Jalen Johnson had a controversial freshman season as a 5 star recruit, leaving Duke in February during the season. On the season, Johnson averaged 11.2 PPG, 6 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.2 BPG, and 2.5 TOPG on shooting splits 52/44/63. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Jalen Johnson
Height/Weight: 6’9 ¼ / 210
Wingspan/ standing reach: 7’0 ¼ / 8’10
Hand size: 10 ½
College/ country: Duke
Tools: Athleticism, finishing
- Excellent in transition
- Good frame with long arms and big hands
- Strong finisher
- Phenomenal athlete
- Elite rebounder for his position
- Comfortable with both hands
- Quick first step
- Good cutter
- Potential as a weak-side rim protector
- Needs to improve jump shot
- Must get better at recognizing open teammates
- Shoots on the way down on moving shots
- Foot injury plagued him at Duke
- Character/motor concern after leaving multiple programs
- Minimal defensive intensity
Jalen Johnson is an athletic, finishing forward who can thrive in offense near the rim with both hands. As both a good cutter and a good isolation player in short burst, Jalen Johnson has potential as a high-level slasher. With a quick first step and an ability to handle the ball equally well with his left and right hands, he is a difficult guard once he gets going downhill. With the ability to finish around, above, or simply against contact at the rim, Johnson has one of the highest finishing upsides in the draft. In order to usefully utilize his strong penetration ability, Johnson has to significantly improve his jump shooting and get quicker at finding his teammates that are moving off-ball. He shoots on the way down, so his jump shot needs an entire overhaul. As a passer, he has potential to approach 5 assists per game, but needs to become a better decision-maker to sniff that territory in the coming years.
On the defensive end, Johnson lacks intensity on-ball, but has the athleticism to still be able to stay with ball-handlers on drives. His best area on the defensive side of the floor is weak-side rim protection, indicated by his strong blocks per game number. Overall, Johnson is a high risk, high reward prospect that has the potential to change front-court roster constructions.
Similar to: Aaron Gordon, Juan Toscano-Anderson
Projected draft range: 7-20
Expected role: Combo forward that can make up for lack of big man traits on a roster, if surrounded correctly by perimeter-oriented teammates.
Unplayable if: Jump shooting never develops and motor holds him back from being good enough elsewhere to negate lack of a jump shot. Additionally, if he is a negative defender on top of being a subpar shooter, his impact is minimal.
Exceeds expectations if: Jump shooting is in the low/mid 30% range, and his motor comes along to make him a consistently good defender. He also continues to improve his finishing ability and becomes borderline elite at the rim.