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Ja’Kobe Walter 2024 NBA Draft Profile

Ja’Kobe Walter
(William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports)

Ja’Kobe Walter 2024 NBA Draft Profile

The 2024 NBA Draft Profiles continue with Ja’Kobe Walter. The freshman is a possible lottery pick after declaring for the draft following the end of March Madness. Let’s talk about the young Baylor shooting guard and look at what he offers at the next level. 

Here, is your Ja’Kobe Walter 2024 NBA Draft Profile.

Height: 6’4’’ 

Weight: 197.6

Age: 19 

Position: SG

Ja’Kobe Walter was a former five-star recruit ranked 8 in the 2023 class according to 247 sports. Walter, who is from McKinney Texas, played high school at Link Academy in Missouri. He chose to go back to Texas for college playing for the Baylor Bears under head coach Scott Drew. Walter made the most of his one season in college winning Big 12 Freshman of the Year and being named a Third-team All-Big 12. 

Strengths

Ja’Kobe Walter finished his freshman season averaging 14.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.1 steals on 37 percent shooting from the field and 34 percent from three. The first thing that jumps out about Walter is his scoring ability. He is a skilled three-point shooter as he shot 34 percent from behind the arc on 6.3 attempts per game. Also, he is not just a spot-up shooter as he can shoot off of screens and handoffs as well as pull-up jumpers. 

Walter was the go-to scorer at Baylor and he can get buckets from all three levels. He has a solid foundation as a finisher at the rim as well as some moves in the paint. The shooting guard compiled 24 games of double-digit points and eight games of 20+ points. NBA teams are hoping his scoring prowess will translate into the NBA as he continues to grow his game.

Finally, one of his other main strengths is his skill on the defensive side of the ball. He is a strong on-ball defender who can guard multiple positions. Also, Walter is a solid off-ball defender with active hands and quick rotations. He has a 6’10 wingspan that helps his smaller 6’4 frame against bigger players. Ja’Kobe Walter is a fiery competitor who fits the mold of one of the top three and D wings in this draft.

Weaknesses

Walter’s game is still a work in progress which is to be expected from a 19-year-old prospect. There is no doubt he has talent as a scorer but he will need to be more efficient offensively in the NBA. He will need to improve his shot selection and raise his free throw percentage. Walter lacks great shot creation off the dribble and often settles for tough shots.

Also, Walter will need to improve his playmaking at the next level. He does not have the strongest handle and he is not a great passer. Now, this is understandable since he is projecting to be more of a three-and-D wing. However, developing as a playmaker could raise his ceiling even more which is what teams want from a likely lottery pick. 

Ja’Kobe Walter is a bit undersized to be an immediate defensive stopper in the NBA. He may struggle with forwards as he is only 6’4’’ and he does not have elite strength. However, he is 19 so he will grow into his body and fill out his frame down the road. Unfortunately, his lack of strength has also hindered his ability to finish through contact at the rim. He will need to be stronger and more consistent at the rim so he can raise his 37 percent field goal percentage.

Projection: Middle to Late Lottery 

Ja’Kobe Walter is an intriguing prospect for teams in the lottery. He was a former five-star recruit who excelled at Baylor in his freshman season. Walter is only 19 years old and he already has a strong foundation as a two-way guard. He will ideally be able to expand his game into a three-and-D wing which will give teams multiple ways to use him. It is not clear how early a team will jump to grab him but he should not fall out of the lottery.

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