MATTHEW STRAZEL

BIRTHDATE: 8/5/02

POSITION: Point Guard

HEIGHT: 6'0"

WEIGHT: 180

TEAM: ASVEL (France)

Draft Projection

Late first-round pick for 2021 NBA Draft.

Background and Notable Stats

He's a good kid in every sense. When ASVEL came to Istanbul to play against Anadolu Efes in January, I spoke to Strazel for a very short time. That day I interviewed Theo Maledon, Tonye Jekiri and TJ Parker. 

Theo words for him: "Yes, Strazel is a good person. I like to train with him. We both give advice to improve each other. We are both young and play in a great culture. Strazel and my style of play are different. We have play styles that complement each other."

TJ words for him: "Strazel is a person who loves learning like every other player in our team and works for long periods to improve himself. When we talk to Tony (Parker) sometimes, we express our admiration for the development of Strazel and Theo."

Jekiri words for him: "I am not used to playing with young players in my career. Strazel and Theo are young to play in the EuroLeague, but both know how to act like a professional. Strazel likes to practice. Sometimes he wants to try to do things he can't do and wants to exceed his potential."

Strazel, who started basketball seven years old, likes to practice. He was one of the earliest players on the court when they came to Istanbul for the match they played with Efes. He played nine minutes in the match. He was constantly active in the match. He was always in the match while in bench.

Strazel's father, who played basketball, Dominique, is a big factor in Strazel's life, just like his other three children. I think, his family culture is great. 

In the early months of 2017, Strazel signed a contract to join the youth sections of ASVEL after starting his career with its partner club, Marne-la-Vallée. Two years later, on 31 July 2019, when he was 16 y/o, he signed his first professional contract with ASVEL. He made his EL debut on 29 October against Baskonia. Strazel scoring nine points with three three-pointers just in 13 minutes.

At the 2019-2020 EuroLeague season, 18 years old guard averaged four points, 1.6 assists, 0.7 rebounds while shooting 37.5% from the court and 41.4% from the 3PT. 

Matthew Strazel finished with 19.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists on Pro A U21.

Mentality

Competitive and smart player who plays well within his role. I think he can mentally get used to everything. Because he experienced significant competition levels at a young age. He took responsibility and, most importantly, he remained stable. Sometimes he loses morale when his team is behind in the match. Motor is stopping.

Experience

I think MS is at good levels in terms of experience. He took important responsibilities at a young age in the basketball culture of France. He worked with two important coaches like TJ Parker and Zvezdan Mitrovic. In addition, Tony Parker became a mentor to Strazel as well as Maledon. He trained with experienced names like Adrien Payne, Tonye Jekiri and David Lighty. He played in hard levels at the EuroLeague. For example, against Real Madrid in Madrid, he guarded Facundo Campazzo well from the start of the match. He also scored nine points in 13 minutes in his debut in the Euroleague.

Physical Tools

I think this part will be the most important part of his future. Strazel is a talented and promising prospect with quickness. He does many things in offense and his ability to defend is high. But physically he is very weak. Although physically very weak, MS can finish in traffic or stop his opponent in switch defense. But in a place where pace is high like the NBA, Strazel may not be able to compensate for the problems it has physically experienced in Europe. Shoulders are narrow, chests are weak, arms are long but weak. The lower body is a little stronger but not enough for the high levels. I think the biggest downside is the core muscle.

 

I think Strazel's floater and general layup style is similar to Steph Curry's style. He takes the first step strong, can change direction and finish softly around the pot. But Curry used an excellent core power to do this. Strazel does not have this power. The core part is weak. It is not enough for a higher level.

 

Some good things about physically. Very quick with great acceleration. Quick hips, quick feet, and very quick reactions. I would like to explain a bit more to the NBA-Europe part. Defenses in Europe are aggressive. There are generally traditional (aggressive, rim protector, like to play defense) and modern (can defend guards, moves laterally well) bigs in the painted area. He can penetrate against them, find scores on them.

 

In NBA, there are lengths suitable for the switch to stop small ball attacks. Also the rotation in the painted area is changing. However, NBA is a place where the size rate (in terms of hardness) increases as a pace & space, the drive channels are closed and everything can be switched. In other words, Strazel will have to create a dribbling channel for him to show his talent in the painted area and physically rule out his opponents to do so. I think it's hard to do with the current shoulder, chest and core strength.

Offense

I think Strazel has a great offensive package. He is creative, has the ability to change direction, can control the tempo, has intelligence in his passes and his handle is good. But despite all these good things, I have some question marks that he might be a good offensive player in the NBA. First of all, Strazel is not a consistent shooter. Tons of creativity and the good things are null for the NBA when I think about his minuses on shooting (in terms of consistency) and his lack of strength. I want to explain it. 

I think Matthew Strazel is a good finisher. Soft touch, pretty nice body control and flashes some craft around the rim. He can finish with either hand but it is not consistent. MS does not take contact that well around the rim but as I said, he is crafty rim finisher thanks to his first step. His first step smooth and he can change direction before the second step.

