Height/Weight: 6’10 215 lbs.
The two time Gatorade player of the year in Maryland has made an impact from day one since stepping on campus. Smith is a good defender, with solid hands, and a nice touch around rim. Smith’s defense is one attribute he has hung his head on. The Baltimore native has had a few three block games, however most of the time Smith’s affect on shots will be seen in the adjustments a player has to attempt while converting at the rim.
Smith’s quickness off the ground has helped him defensively; he uses his lengthy wingspan to defend and then lifts off his feet. He has the speed to guard players adequately on the perimeter and smart enough on the inside to defend any position. Smith’s quickness off the ground does not only help defensively. The five star recruit has an impressive knack for knowing where the ball is coming off of the rim.
Smith has been responsible for a lot of second chance points for the Terrapins throughout the year.
His high motor makes him a tough guard. Additionally, it helps him hustle for long rebounds that should be controlled easily by the defense. He’s just that type of hustle player you love having on your team. His mid-range shooting is solid and his potential as a lob specialist has been seen in flashes as well.
Smith is barely hitting 200 pounds and it can be seen in his frame and his lack of position in reference to post moves. He must find a consistent two moves to score to take his game to the next level. Whether it is a hook shot with his solid length or maybe a turnaround over his left shoulder. For him to progress to the next level he must become a better jump shooter in general.
The mid-range game has the ability to become Smith’s go-to, although he must be able to stretch the defense out and began to make three point baskets if he expects to have a long career in the NBA. Granted he will become a finesse big man at the next level, not necessarily a banger. He must become a more equipped ball handler as well to make himself a more versatile threat on the offensive end.
As mentioned, he is a solid defender, but he must become a smarter defensive player when he is fatigued or dealing with a game in a hostile environment. With his slight frame, a lot of big men have overpowered him and that can sometimes visibly frustrate him which often leads to him picking up a couple unnecessary fouls. He must become stronger and work on his on court IQ on both ends before he can take that leap to the next level.
Jalen Smith is a solid power forward and/or small ball center at the next level. He must develop more strength and let his IQ catch up to his motor. If he does that, I am confident he can become a solid player. He has all the signs pointing to him becoming a first round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, if he decides to stay an extra year which I hope he does. If Jalen decides to enter the draft this year, he’ll probably still be worth an early second round pick, but it’ll be a longer road for him in the NBA.