Jalen Pickett was one of the most pleasantly surprising freshmen in the country last year, earning MAAC Rookie of the Year honors with unanimous votes in his favor. Pickett’s level of patience and maturity on the court did not resemble that of a freshman, or “rookie.” As the starting point guard of a slow-paced offense at Siena, Pickett found ways to pick-and-choose his spots to push the pace while remaining true to the system. He is a dynamic playmaker for others and excels at using his frame and IQ to gain leverage on defenders and create opportunities for his teammates. Pickett signed with Daniel Curtin of 3Eye as an early entrant testing 2019 NBA Draft waters. After getting feedback from NBA scouts and decision-makers at the 2019 G League Elite Camp, Pickett eventually withdrew his name and elected to return to Siena for his sophomore season.
Tale of the Tape
Pickett converted at a nearly 35% three-point clip on 5.7 attempts/game as a freshman. More impressive than statistical output are the mechanics of his jumper. Pickett has a very quick release and gets great elevation on his jump shot. That combination, in conjunction with his strength and ability to create separation, makes him an elite pull-up threat and more than capable of shooting over high-hand closeouts. Pickett was quite fond of pulling up off-the-dribble as a freshman, and rightfully so. He ranked as an 85th percentile off-the-dribble shooter, converting at better than 1.0 points per possession and attempting 186 off-the-dribble threes.
In the clip below, we highlight Pickett’s outside scoring ability, namely his quick release and elevation.
During his sophomore season, Pickett could stand to build on this strong pull-up foundation and enhance his draft stock by showing improvement and comfortability with advanced dribble moves with his off-hand (left) as a means to get into his pull-up.
Basketball IQ / Poise
Pickett has a very savvy, old-school feel to his game. He is extremely poised and gets to his spots on the floor in methodical ways. He will back down an opposing guard way beyond the three-point line to get to his desired spot on the floor. Pickett thrives in the mid-range by using his core strength and length to bump off defenders, rise above opposing guards for a pull-up, or kick to spot-up shooters spread out on the perimeter. His ball-handling skills need improvement, but he counters this weakness by playing to his strengths (body control, IQ, patience). Pickett, under control and mature beyond his years, averaged 6.7 assists/game and 2.4 turnovers/game on a 26.5% usage rate as a freshman.
In the clip below, we highlight Pickett’s passing vision, IQ, and patience.
Pickett gained some serious buzz leading up to the 2019 NBA Draft and, while he may not have been quite ready to make the leap to the pros, it seems very much in the cards that he may improve upon his weaknesses as a sophomore and declare again for the 2020 NBA Draft.
Pickett’s pull-up shooting, passing vision, feel for the game, and sturdy frame serve as a strong foundation for his NBA projectability. He would benefit from polishing up his handle, proving himself a more consistent finisher through contact, and adhering to a quick-twitch explosiveness training program.
Pickett currently projects to fall in the late second round / two-way contract wheelhouse if he chooses to declare for and remain in the 2020 NBA Draft. If he does pursue the NBA following this season, it’s likely that he’d spend a fair bit of time with a team’s G League affiliate to focus on continued growth in the improvement areas noted above. All-in-all, Pickett is one of the most intriguing Mid-Major prospects in the country, and is very likely to get his shot earning a spot on an NBA roster one day.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.