21 September 2020

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Jalen Green is the Best Shooting Guard Prospect in a Decade

While the 2020 draft doesn’t have a lot of buzz, according to many scouts, this upcoming draft actually is one of the least star heavy in years. On the other hand, the 2021 NBA draft class is one of most hyped in a long time; one of the prospects drawing intrigue is none other than Jalen Green… the #1 ranked ESPN basketball prospect from the 2020 has given the fans a variety of explosive dunks and athletic plays, but he is so much more than just a flashy athlete. Let’s take a deep dive into his game to display why I think he’s the best shooting guard prospect we have seen in 10 years:

Strengths:

Green is a fantastic athlete. He is tremendous laterally, he can change speeds, and incredibly explosive. This elite athleticism is a reason why he was one of the most feared slashers in the country as he shot 63% from the 2 in his high school career. He can beat you with his elite first step, allowing him to blow past defenders; he is quick, skilled, and coordinated, which helps him finish around the basket in multiple platforms making him nearly unguardable once he gets in the paint

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Green has a solid jumper. It isn’t elite but it’s good enough to keep defenses honest, this defensive honesty gives him more lanes to the hoop, where he thrives.

Green is an underrated passer. as averaged about 5 assists last year as a senior. Green sees the court very well for a shooting guard and rarely makes bad reads. This vision gives him the versatility to function at both guard spots, similar to a Devin Booker or James Harden, if he needs to focus on making plays for others, he’s more than capable of doing that.

Green has incredible two-way potential. He cares and gives effort on that end, his lateral quickness and length give him the ability to stay in front of nearly any guard. If he keeps filling out his frame, he could become a superstar on the defensive end.

Weaknesses:

Jalen Green’s jumper has a a low-release point, this could make it easier to block when he is in the G-league next year and when he’s in the NBA. Even though he’s a respectable shooter, he isn’t an elite one. He shot abour 35% from downtown in his varsity career which is nothing special. If he can improve his form and become more efficient from deep, he would become an even more terrifying offensive player. He needs to fill out his frame a little, he has a wiry frame and like many young prospects, he would get phycially overwhelmed early on if he doesn’t continue adding muscle.

Comparing Green to the Top Shooting Prospects since 2010:

I get it, “best shooting guard in a decade” sounds like a stretch… but when you compare Jalen Green to other SG prospects the last decade such as Anthony Edwards, RJ Barrett, Andrew Wiggins, and Victor Oladipo, he is the most complete. Before Green gets briefly compared to other prospects, I consider Doncic a point guard so he isn’t in this conversation. Let’s get started:

Green compared to Edwards:

Both superb athletes with spectacular two-way and 3-level scoring potential. What gives Green the edge compared to Edwards is his basketball IQ and feel for the game is superior to Edwards. Green can function as your point guard at times while Edwards is a guy that probably shouldn’t be a primary facilitator. Both have all the tools in the world to be elite defender at the next level, but Green is more polished on that end and cares about defense more than Edwards seemed to at Georgia.

Green compared to Barrett:

Barrett was in a similar position as Green out of high school, he was considered a lock to be a top 2 pick in the 2018 draft. but with Ja Morant exploding into the scene, Barrett was taken third by the Knicks. Both are tremendous in transition, play hard, and can facilitate, to an extent. What gives Green the edge as an overall prospect is he has a less concerning jumper compared to Barrett. Barrett shot 66.5% from the line and 30.8% from three at Duke. On the other hand, Green shot 78% from the line and 35% from three; is Green an elite shooter? No. But I am more encouraged about his shooting potential than Barrett’s.

Green compared to Wiggins:

People seem to forget, Andrew Wiggins was once considered a generational prospect; he has the physical tools and athleticism that don’t come very often. What killed Andrew Wiggins was his minimal passion and motor, he didn’t seem to have the desire to be great on or off the court which gave Joel Embiid as the top prospect in the 2014 NBA draft, if healthy. Wiggins’ lack of motor also prevented him from ever becoming a great player, even though he’s still a really good NBA player. Green doesn’t have the same motor concerns, I don’t personally know Green, but he seems to care about both ends of the court and appears to have a true desire to become a great player. Green is also the superior natural playmaker compared to Wiggins coming out.

Green compared to Oladipo:

The main thing you can hold against Oladipo coming out was his age. He was a late bloomer, unranked out of high school, didn’t break out as a legit top draft prospect until his junior, and didn’t play his first NBA game until he was 21. Also, even though he shot 44.8% from deep his junior, it was on low volume, he struggled shooting the ball early in his college career, and people didn’t shot if he would ever be a consistent shooter. Green will be in the NBA at 19 years old, in theory, giving him more room to grow than Oladipo coming in. Green also was the better shooter at the age of 18 than Oladipo, which is a sign that Green could become a really good shooter, which Oladipo became at the NBA level.

Conclusion:

Jalen Green is an absolute stud, he has the size, explosion, vision, two-way potential, and scoring instinct to be a special basketball player. Something that makes Green such an impressive prospect is he is elite in a few categories but doesn’t have very many glaring holes. We see many of these prospects, especially shooting guards, that are elite at a couple things but have holes that should at least cause for some concern, Green doesn’t have any major weaknesses yet still has so much room to grow, making him the best and most complete shooting guard prospect in a decade. Whoever drafts Green in the 2021 draft will get a really really good basketball player.

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