 

This kid knows very well how to change direction when rim defender coming to him. He does is a good job avoiding contact without getting himself out of position for a good angle. Strazel does not have best hip turns on the world but not bad. He knows when and where he should use hip turns. Strazel does a great job keeping the ball away/shielding the ball from his man on drives.

 

He does not have much pop in the paint and jumps out more than up. I mean, I think MS is a quick finisher in the paint also he can finish in traffic but he is not someone who really explodes up. I like his floaters. His ball sensitivity is great.

 

I have big questions, doubts about his shots. I think Strazel has good shooting mechanics. This shot mechanism is slow for the NBA but if it can continue to use its mechanics, the hit rate may be high. MS narrows his shoulders during the first stage of shot, brings his feet closer, does not bend his hips too much, jumps well and uses the shot fluently. However, he is not a consistent shooter. I mean, he doesn't use too many 3PTs. At the junior level, his three-point trial rate per game was low. So I think he is not a reliable three-point shooter right now. I like his shot versatility. He does a good job moving to the open spot without the ball.  Though he’s not a particularly consistent shooter yet, he can hit C&S jumpers, pullup jumpers off closeouts, and basic relocation shots.

 

In my observation, hough he’s not a particularly consistent shooter yet, he can hit C&S jumpers, pull up jumpers off closeouts, and basic relocation shots. He does not a good job creating space with jab steps, crossovers, spin moves, and stepbacks. However, sometimes, MS uses shots long range thanks to his footwork (for example, 2019-2020 ASVEL vs. CSP at U21, first quarter). I like his footwork. Even though he does not have high-end athletic gifts Strazel has a good footwork thanks to his general quickness.

 

This kid is a good handler. He knows how to control the tempo. Uses it in conjunction with his change of pace, to get free from defenders. In my opinion, he does a good job piecing moves together to throw the defense.  Can dribble into traffic, allowing defenders to poke their hands in to disrupt his handle. I also like his passing skills.

 

Crafty passer. Strazel may not make elite reads, but he makes high level smart ones that put teammates in the best position to attack but I think he is not good PnR passer. He forced some pases. However, it turns around two things: Power and shooting. If Strazel reaches a good level in terms of shooting consistency, under the working conditions in the NBA, he may develop a lack of power... Despite his crafty and skilled offensive package, I don't think it would be good if he went to the NBA as an inconsistent shooter.

Defense

This part is one of my favorites about him. It is natural for a player who plays at the higher levels at the age of 17 and who has physically big cons to create great weakness in defense. However, I think Strazel will be an excellent defender. He had put intense pressure on Facundo Campazzo from the start of the match against Real Madrid in Real. He uses lateral quickness, body coordination, footwork and position reading skills.

 

He’s a defensive playmaker, but gambles a bit too much on the perimeter. MS showed some flashes helping cut off dribbles and rotating down and to the perimeter, but inconsistent. In my opinion, Strazel solid PnR defender. He flashes pretty nice footwork at the top with two plant, three-step technique and is quick over when there is a slip or enough space. However, he is prone to relaxing at the point of offense when MS thinks the handler is about to attack, leading to driving or pocket pass lanes for the ballhandler.

 

He is not a rim protector. His size and lack of pop limits him here as a weakside rim protector. I think MS is a great off ball defender. He does impressive job getting through picks and getting back into the game, even when screened off slightly from his trailing position. However, sometimes he gets the fake fast.

 

Not a good on closeouts. Needs work. MS does a good job closing space on his man but Strazel is ovrly reliant on quickness to contest shots. So, this is creating problems like wrong timing and bad footwork. Needs work on technique. I like his ISO defense. As I said, he guarded Facu very well. Also he shows some flashes all season. He is not super quick but quick. Strazel does a quick job turning his hips on the move and staying in his stance in space. This kid knows how and when he should use his lateral quickness.

 

However, I have some questions about his ISOs. Strazel starts press from the full court. His energy high but he is not taking big minutes on high-level matches. In a place like the NBA, it can be difficult to do an intense ISO defense in 10-20 minutes. I think the system with drag screens in the NBA and his lack of strength will lead to this result. He is a promising switch defender but not too much yet. Shows flashes which are he can steal from the bigs and take charges but not too much. Also yes, lack of strenght, again.

My major questions

How soon will he be able to develop physically?

Will he plays as an SG if he can consistent on the shot? Or can he be an NBA standard combo guard?

How long can he keep his energy in defense?

Summary

Matthew Strazel can dazzle fans in the NBA and stand out on ESPN's "rookie" charts. I think heis one of the readiest prospects for NBA mentally and as an offensive-defense discipline. But Strazel needs to gain strength physically. He has to be consistent on his shot. I think he can have a great career in the NBA if he can do this. He learns good things from the team culture at ASVEL. He works with Tony Parker. Teammates are experienced. He played in the EuroLeague at the age of 17. I think Strazel is not a Luka Doncic. However, I have hope about his NBA career. If he does not develop physically, works changes.