Jamaal Franklin, the 6’5″ athletic beast out of San Diego State, has been slotted as a possible first round pick by packing plenty of potential for a number of teams (In our draft: didn’t make first round by Nate, 18th to Atlanta by Connor). Labeled by some scouts as a Tasmanian Devil on the court with a game that is questionably translatable at the next level, Franklin is hoping that his versatile defense and well-rounded game can change some of the skepticism. Having to do it all and lead the Aztecs has provided beneficial experience and leadership to Franklin and his game, making his draft status an issue of when he’s taken, not if.
|Height w/o Shoes||Height w/ Shoes||Weight (lbs)||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat (%)||Hand Reach||Hand Width|
|6′ 4″||6′ 5.25″||190.8||6′ 11.25″||8′ 7.5″||8.25||8.5″||8.25″|
The biggest attractions in Franklin’s game are in his versatility at both ends of the ball, his size, and unrelenting motor. Offensively, Franklin is definitely weaker than on defense where he thrives, but there are still positives. He’s already built like the typical NBA shooting guard, so size isn’t a problem, and on top of that, his leaping ability, wingspan, and on-point IQ make him lethal going to the rim and drawing contact to go to the line where he shoots 78%. He works angles very well, helping his off-the-ball play immensely, as well as opening up the opportunities to assist his teammates. Defense is hands down where Franklin is most comfortable. His size and speed allow him to defend three different positions (SG/SF/PF) which is extremely helpful for almost any team, and it’s not like he does an alright job at it either. Franklin led the Mountain West in rebounds per game with 7.8, and his knack for causing turnovers will be nightmarish to any opponent as he also landed the second spot in the Mountain West in blocks plus steals with 2.4 per game. These are all pretty good numbers for a guy who doesn’t even play the power forward or center position.
It’s really no surprise that the bulk of Franklin’s questionable draft status is due to his struggles on the offensive end. Despite having a good head on his shoulders and a quick first step to get him to the rack, he’s failed to find comfort or consistency shooting the ball. Although he converts 61% of the shots he takes at the rim, anything farther than that might as well be enemy territory. His constantly changing release point (over the head/in front of head) has been the catalyst for a failing deep threat, where Franklin takes over one third of his total shots and only converts 27% of them. In college, turnovers (4 pg) were somewhat of a negative factor, but that can honestly be credited to the fact that he had such a big part of the team and was leaned on to do so much. They won’t pose nearly as big of an issue as he’s probably going to a team that won’t need him to do nearly that much, but the shooting is obviously a big question for someone playing the shooting guard position.
Franklin certainly has intriguing potential. He’s got a high ceiling and a manage-ably low basement that really only consists of shooting woes. With a growing market for specialty players (like Tony Allen) who can contribute in their own ways offensively and deliver hard nose defense night in and night out, he will almost certainly find a home with a team that can make good use of his talents right off the bench. Shooting for a starting job might be a little bit out of reach for now.
For continued coverage of the NBA’s rookies, keep visiting NBA Rookie Class. Also, stay tuned as we begin to look towards the next year of rookies and the 2013 NBA Draft!