NBA skills coach names the top 3 highest-IQ players that he's worked with

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NBA skills coach Drew Hanlon is the go-to guy for many prominent NBA players who want to either improve their overall game or fix a below-average area.

From guiding Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward after his ankle injury to helping Philadelphia 76ers teammates Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz to working on the overall skill sets of youngsters Jayson Tatum and Mo Bamba this offseason, Hanlon’s name is becoming more and more recognized.

Since being a skills coach requires him to be extremely detail-oriented, he can reveal very specific areas for improvement.

Spending one-on-one time with his clients, he also is able to personally connect with them.

In a recent interview with Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype, Hanlon explained the particulars of working with specific players. When asked to identify the clients of his who have the highest basketball IQs, his picks were interesting.

The top 3

“For me, I would like to think, that all of my guys have high IQs,” he said. "If not, I’m not doing my job very well! But Joel Embiid has a very high IQ. There are times where I’ll be showing him some clips and he’ll stop me and talk about how he remembers Patrick Ewing using that in the playoffs in a certain year and I’m just like, ‘Dang.’ He’s a really big film junkie.”

Therefore, Embiid stands atop his list. But, a young Celtic is right behind him.

He continued, “Jayson Tatum is definitely up there. We just recently put out a clip of the similarities between him and Kobe Bryant. That’s no accident; he loves Kobe and he’s been studying Kobe since he was 13 years old. But we’ve done a ton of film work with him, making sure he’s stealing from just about every player you can imagine. I’d definitely say Jayson is on the list.”

Finally, he mentioned Brad Beal, who clearly has a special place in his heart for helping him launch his coaching business.

“Then, Brad Beal. I always joke around and tell people, ‘Brad knows everything that I know.’ Brad and I have so many conversations about basketball and we’ll bounce ideas back and forth off each other, and I’ve learned so much from him too. [Since he was one of my first NBA clients], he was kind of my guinea pig. ... Brad is one of the highest IQ guys I’ve ever worked with and I’ve stolen so much from him, just because we’ve been together so long and built this thing together," Hanlon explained.

Therefore, of his many clients, Embiid, Tatum and Beal were his top three picks. Although he obviously hasn’t worked with everyone in the league, it’s evident that those players are cerebral stars, which bodes well for their respective futures.

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