Prospect Profile

Prospect Profile: Jamal Murray (Part Two)

PROJECTED DRAFT RANGE: Chad Ford of ESPN.com has Murray as the third best prospect. The 19-year-old could go as high as No. 3 to the Celtics and Ford doesn’t envision him falling past the Pelicans at No.6. That’s the spot where Jonathan Givony of Draft Express has Murray in his latest mock draft and Givony ranks Murray as the sixth best prospect.

RISE/FALL: Barring an injury to Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, Murray won’t be selected in the top-2. More likely, Murray comes off the board at No. 3, No. 5 or No.6.

FIT:  The Celtics have a loaded backcourt.  Yet, none of their incumbent players have the ceiling that Murray has, so he remains a possibility since Danny Ainge will be using the No. 3 overall pick with the franchise’s long-term future in mind. Trading that pick remains a possibility as well and the Sixers are a logical trade partner should they offer up Jahlil Okafor. Murray would be a nice fit for the Sixers, as one anonymous executive told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this week.

The Wolves have a talented young core and Murray’s shooting would impeccably complement Andrew Wiggins‘ and Karl-Anthony Towns‘ interior games. Minnesota can’t consistently play Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Ricky Rubio on the perimeter if it wants to improve in the win column because the trio simply doesn’t possess the long-range shooting necessary to evoke fear in opposing defenses. Smart coaches will let their players sag off these guys and allow them to fire away from downtown. Adding Murray to the equation changes the dynamics. Having a competent shooter on the floor would allow Wiggins to have more room to drive to the basket, a skill he excelled at during his sophomore season in the NBA, even with the team’s poor spacing.

If the team drafts Murray, it can consider moving on from Rubio with the hopes that either Murray or LaVine can develop into a full-time point guard. Minnesota could simply keep Rubio and grant Murray the time to develop into that role. Even if Murray doesn’t become the point guard he believes he can be, he would make a great partner in the backcourt to Rubio or LaVine because of his tremendous shooting ability and I speculate that he doesn’t fall past the Wolves at No. 5.

The Pelicans probably hope he falls to No.6, as they could use Murray the most out of the aforementioned teams. Eric Gordon is a free agent this summer and they may bring him back if the market softens on him, but the Gordon-Jrue HolidayTyreke Evans combination never really took off as a result of injuries and overlapping skill sets. Adding Murray would address a problematic area for New Orleans: the back-up point guard spot. Holiday has seen his fair share of injuries since arriving in Louisiana. When he’s unable to play, the offense sputters. Murray would give the Pelicans a nice option at the point should Holiday miss more time in the future or if the team decides to move on from Holiday all together.

FINAL TAKE: Murray may be the best shooter in the draft and in a league where the 3-point shot is being stressed more and more, he should provide immediate value to whichever team drafts him. His floor seems to be a Jamal Crawford-type player who is best suited for a second unit. However, he has the potential to be a star. Whether or not he can play the point guard position full-time and improve on the defensive end will determine his status in the league.

(For Part One of our Jamal Murray Prospect Profile, click here)

Prospect Profile: Jamal Murray (Part One)

OVERVIEW: Jamal Murray was the 45th best player of his high school class, according to RSCI’s rankings last year. Murray, an Ontario native, spent part of his summer playing for the Canadian national team and he helped bring home a silver medal to his country during the 2015 Pan American Games. After that experience, and a freshman campaign at Kentucky, in which he averaged 20.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists, Murray finds himself near the top of most draft boards.

Jim Brown / USA TODAY Sports Images

Jim Brown / USA TODAY Sports Images

STRENGTHS: Murray served as Kentucky’s go-to scorer during his lone season playing for John Calipari. His 538 shot attempts were the most in the SEC last season and the 10th most in the nation. His impressive shooting was a major reason why he was able to dominate that role.  Murray shot 50.2% from the field and 40.8% from behind the arc. He was particularly effective coming off screens, shooting 56.0%, as Jonathan Givony of Draft Express details.

He dazzled teams with strong showings during workouts. During a recent workout, in which Chad Ford of ESPN.com attended, he made 25 3-pointers from various spots on the court during a two minute drill. That’s a testament to his shooting accuracy and his sneaky quick release. Don’t be surprised if he wins a 3-point contest over the course of his NBA career.

Murray has the ability to constantly get to the basket and once he’s there, he finds ways to score. He’s not the most athletic prospect, so you won’t see him posturing many defenders as he scores. Instead, he uses a variety of crafty moves to get his shot off. He possesses a nice floater and he used the backboard at Tim Duncan-like rates during his time in college.

