As the Film Room marches on, we shift to take a look at one of the more "exciting" options towards the top of the draft. Plenty of attention will be on some of the elite prospects such as Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State), Evan Mobley (USC), and even Jalen Suggs (Gonzaga), but this Film Room installment is going to look at a young talent that has some scary upside to his game. Let's have ourselves a little chat about G-League Ignite wing Jalen Green, shall we?
Now if you don't know the backstory, let's bring you up to speed in a hurry. Jalen Green was one of the top high school prospects in his class, before deciding to skill the collegiate route and spend the year developing with the G-League Ignite team. Early on, the reviews gave one common synopsis. A young talent with freakish athleticism that just simply needed experience to figure out the rest of his offensive weaponry. Personally, I always proceed with caution when jumping into evaluating a prospect that earns the tag "freakish athlete." It's not a knock against that individual, but you have to watch that specific player carefully. Has he been dominating the lower ranks just because he jumps higher than everyone? Probably. But then you have to ask yourself, what can that player do when he starts playing against players that will level out that sort of advantage? Let's say he's going up against a player that has a similar type of athleticism...does he have another way in which he can beat opposing defenses? All fair questions to ask when evaluating not just Green, but any prospect.
Early on in the film, I found myself inching towards the edge of my chair, constantly looking for the "quick rewind" option. Not only does Jalen Green have the tools to become a dangerous threat on the wing at the NBA level, but I believe he could be a star in this draft class. Green is far more advanced with his handles than some might believe for a kid who recently just turned 19-years-old. Sure, the frame is going to need to fill out, as is the case with most young wings, but Green showed at the G-League bubble that when the confidence is oozing, he can score at multiple levels and more. Let's break it down.
Going to be plenty of examples on tape, and in this evaluation, that take a look at how special of a weapon Jalen Green can be on the offensive side of the ball. Now it's important to remember that Jalen Green just turned 19-years-old a couple of months ago. So this was basically a raw 18-year-old going up against some grown men in these G-League Bubble games. Like I said before, Green struck me immediately as a freakish athlete that did his damage on the attack around the rim. I quickly realized that he's got way more in his "bag" than some realize. Great little stepback here and you can see the tease of lethal quickness in his game.
OFF THE BOUNCE
Although Jalen Green will need to spend some solid time in the weight room with a strength coach, that's going to be expected by these NBA organizations. What's more impressive to me is the ability that Jalen has to hit the turbo button. There's some scary upside with that first step and I mean that in the most exciting way possible. From there, Jalen is still understanding that he can attack the rim and finish with touch. While that last sentence might seem a bit obvious, it's rare for young prospects with a similar skill set. Imagine being a young high school player and you literally could outjump everyone. You'd probably spend the majority of your time just dunking on everyone, wouldn't you? Green showed plenty of clips throughout the bubble in which he has some nice touch around the rim.
OFF THE BOUNCE PART II
Another clip in which you get to see a great example of Green using his hesitation and quickness to explode past the defense. This time we get to see some creativity with Green for finishing at the rim. The thing about being a sensational athlete is that the higher you go in the basketball world, the more likely you are to run into other "freakish" athletes. This means you better be able to adjust and finish in a variety of ways, you can't just rely on dunking on everyone. Green has the ability to use his impressive body control in the air to create acrobatic finishes and it's something he's going to need to continue to develop for the immediate future.
ONE ON ONE
Love this sequence here from the young kid. Shows some confidence on the offensive side of the ball to analyze the situation and realize that he can take his man one on one. Green waves off his teammate and lets him know "I got this." Look at the explosiveness and ability to stop on a dime and create separation. Defender gets caught in no man's land before Green steps back for a beautiful three-point shot.
EXPLOSIVENESS & BURST
This is the type of play that you'll see on Jalen Green highlight tapes for the upcoming months. It's a great display of burst and NBA Front Offices will be foaming at the mouth for what this kid could do if he continues to take strides forward in his development. Green has that ability in which you hold your breath every time he has a clear lane towards the rim. He doesn't attack softly. He attacks with bad intentions.
A number of times on tape, you'll see that Green has some sequences in his arsenal that he loves to go to. The kid knows how to get to his spot and he definitely has a scorer's mentality. Green has some intriguing footwork to build off of, something that you don't find often with a player of his raw upside. This is the first fadeaway sequence I wanted to point out here and it's a great demonstration of the lower body control that Green has to build off of.
MIDRANGE GAME PART II
Like I stated in the clip above, Green has some go-to moves that he loves and this fadeaway sequence looks to potentially be his bread and butter moving forward. It's a great move to have for a young wing, especially when defenders are consistently worried that Green is a quick step away from putting them on a poster. The amount of separation that this kid can create already is going to have a developmental staff giddy about getting to work with him.
Some serious upside to Green's game as a potential shot creator, thanks to his quickness and ability to stretch the floor. Sure, there's going to be some points in which the percentages need to come at a more consistent rate as Green finished shooting 36.5% from deep in the bubble, but that's expected with young talent. Remember, Green also posted an 82.9 FT%, which usually is a good measuring stick for how he translates as a shooter. Impressive side-step here from Green to hit the deep ball.
Mentioned it a couple of times previously but need to continue to hammer home that I personally came away pleasantly surprised with Green's handles. You have to remember that these kids are still figuring out what they can do against stronger competition. Green has the raw talent, but he also has some serious wiggle in his game off of the dribble. If Green can continue to develop his offensive weaponry, he can become a star on the offensive side of the ball.
This is the part of the game that left me incredibly curious about the overall type of offensive threat that Jalen Green can become. Green is going to get some knocks on him because of obvious reasons. He's a young inexperienced player who has always had a scorer's mentality. If he wants to become a more dangerous threat on the offensive side of the ball, a number of areas in his game are going to need to develop as well. One of those areas is his ability to create for his teammates. While there's plenty of plays in which Green shows some "immaturity" when it comes to a decision-maker, that was going to be expected during his play in the bubble. Still, there are flashes in which Green sees the floor beautifully and it leaves you intrigued by some of the potential that is just scratching the surface.
Another great example of Green's upside as a passer. This time, we get to see him working the pick and roll with teammate and fellow potential lottery selection Jonathan Kuminga. This is a type of pass that needs to be on the money and that's just where it is. Green has to put this pass up high and in a position in which only his teammate can get it.
Personally, this might be one of my favorite Jalen Green clips. Green constantly has his head up reading the floor and reacts to a window here. Once Green sees that the opposing defense is sagging towards help, he throws a bullet pass to his teammate running right up the middle of the floor. This is the type of play that will show potential NBA organizations that there are still levels of his game that are wanting to come out.
In a draft class in which so much of the overall attention is going to be focused on the top 3 (Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, and Jalen Suggs) there's some serious intrigue to another player with serious upside. There's no denying the fact that Jalen Green opened some eyes with play in the G-League Bubble. Not often do we get to see a young wing going up against stronger and older opponents and holding their own before the NBA draft. This year's decision by Green to forego the college route and train with the G-League Ignite seems to be one that could pay off in a serious way. At 6'5" with a rumored 6'7" wingspan, Green looks the part and has the tools you're looking for in a raw wing with scary upside. If a team in the early lottery can stress patience and allow him to develop some confidence, they could find themselves striking gold. Green is going to need playing time and experience to continue to develop and he could experience some growing pains, but the payoff over the long-term could be sensational.