Weight – 84kg (184lbs)
Age – 19 years old
High School – Advanced Prep International (Texas)
Professional Team – Adelaide 36ers (NBL, Australia)
2016-17 NBL Statistics – 15.2mpg, 4.6ppg, 1.1rpg, 0.6apg, 0.3bpg, 0.2spg
After turning down a college scholarship at Arizona for a year playing professionally in Australia, Terrance Ferguson now has his sights set on the NBA draft. On the surface, his production for the Adelaide 36ers wasn’t as impressive as the other teenagers who have spurned college for a season abroad but looking deeper shows an impressive and informative campaign that could have him selected in the lottery.
Ferguson is an outstanding athlete, and it was on show throughout the NBL season. He wowed fans with his domination of the preseason slam dunk contest and continued with his many high-flying acrobatics in the regular season. He can jump off one or two legs, which bodes well for mid-air directional changes against bigger and tougher defenders.
Not only does he have the athleticism suited for the NBA, but his body measurements are also excellent for wing position draft hopefuls. At the official NBA draft combine held in May, Ferguson measured up well against the opposing shooting guards and small forwards, which is the position Ferguson will fill in the NBA.
|Value||SG/SF Rank (out of 26)|
|Hand width||10 inches||3|
|Max vertical leap||38 inches||8|
|Height with shoes||6’7”||8|
|Height without shoes||6’5.5”||9|
|Body fat percentage||5.8%||9|
|Standing vertical leap||28.5 inches||16|
Placing in the top half of most of the combine categories is significant for Ferguson as many of the other participants were juniors and seniors in college and had had more time to work on shaping their bodies for the NBA.
The main strength of Terrance Ferguson’s game is his shooting. A dead eye catch and shoot player, he can drain the long ball out to the NBA three-point line. He gets great elevation on his shot and couple that with his excellent combine numbers give Ferguson the ability to get a shot off over taller defenders.
His shot form is tight and efficient. Unlike fellow draft prospect Lonzo Ball who has superfluous movements in his shooting technique, Ferguson gets the ball in the air in a hurry. He is very quick in setting his feet, while there are no wasted motions in releasing the ball.
Similar to the way other sharpshooters in the league, like Ray Allen and Klay Thompson, can catch and shoot in quick succession, Ferguson has the potential to be a valuable member of a team with a drive and dish lead guard or big man that demands double teams.
In high school, Ferguson took pride in defending the opposing team’s best perimeter player and that drive continued with the 36ers. Using his length, Ferguson can keep up with smaller players and stay in front of the offence. He knows how to move his feet to maintain pressure and not get called for the foul. There is still some inexperience, but he has a solid base for defence in the NBA.
He does get pushed around playing in the NBL because of his slight frame, and that will continue in the NBA with bigger bodied opponents. However, he has put on weight in the past three years without sacrificing athleticism, so combine that with the rigorous training that comes with being in the NBA should give him more bulk.
Where Ferguson separates himself from other draft hopefuls is his outstanding attitude. The NBL season started off slow, with bit minutes and disjointed playing time but to his credit, Ferguson continued to stay patient and improve himself.
Not only did his 36ers teammates love him, but the city of Adelaide welcomed him as one of his own. He is well spoken, confident but not arrogant and genuinely enjoys playing basketball. He seems to have a smart, down to earth head on his shoulders, shown by his well-written article about why he decided to play in Australia.
“The things that he’s learning and catching up on are things that he needs to. Terrance will be more advanced from playing against men in this type of league than other one-and-done kids who decide to go to college.”
– Adelaide 36ers head coach Joey Wright.
This intelligence carries onto the basketball court. At only nineteen years old, he already knows his place on a team and for the most part, doesn’t try and do too much. He plays within the flow of the offence and himself and buys into the team game plan. This mindset means that he can play off more experienced stars in the NBA and take smart shots when he is needed. A good team player and unselfish, Ferguson is the perfect type of player to have on any NBA team.
Even though Ferguson’s measurements are above average in most categories, the one area where he needs to work on is his strength. At only 184lbs, he was the second lightest SG or SF in the combine and the seventh lightest out of all competitors.
Many times during the NBL season, Ferguson was pushed around by heavier, more experienced players which limited his production. Opposing teams would target him with bigger guards, which meant that he would have to switch onto smaller, faster players or get bruised down in the low post.
His lack of strength wasn’t only contained to the defensive end. Using a quick first dribble, Ferguson would get into the lane but be unable to finish due to contract. Most of the best players in the NBA can finish plays through contract and go to the free throw line. In 2016-17, he attempted only 20 free throws in 30 games, good for sixth last out of all NBL players who featured in at least ten minutes per game.
- Ball Handling/Creating Offence
Even though Ferguson’s primary strength is his shooting, he’s not great a creating his own shot. His ball handling is below average for a guard which means if his jump shot is not falling, then his output is drastically reduced. With such a killer shot, Ferguson will need to be able to drive past defenders who close out too hard and drive to the basket or stop for a mid-range shot.
To go along with this, Ferguson relied heavily on the three-point shot and needs to add more to his repertoire. 48% of all his attempts for Adelaide were three-point shots, which is much more than the league average of 34%. A good mid-range game is necessary for the NBA which is a factor of his game that will need to be addressed, as he only shot 28% from the field between the three-point line and the key.
A free throw shooting percentage of only 60% is worrying for a sharpshooter and will need to improve considerably. Out of the 114 qualified players who participated in the NBA this season, only five shot a worse free throw percentage, and all were centres. He has good form on his shot so it might be mental problem or conditioning, both which can be corrected.
Giving up a year of college to play professionally seems to have paid off for Ferguson. His statistics may seem lacklustre, but the skills and experiences he has gained are invaluable. He still needs to get stronger and work on holes in his game, but at the very least he should be a serviceable, decade-long role player who has the potential to be an elite ‘3&D’ player in the league.