The jury is still out on whether he can play point guard full-time in the NBA. Murray believes he can and there’s no reason he couldn’t lead a second unit at the point given his tremendous ball-handling skills. He’s drawn comparisons to Brandon Roy and C.J. McCollum and if he reaches his potential, he can be the type of player that a team can build around.

WEAKNESSES: 

His court-vision and decision making are areas of concern and improvement in those areas will likely dictate whether or not he can develop into a starting point guard in the league over the long-term. He struggled with setting up teammates in college, netting only 2.5 assists per 40 minutes, and his 2.7 turnovers per 40 minutes should be alarming to NBA front offices. He didn’t start at point guard at Kentucky, but those figures suggest he will have issues should he be placed into that role.

Murray has some work to do on the defensive end. Even with a 6’7″ wingspan, he doesn’t project to be a lockdown defender. He’ll likely need to be paired with a strong defender in the backcourt for a team to form a winning combination at the top of the key. That’ll be an easier feat if he can develop into a starting-caliber point guard given that shooting guards typically carry more size and should have the ability to cover the opposition’s best guard.

(For Part Two of our Jamal Murray Prospect Profile, click here)

Prospect Profile: Brandon Ingram

Robert Hanashiro / USA Today Sports Images

Robert Hanashiro / USA Today Sports Images

OVERVIEW: Brandon Ingram entered Duke as one of the most highly-touted recruits in the country, ranked No. 4 in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index. The 6’9” Ingram lived up to his billing, capturing ACC Freshman of the Year honors while averaging 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He pumped up his scoring average to 23.0 during the Blue Devils’ three NCAA Tournament games. It was a foregone conclusion that Ingram would be a one-and-done college player and he could be the first player off the board. With his size, lanky physique and smooth stroke, the 18-year-old has drawn comparisons to Thunder superstar Kevin Durant.

STRENGTHS: Ingram possesses just about every quality an NBA team could ask for in a wing player. He’s a superior shooter who averaged 44.2% from the field and 41.0% from long range while facing top competition. He’s also a willing passer and solid ball-handler who sees the floor well and can run the attack at times. His speed puts pressure on the defense in the open court, where he can go coast-to-coast after defensive rebounds or run the wing and finish. As DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony notes, Ingram is bound to create mismatches because, with his size and length, he can rise up and hit jumpers over the top of most defenders. If a bigger forward tries to check him, he can create off the bounce and attack the basket. With his 7’3” wingspan, Ingram can also be an impact player on defense. He averaged 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals for Duke and showed a willingness to be a two-way player, as one talent evaluator told NBA.com’s David Aldridge. “He’s chippy,” the Pacific Division executive said. “He’s in there competing.”

WEAKNESSES: Most players entering the NBA need to add strength to play their position but the concerns are greater with Ingram because of his wiry frame. He’s listed at less than 200 pounds and there’s no question, especially early in his career, that Ingram will simply be overpowered at times. That lack of bulk was one of the reasons why, as Givony points out, he converted just 48% of his half-court attempts inside the paint. While Ingram displayed a polished turnaround jumper, his lack of strength makes it difficult for him to operate in the low post. He was surprisingly below average from the free throw line, making just 68% of his attempts. Givony also asserts that Ingram occasionally loses focus on the defensive end and doesn’t close out as quickly as he should, while ESPN Insider Chad Ford believes that Ingram still has work to do with his ball-handling despite his ability to create off the bounce.

PROJECTED DRAFT RANGE: It will be a surprise if Ingram doesn’t end up with the Sixers with the No. 1 pick or the Lakers with the No. 2 pick. Ingram and LSU freshman forward Ben Simmons seem like virtual locks to be the first two players off the board. The consensus around the league is that the Sixers will select Simmons, though they are playing it coy. Philadelphia is planning to work out Jaylen Brown, Kris Dunn, Jamal Murray and possibly a couple more candidates. ESPN Insider Chad Ford’s Big Board has Ingram in the second slot, while adding the Sixers could opt for fit over upside because of Ingram’s consistent 3-point shooting. DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony has ranked Ingram No. 1 since mid-March, staunch in the belief that he hasn’t come close to reaching his ceiling and pointing out that Ingram showed rapid improvement in his lone college season.

RISE/FALL: It would be difficult to see Ingram drop out of the top three, given his obvious physical skills and his production at Duke. It’s not out of the question that the Sixers or Lakers could fall in love with a darkhorse candidate and allow the Celtics to scoop up either Ingram or Simmons. A medical red flag could also cause him to slip down but, once again, that’s an unlikely scenario.

