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, in this installment, we evaluate BYU’s Yoeli Childs.
Yoeli Childs is someone on the fringes of NBA draft boards but he’s certainly an interesting prospect, as evidenced by being recently invited as a participant in the 2020 NBA Combine. He might have made a bigger name for himself in draft circles if not for missing a chunk of BYU’s conference schedule due a dislocated right index finger. Still, his productivity may get him a call come the night of the 2020 NBA Draft.
Childs was a four-year big man for the Cougars, who started in 111 of 119 games in which he appeared. He averaged a double-double per 36 minutes with 20.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. As a senior, he averaged a monster 27.7 points per 36 minutes on 57.4% shooting from the floor and 48.9% shooting from behind the arc.
As a senior, he was both in the 90th percentiles in half court and transition offensive possessions, at 1.06 and 1.385 PPP (points per possession) respectively, per Synergy. He was most often used as a post up man, logging 116 field goal attempts out of these plays and yielding 1.038 PPP, good for the 88th percentile.
Childs is a 6’8” 225-pound forward who played a good bit of center in Provo, Utah. He may prove to be a bit undersized to do the same for long stretches at a professional level, but he has the bulk to slide to the 5 at times if necessary.
It sure looks as if Childs has become pretty familiar with the weight room at BYU. He has grown man strength and asserts his might on both sides of the floor. His filled out frame easily translates to clearing space in the paint.
He has developed into a modern big, one can step out as a stretch big and nail flat-footed three pointers. Child attempted just two threes as a freshman, missing both, but over his final three years he hit 35.9% of tries on 2.7 attempts per game. By his senior year, his pick-and-pop game was equally as feared as his rolls to the basket off screens. His shot mechanics are especially crisp for a big man and there’s no wasted motion in his release from deep.
He is a strong passer out of the post, like below when an extra defender slides along the baseline. Childs was able to locate the opposite side 45 degree cut here, leading to a wide open corner three.
A bruising screener, Childs is a mountain of a man to navigate around when he gets set at the hip of an opponent. In addition, hustle is rarely something he doesn’t demonstrate in a given game. He was among the best in getting down the floor in transition opportunities, at 1.385 PPP as a senior. Despite his size, he usually ran full speed in transition defense to beat the opponent down the floor.
While used mostly as a low post rim protector, he stepped out and proved his worth in space at times. This perimeter block helped add up to a career 1.7 blocks per 36 minutes.
Childs has very good hands for someone his size, typically raising his long arms for the entire defensive possession and only reaching for clean steals. Here is one example of just that, en route to almost a steal per 36 minutes.
Childs fights for rebounds with the best of them. He notched 10.4 total rebounds and 2.3 offensive rebounds per 36 minutes for his career. He’s a very fundamental rebounder, finding a body to box out before lunging for the board.
A tireless worker with a good motor, he makes the most of his talent. Ultimately, there’s some real intrigue in the layers of versatility in his game he added over four collegiate years.
Conversely, Childs can be awkward on the floor, lacking ideal fluidity. He tends to play really high and stiff, which limits his lateral agility and change of direction. Despite a size advantage over most players, Childs doesn’t finish at the rim at a high level for his size. He can fail to take it to his opponent with the fullest of vigor on halfcourt plays going to the rim, like here when he meets Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie at the rim.
He is often a beat behind at recognizing a man cutting or rolling into his area, without the length or burst to contest the shot from behind. Here, Childs is slow to rotate on the slip pick-and-roll, possibly under the impression there was help in the paint.
Childs will be used as a drop man more than a hedger when defending pick-and-roll possessions to not leave him on an island around the perimeter.
His free throw shooting is a legitimate worry, as he nears hack-a-Childs strategy territory at a career 63.6% mark from the line. It’s hard to reconcile the fact that he shot nearly the same percentage in open play from three (48.9%) as he did on dead ball foul shots (53.8%) in his senior season. He did shoot 70.8% on twice the volume from the free throw line as a junior, so I have to imagine his true projection going forward will be closer to that figure.
Childs struggles to avoid picking up fouls and staying on the floor. His career rate of 2.9 fouls per 36 minutes is trouble for someone who depends on his physicality to be effective. There were way too many of these kinds of instances. The below clip just a frustration foul 50 feet from the basket after a short miss.
After foul trouble, Childs will tend to be more passive and try to steer clear of disqualification from the game.
As a four-year player, he will turn 23 next January which is a negative in the eyes of many front offices looking for youth and time before peaking athletically.
Possible fit with the Hawks
Childs shares a lot of similarities with the recently drafted Bruno Fernando, just with less physicality and a good bit more shooting range. He can switch between the 4 and the 5 and provide a big body to bang in the paint for board and set screens and pop on offense.
But as an older prospect coming off a nasty fluke injury that robbed him of significant time in a shortened season, Childs is widely seen as a major slider compared to his draft stock a year ago. If his in-between and long range shooting proves to be legitimate, and his lower level of functional mobility on the defensive end becomes overstated, he may be worthy of a low second round draft pick and/or a Two-Way deal with the G League.
There’s no doubt about the NBA-ready body, but he’ll need to prove consistent high level practice and play quickly in a camp setting to land on an NBA roster, come this uncertain winter basketball season.