Scouting Report & Film Review: Tre Mann

Tre Mann is the best shot creator in this class. When combined with his underrated playmaking and defense, Mann is an easy top ten talent.

Strengths: Shot creation, running a two-man game, on-ball defense, shooting, rebounding

Weaknesses: At-rim finishing, strength, consistent off-ball defense, passing consistency

Consensus Expected Draft Range: 20-30

Where I'd Draft Him: Top 10

Shades Of: Jamal Murray, D'Angelo Russell, Coby White, Derrick White

Best Team Fits: Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks

Coming out of high school, Tre Mann was ranked as the 34th best recruit by ESPN. Mann fell well short of expectations in his freshman season as he averaged 5.3 points, 0.7 assists, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.6 steals on 35.6/27.5/65.5 shooting splits. In his sophomore season, we saw Mann experience significant statistical and physical growth. Mann not only grew a few inches but also averaged 16 points, 3.5 assists, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.4 steals on 45.9/40.2/83.1 shooting splits.

After the medical emergency Keyontae Johnson experienced, Mann became the offensive focal point and lone initiator for the Florida Gators. Mann stepped up in a significant way and became one of the country's most dynamic scorers.

Mann is a unique scorer because he doesn't rely on his athleticism. In fact, Mann is likely below average on the athleticism spectrum. Instead, Mann is excellent at manipulating his defender's momentum with elite ball-handling, footwork, and change-of-pace dribbling. Mann is an excellent outside shooter and the best space creator in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Most evaluations of Mann label him strictly as an on-ball scorer with little to offer in other areas of the game. I find this analysis underwhelming as Mann is a much more impactful passer and defender than he gets credit for. He is by no means elite at either of those skills, but he is far better than he gets credit for. When we get to the playoffs every season, the conversation always turns to how each team desperately needs someone who can create their own shot. Mann's elite ability to do this, paired with his ancillary skills, makes him a top 10 talent for me in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Scoring

Mann's remarkable ability to create his shot should translate immediately. He is an excellent ball-handler who has no issues creating space regardless of the defender. This season, Mann scored 1.065 points per possession (PPP) when shooting off the dribble (90th percentile), 1.17 PPP on three-pointers (80th percentile), and 0.947 PPP in the midrange (82nd percentile), per Synergy.

Mann has excellent timing on his dribble moves, making him so effective at manipulating his defender's momentum. Mann also utilizes excellent footwork and balance to get the defender leaning, plant hard into a step back, and regather himself with a strong, balanced base on his jumper.

Here, Mann doesn't knock down the shot, but he completely loses his defender. Since his defender is guarding him so tightly near half-court, Mann attacks hard as if he is driving. The second that the defender's hips turn to prepare to run with Mann, instead of sliding his feet, Mann slams on the breaks to create an open jumper.

Again, Mann effortlessly creates space for himself. This time, Mann's defender does a better job of sliding his feet. This skill delays Mann's step-back, but the second Mann recognizes his defender turns his hips, Mann plants his right foot and sends his defender the other way.

Many players are momentum manipulators because they use their athleticism to blow past their defender and then slam on the breaks or change direction in a unique way. That isn't the case with Mann, though. Instead, he typically uses his ball-handling and timing to punish his defender once they lean in a direction. Mann has an innate sense of when to execute a step-back, and when combined with his footwork, balance, footwork, and ferocity in which he plants his jab step, he becomes impossible to guard.

Here, Mann manipulates his defender like a big brother torments his sibling in the driveway. As he casually approaches the arc, Mann uses a hang dribble to simulate a drive attempt. Instead of driving, though, Mann uses a jab step with excellent extension and purpose, which sends the defender towards the baseline.

Mann isn't exclusively an isolation scorer, though. He's one of the best pick-and-roll ball-handlers in this draft. Mann scored 0.97 PPP as the pick-and-roll ball-handler, which ranked in the 88th percentile. Mann was even more deadly when he dribbled off the pick as he scored 1.191 PPP, which ranked in the 93rd percentile. Additionally, in these situations, Mann ranked in the 95th percentile when he took a dribble jumper, the 80th percentile when he took a runner, and the 69th percentile when he took it to the rim.

Here, Mann expertly combines his ball-handling with a screen to create a wide-open three. As the screen comes, Mann's defender changes his positioning early to go over the screen. Mann wants to use the screen, so he uses an in-and-out dribble to send his defender in the opposite direction. Mann's defender quickly scrambles to recover, so Mann accelerates off the screen to get his defender backpedaling. Now, Mann knows he can manipulate his defender's momentum any way he likes. Mann aggressively plants his right foot to dispatch his defender finally and initiate the step-back for the open three.

While Mann isn't as proficient in attacking the rim off the screen as he is shooting off of one, he is still relatively effective. Below, Mann comes off the screen and uses a hang dribble to freeze the opposing big man momentarily. Mann then accelerates and finishes off the glass.

