In last year’s draft there were only two legitimate shooting guard prospects that I counted taken in the first round, Klay Thompson of Washington State, who went to Golden State 11th overall, and Colorado’s Alec Burks, who went immediately after to Utah.
With the rise in athletic ballhandling guards dominating drafts over the past decade, shooting has become a commodity. Guys who fight to work off screens the way Reggie Miller, Allan Houston and Richard Hamilton made a living on is an art that seems to be fading in terms of development.
But the skill of shooting is something that really cannot be taught. Many coaches can improve a player’s percentages, certainly, but a pure shooter is as clear to the eye as a sprinter’s stride or a running back’s explosion through the hole. Many scouts will tell you that shooters are born, not made.
Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins is a pure shooter. Maybe the best shooter the college game has seen in some time. He’s a bit short for the natural SG position in the NBA, but I believe he translates because some NBA teams play small backcourt lineups to force tempo specifically in second units.
Jenkins has made 129 3-point field goals at an incredible 45% rate, and for his career he has made 301 in his 3 years in Nashville.
Jenkins’ catch-and-shoot ability helps his lack of overall foot speed in the thoroughbred conference that is the SEC. He has a quick trigger that makes him a threat in transition as much as in the halfcourt flow. He can run sideline to sideline and square up and fire as well as anyone in the nation.
He is also very lethal at creating space off screens with a very sound step-back dribble pull up that he makes consistently. He’s also well-versed in the pump-fake one dribble.
Defensively is where Jenkins struggles a bit against bigger opponents and quicker guards off the dribble. His lateral movement needs to improve, but he’s more than willing to fight through screens and get in his man in halfcourt sets. He does give up a lot of easy looks in transition from what I’ve seen.
If you’re looking for a pure shooter to watch, be sure to tune into the Vandy/Harvard this afternoon.
- One of the best pure shooters in the nation.
- Array of polished separation moves allows him to get in rhythm.
- Can score in transition and the half court with equal efficiency.
- Capable of attacking close outs.
- Good, strong build can help him utilize screens effectively.
- Lateral quickness.
- Defensive lapses.
- Pure scorer, eyes always on the rim.
Tommy Dee is the founder of TheKnicksBlog, editor of CHARGED Magazine and is a regional scout for Marty Blake and Associates. Follow him on Twitter.