In advance of the 2020 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops is evaluating prospects with a look at what the Atlanta Hawks might be considering from now until the selection process occurs. Dozens of prospects will be profiled in this space and, this time, we examine Oregon State’s Tres Tinkle.
Tres Tinkle enters the 2020 NBA draft class as one of its most accomplished NCAA players after appearing in 126 games across five seasons at Oregon State where he played for his father, head coach Wayne Tinkle.
He earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors in each of this final three seasons and leaves Corvallis as the school’s leading scorer.
Tinkle has a nice feel for the game and enters the draft as a 24-year-old prospect with an already polished arsenal. However, his physical tools are very limited when compared to other draft hopefuls.
If he is going to eventually make it into an NBA rotation, Tinkle is probably going to have to do it as a stretch power forward that develops an ability to knock down shots from well beyond the NBA three-point-line. The shooting motion is clean and simple, but he converted just 33 percent of his 561 attempts from the college mark. He improved modestly as a perimeter shooter (34 percent on 148 attempts last season) but would still need to make significant progress in the area of consistency.
His lack of athleticism doesn’t just show up on the defensive end like it does for some similarly limited players. He has below average speed and quickness. That, in combination with his average ballhandling skills, makes it almost impossible for him to dribble past defenders, and this is why his most likely path at the next level is in somewhat of a Ryan Anderson template if the shooting can come along that much.
Off the ball, he moves well with purpose and efficient timing. Tinkle sets up his screener well in both “down” and “flare” screen action on the perimeter. He measures defenders effectively when creating space to shoot in spot up situations.
When working near the nail, for example in high-low action, he sees and uses all of the passing angles. He understands how to manipulate defenders with subtle techniques.
It should be expected, however, that NBA defenders will regularly make him put the ball on the floor and that they will look to create turnovers when he does so.
He is quite versatile from a scheme perspective. He can set and receive screens, he can work on and off ball with equal effectiveness. With that said, it’s simply tough to project him becoming good enough at anything inside the arc that his team is going to want to see him work at that part of the floor with any regularity.
As a collegiate player, he graded well in post and isolation possessions scoring and passing the ball. Still, those are just additional parts of his game that don’t seem likely to translate to the NBA level.
Tinkle’s strength as a defender clearly maps to his ability to create steals with excellent anticipation and observation. He processes everything going on around him and uses the information to operate in an opportunistic manner. He finished in the top ten in steals among Pac-12 players in each of his last three seasons.
The defensive approach worked well enough when he was consistently playing against competition that was two to three years younger and less experienced than him, an advantage he won’t have as a professional.
Otherwise, in half-court defensive settings, he struggles to make a substantial impact. He has difficulty staying attached to his man. When dealing with ball screens, it takes an eternity for him to recover back into the play. When trying to help at the rim, he just has little to work with given his lack of size (6’7 and 225 pounds), length and vertical ability.
His awareness is just as present as it is on the defensive end as it is on offense, but even when it’s obvious he diagnoses the play, he simply lacks the tools to capitalize.
Tinkle is also likely to struggle from a fit perspective from a positional perspective playing defense at the NBA level. He’s likely too slow to function on the perimeter and not big and physical enough to work inside.
Most, if not all, major outlets project Tinkle to go undrafted, though the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 draft make that less of a certainty. Still, every G League teams needs players that know how to play the game on day one, and Tinkle will offer that. As such, he is as likely as any player to get an opportunity to show an NBA team what he has to offer, whether he ends up being drafted or not. Long term, he may be headed overseas if he wishes to play and a make a long-term living professionally.