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Trayce Jackson-Davis scouting report by Arash
Have I mentioned I have an irrational good feeling about this guy?
The games he scouted
The first game is a matchup against the much bigger Zach Edey (college player of the year), the second is the Indiana loss to Miami in the NCAA Tournament, where Miami plays with a lot of speedy smalls, the third is Indiana’s first round win in the Tournament.
I (Eric Apricot) watched a number of TJD’s games and I was really impressed with his game. Focusing on things Arash doesn't discuss, I like his leadership on the court. He regularly signaled plays (presumably called in from the coach) and reorganized the team on court. But he also regularly signaled new actions when the play broke down, from simple pick and rolls to handoffs and pindowns for guys off-ball.
On the vague intangible front, there were a couple of games when he did seem to get a bit passive towards the middle of games… sometimes the end of first halves (maybe due to fatigue, maybe due to having plays go badly, most often when he got stripped off surprise double teams). But in every game I watched, he came back with new aggression (perhaps after the coach re-focused him and the team at halftime) which led to his affecting every possession both ways on the court and making game-changing plays.
And now… Arash’s scouting report
Everything below this is from DNHQ commenter Arash…
Because I’m a clinically insane man who rarely sleeps, I decided to go ahead and watch three full games of the Trayce Jackson-Davis experience.
In a vain attempt to be systematic in my scouting, I created a spread sheet where I carefully analyzed TJD’s performance scoring him on things like pick and roll defense (including breaking down how he performed in various different pick and roll defensive schemes), team defense, rim protection, perimeter defense, face up offensive game, screening, decision-making/passing, and rebounding.
Firstly, in the interest of being objective, I’ve got to admit that I’m a bit biased here. TJD is a fiery personality who seems ultra competitive and takes it upon himself to be the resident enforcer. He’s the first guy in the scrum in the event of a hard foul, bumping chests with the opposition and jawing nonstop. I’m that guy when I play ball, Kevin Garnett was my first basketball love, and Draymond is my favorite player on the Warriors. I like Trayce Jackson-Davis.
With that being said, let’s get straight to business. Since I did mention KG and Dray, I think its only fair to start with defense. While I knew that TJD was a good due to scouting reports/due to his block numbers, I was absolutely blown away by how good TJD truly was. In terms of rim protection, TJD was not only an absolute menace, he did it in such a way where he didn’t leave himself exposed while chasing block (he’s no Whiteside) exhibiting exceptional timing. Beyond that, I often saw Draymondian flashes where he jabbed toward the ball handler baiting the pass before instantly flipping his hips to contest. It was beautiful to watch. TJD was also excellent when it came to help/team defense being excellent when it came to shifting in order to constrain space for opposing ball handlers and consistently covered up mistakes by his teammates allowing for them to recover.
When it came to pick and roll defense, TJD was fantastic in both drop coverage/soft hedges exhibiting great distance/angle management and always knew exactly when to return to the roll man.
Honestly, his sole weakness defensively was when it came to perimeter defense, and even there his on the court production was excellent. He just wasn’t getting beat off the dribble, consistently stayed in front of his man, and contested well. So why do I categorize this as a weakness? Because TJD was relying too much on his length and gave too much room to opposing ball handlers and I’m projecting that this tendency combined with his slower feet will cause him to be punished in the NBA. Then again, Looney has been able to survive so its genuinely possible I’m wrong.
Anyone concerned with his lack of size/ability to defend centers in the NBA need only look at his film against Zach Edey (7’4 and 306 pounds) where he consistently held his ground and generally contested well (even if Edey was able to score over the top of him). With a more normal 7 footer and dropping to the NBA average center weight of 250 pounds, I think TJD will definitely not be outmatched there.
Moving forward to his offense, things are a lot less sunshine and daisies. His shooting was nonexistent and he lacked any semblance of off-ball movement primarily moving from post to post looking to get the ball. His face up game, when he went to it, was decidedly lacking and clearly highlighted his suspect handle which is going to get consistently stripped in the NBA.
On the plus side though, when it comes to rebounding/screens, TJD was actually quite good though he could be more consistent when it comes to rebounding/positioning. Furthermore, he had a sterling post game where he was able to finish through contact and contests rarely fazed him despite consistently getting double teamed.
In terms of TJD’s passing ability, I have to admit that I am greatly disappointed. TJD’s 25 AST% is a mirage primarily built from the threat of his post up, where TJD consistently drew double teams and he consistently punished them by simply finding the open man making the right/simply decision. Which is fine, TJD consistently made the right/simple decision but there is a large difference between that and someone making advanced reads of defense and threads passes while making great decisions.
Its possible that TJD has this capability, but Indiana’s offense rarely placed him on the short roll where he had to make decisions on passing and when they did he usually scored or didn’t make the right passing read. To put it in Warriors terms, passing wise I thought he’d be a Draymond but he’s just a Looney.
Overall, TJD is a fantastic defensive player who will translate immediately to the NBA in that regard. His passing will allow for him to be an effective tertiary playmaker (and he may display further growth as a passer with an expanded role) while his post play/pick and roll abilities will allow him to generate some offensive buckets even if he’ll likely be limited on this end since his greatest skill doesn’t translate well to the NBA. I think TJD can be a superstar within his role with the Warriors as soon as this year, but things like his post game translating AND his passing taking the next step for him to exhibit anywhere near the same level of impact as in college.
Indiana vs Kent State
Indiana vs Purdue
Miami vs Indiana
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