James Palmer Jr. Draft Profile

Breaking down the NBA potential of James Palmer Jr.

Senior 6’6″ 205 Shooting Guard Nebraska DOB: 7/31/96
19.7 ppg 4.2 rpg 3 apg FG: 36.9% 3 PT: 31.3%

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Recruiting Profile

NBA Comparison: Allen Crabbe/Wayne Ellington

Strengths: Shot Creation, Natural Scorer, Length

Weaknesses: Explosiveness, Efficiency, Quickness

Palmer Jr. started his college career at Miami not receiving much playing time, before transferring to Nebraska. After sitting out a year and working on his game, he became the top scorer for Nebraska for the past two seasons. His ability to create his own shot and pull up off of the dribble is impressive, and he can come off of screens in a catch and shoot type of role. He has good size at 6’6″ and his length is solid, but it will be tougher to get his shot off in the same way he has in college against better athletes. On the fast break he should be able to slide out and get three point looks with no problem, being able to find open spots on the floor. Shot creation and finding open spots on the floor are attributes that translate directly to what he will need to do going forward, but he will need to knock those shots down efficiently.  As a defender he could struggle at the next level, but he has some of the tools that are necessary to become a solid wing defender with good size and length. His lack of quickness will make it much more difficult for him at the professional level both on offense and defense, and it is one of the main reasons many scouts doubt in his ability to score at the level needed to play in the NBA. 

He is not the most explosive athlete but he is able to score and finish around the basket with a dunk due to his length. His shooting numbers are definitely a concern going 31.3% on three point attempts and 36.9% from the field overall. Shot selection has somewhat to do with that, but he also just did not consistently hit open shots as his usage increased. Being able to create shots and come off of screens will allow him plenty of open looks, so his shooting the ball efficiently will be essential for his professional potential. The ball looks good off of his hands and his motion is fluid, when coupled with his 76.2% from the line give you some hope that he can knock down more shots. As a fifth year senior he is on the older end of the draft class this year, which means teams have more tape on him but also are less likely to select him if they don’t believe there is much more room for improvement. With that said, there were only two years where Palmer Jr. received significant minutes so he does not have nearly as much film as many other seniors. If he can become a more consistent shooter, he has already shown he is capable of getting shots off, than he has a chance to play in the NBA but it could be an uphill climb through the G League and other routes to do so. 

This play shows that how he can make a move and finish at the rim:

Here is an example of how he can knock down an outside shot:

If Palmer Jr. is to be drafted it will most likely be in the late second round, and most believe he will not be selected. His ceiling as a professional is a back up guard that can come off of the bench providing the ability to score, and play solid defense on the wing. The worst case scenario for Palmer Jr. is that he is unable to impress in the summer league or preseason, leading him to not being able to stick on a roster and playing overseas or in the G League.

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