A top French prospect, Rayan Rupert headlined the yearly NBL top prospect list. While he was injured for a good portion of the year, in 31 games Rupert averaged 6.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG, and 1.1 TOPG on splits of 37/31/74 in 18 minutes per game. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Rayan Rupert
Wingspan/ standing reach: 7’2/8’10
Hand size: 9 ½
Pre-Draft team: New Zealand Breakers/France
Tools: Defense, frame, intangibles
- Projectable shooter with a high release
- Tenacious defender
- Reliable runner/floater
- Strong on-ball defender
- Long strides as a slasher
- Outstanding frame
- Young for his class, having only turned 18 3 weeks prior to draft night
- Good work ethic
- Can defend with his hands too much, making him foul prone
- Awkward jump shot base
- Needs to speed up his off the dribble jumper
- Should improve footwork as a ball handler
- Streaky shooter; needs to add consistency as a jump shooter
- Struggled as a finisher at the rim in the NBL
- Negative assist:turnover ratio
Rayan Rupert is an incredibly unique & positionless player with extreme length, ball-skills, and high defensive upside.
Defensively, given his length/frame, ability to move step-for-step with any slasher, and high motor and intensity, Rupert’s defensive upside ranks among the highest in the class. With a 7’2 wingspan Rupert can truly guard anyone with ball-skills on the floor without being a liability, and he may even be able to lock opposing guards and wings up from day one. If he goes to the right team, his defense can be completely maximized which would make him an impactful rotation player right away. He still has some habits to tweak, such as foul trouble, but the upside to become a positive player has an easy and quick path to success.
Offensively, Rupert will need to find a role to truly hang his hat on as a scorer. With guard skills, he can initiate some offense through a variety of sets. However, he likely won’t need to do much play initiation, but will instead be relegated to more off-ball duties as a cutter, finisher, and shooter. He has religiously worked on his jump shot here in Dallas during the pre-draft process, and if the work ethic continues, with at least halfway projectable shooting mechanics, the results should eventually follow. On top of that, he will have to become more efficient at the rim. One way he can counter within five feet of the rim numbers is to continue mastering his floater and runner, which had flashes and looks good, but didn’t get the results he was looking for. Per synergy, he shot 9/28 on runners, which is only in the 32nd percentile of international players. With long arms and long strides though, slashing is an area that he should be able to develop with a good NBA program.
The other big swing skill for him is shooting. With mediocre shooting numbers and awkward, labored mechanics, this area will come down to how far his work ethic takes him. Again, from sources I have spoken to that have been working closely with Rupert in Dallas, the jump shot is his top priority. While it is hard to speak to the specifics of how he can improve beyond reps, getting more shots is a simple start. Once he gets into an NBA developmental program, it becomes up to that team to correctly calculate how to rework his shot for the best.
As a new 19 year old (turned 19 3 weeks before the daft) for the entirety of his rookie season, with his feel for the game, intangibles, defensive ability, and outstanding physical tools with functional ability, Rupert is a good upside play with a floor being a defensive specialist with ball-handling ability. For most of his offense, he needs to turn it from theoretical to practical. Coming from a deep, successful pipeline of talent in France, playing professionally at a young age and being more advanced mentally than his peers should do him favors in the long-run. Having grown up as a point guard and playmaker, there is a lot of untapped offensive potential for Rupert.
Fit with the Mavs:
While Rupert is still raw offensively, he becomes an instant roster upgrade over Frank Ntilikina, who is someone that shares a similar role of what Rupert would play as a defensive specialist that gets open shots and can run a couple possessions of offense. Rupert’s size + more aggressive approach (Rupert took double the free throws in 31 NBL games than Ntilikina in 47 NBA games) with room to grow as a former point guard, makes him a safe play for his rookie year as a defender that can handle even forwards, with room to be developed offensively.
Similar to: Matisse Thybulle, Tony Allen, Tayshaun Prince
Projected draft range: 12-27
Expected role: Defensive stopper with potential to handle the ball and to grow into more on-ball and off-ball abilities.
Unplayable if: Lack of efficient scoring ability limits his game and makes him easy to sag off of and create problems for teammates offensively.
Exceeds expectations if: Jump shooting concerns can be worked through with a strong work ethic, and finishing ability develops as he physically matures.