|Junior||5’11” 169||Point Guard||Auburn||DOB: 9/14/97|
|15.3 ppg||2.5 rpg||5.8 apg||FG: 39.9%||3PT: 37%|
Vertical Leap: 40.5″
Strengths: Athleticism, Speed/Quickness, Passing, Range, Length
Weaknesses: Size, Efficiency, Turnovers, Strength
Harper had a solid freshman season averaging 11.4 points per game, and then improved to 13.2 as a sophomore, and 15.3 as a junior. He is a natural scorer who has the confidence to pull up from well behind the three point line. His end to end speed as well as his quickness are some of the best in the draft class. In fast break situations he can pop out and be set up for a jump shot or lead the break getting to the basket or kicking it to an open teammate. He can use his quickness to get by defenders in the half court, but the majority of his shots come from outside of the paint. His ability to stop on a dime and pull up for a jump shot will be very useful going forward. Harper is an elite athlete with a vertical leap of just over 40″, and this led to some highlight dunks in his college years which is impressive at just 5’11”. Coming into his freshman season he was raw as a point guard but those skills increased over his three seasons and he enters the draft as a solid passer averaging just under 6 assists per game his junior season. This aspect of his game can still use some improvement, however he has done well playing in the lead guard role at Auburn as a whole. He has legitimate NBA range and from day one he should have no problem being a threat from the outside at the professional level. Harper was able to create a shot off of the dribble in isolation situations with ease in college, and although there are questions about his ability to do this as a professional, shot creation was a strong part of his game.
His size at 5’11” is the biggest concern with his translation to the next level, and while there are examples of smaller players who have been productive in the recent history of the NBA, that list is not very long. Having the vertical ability that he does coupled with his long 6’5.5″ wingspan, he will be able to play bigger than his listed height. Not a great shooter in his three seasons efficiency wise, he will need to become a more consistent shooter from the outside to reach his ceiling as a professional. With that said, 37.3% on three pointers as a junior is a solid enough number to give teams confidence that as he is able to focus entirely on basketball those numbers will go up. He shot the ball at 27.8% on two point jump shots, and that is a number that will need to improve going forward, but shooting the ball at the free throw line over 80% in his last two college seasons suggest he can do so. Turnovers were an issue at times as Harper made some bad decisions with the ball in his hand. He can play too fast at times losing control or forcing the issue with a bad shot or poor pass, and much like many other speedy guards he will need to do a better job of picking his spots. As a defender his size could cause him to struggle, but with his length and quickness he has a chance to be able to hold his own against much bigger guards. If he is to be drafted, that team is taking a risk given his size however if you can make plays and shoot the ball at a high level there is a place for you in the league.
Here is an example of his range:
Jared Harper from the LOGO pic.twitter.com/naB6MiNWqP— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) February 22, 2018
This play shows how his athleticism allows him to finish at the rim:
Harper is projected to be a second round pick, but with his size there is a possibility he could go undrafted. His ceiling as a professional is a solid role player most likely coming off of the bench but receiving significant minutes bringing high level scoring and play making. The worst case scenario for Harper, providing he gets a chance to stick in the league, is that he is unable to overcome the size of the NBA and does not score efficiently leading him to be playing in the G League or overseas.