The most significant flaw in Mann's scoring arsenal is his effectiveness around the rim. Mann has excellent touch, as we can see on his shot and his 0.93 PPP on floaters (75th percentile), but he struggles when confronted with contact and athletic shot blockers. Around the rim, Mann scored only 1.099 PPP (45th percentile). Given his size and touch, this number should be better.

Mann's at-rim finishing numbers leave a lot to be desired, but there are signs of optimism. As we saw in the above clip, Mann has no issues getting to the rim with his size and ball-handling. Additionally, his touch on floaters and his jumper suggest he will be a better at-rim finisher. Finally, Mann didn't typically shy away from contact. We saw him willingly bump a defender off their spot or go into the chest of a shot blocker. Mann's recent growth spurt gave him a new body he wasn't completely familiar with and wasn't entirely filled out. As he continues to fill out, his at-rim finishing should improve. Even if it doesn't, we're seeing the floater become a more reliable and utilized tool.

Playmaking

Mann is often derided as a mediocre playmaker, and if you are looking for a traditional point guard, this sentiment isn't too off base. However, Mann was one of the best pick-and-roll operators in the country this year. We'll get to that shortly, but first, let's touch on why Mann's playmaking faces so much scorn.

Mann can't manipulate a defense like Cade Cunningham or Sharife Cooper, but the most significant issue with Mann's playmaking is his inconsistency. Mann will make some curious decisions under pressure and doesn't always anticipate the weakside rotation correctly.

Here, Mann shows off his ball-handling by beating the double team relatively easily. Instead of making the pocket pass to the roller or the skip pass to an open Scottie Lewis on the wing, Mann flips a wayward lob that hits high off the backboard. Mann doesn't account for how his downhill momentum will affect the lob, and his teammate has no chance.

This time, Mann has predetermined what he's going to do. As he dribbles off the screen and attracts the opposing big man, Mann has already decided he will hit Colin Castleton on the roll. These two had an awesome two-man game all season, but Mann fails to read the nail defender. As Castleton rolls, he gets bumped off his line and stalls his momentum. Additionally, the nail defender stays on his spot instead of rotating back to his man after the tag. Mann fails to read this and commits an unnecessary turnover.

Another faulty aspect of Mann's playmaking is his live dribble passing. He has shown flashes of success with his dominant hand, but he is far more erratic when using his left hand. Below, Mann correctly reads that he has an open teammate in the corner off his baseline drive; he even changes the angle by carrying his momentum out of bounds. Unfortunately, Mann lacks the strength and accuracy with his left hand. What could have been a corner three turns into a turnover. Given how much pressure Mann can put on a defense, he must improve his weak hand live dribble passing.

Mann isn't a traditional pass-first, playmaking point guard. His isolation points per possession with passes included is only 0.726 (36th percentile). However, his points per possession skyrocket to 1.069 (92nd percentile) in the pick-and-roll with passes included.

When we look exclusively at Mann's passing out of the pick-and-roll, Florida's offense scored 1.202 PPP (87th percentile). He was excellent at finding the roller who scored 1.27 PPP (86th percentile), spot-up shooters who scored 1.162 PPP (85th percentile), and cutters who scored 1.231 PPP (52nd percentile).

Here, Mann does an excellent job of reading the defense after dribbling off the screen. The defense decides to double Mann, leaving Castleton a free roll. As Mann comes off the screen, he reads that #22 is in no man's land on the right block and that #3 is focused on staying tight to his man. Mann threads the needle with a live dribble pass to lead Castleton to the rim.

Again, the defense stays high on the screen and leaves Castleton an empty lane. Mann immediately sees this, and instead of risking a lob, he kills his dribble, takes a step to his right to change the angle, and delivers a bounce pass for an easy layup.

Even stretch big men will enjoy screening for Mann because he has no issues finding them when they pop. Mann attracts the double yet again as he dribbles off the screen. He reads that Moses Moody is staying in the passing lane of the corner shooter, and the lob over Connor Vanover would be a difficult one. Mann makes the kickback to his teammate for the open three.

While less prevalent than his pick-and-roll playmaking to rollers and shooters, Mann has also proven that he is adept at creating for his teammates who are in the dunker spot. Mann will put pressure on the rim by using his ball-handling, which will force help rotations. When these happen, Mann is excellent at making the live dribble pass with his right hand or looking off defenders to create opportunities for his big men when they duck in towards the rim.

Mann isn't one of the elite playmakers in this class. He doesn't manipulate a defense well, is unreliable with his weak hand live dribble pass, and is inconsistent with his decision-making under pressure. However, Mann runs one of the best two-man games in this class with his ability to feed the roller or find open shooters.

