How good is Cooper Flagg? Senior year high school scouting report proves forward has NBA superstar potential | Sporting News

How good is Cooper Flagg? Senior year high school scouting report proves forward has NBA superstar potential | Sporting News

Cooper Flagg, a Duke commit and No. 1 prospect in the class of 2024, will showcase his potential at the 2024 McDonald’s All-American Game in Houston.

Flagg has dominated the high school basketball scene during his senior season. He averaged 16.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.7 blocks and 1.6 steals per game, leading Montverde Academy to a perfect 30-0 record while earning Gatorade National Player of the Year for his efforts.

The prestigious award puts him in line with future NBA greats such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard, as well as current All-Stars like Bradley Beal, Karl-Anthony Towns and Jayson Tatum. The elite company is fitting given that Flagg is widely expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2025 NBA Draft.

How will his game translate to the college and NBA level? The Sporting News breaks it down below.

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Cooper Flagg scouting report

Cooper Flagg strengths

There is a reason that The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy dubbed Flagg the best American prospect since Anthony Davis. And he’s still only 17 years old, reclassifying to the class of 2024 to get a head start on his journey to the NCAA and NBA.

The Maine native is listed as a 6-9, 195-pound small forward, but his versatility is off the charts.

The first thing you’ll notice about Flagg is the intensity he plays with. He is a relentless competitor who has a never-back-down-type attitude.

Flagg is a true three-level scorer on offense and an elite — and I mean elite — shot blocker on defense.

Offensively, Flagg is a confident ball-handler who can pull up from 3 or midrange and put his head down to get to the rim. He has great body control on drives, but he’s also a powerful dunker who embraces contact. He plays above the rim and he’s an ambidextrous finisher with abnormal coordination for a near-7-footer.

Flagg has a soft shooting touch and smooth footwork. He has a post game but didn’t have to use it much in high school because he was so much quicker than most players trying to guard him.

He can play inside or out, doing everything from knocking down 3s to flushing lobs. He’s a terror in transition with or without the ball because of his fluidity and long strides. He is also a willing passer, capable of sensing the attention he draws from opposing defenses to find open teammates.

Defensively, Flagg can legitimately defend every position on the court. He has the lateral quickness to keep up with guards or wings and the athleticism and shot-blocking prowess to protect the rim.

Flagg is one of the most complete high school prospects in recent memory.

Cooper Flagg weaknesses

There aren’t many glaring weaknesses to Flagg’s game, but there are improvements to be made to reach his ceiling as a franchise player at the NBA level. Most should come in due time, though.

Flagg would benefit from tightening his handle, improving his quickness and burst to break down opponents in isolation. He has the potential to be a No. 1 scoring option, but he needs to develop as a shot creator, adding more moves to his arsenal to create separation.

Flagg’s shooting touch is soft, but he could iron out his jump shot form a little bit. His results were solid this season — 35.2 percent from 3 — but the top of his release could be cleaner.

Gradual improvements as a passer will only round out his offensive game. He has already grown in that area and will continue to develop with a high IQ and feel.

The last of these nit-picky improvements would be adding muscle to his 195-pound frame, but that is a given for nearly all high school players who hope to turn pro.

Cooper Flagg NBA player comparison

Plays like: Kevin Garnett

There are NBA scouts who have compared Flagg to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, Paul George and Andrei Kirilenko. Garnett is, of course, an insanely lofty comparison, but I see shades of KG when I watch Flagg.

To be clear, there will never be another Garnett. But Flagg plays with a similar fire and passion.

Garnett was ahead of his time as a hybrid big who could handle the ball, shoot from midrange and defend all five positions. If he played in the modern NBA, there is no doubt he could have extended his range beyond the arc and played on the wing.

Flagg has a lot of similar traits on both ends as a prospect. He is a long way from making a Garnett-like impact, but his potential has no ceiling at this point.

Where is Cooper Flagg going to college?

Flagg committed to Duke on Oct. 30, 2023, choosing the Blue Devils over UConn.

Flagg also had offers from Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan, Providence, Texas, UCF, UCLA, Villanova and West Virginia, to name a few, according to 247Sports.

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