Jalen Green
(Michael Reeves/Getty Images)

Jalen Green 2021 NBA Draft Scouting Report

Jalen Green comes into the 2021 NBA Draft after being one of the inaugural members of the NBA G League Ignite team, which provides an alternative to college basketball for young prospects. Green was the No. 1 overall high school prospect in the 2020 ESPN 100, ahead of Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. He will likely be a top five selection in the 2021 NBA Draft.

  • Height/Weight: 6’6″/180 pounds
  • Primary Position: Shooting Guard
  • G League Stats: 15 Games, 17.9 PPG, 2.8 APG, 4.1 RPG, 46.1% FG, 36.5% 3PT, 82.9% FT, 1.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 2.7 TOPG

Strengths: Scoring, Athleticism, Pure Potential

Jalen Green is going to knock down shots in bunches and you’re probably not going to stop him. There’s no place on the floor that he cannot score from. Driving dunks, floaters, step-back threes – Green has a wide range of options in his bag. Also, it’s not like Green is heaving up shots with little regard for efficiency or shot selection. He knows how to get the right shot and work efficiently. If I had to bet on anyone in the 2021 NBA Draft class to win a scoring title in their NBA career, it would be Jalen Green.

Green has all the necessary tools to be a high-level scorer in the NBA.

Jalen Green has some insanely fluid athleticism. He can jump out of the gym and is extremely fast, beating defenders off the dribble with ease. Guarding him in transition is an absolute nightmare. Green’s fast-twitch play allows him to create space off step-backs or slide right past defenders on the way to a driving dunk. His athletic prowess helps him in isolation scenarios because he can beat most defenders with his speed and agility.

Jalen Green uses his speed to burn his defender and finish with a dunk.

Cade Cunningham might have the highest floor of anyone in the 2021 class, but Jalen Green has the highest ceiling. I’m dead serious when I say this guy has the potential to become a generational talent and the best player in the class. Part of why he isn’t getting any nods as the best prospect in the class is because his G-League season was not widely televised or covered by the media. Cunningham certainly deserves all the hype he’s getting, but Green didn’t get nearly the same attention despite being on a similar tier.

Weaknesses: Reading the Floor, Offensive Inconsistency, Defensive Intensity

Up front, I’ll say that Green doesn’t have any red flag weaknesses. I try to come up with three weaknesses for every prospect, but this time it was legitimately difficult. Jalen Green’s game is very well-rounded for a 19-year-old. I don’t think it will take him long to have an impact in the NBA.

Green played quite a few sets with Ignite as a pick-and-roll ball handler, but he doesn’t have the ability to make much beyond basic reads. He isn’t a bad initiator by any means, but any team that drafts him shouldn’t give him a ton of playmaking duties right away. Being able to consistently hit the open man when the defense crashes will take Green’s game to the next level. Sometimes he throws off-target passes or makes questionable reads when handling the ball. This is the biggest flaw he has as a prospect.

As with most players who primarily make their living from scoring, there are times with Jalen Green where it seems like he can’t buy a shot. This happens to pretty much everyone who has ever played basketball, so it’s not a huge concern. Where it can become an issue is if Green tries to force shots when it’s clear that they aren’t falling. It will be key for him to find alternative ways to benefit the offense if he starts missing shots.

Finally, Green projects to be a solid defender at the next level once he fills out his frame. However, sometimes he totally checks out or looks lost on defense. With the Ignite team, he frequently misread the floor to where the defense fell apart because he missed a rotation or a switch. The defensive end is where Jalen Green could stand to apply himself more. He’s pretty good at defense when he wants to be, so it’s really just a mentality at this point.

Green misreads the situation, fails to stick with his man, and allows a wide-open three.

Best NBA Fit: Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors

The Magic and Thunder are two teams with a high likelihood of being able to take Jalen Green. They each present good fits as teams that are starting from scratch with their rotations. Slotting Green as the shooting guard alongside Cole Anthony or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would be great for all parties involved, creating one of the best young backcourts in the league in either case. The Thunder have a ton of picks in this draft, so selecting Green and then trading picks for an established player could pay dividends for next season.

It’s a long shot, but I think it would be a genius strategy for the Golden State Warriors to move up in the draft for Jalen Green. Packaging their lottery pick with Andrew Wiggins (coming off a career year) should be their first offer. The Warriors are at the tail end of their dynasty, and it’s important for them to get players who can restart it. Giving Green the opportunity to play alongside Steph Curry and Klay Thompson would really set him up for success. I mean, who hasn’t benefitted from playing with Steph Curry? This probably won’t happen, but I think this would be such a good destination as the Warriors figure out where to hand the keys for the future.

NBA Comparison: More Athletic Bradley Beal

I like the Bradley Beal comparison for Jalen Green. I’ve seen Zach LaVine thrown around as well, but I would say Beal is a better comp for Green’s combination of length, defensive upside, and shotmaking ability. He’s probably closer to LaVine in the athleticism department, but the completeness of Beal’s game is a great picture of what Green will offer at the NBA level with added athleticism.

Draft Projection: Top 5 Pick

There’s no way Jalen Green is not a top-five pick. Something catastrophic would have to occur for him to fall any farther than No. 5. He’s honestly a sleeper for the top overall selection, but I think it’s pretty much guaranteed that Cade Cunningham goes first. If some team wins the lottery that already has a reliable point guard, Evan Mobley or Jalen Green will be the best pick.

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