FIT: Ingram would fill a major hole for either the Sixers, Lakers or Celtics. The Sixers have an aching need for a top-notch wing player to complete a frontcourt filled with other high lottery picks. Ingram would be viewed as Kobe Bryant‘s heir apparent if he winds up with the Lakers while also providing the franchise with an intriguing young trio in Ingram, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. Ingram would give an outside threat to a Celtics team that ranked No. 28 in 3-point percentage. If he somehow slipped to the Suns at No. 4, he would fill their need for a dynamic small forward.

FINAL TAKE: Once Ingram fills out and goes under the supervision of an NBA strength coach, the concerns over his frame should ease. He quickly emerged as one of the top players in the ACC and it shouldn’t take long for Ingram to develop into a high-level small forward in the pros. He also made a strong impression with NBA executives in his interviews at the draft combine and his background reports say he’s a coachable player and a good teammate, according to Ford’s recent draft workout confidential. He’s not a guaranteed superstar but he should be an All-Star caliber player most of his career.

Prospect Profile: Brandon Ingram (Part Two)

PROJECTED DRAFT RANGE: It will be a surprise if Ingram doesn’t end up with the Sixers with the No. 1 pick or the Lakers with the No. 2 pick. Ingram and LSU freshman forward Ben Simmons seem like virtual locks to be the first two players off the board. The consensus around the league is that the Sixers will select Simmons, though they are playing it coy. Philadelphia is planning to work out Jaylen Brown, Kris Dunn, Jamal Murray and possibly a couple more candidates. ESPN Insider Chad Ford’s Big Board has Ingram in the second slot, while adding the Sixers could opt for fit over upside because of Ingram’s consistent 3-point shooting. DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony has ranked Ingram No. 1 since mid-March, staunch in the belief that he hasn’t come close to reaching his ceiling and pointing out that Ingram showed rapid improvement in his lone college season.

RISE/FALL: It would be difficult to see Ingram drop out of the top three, given his obvious physical skills and his production at Duke. It’s not out of the question that the Sixers or Lakers could fall in love with a darkhorse candidate and allow the Celtics to scoop up either Ingram or Simmons. A medical red flag could also cause him to slip down but, once again, that’s an unlikely scenario.

FIT: Ingram would fill a major hole for either the Sixers, Lakers or Celtics. The Sixers have an aching need for a top-notch wing player to complete a frontcourt filled with other high lottery picks. Ingram would be viewed as Kobe Bryant‘s heir apparent if he winds up with the Lakers while also providing the franchise with an intriguing young trio in Ingram, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. Ingram would give an outside threat to a Celtics team that ranked No. 28 in 3-point percentage. If he somehow slipped to the Suns at No. 4, he would fill their need for a dynamic small forward.

FINAL TAKE: Once Ingram fills out and goes under the supervision of an NBA strength coach, the concerns over his frame should ease. He quickly emerged as one of the top players in the ACC and it shouldn’t take long for Ingram to develop into a high-level small forward in the pros. He also made a strong impression with NBA executives in his interviews at the draft combine and his background reports say he’s a coachable player and a good teammate, according to Ford’s recent draft workout confidential. He’s not a guaranteed superstar but he should be an All-Star caliber player most of his career.

(For Part One of our Brandon Ingram Prospect Profile, click here.)

Prospect Profile: Brandon Ingram (Part One)

Robert Hanashiro / USA Today Sports Images

Robert Hanashiro / USA Today Sports Images

OVERVIEW: Brandon Ingram entered Duke as one of the most highly-touted recruits in the country, ranked No. 4 in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index. The 6’9” Ingram lived up to his billing, capturing ACC Freshman of the Year honors while averaging 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He pumped up his scoring average to 23.0 during the Blue Devils’ three NCAA Tournament games. It was a foregone conclusion that Ingram would be a one-and-done college player and he could be the first player off the board. With his size, lanky physique and smooth stroke, the 18-year-old has drawn comparisons to Thunder superstar Kevin Durant.

