New Mexico junior Tony Snell possesses a number of tools on the offensive end that translate well to the shooting guard position in the NBA. At 6 foot 7 and with outstanding length, Snell has a great frame to compliment his solid athleticism on the perimeter. But even at his size, Snell is a true shooting guard with a very smooth stroke and range that extends out to the NBA three-point line. Snell is at his best in catch and shoot scenarios, coming off of a screen or cut and quickly spotting up for a jump shot. He elevates well on his jumper, and can get a shot off with limited separation because of his long arms. Snell is very active off the ball, creating offense from all over the perimeter with his combination of shooting and athleticism. Snell has a strong midrange game, and while he is most effective in catch and shoot opportunities, he is still overall a versatile scorer. Snell can catch from the wing and create off the dribble, possessing a quick first step and enough athleticism to score in the lane. Snell can catch on the block against smaller defenders and elevate over them for good looks at the hoop. He is a great threat in transition because he can lead the break, attack the rim on the wing, or even stop at the three point line and knock down an open look. Snell is a decent passer off the drive, but is at his best as a perimeter shooter who can threaten to score off of the drive. His combination of length, athleticism, and shooting ability make him a prospect with tremendous upside and a skill set that translates well to the NBA game.
There are games where Tony Snell flashes the tools and ability that warrant a late first round grade in the draft. With his frame and stroke, he appears built to be a solid offensive player in the NBA. But Snell is still a bit of a project that has to prove that he can score consistently and assert his skill set on a more routine basis. While Snell averaged nearly 13 points per game this season on almost ten shots a game, his scoring is still overall very erratic from game to game. Snell needs to play with more aggression on the offensive end, taking the ball into the lane more often and forcing defenders to respect his ability to drive. He will disappear on the offensive end for long stretches, not entirely relishing the role of the go-to scorer in spite of his ability to carry an offense for entire games. To become a more well-rounded scorer, Snell has to improve his efficiency in the paint. Snell has the quickness to beat the first level of defense on the perimeter, but has a difficult time keeping his balance against the physicality of the second level. Defenses can keep Snell away from the rim because of his slim frame, so adding a bit of strength should allow him to utilize his length and scoring touch closer to the basket. Snell has to improve his off-hand, as most of his drives end up on the right side of the lane. His catch and shoot game is strong, but Snell needs to improve his pull up jumper and ability to shoot after a few dribbles. Snell has to more consistently display the mindset of a go-to scorer and offensive leader, a trait that should develop once he gains more time and experience to refine his game.
On paper, Snell has the physical tools to be a plus defender on the perimeter. His height, long arms, and athleticism should allow him to guard shooting guards and small forwards in the pros. Snell competes hard on the defensive end, and does well in rotations and in closing out against shooters. He is a diligent defender off the ball that can chase shooters around screens and prevent open looks at the hoop because of his long arms. While Snell does not have elite lateral quickness, he uses his size well in playing a step or two off of quicker players without giving up easy jumpers. Snell has always been a better offensive than defensive player, but he still has a lot of upside on the defensive end because of his length and versatility on the perimeter.
Snell’s lack of strength is perhaps the largest factor currently preventing him from effectively guarding multiple positions at the next level. He still struggles defending the drive against more physical players because he does not offer much resistance when his man lowers his shoulder. Small forwards will be able to have their way with Snell from the free throw line and in, unless he gains some muscle and begins to guard with more physicality. While Snell does a good job keeping with shooters, he does not display a great ability to play the passing lanes and disrupt an opponent’s offensive flow on the perimeter. Snell does not force many turnovers for a player with his length and speed, and leaves a bit more to be desired in terms of pressuring his man to force a steal or a bad shot. He can afford to play a more aggressive defensive style on the perimeter, the same which can be said of his rebounding. While his rebounding numbers are decent to good for his position, Snell can add more value as a strong rebounding guard considering his advantage in size over most players at his position.
More so than most players, your opinion of Tony Snell’s pro prospects is going to depend heavily on what game tape you decide to put on. There are performances where Snell looks the part of an NBA shooting guard. With outstanding size and length, solid athleticism, and a smooth shooting stroke from all over the floor, Snell has games where he takes over offensively and dominates the competition. He is a great catch and shoot prospect that also has the quickness to drive into the lane or create for others off the dribble. But while Snell projects as a player at the next level, he still needs to add experience and show that he can thrive more consistently as a go-to scorer. His overall offensive output is still erratic, as Snell has a tendency to disappear for long stretches where scouts feel he should be dominating. Aside from a frame that still needs to add some strength, Snell more importantly needs to display a more aggressive scoring mindset and prove that he can best utilize his physical skills by refining his game. Both offensively and defensively, Snell has the potential to be a very versatile player that can create his own offense and guard multiple positions on the perimeter. But Snell still has a bit of a ways to go in terms of production before he fully realizes his promising potential.