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Monday, May 20, 2013

Scouting Report: Grant Jerrett

Grant Jerrett was part of Arizona's very talented recruiting class this past season, when they brought in three big men all in the top 15 by RSCI rankings. As expected, playing time was a problem and Jerrett ended up splitting time at power forward with fellow freshman Brandon Ashley. By the end of the year, playing time was still inconsistent for Jerrett and it looked more like Ashley would earn the starting spot heading into next year. With two more talented forwards coming to Tuscon next year (Aaron Gordon and Rondae Jefferson), Jerrett's playing time situation didn't look like it would improve much. So instead of settling for another year of playing 20 minutes a game at the most, Jerrett decided to declare for the NBA Draft.

It is an interesting decision for sure. Generally, if you have to leave your college team because of playing time, that isn't a good sign. But this Arizona Wildcat team is very talented up front and filled with multiple NBA prospects. Ashley, Tarczewski, and incoming forwards Rondae Jefferson and Aaron Gordon may have more upside than Jerrett, but Jerrett has NBA size and a skillset fit for the power forward position.

This year at Arizona, Jerrett was mainly a pick and pop threat. He has an odd looking shot, but a very consistent stroke without any unnecessary movement. He also has a fairly high release point and his jumper looks similar to the Spurs' Matt Bonner. Over half of his shot attempts this season were three point attempts, which should give you a good idea of what kind of player he projects to be as a pro.

He shot 40% from 3-pt range and 82% at the line, both very impressive numbers for a freshman big man. He has a big body that helps him set screens and he does a good job getting himself open when popping out behind the 3-pt line. He doesn't force up any shots and has a very pure, balanced stroke.

As an athlete, Jerrett doesn't have the body you'd expect from a NBA player. He looks very unathletic, uncoordinated, and out of shape. He's a little chubby, has high shoulder, and will never be the most explosive or quickest big on a team. But Jerrett is more athletic than he looks and moves pretty well once you can get past looking at his awkward running style.

The biggest asset he has physically is his size. Even though his frame isn't that of a normal basketball player, he does have a body that can take up space and bang inside. At this point, Jerrett shies away from contact and doesn't have much of a post game, but that can change once he gets stronger. Its obvious that his frame hasn't had any kind of weight training and he gets backed down in the post too easily for a guy his size. His height may never be used to its full capabilities inside, but it will allow him to get his jumper off with ease.

Unsurprisingly, Jerrett was just an average at best finisher at the rim. He didn't show he could finish with contact nor was he very explosive. But he did show good touch around the rim and the ability to move around the baseline without the ball. You have to keep in mind that Jerrett wasn't featured in the offense much this year so there may be some things he is capable of that he just hasn't shown yet.

Still, up to this point there is no notable mid-range game or post game. He shot poorly on his 2-pt jumpers, although they were scarce.

Jerrett does have a fairly good feel for the game though and is able to put the ball on the floor when the defense closes out on him. He is a skilled player who can finish with both hands as well. Compared to Brandon Ashley, Jerrett relies on his size and skills more while Ashley lives more off of athleticism and feel for the game.

In the NBA, Jerrett will be more suited for a team that wants to spread the court and run pick and pop plays. Unlike other stretch 4s, he isn't a guy who can also beat you in transition, so a halfcourt offense is more suited for his needs. His conditioning needs a lot of work as he was seen with his hands on his hips and breathing heavily often at Arizona.

Defensively, Jerrett doesn't have the strength to handle back to the basket guys yet, but did a surprisingly good job getting out and defending the pick and roll in space. His footwork improved throughout the year and he did a good job recovering and picking up block shots. He averaged 2 blocks per 40 minutes which is a testament to his timing and ability to not take himself out of defensive plays. There is also some truth that defenders weren't intimidated by his presence inside.

Overall, Jerrett isn't your typical one and done prospect despite his high ranking out of high school. It was a shock to see him enter the draft and while it may not have been the wisest decision, it is now too late to turn back. Getting an invite to the Chicago combine was a good sign and he was able to show his size and shooting ability there. He was said to be one of the best shooting big men at the event.

When it comes to stretch 4s, I like his upside more than Kenny Kadhi or Ryan Kelly, but teams don't usually look to develop a stretch 4. Teams generally take a stretch 4 with the idea of them contributing to their team sooner than later. For Jerrett, he still needs to gain plenty of experience and get himself in shape before contributing. Thats what makes his draft stock interesting - I don't think a team wants to use a first rounder on a stretch four that will be in the D-League the next two years. Its more likely to see Jerrett go towards the mid to late second round range. His game actually fits Europe well so that could be a good option for him to develop the next couple of years if he believes he has the maturity to play overseas. 

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