STRENGTHS: Ingram possesses just about every quality an NBA team could ask for in a wing player. He’s a superior shooter who averaged 44.2% from the field and 41.0% from long range while facing top competition. He’s also a willing passer and solid ball-handler who sees the floor well and can run the attack at times. His speed puts pressure on the defense in the open court, where he can go coast-to-coast after defensive rebounds or run the wing and finish. As DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony notes, Ingram is bound to create mismatches because, with his size and length, he can rise up and hit jumpers over the top of most defenders. If a bigger forward tries to check him, he can create off the bounce and attack the basket. With his 7’3” wingspan, Ingram can also be an impact player on defense. He averaged 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals for Duke and showed a willingness to be a two-way player, as one talent evaluator told NBA.com’s David Aldridge. “He’s chippy,” the Pacific Division executive said. “He’s in there competing.”

WEAKNESSES: Most players entering the NBA need to add strength to play their position but the concerns are greater with Ingram because of his wiry frame. He’s listed at less than 200 pounds and there’s no question, especially early in his career, that Ingram will simply be overpowered at times. That lack of bulk was one of the reasons why, as Givony points out, he converted just 48% of his half-court attempts inside the paint. While Ingram displayed a polished turnaround jumper, his lack of strength makes it difficult for him to operate in the low post. He was surprisingly below average from the free throw line, making just 68% of his attempts. Givony also asserts that Ingram occasionally loses focus on the defensive end and doesn’t close out as quickly as he should, while ESPN Insider Chad Ford believes that Ingram still has work to do with his ball-handling despite his ability to create off the bounce.

(For Part 2 of our Brandon Ingram Prospect Profile, please check back later today.)

Draft Notes: Simmons, Ferrell, Murray

While it’s not unanimous, the consensus around the league is that the Sixers will take Ben Simmons with the No.1 overall pick, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer“Everyone wants it to be a mystery and intrigue,” one scout told Pompey “It’s simple: Ben Simmons is the best player in college basketball. He’s one of maybe a handful of guys that can transition from college to the NBA this year. So what’s the problem?” We detailed Simmons’ strengths and weaknesses in our our Prospect Profile of the 19-year-old.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • No team has made a promise to draft Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, but scouts are constantly checking up on him through his agent and his former coaches, Chris Dortch of NBA.com writes in a piece that chronicles Ferrell’s path from being the nation’s top-ranked fourth grader to becoming a hopeful NBA prospect. “[The teams that reached out about Ferrell] think he’s going to make it in the NBA,” Indiana’s associate head coach Tim Buckley said.
  • Jamal Murray is confident he can play point guard in the NBA, Chad Ford of ESPN.com writes. “I did what I had to do at Kentucky. I’ve played point guard my whole life. But we had Tyler [Ulis] there,” Murray said of playing shooting guard in college. “I was just doing whatever we [needed] to win.” Ford doesn’t believe Murray will fall past the Pelicans at No. 6 overall.
  • The Jazz will work out Ferrell, Tyler Dorsey, Nigel Hayes, Jalen Reynolds, Dorian Finney-Smith and Gavin Ware on Sunday, per the team’s Twitter feed.

Prospect Profile: Dragan Bender (Part Two)

PROJECTED DRAFT RANGE: Bender is a likely top five pick, with Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress slotting him No. 3 overall and Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranking him fifth on his big board. The 18-year-old is the second best power forward in the draft after Ben Simmons, according to Ford (Insider subscription required), though he is likely to take far longer to bear fruit at the NBA-level than the LSU freshman. Bender is going to face some competition from Henry Ellenson (Marquette) and Marquese Chriss (Washington) to be the second four selected in the draft lottery, though neither of those big men have quite as high an upside as the young Croatian.

RISE/FALL: While Bender is likely to face some potentially unfair comparisons to Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis, the success the Latvian enjoyed in New York this past season should prevent Bender from slipping too far in the draft lottery. With the NBA moving further away from the role of the traditional big man each passing season, Bender’s combination of size and skill makes him a rather desirable commodity among teams.

It wasn’t surprising in the least that Bender chose to skip this week’s NBA Draft combine in Chicago, as most of the projected top five selections generally avoid the risk of a poor showing at the event. The big man wasn’t likely to play his way into the discussion of the No. 1 overall pick this week, so it was wise to hold off on giving the majority of NBA executives their first in-person look at his skills. Bender should shine in the highly controlled settings his individual showcases will take place in, and cultivating an air of mystery can only serve to aid his cause.

The spot where Bender will ultimately be selected at will come into greater focus after the results of Tuesday’s draft lottery are announced. While he is certainly an intriguing player, a number of teams picking in the top 10 have more pressing needs and may lack the necessary patience to take on a project like Bender, who is almost assuredly going to spend more time in the D-League than on the NBA hardwood in 2016/17. I can see him going as high as No.3 overall and find it difficult to envision a scenario where he falls past the seventh selection.

