Jalen Smith University of Maryland
2019 Draft Prospect
1-26-19 (at Madison Square Garden)
Instincts shooting the ball, particularly from 3, are already there. Knows when he’ll be able to get a clean look because of his height and high release point. Does a nice job naturally preparing for the shot as the pass is coming by planting his left foot into a hop to jump start an overall very fluid motion. Very raw reading dribble penetration following a close out defensively. Lateral ability isn’t strong enough to make up for
such misreads at this point in his development. Very average at this point in reading and attacking a close out. Doesn’t always see the help defender prepared to take charge on his drive to the rim, but good shot blocking instincts overall. Could be a really good help side rim protector.
Overall good IQ and feel for the game offensively. His feel for pick and roll defense as either the hedge or rim protection needs a lot of attention. He should be a better rim defender and overall rim runner at this point, but his lack of strength impacts his overall feel for attacking and protecting the basket. Causes him to settle for jump shots and gets him into foul trouble. Loses sight of the ball defensively far too much to be a competent help defender at this stage.
Up close, he would appear to fit the +4 at 6’10 and he’s probably plus. Really shows in his release point where he wasn’t contested offensively on any of his jump shots. Impressive.
Despite being very raw and skinny, looks the part as the offensive “stretch” 4/5. I don’t see him as a SF, either defending or playing that spot. He can switch onto SFs to contest, but can’t stay with them off the dribble, which limits his versatility. Needs to put on weight to be able to defend 5s on a consistent basis but an very intriguing two-way rim running prospect with range. Very comfortable as single side bump.
Overall pretty good on all 3 facets of shooting.
Feet set- Very good shooter with feet set. Gets into a nice hop and can
trigger a fluid release in rhythm off of the catch with feet set.
Pick Pop- Since he’s good off the catch, pick/pop is natural. Doesn’t need
much room to get shot off because of a consistent,high release point.
3 point range- Very capable. Watched him up close make 2 of 3 from the
right slot vs. Illinois at MSG. Very fluid and natural shooter at that size.
Decent to good small area quickness for his size. Not a world class athlete and seems to play “small” when he tries to dribble to the basket or attempting to make a play off a close out. Seems to find his way off his feet and on the floor. Reminds me of young Zendon Hamilton in that way. Pretty good full speed in transition with really good “quick” jump ability. Second jump ability slightly above average. Not overly bouncy.
Noticed some “check out” when Coach Turgeon took him out of the game. His “on/off” switch has a quick trigger. He has to learn from his mistakes and also understand that Fernando is going to log the majority of the minutes at the 5 because he can physically carry that load for the team. Smith guarding the 5 in the Big 10 is a mismatch at this point. His “off switch” doesn't go “back on” all that quickly either. Took him time to get back into the flow. No other back up options so Smith (27 mins/ 1foul) has to log mins while Fernando (31 mins) rest/deals with foul trouble.
Gets pushed off his spot, but 15.6 rebounds per 36 mins tells you his nose for the ball and willingness to go after it is there. 12.5% available rate on the offensive glass (2.5 per game) is indicative that he’s elusive with significant put back ability. The fact that he’s gathered as many offensive boards playing along side Bruno Fernando, who is a rebounds eater, tells you there’s a lot of skill there.
Very skinny, but seems to have already added weight since HS, so that should heavily suggest the room to get stronger is there. He has the type of body that can add strength without bothering dexterity.
Impressive feet when gathering into his shot. Very natural hop and fluid motion that
starts with his feet. Really good balance overall. Doesn't have “post play” feet, but can definitely learn to be an inside/outside player. Needs to improve lateral movement. Decent ability in to guard smalls on Pick and Roll switch. Forced pass away from the basket.
27 min: 11 pts (4-6 FG, 2-3 3-pt, 1-3 FT), 7 rebounds, 1 assts, 0 to, 0 stls, 1 blk, 1 PF