After a successful trial in the All-Star Game, should the NBA adopt the Elam Ending in more meaningful games?

Ty-Shon Alexander highlights today’s Sixers draft target. The USA Today Third-Team All American capped off a phenomenal season at Creighton. One where he led the Blue Jays to an unexpected share of the Big East title. Alexander is a fascinating prospect. Equipped with the athletic profile to make his mark at the next level. So let’s dive into what makes him such an interesting player. 

OVERVIEW

Ty-Shon Alexander is no stranger to expectations. Recruited out of Oak Hill Academy, Alexander helped the basketball powerhouse to an impressive 45-1 record his senior season. The Virginia-based school is a factory for NBA talent. Home to a list of superstars that includes Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. But unlike many Oak Hill recruits, Alexander took a behind the scenes road to college basketball. A road that included teaming up with the innovative Greg McDermott at Creighton. McDermott demanded the most out of his combo guard. Often toggling Alexander between point guard and wing duties.

At Omaha, Ty-Shon Alexander grew from a low usage distributor to a refined combo guard. The key difference centered on how McDermott utilized his 6’4 recruit. That is, moving Alexander from a on-ball role to one suited for his diverse skills. With that change, Alexander’s efficiency sky rocketed in a junior year that saw him thrive as a spot up shooter and slasher. Similar improvements were also on display on the defensive end. Where Alexander drew consistently difficult match-ups in a loaded Big East. It is with this framework that we will dissect Ty-Shon Alexander prospects and fit in Philadelphia.

STRENGTHS

  • High release point. Effortless motion and ability to shoot over bigger defenders.
  • Extreme athlete with a quick first step. Can get to the rim with relative ease, especially as a cutter. 
  • Understands motion and is constantly flashing to open spots on the court. Thrives in a catch and shoot role from the wing.
  • Moves well defensively without fouling. Can suffocate ball handlers with the combination of size and athleticism.
  • Comfortable in a modern NBA style offense that includes motion, screening and basic pick-and-roll concepts.

WEAKNESSES 

  • Lacks passing vision and creativity as the primary ball handler. Misses rollers and cutters.
  • Prone to turnovers with increased ball handling duties.
  • Does not leverage length and size to disrupt defensively. Will make the basic play but could be more active off-ball generating deflections and steals. 
  • Settles for bad jumpers that are not within the flow of the offense. 
  • Will often defer to his teammates and become too passive on offense. 

FILM HIGHLIGHT

Ty-Shon Alexander brings an array of tools to the film room. Primarily as shooter. This is where Alexander has grown leaps and bounds from a freshman year that saw him shoot 33% on 96 attempts. Alexander is a long athlete with a high release point. And that allows him to extend the offense even when defended by bigger guys. Pay attention here to how little space is needed to get the shot off against a 6’7 Isaiah Livers.

Even with the extra help, Alexander is able to use his dribble and step into the shot in rhythm. But Alexander’s scoring is not just refined to pull up shooting. And it is as a two-guard where his game shines. Alexander is tasked with A LOT under Creighton’s heavy motion offense. Against DePaul, we see how McDermott uses him as a decoy. Once Alexander fakes the cross screen, he comes off motion and is again ready to fire.

As a junior, 28% of Alexander’s scoring came off spot up opportunities, where he scored at an impressive 1.072 points per possession (84th percentile). But the threat of motion opens up other areas of Alexander’s game. The long wing is also used as a cutter under McDermott’s complex motion schemes. With the defense in conflict, he displays tremendous downhill quickness. Let’s take a look at how this plays out against Cal Poly.

Alexander has great balance near the rim. His 1.448 points per possession as a cutter ranks in the 89th percentile among all college players. But Ty-Shon Alexander has also made considerable strides on defense. Where he has turned into a nightmarish point of attack defender. On defense, he relies on his wingspan and athleticism to hound ball handlers. Against Seton Hall, he was an absolute menace. Holding the Pirates Myles Powell to a combined 9 for 29 shooting. 

His calling card is very evident. Alexander is tenacious at chasing guys off screens. Once at the point of attack, he uses his length to disrupt rhythm and force highly contested shots. 

POSSIBLE FIT

Philadelphia enters the 2020-2021 year with a sea of roster questions. In particular, Josh Richardson. Set to become a free agent at the end of the season, the Sixers have a few options with J-Rich. One in particular involves using his expiring contract in a possible trade. Josh Richardson is a fine contributor and a player most teams would welcome under his current contract. But uncertainties around the salary cap  could turn Richardson into a pricey commodity. Enter Ty-Shon Alexander. 

Alexander is years away from becoming the player Richardson is today. But the attributes are quite similar. In Richardson, the Sixers have a hawkish combo guard who is suitable to play some small forward. And while Alexander is not as big, he is capable of filling J-Rich’s shoes on both sides of the court. In particularly defensively, where he often draws the opposition’s toughest matchup. The Sixers should have time to develop Alexander with the possible emergence of Shake Milton. Keeping him in the G-League allows for that to happen under a more controlled environment. But Alexander’s offensive game is mature enough to contribute right away. Which gives Philadelphia the option to use him under the 2-way contract structure. For the Sixers that could be the best of both worlds. Giving him the time to develop in Delaware while occasionally spotting regular season minutes with the big club.

STAT NUGGETS 

  • 1 of 4 Power Five players to shoot 38% (or better) on 400+ attempts over the last two seasons combined. 
  • Career 37% three point shooter in the Big East (23rd all-time).
  • Cut turnover rate by 11.2% from freshman to junior season.
  • 1 of 5 Power Five guards to play in over 2,700 minutes and log under 155 personal fouls. 
  • 86% free throw percentage on 4.4 attempts per game last season (Led Big East). 

SUMMARY

Ty-Shon Alexander is an interesting option for teams in search of shooting and defense. Alexander is an advanced three point shooter. One who thrived in Creighton’s high paced offense. His limitations as a shot creator will likely limit his ceiling at the next level. But Alexander is a highly teachable player. A prospect that should turn into a plus defender in the NBA. The unknown at the moment is where he will fall in the draft. Alexander provides immense value at the top of the 2nd round. However, the draft landscape is still unsettled and a 2nd round grade may just be enough for Alexander to return for his senior season. Regardless, this is a name that should be high on Philadelphia’s radar. Either now or next summer. 

For everything Sixers and the NBA Draft, follow us on Twitter @BlueRouteTPL. Also be sure to check out our most recent video breakdown on Patrick Williams and his fit with the Philadelphia 76ers.