FIT: While there aren’t many teams in the league that couldn’t use a versatile big man like Bender, the most likely landing spot for him will be with the Suns. Phoenix desperately needs to find a mobile power forward who can stretch the floor on offense and are a franchise that can afford to exercise patience with Bender. The Suns have an 11.9% chance at snagging the top pick this June, but the more likely outcome is that the franchise will end up in the No. 3 to No. 5 range, which is the perfect spot to pounce on Bender. The other teams potentially drafting ahead of the Suns are the Sixers, Lakers and Celtics, none of whom seem like a logical fit for Bender given the development time he will require. My prediction, barring any unforeseen event, is that Bender ends up in Arizona with the Suns.

FINAL TAKE: The success rate in the NBA for young international players taken in the lottery hasn’t been all that outstanding traditionally, which makes gambling a top five pick on Bender a risky proposition. But the success of Porzingis and the ever-improving competition level overseas lend some hope that Bender can duplicate the Knicks’ rookie’s success this season. The increasing demand for perimeter-oriented big men in the NBA certainly makes Bender an intriguing and valuable commodity, though he will require ample time in the gym, weight room and D-League before he is likely to reward the franchise that selects him.

(For Part One of Bender’s prospect profile, click here.)

Prospect Profile: Dragan Bender (Part One)

OVERVIEW: Dragan Bender is the youngest player entering the 2016 NBA Draft, having just turned 18 in November. But despite his youth, the big man had to grow up fast after signing a seven-year deal with the Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv at the age of 16. Bender’s playing experience includes participating in the under 16 European Championships in 2012 and playing professionally in the Croatian league when he was just 15-years-old.

While Bender has a wealth of potential, my biggest concern regarding his development is the inevitable comparisons to Knicks 2015 lottery pick Kristaps Porzingis that will be bandied about. Many teams and fans around the league will likely look to Porzingis’ solid rookie campaign and use that as the benchmark for what Bender should provide when he enters the NBA. Such lofty expectations may place undue pressure on the young big man and could serve to stifle his natural progression as a player. Bender is in no way as polished as Porzingis was when he entered the league, and it will almost certainly take him a few seasons to become a productive player in the NBA.

STATS: In 35 games Bender averaged 4.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and and o.6 assists in 12.2 minutes per outing. His slash line on the year was .426/.368/.719.

STRENGTHS: Thanks to the NBA’s growing obsession with stretch-fours, Bender’s combination of size and skill will certainly make him a desirable commodity this June. His measurements are impressive, with Bender standing a shade over seven-feet, owning a 7’2″ wingspan and a ridiculous standing reach of 9’3″. Bender isn’t a freak athletically, but he is extremely agile and has demonstrated solid footwork for such a young player. He is quick enough to guard opponents on the perimeter and is a hard-nosed player who doesn’t shy away from contact and competition. Traits that will serve him well once he hits the NBA hardwood.

Bender has worked hard to improve his outside shooting since turning pro, and while his form still needs refining, he appears to be well on his way to having a solid outside game. He is a versatile player who doesn’t need to score to have an impact on a contest, using his high basketball IQ and solid passing skills to help his team be successful. While he will likely be deployed at power forward, or perhaps even center if he bulks up, he is talented enough to play point-forward and facilitate an offense from the high-post.

WEAKNESSES: As with most young big men, Bender’s biggest drawback is his slender frame. While he is certainly no pushover, weighing in at around 225 pounds won’t help him survive the nightly abuse he is sure to receive once he enters the NBA paint area. Bender doesn’t appear to be one to shy away from physical play, which certainly serves to illustrate his competitive nature, but he isn’t nearly strong enough to be effective on a consistent basis versus bigger, stronger and older NBA players. The other concern reagrding Bender is that despite his wide range of skills, there isn’t one aspect of his overall game that can be considered elite at this juncture. There will be a considerable onus on whomever is coaching Bender to properly utilize his talents, which could be difficult until the player matures enough physically to play inside on a regular basis.

(For Part Two of our Dragan Bender Prospect Profile, click here.)

