• Derek Murray

Jalen Pickett

Jalen Pickett

Point Guard, 6'4 - 192 lbs

Siena, Sophomore

Draft Range: 45 to Undrafted

Pickett burst onto the scene during his freshman season and tested NBA Draft waters, but opted to return for a second year. The unanimous MAAC Rookie of the Year had a stellar 2018 in which he averaged a 15.8/4.6/6.7 line.

What caught my attention early on was his ability to create for both himself and his teammates. His pick-and-roll volume was incredibly high; it seemed that Siena's offense was driven primarily by his playmaking and relying upon him to make decisions very quickly. He anticipates and makes correct reads incredibly fast and doesn't get caught hesitating very often. This high basketball IQ allows him to process information and deliver crisp, on time passes to multiple spots on the floor. His bounce & athleticism help him see over defending guards and find teammates in the paint and corners with two-handed passes. At the next level I think he'll be a solid distributor.

Here’s how he stacks up against similar players. While his shooting numbers are not as strong as Winston/Morant, this is some solid company to be in.

Photo via Bart Torvik

This isn't to say he can't shoot. Although he wasn't the most efficient guy, he showed to be a true threat off the dribble. His pull up jumper and three ball are really fast and strong as he can elevate over the defender. Good feet and well balanced; he creates separation with his athleticism more-so than creativity.

The creativity and ball handling are a bit of a concern for me right now - not because of turnovers, but the inability to drive the lane with creative & skillful moves. Most of his paint points come from simply being more athletic than the competition, coupled with soft touch. This most likely won't work at the next level, so in 2019 I'd like to see him get lower & try some new moves to turn the corner.

What I appreciate most about Pickett's game is his defensive intensity. In basketball today we often see that payers who carry a large offensive load don't seem to care as much, or don't provide consistent effort, on defense. JP does not fall into that category.

He's strong with a solid frame, and uses his length to pressure the ball and fill passing lanes. He does well when switches onto bigs; contests well with those long arms and strong lower body. He's laterally quick but not at an elite level yet, if he can improve his feet even more next season he's going to be a real problem for other PG's.

He averaged 3.1 stocks per 40 as a freshman. Check out the chart below as a comparison to similar players last season.

While there isn't much 'flash' to JP's game, he does all the little things right. He's a great decision maker with excellent vision on the offensive end & solid on ball defender on defense. Every NBA team can use a high IQ back-up point guard, and he seems to fit that mold right now. Pickett is definitely a player to watch in the upcoming NCAA season.

Photo via Times Union

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