Jarrett Culver broke out as a sophomore at Texas Tech, where he averaged 18.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.5 SPG, and 2.7 TOPG on shooting splits of 46/30/71
Name: Jarrett Culver
Height/Weight: 6’7/ 194
Wingspan/ standing reach: 6’9 ½ / 8’4 ½
Hand size: 8.5
Position: Combo guard
College: Texas Tech
Tools: Slashing, frame
- Excellent frame
- Can play both guard slots; versatile
- Good playmaker- thrives in drive & kick
- Moves well defensively- good lateral quickness
- Poor jump shot form- shoots on the way down, guide hand is awkward
- Inconsistent shooter
- Needs to be a more creative finisher
- Lacks a great first step
- Small hands
Overall: Jarrett Culver is a unique prospect given his frame and play style. While he lacks a reliable jump shot, Culver made a living in college by attacking the basket. Despite a subpar first step, Culver has a knack for getting to his spots on the court. Culver would likely be a secondary playmaker on whichever team drafts him, and would be able to run an offense with ease. Culver’s size, versatility, and mobility gives him a high defensive upside. Culver must overcome his speed and jump shot concerns in order to reach his high ceiling. Culver has a high basketball IQ, so it’s easy to give him the benefit of the doubt in overcoming his jump shot weakness. Additionally, in shootaround and practice, his jump shot has less movement than it does in-game. While this is a sign of concern, it is also a reason for optimism as it could mean that his jump shot is still able to improve. In the unlikely event of Culver disappointing in the NBA, it would likely be because of him not being able to overcome his jump shot in a 3 point dominant era.
NBA Comparison: Floor: Dante Exum; ceiling: Malcolm Brogdon
Projected draft range: 4-6
Fit with Mavs/ Best fit:
The Mavericks have no chance at Culver, barring a trade. If they did, Culver would be an excellent complimentary piece as an off guard next to Luka Doncic. Culver may not be much of a threat off ball, but he could help ease the workload of Doncic. Defensively, he could take the toughest backcourt matchup and hide Doncic’s defensive shortcomings.
The Mavs attended almost every game, if not all, of Culver’s this past season at Texas Tech, and many last season as well. While they likely did not work him out individually, they have done their homework and know how good Culver is. However, they do not have the assets to trade into his projected draft range.
That being said, the best realistic fits for Culver are the Lakers, Cavs, and Suns. All 3 teams could have the chance to pick Culver, and all 3 teams could have him fit well and step in right away and make a positive impact.
For the Lakers, Culver would make for an excellent defensive fit with Lonzo Ball. While the backcourt would have issues in jump shooting, Culver can attack the basket and serve as a secondary playmaker while also creating more open looks for Ball. Additionally, if the Lakers make a big move involving Ball and acquire a better shooting point guard, Culver could be a great offensive fit next to Lebron. As the NBA moves towards a more positionless game, Culver fits great with a group of ball handlers in LA.
In Cleveland, the fit simply comes down to making up for Sexton’s weaknesses: playmaking and perimeter defense. I believe the Cavs should seriously consider long term defensive options with offensive upside in this draft, as the Cavs defense this last year was historically inefficient. If Culver develops his jump shot to a respectable percentage with Sexton maintaining his high 3 point percentage, they could be an excellent backcourt of the future.
Lastly, Phoenix, who is attending a private workout in Lubbock with Culver this weekend, would solve many of their backcourt issues next to Devin Booker by drafting Culver. Culver doesn’t fill the primary playmaker hole that the Suns need to address, but his presence still helps lighten the offensive burden on Booker. Additionally, with Culver’s success in the drive & kick, Ayton’s game could be elevated as well, as he could be an easy target on dump-off passes off of Culver’s attacks.
Overall, if I had to rank Culver’s best fit among the three teams, it would look as such: