What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Three-point shooter. Has NBA size. Consistent presence. Doesn’t force bad shots. Scores most of his points via open threes and layups. Smith was first in the Big Ten and third in the nation with 21 double-doubles in his sophomore year (recorded five in 2019). Strong rebounder. Smith recorded eight offensive rebounds in Maryland’s 2019 NCAA Tournament victory over Belmont.
Weaknesses: He can be overpowered in the post due to his thin base. Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman used his weight against him and spinned off of him for an easy bucket (MSU ‘20). Not strong enough to guard NBA centers but can he guard power forwards? Lateral movement is a question mark. Needs to expand his offensive skills beyond shooting and dunking. Smith didn’t get much of a chance to show his ability to put the ball on the floor and it ranks as a question mark.
Other Notes: Attended Mt. Saint Joseph (Md.). • Won the Gatorade Player of the Year in Maryland twice and played in the 2018 McDonald’s All-American Game •First team All-Big Ten (2020), Big Ten All-Defensive Team (2020), Big Ten All-Freshman Team (2019) • 2018-2019 (33 games, 33 sts): 11.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 0.9 APG, 49% FG, 66% FT, 27% 3-PT, 0.4 SPG, 1.2 BPG • 2019-2020 (31 games, 31 sts): 15.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 0.8 APG, 54% FG, 75% FT, 37% 3-PT, 0.7 SPG, 2.4 BPG • Career: 13.5 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 0.8 APG, 52% FG, 71% FT, 32% 3-PT, 0.6 SPG, 1.8 BPG
Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Jalen Smith’s offensive game fits well for the NBA’s new trend of drive and kick basketball. The former Terrapin has excellent length and can finish at the rim. Look for him to compete for a bench spot on a playoff team as he seems like a fit in the bottom of the first round. His ability to improve his on-ball defense and round out his offensive repertoire will determine his NBA future.