UTAH JAZZ

Jarace Walker NBA Draft Analysis

Jun 8, 2023, 2:53 PM | Updated: 5:18 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz own three first-round selections in the 2023 NBA draft, and one of the players they’ll consider in June is Houston forward Jarace Walker.

With a top 10 pick, the 16th pick, and the 28th pick in the first round, the Jazz will work out an enormous swath of players projected to be selected throughout the draft.

Let’s look at how lottery pick Jarace Walker performed in his lone season at Houston, and how he’d fit with the Jazz.

Jarace Walker Strengths

Averages: 11.2 ppg | 6.8 RPG | 1.8 APG | 46 FG% | 34 3Pt % | 66 FT%

At just 19 years old, Walker has an NBA-ready body standing just over 6-foot-6, weighing 248 lbs, and sporting an impressive 7-foot-2 wingspan.

Despite his tank-like frame, the Houston freshman has terrific athleticism with quick feet, fast reactions, and a strong motor.

With his combination of size and athleticism, Walker will be able to defend all five positions on the floor at the next level, using his strength to battle with other big men, and his quickness to keep with guards on the perimeter.

Offensively, the inverse will be true where smaller guards will struggle to match up with the Pennsylvania native’s strength, and traditional bigs will be outdone by his speed.

Though Walker’s scoring numbers weren’t fabulous in college, that’s largely due to his role in Houston’s office where he played almost entirely off the ball, defaulting to two veteran guards in the Cougars’ backcourt.

Even in his diminished role at Houston, Walker showed a clear talent as a playmaker, finding his teammates with pocket passes while driving to the rim, or swinging the ball quickly around the perimeter.

Looking back at Walker’s high school tape, his playmaking is even more apparent where he regularly dissected defenses with his high-level vision, despite his superior physical traits.

As a ballhandler, the freshman showed an ability to make moves toward the basket, flashed advanced footwork with his euro-step, and has the ability to finish above the rim.

Though he wasn’t a prolific three-point shooter, Walker averaged more than one made three per game, and knocked down multiple threes in 11 different outings, showing potential as a true floor spacer.

Jarace Walker Weaknesses

Dating back to high school, Walker has never been an elite scorer, averaging just 16.7 points per game despite his superior physical tools.

While he makes up for it with his playmaking and defense, he likely won’t ever carry a primary offensive load.

One reason Walker isn’t a terrific scorer is his preference to pull up for mid-range jump shots and floaters rather than getting all the way to the rim and using his enormous frame to finish in traffic or get to the free-throw line.

Walker knocked down only 66 percent of his free throws, which calls into question how well his three-point shooting will translate to the NBA.

The freshman had moments of overzealousness on defense, fouling three-point shooters or finding himself out of position on overaggressive closeouts.

There were also lapses where Walker didn’t always run hard in transition or wasn’t communicating with his teammates defensively, leading to blown assignments.

Jarace Walker Overall

Walker may not have the same highlight reel plays that others in the top 10 show on film, but his feel for the game, instincts as a help defender and passer, and overall versatility will make him a valuable player on every roster in the league.

While he played on one of the most talented rosters in all of college basketball last season, Houston did little to highlight his strengths as a player, and may have looked more impressive in a system that allowed him to rebound and go, or operate in the pick and roll both as the initiator and the roll man.

While finding a perfect NBA comparison for Walker may be difficult, the shades of Precious Achiuwa, Draymond Green, Jerami Grant, Grant Williams, Julius Randle, and Paul Millsap give him numerous pathways to succeed in the NBA.

Where Will Jarace Walker Get Drafted?

Due to his intriguing physical tools and feel, Walker is projected between 5-10 in most mock drafts, and is trending towards the top half of the lottery.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Ron Holland #0 of G League Ignite reacts with teammate Matas Buzelis #13...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Mailbag: Which Draft Picks Fit Jazz Best?

Welcome to the Utah Jazz mailbag where every week our NBA insiders answer your questions on social media about your favorite team.

7 hours ago

Jared McCain #0 high-fives Kyle Filipowski #30 of the Duke Blue Devils...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Draft Prospects: Filipowski, McCain, Walter, Missi

At look at Jared McCain, Kyle Filipowski, Ja'Kobe Walter, and Yves Missi, and how they'd each fit with the Utah Jazz in the NBA Draft.

1 day ago

Rudy Gobert #27 of the Minnesota Timberwolves...

Ben Anderson

Rudy Gobert Shares Photos Of New Baby

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert shared photos of his son after becoming a first-time father Monday morning.

1 day ago

Utah Jazz guard Keyonte George at the Salt Lake City Summer League...

Ben Anderson

Salt Lake City Summer League Tip Times Announced

Tip times for the Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Philadelphia 76ers at the Salt Lake Summer League were announced. 

1 day ago

The 2023 NBA Draft at Barclays Center...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: French Forward Tidjane Salaun

French forward Tidjane Salaun is projected to be selected in the lottery of the 2024 NBA Draft where the Utah Jazz own the tenth pick.

5 days ago

Devin Carter #22 of the Providence Friars...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: Providence Guard Devin Carter

Providence guard Devin Carter is projected to be selected in the lottery of the 2024 NBA Draft where the Utah Jazz own the tenth pick.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

KSL Sports

Utah Hockey Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Want to get the latest info on Utah's newest sports franchise? Sign up for the Utah Hockey newsletter!

Hans & Scotty's Day of Adoption...

Hans & Scotty’s Day Of Adoption

Join the KSL Sports Zone for Hans & Scotty's Day of Adoption, in partnership with the Humane Society of Utah, on June 25th, 2024!

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jarace Walker NBA Draft Analysis