The past year of college basketball was hard on college athletes and is likely a season that will be unique in its level of difficulty. The 2021 NBA Draft will happen on time unlike the 2020 NBA Draft and it is widely considered a talent-packed class. Tennessee Volunteers’ freshman guard Jaden Springer is among the talented players that will enter the NBA in this year’s draft. The former five-star recruit was a highly desired prospect that eventually decided to play for Head Coach Rick Barnes and the Volunteers. He should be a borderline NBA Draft Lottery selection after his year with Tennessee.
Jaden Springer’s family got him started in basketball.
Now, he’s enjoying the game with his basketball family at Tennessee.
? The Rick Barnes Show pic.twitter.com/iwnuXo7eu1
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) January 30, 2021
Jaden Springer can score with some of the best of college basketball’s guards. He has the ability to score at all three levels of the court. These scoring skills should translate well when he gets to the NBA. He was a driving force behind the Tennessee offense as a freshman last year. The NBA can never fill its need for scoring guards completely, so there will always be a spot for players like the young Tennessee freshman. Springer has the ability to slash, shoot from the mid-range, and can even hit consistently from beyond the arc as well.
While with the Tennessee Volunteers the freshman guard averaged 12.5 points per game despite the other talented players surrounding him. He shot 46.7 percent from the field during his first year of college basketball. Springer also paired that with a three-point percentage of 43.5 percent. These aren’t always numbers that come out of freshmen guards asked to carry a heavy load for a top-seeded NCAA Tournament team. Springer is the real deal when it comes to scoring and it could end up being his best attribute when he jumps to the NBA. The game is all about putting the ball in the basket and the Tennessee guard can do that with practiced ease.
NBA teams love having athletic guards that are versatile in their abilities on the court. When he entered college out of high school his athleticism is what scouts immediately looked at on the court. He was largely viewed as an incredibly athletic guard on both sides of the ball. This allows him to maneuver with or without the ball and finish strong at the rim. He also projects as a fairly talented offensive rebounder for a 6’4″ guard. His 204-pound frame paired with his athleticism will make him a valuable rotation player in the NBA. His shooting ability paired with his athleticism makes him an even more dangerous NBA prospect heading into the 2021 NBA Draft.
— Overtime (@overtime) October 23, 2019
Jaden Springer’s biggest NBA upside is likely his capabilities as a two-way guard in the NBA. His offense has been well established, but his defense is what helped him become a five-star recruit coming out of high school. The former Tennessee Volunteer is more than capable of guarding his match up both on and off the ball. Defensive guards are highly valued in the NBA, but two-way guards come at a premium at the top level of basketball. Springer averaged 1.2 steals per game, but it was the things that don’t show up on the box score that makes him special. Fellow SEC guards struggled against the talented freshman guard. He should only get better on this end of the ball as he gets older and adds more experience to match his skill.
Springer has some things he needs to work on or limit once he reaches the NBA. He tends to make decisions sometimes that lead to turnovers too often. While he is a good scorer he can dribble himself into trouble that leads to a bad pass or a bad shot. He has some abilities to get assists, but his assist to turnover ratio is his most concerning number on the box score. At his best, he is an offensive machine capable of scoring with the best of them. That being said he can play wildly on the offensive side of the ball. Aggressive defense isn’t always a bad thing, but Springer’s play did lead to him getting into foul trouble sometimes. These issues could work themselves out with the proper guidance and some experience in the NBA.
NBA Comparison: Malcolm Brogdon
Springer and Brogdon have a similar playstyle as guards. They are both very good with pull-up shots and are hesitant with their three despite being capable from beyond the arc. They both can score from all three levels but can dribble themselves into trouble sometimes. They are guards, but their playmaking abilities and assist numbers aren’t exactly where NBA teams would want them. This past season the Pacer’s guard averaged 5.9 assists per game and that would be very optimistic for the Tennesse guard to match even a few years into the NBA. The real hope is that Jaden Springer can match the level of scoring and rebound numbers in a few years. Springer’s defense should translate fairly well just like Malcolm Brogdon entering the NBA. At the very least the Tennessee guard should prove to be a very talented rotation player at the top level.