|Soph.||6’3″ 180||Point Guard||UCLA||DOB: 2/12/99|
|14.2 ppg||3.7 rpg||6.1 apg||FG: 41.3%||3 PT: 37.3%|
NBA Comparison: Reggie Jackson
Strengths: Athleticism, Shot Creation, Setting Up Teammates, Speed
Weaknesses: Efficiency, Length, Turnovers, Strength
Hands came into college as a potential one and done candidate and he did declare for the draft after his freshman season, but decided to come back to school from the feedback he received. Having future NBA player Aaron Holiday on the roster last season led to Hands coming off of the bench for much of the season, and no doubt had an effect on his freshman numbers where he averaged 9.9 points, 4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. In his second year on campus with playing his way into the first round becoming the goal, his numbers improved to 14.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game. Hands is most comfortable creating a shot off of the dribble, something that he has done at a high level in college. He is able to use his speed and quickness in the open court to be deadly on the fast break, both finishing around the basket and setting up teammates with an open shot. Most defenders have a tough time staying in front of Hands, and he should be able to get by defenders at the professional level from day one. Hands is an elite athlete who at 6’3″ can put a defender on a poster, and he has a flair for the dramatic that can lead to lead to highlight plays and some questionable decision making. As a passer he improved in an impressive way from his freshman to his sophomore season, and while adjusting to more of a play maker versus being a scorer is never a seamless transition, he projects as a solid passer at the professional level.
On the defensive side of the ball he has the potential to be a solid defender as a pro after averaging 1.3 steals per game, but as with most young players there will need to be some coaching involved for him to reach that potential. One intriguing aspect to his game is that with the increased usage he received as a sophomore his efficiency did not go down, however he does need to work on becoming a more consistent shooter. His athleticism and speed will allow him to get open looks from the start, but to stick as a pro he will need to shoot the ball with efficiency, and the signs point to him being able to do so. The mechanics on his shot are solid, and it is natural off of his hands which coupled with his 78% at the line would suggest he has room to grow. With the Pac 12 Conference being down as a whole, teams would have like to see Hands put up bigger numbers as a sophomore when his role increased. With that said, his numbers are not bad by any means, and it just puts teams in a position where they will be selecting Hands based off of his potential as much as his college production. His assist to turnover ratio could of been better, and turnovers were an issue at times so going forward his ball control will play a role in his professional future. He will need to add some strength to deal with bigger guards, and weighing just 180 pounds will put him on the lower end of NBA guards.
Here is an example of his athleticism:
This Jaylen Hands dunk vs. ASU was disrespectful pic.twitter.com/h3CNKxxfkT— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 26, 2019
This gives you an idea of his ability to create and knock down an outside shot:
Hands is viewed as a potential second round pick, and he could possibly go undrafted. He fully intends to stay in the draft, so if a team is to select him they are banking on his game evolving with the hope of him playing to his potential. His ceiling as professional is a starter level point guard that can score at a high level, and lead an offense. The worst case scenario for Hands is that he is unable to be effective enough as an efficient point guard struggling with his shot, finding a spot in the G League or overseas after getting his chance at sticking in the NBA.