In the latest edition of 'P.I. Pulse,' Pro Insight's Aneesh Namburi conducts a deep dive analysis on G-League Ignite prospect and projected top-10 pick, Jalen Green:
Jalen Green was a consensus top-3 high school recruit who took his talents (and his large social media following) to headline the inaugural “G-League Ignite” program. Green is a legit S-tier athlete, with one of the best first steps I’ve seen in recent memory and elite bounce, as well. While still somewhat inconsistent, the improvements he has made in his shotmaking and feel for the game have drawn comparisons to the likes of Zach LaVine. Below is an in-depth scouting report that covers every aspect of his game and how it translates to the NBA, where his strengths lie in addition to potential areas of improvement.
Date of Birth 2/9/2002
Weight 185 lbs.
High: Lead guard type (Zach LaVine-ish), secondary option. Shooting off the catch (slight relocation, too) and effective cutting gives off ball equity. High level scoring/driving gravity (improved handle + strength) draws help consistently, opening passing lanes and makes decisions significantly easier, able to hit pull-up J’s at a solid clip. Average team defender, prone to some lapses but develops rotational understanding. Decent playmaker due to tools, but tendency to gamble. Able to compete adequately defending 1-through-4, but likely will need backside help against bigger wings/forwards.
Median: Guard/wing hybrid creator, tertiary or quaternary starting option. Operates 2nd side PnR semi-effectively due to pull-up 3 + downhill burst. Shoots off the catch and cuts effectively. More of a reactive playmaker, sub-optimal manipulation and feel prevents primary/secondary status, but can work on ball situationally. Below average team defender, prone to some lapses but develops rotational understanding. Decent playmaker due to tools, but tendency to gamble. Adds enough strength to briefly switch 1-through-4, but likely will need backside help against bigger wings/forwards.
Low: Low-usage scorer. Thrives in transition and as a half court shotmaker (attacking hoop advantage situations + pull-up 3s). Streaky shooter off the catch. Tough giving on ball reps due to inconsistent playmaking and handle. Poor team defender, out of position somewhat regularly, trouble nailing rotations. Decent playmaker due to tools, but tendency to gamble. Better on ball defender against 2’s + smaller 3’s, needs help at the screen due to lack of strength (heavily limited when switching).
Green is an elite athlete, possessing outlier characteristics uncommon for all but a select few NBA players. The few weaknesses he does possess are some of the easier tools to develop, which should add the final touches to a functional and exciting athlete. Green’s burst is among the best I have seen, possessing the ability to generate paint touches almost at will even in the G-League. Similarly, Green’s vertical explosiveness is among the best in his class. Not only can he get rim level with unreal speed, but the length of time he’s able to stay in the air and adjust/contort his body allows him to open up even some of the smaller finishing angles. While he does an excellent job trying to initiate contact and attempts to finish through opposing bigs, there’s only so much his sub-200 pound frame can handle, so adding some weight will be conducive to improving these numbers (an easy enough task once he gets in an NBA weight room). This lack of strength and just average length will also likely limit him to being a primary off-ball defender. Additionally, Green’s hips need a little more work. He slides well, but his lack of flexibility keeps him upright and limits the ability to change directions. It probably will not be an immediate fix, but a couple summers of yoga and isolated flexibility training should yield some encouraging results.
Relatively average wingspan for a guard, mitigated due to recovery attributes (burst + vertical)
Hyper elite burst: getting by G-League players like he did in HS, little to no effort
Excellent vertical, innate ability to float in the air + contort body to adjust on finishes
Thin frame + subpar core strength; should be able to add strength but likely to stay skinnier
Should move with fluidity laterally in theory; gets pretty upright in stance so limits mobility
Needs to work on hip flexibility; slower changing directions and has trouble chasing over screens (also partially a strength issue, as well)
Green is in a weird spot offensively, possessing the scoring profile of a shotmaking wing but most likely close to guard creator size. He’s flashed a lot of individual shot making elements, but needs to fine tune areas of his game in order to play efficient, winning basketball. Green excels as a shotmaker and getting to the rim, utilizing his aforementioned physical tools to open up creases for himself. He can accentuate these strengths by narrowing down the variability/balance in his shot mechanics, as well as adding strength to handle contact from NBA level rim protectors. The next step for Green’s offensive development is working out of primary pick-and-rolls, specifically as a playmaker. Right now, Green struggles in this area due to his lack of handle in tight spaces, inconsistent playmaking, and lack of an in-between game. Green did improve significantly as a shooter off the catch, but like I mentioned earlier, his mechanics still need some consistency before he becomes a real threat. Due to his aforementioned weaknesses, Green will likely be limited to attacking advantage scenarios (coming off hand offs, second side PnRs, etc.). He is an aggressive and efficient athlete in transition, probably his most translatable strength. Green didn’t show much as a cutter in the bubble, but has the physical attributes to become a positive one, although cutting is as much mental as physical.