Tyrese Proctor: The Next Great Aussie Guard?
The NBA Global Academy in Australia has produced consecutive top ten picks in Josh Giddey and Dyson Daniels. Incoming Duke freshman, Tyrese Proctor, looks to continue that trend in 2023.
Hello No Ceilings readers, it’s been a while. Your resident recluse is back, and I hope you all have enjoyed your summer. As the dog days of the season come to an end and the cooler winds of autumn roll in, many of us have started to shift our focus towards the upcoming 2023 draft cycle. My teammates here at NC have already done a brilliant job of highlighting many of the prospects in this year’s class with their invaluable insights, and I thought it was about time for me to contribute as well in the small way that I can.
It’s become no secret that the 2023 NBA Draft is headlined by players such as Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson, Dariq Whitehead, Keyonte George, Cam Whitmore, Nick Smith, Anthony Black, and the Thompson twins, Amen and Ausar. I’ve truly enjoyed watching all of them and some of the other top names in this group over the past couple of months as I’ve begun to prep for the start of this season. However, during this process, there’s been a prospect who wasn’t even supposed to be in this class that I’ve walked away really interested in.
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Australia has quietly become an NBA guard factory of sorts, something Scott Cacciola of The New York Times highlighted in a piece back in March. The NBA Global Academy, a program for top international youth prospects to develop into potential pros, launched in 2016. Their academy in Australia, which opened in 2017, has produced a trinity of top guard prospects in the last three years. Josh Giddey became the first graduate to be selected in the NBA Draft back in 2021 when the Oklahoma City Thunder took him with the sixth overall pick. That was followed up by Dyson Daniels being picked eighth overall this past June in the 2022 draft by the New Orleans Pelicans. This trend very well could continue next summer, with the third member of the vaunted Aussie trio, Tyrese Proctor, headed to Duke in the fall.
As I mentioned earlier, Proctor initially was one of the top high school recruits for the 2023 class but reclassified to 2022 in June to join the Blue Devils’ loaded roster this season. I personally wasn’t aware of Proctor until the genius that is Alex (Draft Film School) mentioned him in our No Ceilings group chat this spring. I’ve learned that when someone with Alex’s eye for talent mentions a prospect, you probably should look into them. When I found out that Proctor was representing the land from down under in this year’s FIBA Asia Cup, it seemed like an awesome opportunity to get my first real look at his game.
Now, I’ve got no idea if Proctor will end up becoming a top ten pick, like Giddey and Daniels both were, but I did walk away impressed with what I saw from the Sydney product during Australia’s six-game run to win the Asia Cup. Proctor averaged 10.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 40.7% from beyond the arc over that stint. I thought he looked poised throughout the tournament and showcased the potential he’s got as a two-way player. With Giddey and Daniels, it was pretty clear that both had the player archetype of the modern jumbo playmaker you’ve seen take over today’s NBA game. Proctor differs from the two in that regard, as he’s more of your prototypical combo guard.
The first part of Proctor’s skillset that I’m excited about is the versatility he’s displayed as a shotmaker. His three-point shooting ability is currently one of the top weapons in his offensive arsenal. The numbers are obviously promising; Proctor is shooting nearly 41% from deep on a solid sample size (11/27) during the Asia Cup this summer, which should be an encouraging sign for any evaluator. From a mechanical standpoint, Proctor’s shot also looks pretty positive to me.
He’s got an efficient, quick release and is good at squaring himself to the rim before letting the ball go. His knees do tend to cave in sometimes, and his guide hand will also drift to the top of the ball every now and then, but those are nitpicky tweaks from me truly. I’m also curious to see if Proctor has the same efficiency shooting it off the dribble from three; as you’ll see in the clips below that most of his shots are coming off of catch and shoot opportunities. Overall though, Proctor appears to be a legitimate shooter who has room to get better. He should thrive playing alongside passers like Dariq Whitehead and Dereck Lively II this year in Durham.
There’s no doubting that Proctor’s shooting prowess is propitious, but the craft as a shotmaker, finisher, and slasher he already seems to possess is what intrigues me most about his potential on the offensive end of the floor. I think it would be fair to say that the competition Proctor faced during the FIBA Asia Cup probably isn’t anywhere near the level of what he’s going to see in the ACC and beyond playing for Duke. Still, I don’t think this should denigrate what Proctor displayed in Indonesia.
He’s not the most explosive vertical athlete, but Proctor has some nice shiftiness and wiggle off the bounce that allows him to get by opposing defenders. Plus, I really love the pace he plays with as a ball handler and the way he utilizes fakes to get guys off balance. Proctor has an effective crossover that he combines with sneaky behind-the-back and hesitations dribbles, mixed with pass fakes that really are beautiful to watch in motion. As a finisher, I definitely view there being areas for Proctor to improve on, primarily being more effective at finishing through contact. Nevertheless, Proctor’s still a versatile finisher for the most part.
You’ll see it in the and-one drive against New Zealand and the slick lefty lay-in versus Lebanon in the highlights above that the kid is an ambidextrous finisher who can convert difficult shots at the rim. The only thing really missing from Proctor’s scoring bag is the in-between game. Adding a reliable floater and becoming a more consistent mid-range shooting threat will be crucial to rounding out his ability as a scorer.
The final aspect of Proctor’s offensive skillset that I want to spotlight is his playmaking. I don’t know if Australian hoopers just have the ability to be awesome passers embedded in their DNA at this point, but like his fellow NBA Global Academy alumni, Giddey and Daniels, Proctor can dish the rock in a variety of ways. He might not be as dynamic of a passer as his countrymen, specifically Giddey, but Proctor isn’t that far behind either.
Proctor’s already shown proficiency as an operator out of pick and rolls, where he seems to routinely make positive plays. He’s also great at finding shooters in the open floor in transition, and overall I think his decision-making is really sound, especially for only being 18 years old. He sported a 2:1 turnover to assist ratio during the Asia Cup, and overall I just appreciate the way he values the rock.
My favorite part of Proctor’s passing ability though is what he does with his cross-court passes. He can whip the ball across the floor in an instance with either hand, once again displaying a knack for finding open shooters amongst the three-point line. The flair he’s got as a passer, too, is underrated, in my opinion; that’s something I’m looking forward to seeing him explore more going forward.
To wrap up this piece, I want to shift gears and briefly touch on Proctor’s potential as a defender. I believe he’s got the chance to be one of Duke’s best on-ball defenders this season. He’s got good size for the guard position, standing at 6’4” and sporting a 6’7” wingspan. Proctor utilizes his frame well to smother smaller guards on the ball, hounding them with consistent pressure, and does so without fouling.
I’m very impressed with the technique he’s already got as a defender. Proctor’s great at staying low in his defensive stance, quickly shifting his hips when he needs to, and using his body, hands, and forearms to stay connected to his man. He gets caught ball watching at times as an off-ball defender, which a ton of young players have a tendency to do, but it’s for sure something he can tighten up. Ultimately though, I’m a big buyer of the Aussie’s defensive upside.
I haven’t seen many preseason draft boards even have Proctor on them, which is understandable given we don’t really know what role he’s going to play in Jon Scheyer’s rotation this year. But I’m not sure Duke’s international man of mystery is going to be able to stay hidden much longer and inevitably will become an important part of their rotation.
He might reignite Jazz fans’ PTSD from the Dante Exum days, but I view Proctor as cut more from the same cloth as Giddey and Daniels personally. His craft, poise, and potential are undeniable as he plays well beyond his years in certain ways. I’ve got Proctor as a pretty firm first-round talent on my current personal big board and am eager to see him validate that ranking hopefully this season at Duke.
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