RTC NBA Draft Profiles: John Jenkins

Posted by EJacoby on June 13th, 2012

The 2012 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in New York City. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll work backwards, starting with players who are projected near the end of the first round before getting into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation.

Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.

Player Name: John Jenkins

School: Vanderbilt

Height/Weight: 6’4” / 215 lbs.

NBA Position: Shooting Guard

Projected Draft Range: Late First Round

Jenkins was the best shooter in college basketball as a Commodore (Getty Images/J. Robbins)

Overview: From the moment he stepped on the floor as a freshman, John Jenkins was one of the best shooters in college basketball, particularly from beyond the arc. He shot an outstanding 43.7% from three-point range during his three-year career at Vanderbilt. Jenkins led the nation with 134 three-point makes last season as a junior, hitting at a 43.9% clip (second in the SEC). He was also an 85.5% free-throw shooter throughout his three seasons, and his 65.5% true shooting percentage as a junior was off the charts for someone competing in a top conference. He led the SEC in scoring the past two seasons with a similar average around 19.7 PPG. In fact, his sophomore and junior year averages are nearly identical across the board – something that starts to play into his limited impact in other areas. Jenkins has not shown much improvement in other aspects of his game besides shooting and working off the ball for looks. He doesn’t show much of an ability to create for others off the drive or pass (1.1 assists per game for his career), he doesn’t hit the glass often (2.7 career RPG), and he doesn’t create many steals or block shots (0.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG). Lacking the size, quickness, and athleticism of an ideal shooting guard, Jenkins projects to be more of a specialist in the league rather than a starting two. But he knows where his bread is buttered and has mastered an important NBA skill, in the process showing disciplined fundamentals in other areas of the game to the point where he doesn’t hurt the team, such as averaging just 1.6 turnovers per game.

Will Translate to the NBA: Jenkins should step into the NBA as one of the league’s elite shooters, possessing great range and a super-quick release. He can get his shot off with perfect fundamentals given even the slightest bit of room, so the length of pro defenders shouldn’t deter him as much. Jenkins is relentless in working off the ball, running defenders off of screens and cutting into open spaces. He doesn’t command the ball often, so he should naturally fit into his role in the league as a wing shooter. Additionally, he tries hard on defense and measured out well in the Combine with a 6’8.5” wingspan that suggests he should at least avoid being a complete liability defensively.

Needs Work: Jenkins’ game is lacking in many other aspects, but the area he stands to benefit most from improvement is point guard skills. Given his size (6’3.5”), he will need to develop a better handle so he can be trusted as a secondary ball-handler in half-court sets and in transition. He also must work relentlessly on his defensive principles so that he can avoid being a black hole on that end. He is also going to need to pose some other kind of threat with the ball, either improving his passing skills or driving ability, to prevent from being an easy target on the scouting report (get in his chest all over the court). He needs work on his left hand, as well.

Comparison Players: Though all players are unique, Jenkins has easy NBA comparisons to the players that specialize in off-ball movement and outside shooting. His curling off of screens and working in half-court sets is very reminiscent of Richard Hamilton, though Rip has more athleticism to his game. A better overall comparison is J.J. Redick, which works in just about every way. Redick was a lottery pick in a weak draft and because of his superstar status in college, but Jenkins won’t get picked that high as a shooting specialist in this stacked draft. Redick has had a very nice career in Orlando as a hard-worker and great shooter, someone Jenkins could learn from.

Best Case Scenario: Being a deadly three-point shooter can get a player long, long way in the NBA if he’s able to show enough hard work in other areas of the game to remain useful with his minutes. Jenkins has the potential to fit that mold as he’s shown solid fundamentals and low mistake rates even when limited in several areas on the floor. J.J. Redick and Randy Foye both are valuable NBA players who filled reserve roles as off-guard shooters for their playoff teams this past year. Each also stepped in as a starter due to team injuries. Jenkins can find that niche as a consistent reserve that can be called on for instant offense via outside shooting.

Best NBA Fit: It seems like Jenkins could fit with any team, as his one elite skill as a shooter can be utilized on any roster. But he would truly fit best on a team with strong perimeter defenders. If Jenkins falls to a team without such players, then his liabilities could prevent him from gaining minutes. But with other defenders, his weaknesses won’t show as much and he could demand minutes on the team for what he brings to the table offensively. The Memphis Grizzlies and Miami Heat both fit this bill in round one. Also the Cleveland Cavaliers have two of the first four picks in the second round and could desperately use his shooting should he fall to round two.

Scout’s Take (from NBADraft.net): “The top shooter at the college level. A bubble first rounder as scouts aren’t sure his athleticism is enough to compensate for his lack of size. Look for him to be one of the draft’s sleepers.”

*This post was contributed by RTC’s Evan Jacoby. He can be found on Twitter @evanJacoby.

EJacoby (198 Posts)

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