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The Rescoutables: Jalen Bridges, Johni Broome, Jaylon Tyson, and Jamarion Sharp
Which returners have had their film age the best over the break? Stephen shares his thoughts!
First of all, yes…the title of this article is inspired by the legend himself: Bill Simmons. Prospect film—like movies or shows—strikes you differently when you visit it again. Upon first glance, you may like the undersized combo guard that can go on a heater. But, after further review, you might notice that the very same player holds on to the ball after the catch instead of making an immediate drive to the rim. Perhaps you underestimated the bounce of a particular wing? Or did you notice that a big that you liked had a problem gathering a pass on the move? I hate it when that happens.
Whatever the case, diving into the film for the umpteenth time after a little break affords the time for clarity—for illumination.
The draft community is at its best when we’re working together. At No Ceilings, we share notes all of the time. We’re also very blessed to know a wide range of folks that we can bounce ideas and takes off. What I want to do here is share some names that have stood out to me when watching their film in preparation for this season. These players were not prospects I had in a range that I would have invested draft capital in last season. Therefore, you won’t see some of the players that have been buzzing in the dog days of the scouting cycle on here.
In this two-part series, I will drop some names that I feel have a legit opportunity to be drafted this coming NBA Draft if everything breaks right. This will be broken up by the backcourt, then the frontcourt.
Let’s get to it…
Jalen Bridges | 6’9” | 225 lbs. | Baylor | Senior
Jalen Bridges transferred to Baylor after spending some time at West Virginia. The move seemed to make sense, as Bridges is a hard-nosed defender and a plus athlete. Jalen took a little bit of time to adjust to his new surroundings but, after the turn of the new year, he averaged over 11 points per game, over six boards per game, gabbing one assist, steal, and block per contest, while shooting over 40% from distance. The production was quietly loud in that 21-game stretch.
He entered his name into the NBA Draft but withdrew in May, opting to return to Baylor. The role of a potential 3-and-D player is always in vogue in the NBA, so he will have plenty of eyes on him.
Bridges was a 32% three-point shooter on the year, which should tell you how bad the start of the season was for him. Even still, he graded out to be in the 71st percentile (Very Good) on spot-ups. Regarding catch-and-shoot plays, he was in the 71st percentile (Very Good) when guarded, and was in the 39th percentile (Average) when unguarded. The shot looks good, despite his percentage from deep declining from over 40% as a freshman to 32% last season.
The confidence he shows on the shot is huge. Jalen can catch and shoot as soon as the rock touches his hands, or he can get into a triple threat look and pull up as he does in the clip above. This will be the biggest skill to monitor for him this season, as a sustained level of efficiency will give Bridges a good look for an NBA team.
With the majority of NBA offenses transitioning to “skill ball” (shoutout to Sam Vecenie), Jalen will be a threat at the next level by making educated, well-timed cuts to the rim. According to Synergy, he ranked in the 95th percentile (Excellent) in this play type. Playing off of dynamic guards at Baylor, Jalen did a great job of jetting into openings, keeping his hands up, and presenting himself as an easy target to deliver the ball to. When cutting, Bridges converted on 76% of his shots.
Jalen is a nuisance on the defensive side of the ball in the best of ways. He was one of 40 players in college ball last season that had the following:
Minutes percentage: At least 65
Block percentage: At least 4.0
Steals percentage: At least 1.5
That list is trimmed down to 14 players if you add a three-point percentage of at least 32%.
The Synergy numbers for Bridges aren’t that impressive on first glance but, if you look at the play types, there are some signs of encouragement. When defending the pick-and-roll initiator, he graded out in the 55th percentile (Good). He also ranked within the 60th percentile (Good) in isolation. What really brings down his overall ranking of being in the 32nd percentile, is that he allowed a field goal percentage of 45.5% against spot-up plays. This was his most frequently defended play, as he was credited with defending 90 spot-up possessions.