Defense

Another area of his game in which Mann frequently gets slandered for is his defense. Some have gone as far as calling him a complete disaster. Frankly, I don't see it. Mann won't be making any All-NBA Defense teams, but he should easily exceed the pathetically low bar that is being set for him, given his size and footwork.

First, we should cover why some people view Mann's defense in such a negative light. A significant reason is Mann's lack of explosiveness. This limits him around the rim on offense and will also restrict him defensively. He will struggle to keep the quicker guards in front of him, but he can join the club that includes nearly every other NBA player who also struggles at this. Secondly, Mann lacks the strength of most quality defenders. I'm willing to give him a pass on this as he experienced a significant growth spurt last summer and has yet to add the requisite strength. Mann continuing to fill out should minimize this issue. Finally, and this is the concern I understand the most, Mann is very inconsistent with his off-ball defense. He struggles to fight through screens (possibly a symptom of his slender frame) and is irregular in how quickly he processes weakside rotations.

Here, Mann fails to execute on the weakside defense properly. Virginia Tech has a mismatch in the post, which forces Florida to double once the entry pass is made. This move leaves Florida in a two vs. three situation on the weakside. Mann initially does a good job staying with his man on the cut, but he has his back turned to the rest of the floor. This positioning makes him late to react to the skip pass and even later to close out and contest the corner shooter.

Here, Virginia Tech beat the double team, which forces Anthony Duruji to switch and cut off the drive. The ball-handler makes the correct read by kicking to the corner, and Castleton makes his appropriate rotation to deny the open shot. Unfortunately, Mann never makes his rotation to the post to cover for Castleton, which gives up the easy score. Mann may have expected Duruji to collapse to the rim, but given Duruji's reaction, this was a blown assignment by Mann.

Mann also struggles at times when trying to play ball denial defense. Here, Mann gets caught on a back cut. Mann is either out of position by denying too aggressively that far away from the rim or trying to jump the passing lane far too early. Regardless, he's in no man's land and leaves his teammates on an island to recover for him.

Mann's off-ball defense is his most prominent area of improvement on defense, but it's not pure doom and gloom. Below, Mann shows some flashes of identifying the correct rotations. As the play starts, Mann is positioned well on the left block with one foot in the lane. This positioning allows him to recover to his man if there is a skip pass or make a timely rotation on a drive or cut. Mann correctly slides over to the right block to help deny the baseline drive and then recovers to his original positioning as the ball is kicked out. Arkansas resets with a pick-and-roll, and Mann momentarily puts his hands on his hips. This slight pause is enough to ruin his weakside help. The screen is slipped, and Mann makes the proper rotation, but he is a fraction late and can't get his feet outside the restricted area.

Here, Mann doesn't do anything extraordinary, and West Virginia still scores, but his awareness and activity are supremely better than the previous clips. Mann is locked in, deliberate with his movement, and in position to help on any drives or entry passes. He has the necessary level of engagement that frequently leads to sufficient off-ball defense.

The concerns with Mann's lack of explosiveness hindering him as an on-ball defender are legitimate. However, I also think they are overblown. Mann makes up for his lack of explosiveness with good footwork and size. Mann is pretty reliable with staying in a defensive stance, closing out under control, and sliding his feet instead of crossing them. The exquisite balance Mann shows on his shot creation also arises in his on-ball defense.

Finally, I want to touch on some of Mann's defensive points per possession numbers. I typically don't prefer doing this because I don't think they always accurately represent the defender's impact. When it comes to scouting defense, always look at the process over results and advanced numbers. So, take these numbers with a grain of salt, I most certainly am, but they surprised me and felt like they were worth sharing.

  • Overall defense = 0.672 PPP (90th percentile)
  • Spot-up = 0.827 PPP (65th percentile)
  • Pick-and-Roll Ball-Handler = 0.486 PPP (90th percentile)
  • Off screen = 0.4 PPP (95th percentile)
  • Isolation = 0.571 PPP (73rd percentile)

Outlook

Tre Mann's combination of ball-handling, shooting, flexibility, footwork, and balance makes him the best space creator in this class. Worst case scenario, Mann will provide shot creation off the bench. However, I am a much bigger believer in his playmaking and defense. Mann has the requisite footwork, basketball IQ, and size to at least be a competent defender. Nearly all of Mann's offensive possessions were him on-ball, but his catch-and-shoot numbers of 1.065 PPP (61st percentile), along with him being a willing screener, suggest he can play alongside other guards for stretches. Besides his willingness to screen, Mann's rebounding is another hidden skill that will make a positive impact.

Every year we talk about how playoff teams are missing a shot creator or someone to run a two-man game effectively. Tre Mann does both of those at an elite level. If he continues down this development path, his offensive game could mirror those of Jamal Murray and D'Angelo Russell. In the 2021 NBA Draft, Tre Mann is a top-10 talent for me, but he may fall to the back half of the first round based on consensus rankings. If that happens, a playoff team will get one of the biggest steals of the draft.

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