Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: Jaden Springer
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz are gearing up for the NBA Draft, so it’s time to explore some of the prospects that could be selected late in the first round where the Jazz are picking. Jaden Springer has worked his way into the first round after a strong freshman season at Tennessee.
Springer was a top 20 national recruit whose game developed significantly over the second half of his lone season with the Volunteers.
Though he was often overshadowed by fellow lottery-bound freshman Keon Johnson, Springer turned in averages of 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 25 games.
Jaden Springer: Guard – Tennessee
12.5 Points, 3.5 Rebounds, 2.9 Assists, 46.7/43.5/81.0
Strengths: At first glance there’s nothing about Springer that immediately leaps off the floor, standing 6’4, 205 lbs, he doesn’t have particularly elite measurables. However, when looking at his draft age, production, promising shooting percentages, and defensive effort, it’s not difficult to project Springer as a longtime NBA player.
Born in September of 2002, Springer will turn 19 during his first NBA training camp, making him nearly a full year younger than many of the other one-and-done prospects in this year’s draft. His age also changes the perspective of his frame which is far more developed than the average 18-year-old, and could truly evolve in an NBA weight room.
On the court, though he didn’t shoot a ton of threes in college, averaging just 1.8 attempts per game, he knocked down a promising 43 percent of his deep balls.
While Springer rarely attempted threes, he proved he could get to the free-throw line with ease at Tennessee, averaging 4.0 attempts per game despite playing just 25 minutes a night. That highlights his ability to get downhill and get into the paint where he gets his defender up in the air and draws fouls.
While he has promising tools offensively, it’s on the defensive end where Springer really shines. The freshman has a unique ability to stay in front of his man while displaying an impressive motor for a prep star.
Most one-and-done prospects get drafted due to their scoring upside, but Springer has the potential to be one of the best guard defenders in the NBA as he develops physically and athletically.
Furthermore, he showed an ability to match up against bigger, fellow NBA draft prospects on the defensive end, highlighting his ability to defend multiple positions despite having relatively average measurements.
Weaknesses: Springer will have to continue to develop on the offensive end if he wants to be an above-average scorer in the NBA. While his percentages are promising, he was at times overly reliant on settling for bad mid-range shots.
Often times those shots were due to his inability to get all the way to the rim and get off the floor quickly. His above-average free-throw attempt numbers were sometimes a result of getting into the paint and head faking due to his unwillingness to finish strong at the rim.
Springer doesn’t burst off the floor because he’s a two-footed leaper and takes added time to gather before leaving his feet. That also allows opposing defenses to collapse on the guard leading to turnovers due to a lack of elite court vision.
The guard had a 2.9:2.4 assist to turnover ratio as a freshman and if he can’t improve that number, Springer will be limited as a playmaker at the next level.
Overall: The combination of youth, defense, body, and percentages making Springer one of the more intriguing guard options in the second half of the first round. He’d likely have to slip beyond his projected draft position to fall to the Jazz but would be a terrific long-term option next to Donovan Mitchell given a season or two to develop between the main roster and the G League.
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