Baylor is one of many teams that have a substantial number of mouths to feed. What Bridges has going in his favor is that most of these prospects are within the backcourt. I have Bridges in a draftable range—specifically within the second round. Let’s review some of the names that were taken in the second round of the 2023 Draft.
Colby Jones (34th Pick)
Andre Jackson Jr. (36th Pick)
Jordan Walsh (38th Pick)
Max Lewis (40th Pick)
Rayan Rupert (43rd Pick)
Sidy Cissoko (44th Pick)
Jordan Miller (48th Pick)
Keyontae Johnson (50th Pick)
Jalen Slawson (54th Pick)
There is a wide variance in skill set between all of the players, as well as in comparison to Jalen, but it’s easy to see some similarities in relation to him. Teams love the idea of multi-tooled wings/forwards with size, and that is something that makes Jalen so tantalizing. The combination of the need for production from Jalen on Baylor’s part, on top of the desire to improve his draft stock, looks to be a recipe for success for me.
Johni Broome | 6’10” | 240 lbs. | Auburn | Junior
Johni Broome has been on my radar for a few seasons now. I was a huge fan of the decision to transfer up to Auburn to help his chances of being drafted. Another season in SEC play is going to help him continue his rise into mainstream prominence, so long as the developments in his game continue to advance.
Johni has the standard, baseline skill set that all NBA bigs must have: good size, mobility, finishing, and rim protection. The experimentation to expand his range to beyond the arc has been an interesting development, but it isn’t something that I would deem to be a necessity.
We can touch on the more NBA-ready aspects of Broome’s game in a second, but the way that he broadened his bag last season was impressive. Coming off a good defensive play, Johni got into a trailing position to take advantage of a defense that was just not ready for him.
While not automatic from deep, Broome made strides in that area to become respectable, as he shot 29% on 31 total attempts. I’m aware that this isn’t credible efficiency—or spectacular volume—but it was enough to make defenses have to think about him pulling up. You can see in the clip above how he made the defense bite on the pump, and then how nimble he was to the drive to the basket. Both of those improved skills have given reason for some to believe that he can round out the offensive skill set. Worst case, he can still do stuff like this…
Johni can succeed in the traditional rim-running fashion. He converted 40 of 43 total dunk attempts, and shot just a hair under 55% on his two-point attempts. Synergy graded him out in the 88th percentile (Excellent) in his at-rim shots. This included being in the 83rd percentile (Very Good) in layups, in the 78th percentile (Very Good) on dunks, and in the 64th percentile (Good) on his tip shots. He was also ranked in the 70th percentile (Very Good) on his runners. His touch around the rim is another factor to consider and monitor in terms of the development of his jumper.
Big men in the NBA have to have the requisite athleticism to anchor a defense. This must also parlay into top-notch anticipation. Broome had a heck of a season in rim protection—which was his trademark skill set that attracted the eyes of scouts. Broome was sixth in college hoops of players in block percentage with a minutes percentage of at least 60. He was also the top non-senior on that list.
Broome was in the 92nd percentile (Excellent) in overall defense, grading in the 96th percentile (Excellent) and in the 79th percentile (Very Good). He was able to log 29 steals and 78 blocks. What’s impressive is that the combination of steals and blocks Johni recorded exceeded the number of fouls he was charged with.
Johni’s footwork gives him both the ability to maintain positioning in the paint against bruising bigs, along with the ability to keep up with perimeter players from time to time. You can see how Broome was able to follow the athletic Ricky Council IV from the time he inbounded the ball, maintaining his stride on the drive, and was able to swat the ball out of play once the shot was put up.
In order for big men to succeed in the NBA, they have to be able to have the offense flow through them. Not all will be your Nikola Jokic, Domantas Sabonis, or Alperen Sengun level of passers, but they have to be able to keep the ball moving to see the floor. Broome isn’t world-renowned as a facilitator, but he has made leaps in that area.
