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2020 NBA Draft Profiles: Jalen Smith

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There is a fit for Jalen Smith in the NBA, but is it in Memphis

Michigan v Maryland Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Jalen Smith, Forward, Maryland

  • 6’10, 255 ibs, 20 years old, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2019-20 season stats and averages: 31 games, 31.3 minutes played, 15.5 ppg, 10.5 rebounds, 2.4 blk, and 53.8 FG%.
  • Accolades 2019-20 season: 2020 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award Finalist (Top-5), 2020 First Team All-Big Ten; 2020 All-Defensive Team, 2020 Citizen Naismith Player of the Year Award Semifinalist (Top-10), 2020 Wooden Award Late Season Top-20
  • Advanced Stats Strength: PER, Box +/-, Def win shares, EFG%, and Def rebounding.
  • Advanced Stats Weaknesses: Assists/TO, Steals, Assists, & AST%/Usage
  • Current Big Board Ranking: 23rd (Takathon), 29th (Bleacher Report), 17th (CBS Sports)

The Memphis Grizzlies new front office has been nothing short of surprising. Another surprising move would be snagging Maryland Forward Jalen Smith after trading up in to the first round.

Jalen Smith out of Maryland, a former five star recruit out of Mount St. Joseph High School, is projected to go in the middle to late first round of the 2020 NBA Draft. Smith, sitting at 6’10 is a great fit for any NBA team, as he can play both Center and that stretch four position for any squad.

What Smith Brings to the Table:

Michigan v Maryland Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Jalen Smith, sitting at 6’10, if selected by the Memphis Grizzlies (if Memphis moved up) would be a rotation guy from day one. Right now, his spot is occupied by Gorgui Dieng, but if Memphis were to select Smith, Dieng would likely be the odd man out. Smith would enter the NBA with similar traits as Dieng in terms of being a big man that can switch on the defensive end, and also is an excellent rebounder.

Smith would play spotty, but key, minutes for Memphis as he could be a consistent presence on both ends of the floor. Comfortable in the pick n’ roll, along with his back to the basket, Jalen’s game brings a little bit of everything. Being a consistent guy on the glass along with his presence on the defensive end will help him with his limited offensive skill set.

What Jalen can improve on:

Maryland v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The NBA system is way more detailed, and takes young big men time to adapt in their roles. For example, Smith wasn’t a good facilitator in the NCAA, so you wouldn’t look to build your game plan around Smith making an extra pass at the free throw line. Smith has to become a better passing big man (which can happen quicker than expected) as well as grow his three-point consistency.

Memphis would look for Smith to continue his growth on the offensive end of the floor with his play-making. Making that read during the pick n’ roll, or sensing the double-team in the post, leading to an accurate cross court pass will take Smith’s game to the next level.

The Verdict:

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 03 Maryland at Rutgers Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Don’t expect Smith to be seen in Beale Street Blue heading into next season. With the current depth on the roster, for Memphis to move up for another big wouldn’t make sense... Unless they are trading away Dieng. That would open up a spot for Smith, but it seems that Dieng will be a trade deadline asset for Memphis. Look for Smith to be taken no later than pick number 25. Smith’s growth in the NBA will be exciting as he transitions into a modern NBA big man.