Prospect Profile: Demetrius Jackson (Part Two)

PROJECTED DRAFT RANGE: There’s an unusually wide gap between where Jackson lands on ESPN Insider Chad Ford’s Big Board and DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony’s Top 100 Prospect list. Ford currently ranks him as a mid- to late first-round prospect at No. 23 overall and No. 5 among point guards. Jamal Murray, Kris Dunn, Dejounte Murray and Tyler Ulis are slotted ahead of Jackson on Ford’s Big Board. Givony has a much more optimistic view, pegging Jackson at No. 11 overall and third among point guards behind only Dunn and Murray. According the updated point guard rankings by NBA.com’s David Aldridge, Jackson ranks sixth among point guards with Kay Felder also ahead of him.

RISE/FALL: As the disparity in his draft range suggests, Jackson could go in the lottery or drop all the way to the second round, depending upon what he shows in predraft workouts. Jamal Murray and Dunn are solidly in the Top 10 but teams are likely to bring in the next level of point guard prospects and see how they fare against each other. Jackson has to show he can overcome his lack of height defensively by using his strength and quick feet. He also has to prove to coaches and executives that he’s an above-average shooter from deep. His stock could simply be dictated by how much teams value a second-unit point guard, since few view him as a starter-quality player, at least for right now.

FIT: Several teams projected at the bottom half of the lottery could take a long look at Jackson. The Kings, who might lose soon-to-be free agent Rajon Rondo, would fit that group if Dunn and Jamal Murray are off the board. The Bulls might bring in a young point guard to back up Derrick Rose, especially with Rose entering his walk year. There’s also some uncertainty about the Bucks’ point guard situation. Outside the lottery, the Pistons are clearly in the market for a second-stringer behind Reggie Jackson. The Grizzlies may need to protect themselves from the possible free agency loss of Mike Conley and the Rockets need a complementary piece to starter Patrick Beverley.

FINAL TAKE: There seems to be little doubt that Jackson can carve out a career as an energetic second-unit point guard. He might be the most athletic point guard on the board. But a lack of upside could cause him to drop to the bottom third of the first round, or even slide to the second round. As Ford puts it in his most recent take on Jackson, he doesn’t have one skill that stands out, but he has very few weaknesses.

For Part One of our Demetrius Jackson Prospect Profile, click here.

Prospect Profile: Demetrius Jackson (Part One)

Anthony Gruppuso / USA Today Sports Images

Anthony Gruppuso / USA Today Sports Images

OVERVIEW: Demetrius Jackson took over as Notre Dame’s floor leader as a junior and emerged as a first-round prospect. Jackson led the Irish to the Elite Eight despite some struggles offensively during the latter stages of the season. He finished his college career with a 26-point performance against North Carolina and averaged 15.8 points, 4.7 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals for the season. Jackson played steady minutes as a sophomore, though current Knicks point guard Jerian Grant was the team’s primary ballhandler. Jackson was also a rotation player as a freshman after being a highly touted prep star, ranking No. 33 overall in his class, according to the Recruiting Services Consensus Index. At 6’1”, the 21-year-old Jackson is smaller than the prototypical NBA point guard.

STRENGTHS: Like most smaller point guards, Jackson relies on his quickness and athleticism. He’s got superior explosion, allowing him to get into the paint and create havoc. That will serve him well in a pick-and-roll reliant NBA scheme. It also works well in the transition game, where he’s nearly impossible to catch as he converts layups or finds trailers for dunks. ESPN Insider Chad Ford credits Jackson for his pass-first mentality, decision-making and a knack for making his teammates better. DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony notes that while Jackson is small, he’s powerfully built and can finish through contact. His outstanding leaping ability allows him to be on the receiving end of lobs. He also moves well without the ball and is a solid shooter off the catch, with Givony pointing out that he made 41% of his shots with his feet set. Turnovers were not a big issue for Jackson, as he averaged 2.2 as a junior while playing 36 minutes per game. Jackson has also impressed talent evaluators with his competitiveness, according to NBA.com’s David Aldridge.

WEAKNESSES: Jackson’s 3-point shooting dropped off dramatically when tasked with running Notre Dame’s methodical offense this season. He made 33.1% of his long-range shots as a junior, compared to 42.9% in his sophomore year. Jackson’s lack of height could obviously be an issue when he’s guarding tall point guards, and he’ll be an even bigger liability when he’s forced to switch. Jackson can also be over-reliant on his quickness, rather than playing at a more controlled pace. As one NBA executive told Aldridge, “He always tries to blow by you. It’s like a pitcher that keeps throwing 100 miles an hour.” In contrast to Ford’s evaluation, Givony believes that Jackson has displayed average court vision and misses some easy reads. That’s due to Jackson still searching for the right balance between running the offense and finding his own shot.

For Part 2 of our Demetrius Jackson Prospect Profile, click here.

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