From his last year at Morehead State to last season at Auburn, Johni had three more assists but 24 fewer turnovers. He was credited with an assist percentage of 12.0—which is about average—while also recording a turnover percentage of 14.0, which is very sound. His mobility and touch give him the chance to continue to grow in that aspect of the game.
Johni Broome is coming back after testing the waters for the 2023 NBA Draft. Auburn’s coach, Bruce Pearl, stated during the offseason that Johni was likely to be a second round pick had he stayed. Even with that being the case, I do not have Broome within my preseason Top 60, but I do have him within striking distance as he is residing in my Top 90. His baseline skills are enough to draw the interest of scouts but, if he continues to grow in his shooting and facilitating, Broome will have a well-rounded game that every NBA will be coveting.
Jaylon Tyson | 6’7” | 210 lbs. | California | Junior
One of the players that I came away most impressed with that I feel is more of an “out there” prospect is Jaylon Tyson. Tyson was heavily coveted once he decided to hit the transfer portal, as he put up a quietly productive year for Texas Tech. As a full-time starter with the Red Raiders, Jaylon put up over ten points per game, six boards per game, and an assist per game. He was pretty efficient and his athleticism popped on a nightly basis.
The move to Cal is an interesting one, as the team picked up a number of transfers. Considering the number of places that lobbied for his services, I feel it’s safe to assume that he will be heavily featured for the Golden Bears.
We all know the name of the NBA game is pace and space, along with having an expansive skill set. This is what makes Tyson a must-watch for the year. With Texas Tech last season, Jaylon was able to convert on 43-of-107 shots from downtown—over 40%. The variety of ways he can hit them is what makes him such an enticing player to monitor.
The shot is slightly unconventional, as the shooting motion is over the right shoulder. Basketball has produced many players with unique shooting motions that have inhibited them from the highest of heights in the game. Some of the most fun players the NBA has ever seen produced, though, have the funky jumpers. Again, Tyson’s isn’t all that eccentric, but it’s certainly not textbook.
Synergy graded him within the 90th percentile (Excellent) on catch-and-shoot plays. On guarded shots, he was in the 80th percentile (Very Good), and was in the 82nd percentile (Very Good) when left open.
Listed at 6’7”, Tyson presents a credible target when diving to the rim. On this clip, you get a chance to look at how this guy can play off of a big man within the natural flow of the offense. His footwork, ability to lull the defender to sleep, and, of course, natural offensive talent all lead to a seemingly easy bucket.
When working off of cutting plays, Jaylon was ranked in the 97th percentile (Excellent). Admittedly, this was on low volume—19% of his plays—but it serves as a good foundation to build upon to fill out his draft resume.
Due to being an above-average athlete with an above-average basketball IQ, Tyson pieced together a very impressive defensive season with Texas Tech. Jaylon was in the 80th percentile (Very Good) in overall defense. His steal percentage was at 2.8, while his block percentage was at 1.5. He was one of only 51 players in college hoops last season to record such numbers with a minutes percentage of at least 65. Interesting note: He was one of only seven players who had those same numbers while shooting over 40% from three.
His decision-making on defense was also very promising, as he was close to a 1:1 ratio of steals and blocks to the number of fouls he committed. His size allowed him to match up well to his primary assignments, while also being able to switch on a wide variety of positions.
Tyson was a player who recorded more turnovers than assists last season. Obviously, that is undesirable. I do feel that he has the skill set to make some strides in this department, though. Jaylon does use his handle to allow him to get to the spots he likes on the court in order to score, and I do think he has the vision to see some slightly above-average passing windows. If he can become more of a hub offensively at Cal, then we might be able to see more plays like the one above.
He can be elusive off of the bounce, and he shows the required ball skill to be more dynamic getting his teammates open by pressuring the defense. This is, admittedly, more hypothetical than it is a reality. Otherwise, Tyson would undoubtedly be more discussed in the draft community. Even with the negative assist-to-turnover ratio, Tyson still graded out in the 59th percentile (Good) in all possessions including assists.
