School: Wake Forest
Height/Weight: 6’8″, 215 pounds
Jaylen Hoard has NBA size at age 19 as he stands 6’8″ with a wingspan longer than 7’0″. His standing reach even nearly touches the rim.
Hoard doesn’t just have the size, his athleticism is also NBA ready. He is a freakish athlete with a playing style that’s perfect for today’s NBA. He’s an explosive leaper, versatile defender, and strong finisher at the rim.
Right now he’s the perfect compliment to a wing scorer. He’ll likely begin his career as an energy player off the bench.
What makes Hoard such an interesting prospect is that he does all of the little things well in small-ball lineups. He can rebound, block shots, disrupt passing lanes, defend the perimeter, and run in transition. Hoard is a small-ball prospect in a small-ball NBA.
Rebounding is one of Hoard’s biggest strengths. What makes Hoard such an excellent rebounder is his willingness to rebound on both ends. He’s strong enough to box out most forwards and can make his way to the rim with ease. A solid amount of Hoard’s offensive game relies on put-backs and high percentage second chance opportunities.
Another offensive strength for Hoard is his mid-range game. Hoard is an excellent mid-range shooter. His quick first step allows him to create space with his defender. Once he gets separation, he’s confident in his shot. That quick step also gives him space to drive the lane.
Hoard is also an excellent slasher. This is where Hoard is most effective in the half court. His explosive first step allows him to create separation from his defender for easy opportunities in the paint as mentioned. Expect him to make frequent back door cuts in the NBA. The more he runs and makes intelligent cuts, the more effective he’ll be at the next level.
Defensively, Hoard already has the ability to defend the two through four at the NBA level. He’s balanced enough to defend the two, long enough to defend the three, and strong enough to defend the four. I’m quite confident that his defensive ability will translate immediately into the NBA.
Jaylen Hoard needs to improve his shooting. Hoard’s been inefficient shooting from three when advancing from high school to college. That doesn’t bode well for his transition into the NBA.
Hoard’s shooting issues come from his lack of confidence and lack of shooting. When he attempts a three, Hoard shoots with the fear that he is going to miss. He also doesn’t take enough shots. His form is solid, but he’s not building off it in college. His foul shooting has also been very underwhelming. That must improve if he wants to play late in games.
Another area that needs improvement is turnovers. Hoard is a turnover machine off of the wing. His high usage affects his turnovers, but teams need to trust him to make smart decisions when he has the basketball. He commits too many sloppy and unforced turnovers.
Hoard also needs to find some game flow consistency. He disappears too often in games. He makes the biggest impact when he’s playing uptempo and dominating in transition. When the transition game isn’t working, Hoard tends to disappear.
We are expecting Jaylen Hoard to forgo his sophomore season and declare for the 2019 NBA Draft. I expect him to be selected at the end of the first or early in the second round.
The team that will get the most out of Hoard is one that plays defense with an emphasis on a transition offense. Hoard needs to use his athleticism and versatility to his advantage. If he gets selected to a team that relies on shooting, Hoard won’t be in a position to reach his full potential. His potential is through the roof, but he needs to play under the right system. The small-ball direction bodes well for Hoard’s long-term success.