Skip to content

PBT Draft preview: Jamaal Franklin can dunk, but can he shoot?

May 22, 2013, 5:16 PM EST

Jamaal Franklin AP

For the next few weeks PBT will be profiling likely first-round draft picks in the upcoming NBA Draft. Today we talk about one of the best dunker’s in the game right now.

San Diego State is turning out some talent under Steve Fisher the last few years. That Kawhi Leonard guy is giving the Grizzlies problems right now, for example.

And now there is Jamaal Franklin, a high-energy, very athletic wing player who has entered this year’s draft.

He was a dynamic in college where he was Mr. Everything for the Aztecs always the most athletic guy on the floor. But he’s the kind of guy where there are questions about how he fits in the NBA — mostly because he’s not a good shooter. He hit just 40.4 percent of his shots overall and 27.9 percent from three. In the NBA everybody is athletic (not as athletic as Franklin, but he will not overwhelm guys like in college) so defenders will play off him and force the shooting guard to shoot.

A bad shot can be fixed if you believe the player has the personality and work ethic to put in the time (it will not happen overnight). Some team will take a gamble that Franklin is that guy, DraftExpress thinks right now it will be the Hawks at 18.

STRENGTHS

He has great size and athleticism for a wing player in the NBA. He is 6’5” with a 6’11” wingspan. We don’t have any other numbers of him because a sprained ankle kept him out of the NBA Draft Combine, but nobody is questioning his athleticism. He is as good an athlete as there is in this draft.

What he did well at San Diego State was use that athleticism — he attacked and was aggressive on both ends of the court. On offense he was just about unstoppable in transition (where he generated a lot of offense), but even in the half court he attacked the rim with great energy. And when he did that he was tough to stop. Also, the guy has a nice pump fake that got guys to bite. With all of that he got to the line a lot.

He was aggressive on the defensive end as well — he jumped passing lanes, had quick hands, got steals and put pressure on opponents. Again, he used that athleticism

The other common denominator here is his motor — the guy is very competitive and plays hard all the time. A guy with great athleticism who plays with great energy on both ends will get a shot in the league.

WEAKNESSES

The big weakness is one we mentioned before — he’s not a good shooter. Draft express said he shot 23.7 percent on catch-and-shoots and 21 percent when contested. And with that, he makes some bad choices about when to shoot. Oh, and he turned the ball over a lot as well.

All of which leads to questions about how exactly he fits in the NBA — at San Diego State he was the guy creating with the ball in his hands, in the NBA he is going to have to work a lot off the ball. Can he adjust?

Shooting is a skill that can be developed. There was some buzz before the combine his shot has improved already. If Franklin puts in the work he could develop into a solid rotation player in the NBA, but if he can’t find a shot he’s going to struggle.

WHAT DOES DAUSTER THINK?

We don’t get to watch as much of these guys as college writers do, so we turn to Rob Dauster of NBC’s CollegeBasketballTalk.com.

Franklin was one of the most entertaining players in the country to watch the last few years. Few players in the country played as hard as Franklin, and given the fact that he was an athletic, aggressive slasher that was crazy enough to try just about any shot he could think of — literally — made for must-see-TV. He was exciting, even if it cost him from an efficiency standpoint.

Franklin actually saw his production drop as a junior after winning co-MWC Player of the Year honors as a sophomore, and part of the reason for that is he spent more time playing strictly as a small forward. As a sophomore, SDSU was extremely small, and Franklin had to play the four for Steve Fisher. That allowed him to take advantage of the mismatches that he had going up against bigger, slower front court players. Forced to matchup with guys that could defend him on the perimeter made it more difficult for Franklin to score.

Franklin is a shooting guard in the NBA, but he’s not a great shooter, has poor shot selection and needs the ball in his hands to be effective. He’s got the physical tools and competitiveness to play the two in the NBA, but I’m not sure that he’ll be able to find a long-term role given some of his limitations offensively.

WHERE DOES HE GET DRAFTED?

Somewhere after the lottery but in the first round, DraftExpress has him at No. 18, our own Steve Alexander at Rotoworld says the Bucks at 15. This is another case where player development matters — he’s got all the tools and if you can develop his shot and mold him to work better off the ball he could be a solid part of an NBA team.

Latest Posts
  1. Kevin Garnett on Denver Nuggets: “A quitter is a quitter”

    Mar 5, 2015, 2:10 AM EST

    Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves Getty Images

    This after the Celtics just smacked the Timberwolves pretty good.

  2. Report: Mark Rachesky jumps into bidding for Hawks; price tag north of $900 million

    Mar 4, 2015, 6:14 PM EST

    Hawks pac man logo

    Don’t be shocked if the final price tag is close to $1 billion. Yes, for the Hawks.

  3. George Karl: Knicks could use a strong point guard next to Carmelo Anthony

    Mar 4, 2015, 5:15 PM EST

    Image (1) anthony_Karl-thumb-250x181-21662.jpg for post 6222

    Except you don’t really want a strong point guard in Phil Jackson’s triangle.

  4. P.J. Hairston has had a rough rookie season

    Mar 4, 2015, 4:30 PM EST

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Charlotte Hornets Minnesota Timberwolves v Charlotte Hornets

    Some guys turn things around, bu Hairston has a lot of work to do.

  5. Ray Allen announces he will not play this season

    Mar 4, 2015, 2:58 PM EST

    Miami Heat's Allen celebrates a three point shot against the Indiana Pacers during Game 7 of their NBA Eastern Conference final basketball playoff in Miami Reuters

    Allen isn’t officially retiring just yet, says he’ll reassess things in advance of next season.

  6. Pelicans’ Anthony Davis a gametime decision Wednesday vs. Pistons

    Mar 4, 2015, 2:15 PM EST

    Orlando Magic v New Orleans Pelicans Getty Images

    Davis has missed the last six games with a shoulder injury.

  7. Russell Westbrook confirms he will play Wednesday night vs. Sixers

    Mar 4, 2015, 1:28 PM EST

    He should put up numbers against the Sixers. Then again he puts up numbers on everyone.

  8. NBA admits missed foul call in final minutes of Timberwolves’ loss to Clippers

    Mar 4, 2015, 11:20 AM EST

    Andrew Wiggins, Spencer Hawes Andrew Wiggins, Spencer Hawes

    League is releasing officiating reports for all calls made in a close game’s final two minutes, and the results are fascinating.

  9. LeBron goes behind the back to avoid Avery Bradley on the break (VIDEO)

    Mar 4, 2015, 10:40 AM EST

    Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    Nifty but necessary move by LeBron to earn the easy two points.

Featured video

Is Derrick Rose the next Penny Hardaway?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. R. Westbrook (8095)
  2. K. Durant (6894)
  3. D. Cousins (6507)
  4. A. Davis (6423)
  5. D. Rose (6039)
  1. D. Howard (5927)
  2. L. James (5873)
  3. K. Irving (5852)
  4. J. Harden (5712)
  5. P. George (5379)