Jaylon Tyson is a player that I’m incredibly excited to watch this season. Despite not having him in my Top 60, I would not be surprised to see him climb to that level. The baseline he is working with this year is pretty advanced for this class. His feel for the game is very sound and he appears to be primed for a large role. With some improvements in dynamic decision-making, he could make a major statement within the draft community playing for this Golden Bear squad, and for coach Mark Madsen.
Jamarion Sharp | 7’5” | 235 lbs. | Ole Miss | Senior
There is almost always a “fluky” feeling when evaluating these literal larger-than-life prospects. Jamarion Sharp, at times, felt like a hardwood anomaly to me last season. Smaller school, favorable schedule, opportunity to inflate numbers…the whole experience just felt more like an attraction than a tangible path to an NBA career. Then, I rewatched the film.
Sharp is one of the premier shot blockers not playing in the NBA. Standing at 7’5”, he uses his enormous wingspan to patrol the paint with ruthless aggression. Jamarion led college hoops in block percentage at 15.8—more than 2% higher than the next player, Liam Robbins. What’s more impressive is that in the 2022 season, he actually had a higher block percentage at 17.8. This was second only to Walker Kessler, who recorded a block percentage of 18.8.
Looking at the clip above, it’s easy to see how Sharp recorded more than four blocks per game in the past few seasons. Eric Gaines is one of the more explosive and athletic guards in the NCAA, and he struggles mightily to get a bucket against Sharp.
One of the things that shocked me on the rewatch on Jamarion was how mobile he was. For whatever reason, in the recesses of my mind, he appeared to be more lumbering than nimble. But you can see the many levels there are to his rotation, anticipation, and timing on this one possession. Sharp was able to switch onto almost every member of the UAB offense, ending the play with back-to-back blocks.
The gravity that Sharp will demand while running to the basket is going to attract many defenders. With his height, he provides a vertical lob threat that can give his team versatility. With a wingspan that has been reported to be in the neighborhood of 7’7” to 7’8”, Jamarion can reach the top shelf to be able to flush dunks with ease.
Even with this advantage, Western Kentucky did not routinely go to this well, as Sharp averaged 7.4 points per outing on less than five shots. This equated to a usage percentage of only 13.0% on a minutes percentage of over 69.0%. But, on the plays where his number was called, he shot over 65% from the floor.
Clean Up Duty
Sharp may not have the most tricks in his bag, but he may not need to have too many. While also being a very solid screen setter, Jamarion can get easy points on the box score due to tremendous rebounding. Sometimes, basketball analysis can be overly complicated but it doesn’t need to be with Jamarion. He’s a big man, and he can do things like what is posted above fairly often. Sharp ranked in the 63rd percentile (Good) in terms of put-back opportunities.
While there are plenty of good things that Jamarion can do, perhaps the biggest thing keeping Sharp from being a sure-fire prospect is his touch. He is capable of putting up putback shots and catching lobs, but finessing the ball into the hoop can become quite the challenge. The awkwardness I spoke to earlier that loomed in my mind regarding Jamarion didn’t exist in the footwork; it was in his around-the-rim game.
Synergy graded out Sharp’s at-rim game in the 91st percentile (Excellent). However, he also was in the 14th percentile (Poor) in layups, and in the fifth percentile (Poor) on hook shots. Even if he is going to be one of the most feared shot blocker in basketball, he will need to make noticeable improvements in this part of his game in particular to realize any potential Jamarion has at being an NBA player.
The bar for Sharp to clear was very low for me prior to diving into rewatching film on prospects, but he did soar over it nonetheless. With that being said, Jamarion still has significant work to do to continue his ascent up my board. His lack of soft touch has him on the outside looking in, while his spectacular rim protection and ability to rim run has him within striking distance. I am personally curious to see how the Walker Kessler effect impacts Jamarion Sharp. The similarity these two share in blocking shots, but the impact Kessler had on the offensive side is widely undersold. I could see several people within the basketball world attempt to connect a number of prospects to Kessler’s success, perhaps even with Jamarion Sharp.
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