• Derek Murray

Jalen Smith

Power Forward, 6'10 - 215 lbs


Smith initially jumps on the screen at you based on size and athleticism. He's long, bouncy, and a fluid runner. JS has a wide range of skills that allow him to play both inside and outside on both ends of the floor. An attacking, disciplined player, teams will be heavily scouting him during the 2019-20 season.

Athleticism: Smith is incredibly athletic for his size. He’s 6’10, 215 pounds and holds a 7’1 wingspan. JS is bouncy, quick to get off the floor and has flashed a really good second-jump. He has an excellent motor and runs the floor very well, but his feet and lateral quickness are questionable right now. He’s fluid for a big man and it appears naturally easy for him, with added lower body strength I think his athleticism projects really well at the NBA level.

Offense: JS has shown the ability to score both in the post and from deep. His length & verticality help him finish at the rim, and on post-ups he does really well at sealing off defenders. Uses his long legs to push them away and receive a pass to the off hand. Good offensive rebounder at 2.7/gm, keeps the ball high & scores well on putbacks. The fascinating part of JS’s game is his ball handling and shooting. Although he shot 26.8% from deep this year, he’s got a good looking shot and high release point with which I think he can become a stretch big. He can also dribble and hit a pull up jumper, just not very often. He hit an in-and-out dribble into a pull up that made me pause and take in what I saw - If this part of his game can develop at all, he’s going to be a real problem as a multi-dimensional threat.

Defense: Smith is a solid rim protector who can block shots with either hand on contests. However, as seen in the chart below, I do think he needs to improve his BLK% in 2019. The tools and ability are there, but he'll need to average higher than 1.8 blocks per 40 to solidify himself as an NBA-ready defender. His interior defense and rebounding are really good, but I worry about the perimeter right now. His feet aren't that quick and lateral speed can be an issue when people drive on him. Watching him play outside isn't painful the way it is with some bigs; although it's not a plus for him right now, it shows promise.

Switchability will be a key factor in his development, and a big point of emphasis for scouts this year will be his PnR defense. He’s fairly disciplined and doesn’t get into foul trouble very often which is nice, but he'll need to add lower body strength to consistently hang in the paint at the next level.

Swing Skill: Shooting consistency.

Photo via testudotimes.com

Overall: Smith is a smooth, skilled big man. He'll need to refine some of these skills and execute more regularly, but the ability has been there in flashes. He's tall, long, and athletic & his body should translate well to the NBA. If he remains disciplined & stays efficient on the offensive end, he could be selected in Round 1 of the 2020 Draft.

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