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Jabari Walker has been a hot commodity this draft cycle, working out for multiple teams in preparation for Thursday’s NBA draft. Walker had a solid Colorado career, perhaps highlighted by a 24-point performance in the Buffaloes’ first-round March Madness game against Georgetown his freshman season.
The Buffs’ leading scorer and rebounder of this last season, Walker declared for the NBA draft and will be looking to hear his name called Thursday night. But what makes Walker so appealing to NBA franchises? The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie recently profiled Walker as part of his 2022 NBA draft guide.
First of all, Vecenie loved Walker’s physical attributes (h/t The Athletic):
At 6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan and an 8-foot-9 standing reach, Walker has good size and length for the four position. Plays
with real twitch and light on his feet. Also has good functional strength. Was not very flexible as an athlete as a freshman but has
improved in a big way there.
I buy Walker as a shooter for the most part. Clean release with good touch as a teenager. Good shot prep. Ready to one-two step
into the shot. Gets a good base underneath him and sets to fire. Really good as a trailer when he can step into it.
Walker’s length is what stood out during his Colorado career and here we see Vecenie touching upon that. As the old adage goes, you can’t teach size, and Walker has both the height and wingspan to be an NBA four. It doesn’t hurt that Walker grew up around the game with his dad Samaki Walker playing in the NBA as well.
With the good must also come the bad; Vecenie was not as impressed with Walker’s offensive game:
Outside of the jumper, I don’t see a ton that is all that translatable as an offensive player. The shot might be enough, but Walker has a way to go at all three levels.
Not a good enough finisher for what his tools are. Made 52.8 percent of his shots at the rim this past season, a well below-average number for someone this big. Can dunk out on the break or out of the dunker spot, but he’s a significant load-up athlete at the rim.
Walker will need to round out his offensive abilities as mentioned above. Given his length, you would think he would be a more polished finisher around the rim, but based on his shooting percentage noted above, he has a lot to improve on.
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