactful big on the glass and as a play finisher. Limited vertical pop on defense limits his ability as a rim protector, but his strength still helps keep backdowns from occurring often.
- Low: The lack of touch and multiple bankable offensive skills hinder his offensive development more than anticipated, making him solely able to make an offensive impact as a play finisher and screener. Despite superior strength, fighting through contact proves futile due to poor free throw numbers and general lack of touch. Slow development & limited versatility keeps him from the NBA and sends him overseas/G-League.
- Offensive Rebounding: Oscar’s greatest offensive strength is his ability to generate extra possessions for his team. He has excellent hands, great positioning for boxouts, and his acceleration lets him rebound out of his area really effectively. When he has space to load, he can throw down some thunderous putbacks as well. While he doesn’t seem to get a ton of boards above the rim, he excels at tipping it to himself and clearing out space so that his length can make up for his lack of vertical pop. However, his post-rebound decision-making needs to improve if he wants to be an elite force on the offensive glass at the next level.
- Roll-Man Potential: While Oscar is not exactly excelling as a roll man currently, he is also playing on one of the (statistically) poorer passing teams in the country. His 60th percentile as a roll-man is not eye popping, but his incredible hands and acceleration (at 260lbs) are bound to cause problems for defenses when utilized correctly in P&R scenarios. He accelerates quickly enough to be a much better cutter (45th percentile) & slipper than he is given credit for at WVU. He gets off the line so fast that if he gets that quick dumpdown or pocket pass it is going to be truly hard to shut him down when rolling hard to the rim without fouling. Furthermore, the spacing & enhanced playmaking at the next level should prove really useful for developing his off-ball offensive game since he will become reliant on that (likely).
- Motor: Indefatigable motor, especially on the offensive glass. His basketball IQ and feel have not caught up yet, but the effort he puts in is really great to see for a guy with his build. He will consistently outwork other bigs when battling for position and it shows in his offensive board numbers… Furthermore, he always seems to want to be involved in some way (whether as an on/off ball screener or post threat) as opposed to taking plays off. This can lead to him doing too much at times, as his feel and decision making have yet to catch up to his motor. However, when they do he could really make a winning impact consistently.
- Transition Offense: Oscar runs the floor so well because he constantly works hard and has top tier acceleration for his size. In the 30 charted transition possessions, he ranked in the 95th percentile in transition scoring. Even when he isn’t involved, he still sprints the floor to just have a chance at making an impact. In space, his tremendous athleticism shines to its fullest, and will undoubtedly shine more as spacing improves. That is something you just love to see.
- Touch: Awkward, unnatural touch shots occur often when in the paint, and at the next level he will get blocked by those who can recover more effectively with greater length. He flings it up at times in hopes that it may go in when there are better decisions to be made. When he is under control he has flashes of a post hook, but getting under control can be a major problem.
- Shot Versatility & Reliability: Lacks a serviceable jumper, he is not that confident in his touch. However, he has had flashes where he looks like he has a shot to build upon that isn’t horrible, especially within 12 feet from the hoop. Regardless, he currently has limited versatility as a scorer and shooter, and it is doubtable that he will become any better than average away from the rim.
- Off-Ball Offense: Part of this is a function of WVU’s lacking playmaking, but despite Oscar’s superior acceleration he sure doesn’t make the best use of it by cutting hard, etc. He relegates himself to the post far too often, and is primarily a screener that is a bit out of control…
- Offensive IQ: One can tell that, at times, Oscar doesn’t know what to do with the ball. The game/feel is not natural yet. Of course, this is rather natural for someone who has not been playing basketball their entire life, and as he practices more and more his confidence in his decision making will rise. He needs more time to develop his feel at the collegiate level before declaring.
- Offense In Traffic: Fails when doubles often, despite his good hands he gets the ball swatted away easily. He has not yet learned how to fully utilize his body to clear space, and could use a lot of fundamental improvement in these scenarios. He should be much stronger with the ball and generate much more contact.
- Passing Ability: Oscar is a poor passer, with only 8 assists to 50 turnovers on the year. He is extremely slow in his reactive decision making, which is a sign that his IQ/feel have just not caught up yet. He likely will never be more than a screener and play finisher offensively, but the lack of passing ability certainly makes him less of in appealing big in the modern game.
Some plays shown here vs Iowa St. show the occasional awkward touch I’m referring to.
Synergy Profile: Keep in mind, WVU is always an excellent defensive team which shrouds some of Oscar’s issues.
- Physicality and Post Strength: The main aspects that I really like about Oscar’s post defense is his low center of gravity, strength vs backdowns, and the fact that he (seemingly) loves to battle. While the post is not as utilized today, it certainly will be utilized even less with Oscar down low. In 30 tracked post shots against Oscar, only 15 points were scored. He doesn’t get pushed around, and he will certainly not be targeted in the post. He bullied James Wiseman in the post pretty badly before the season began, which was fun to watch.
- Recovery and Acceleration: In P&R and drop coverage, Tshiebwe recovers excellently off of hedges due to his quick feet and acceleration. While he is not the quickest laterally, his recovery more than makes up for it at times. While there are debates about synergy’s defensive profiles, I find that the 96th percentile in roll coverage is pretty supportive of his ability to shut down rolls. Also, it really helps when leaving the paint to close on perimeter shooters who are not exactly ready for his sudden burst. I believe that this trait gives him the potential to be a multi-positional defender, but his technique isn’t ready.
- Constant Effort: Oscar doesn’t take plays off, he is always putting forth the effort necessary to be a great defender. While he does have his mental lapses, when he is locked in he is tough to score on.
- Transition Defense: In space, Tshiebwe is a monster. On the defensive side of transition, he seldom gets beat by his man and gives constant effort. He is not elite here, but definitely not a liability.
- Off-Ball Awareness: He has some rather slow, (not proactive) reactions when playing off of the ball. While his acceleration helps him recover, the fact that he looks lost when not battling physically is worrisome. He gets tunnel vision on slashers when playing help defense and gives up easy dump-downs (as he loses sight of his man and mispositions). He also seems relatively anxious/uncomfortable at times when not engaged in on ball defense. In the modern game, can he be a valuable defender when his post defense is his only real strength? I find it unlikely as of now, but of course I wish he stays and develops his all around defensive game at WVU.
- Vertical Explosiveness: Oscar can get too upright, as he needs space to load and cannot immediately explode to a great height from a standstill… At 6’9 it limits his upside as a rim protector. His timing does not always make up for this either.
I tend to really value bigs with high energy and great tools, but Tshiebwe is still very, very raw. The energy, athleticism, and work ethic are great signs for development, but he needs a lot of work before he could be ready for the modern NBA. I believe that he needs to return to school for 2+ years to continue learning the game and to develop his offensive skillset. This will help his feel and basketball IQ get closer to his motor before he makes the transition to the next level, where at his ceiling (depending on development of course) he could end up being an impact role player. As of now, I would not want to invest in him unless I were drafting late second round (or signing undrafted) and was comfortable with him developing in the G-League for a long while. I still like his long term upside as an impactful role player, and I think he has a great foundation to build upon, but if I were Oscar I would wait for a couple years before declaring.
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