With the 23rd overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers have chosen sophomore swingman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Hollis-Jefferson might be the best perimeter defender in this draft thanks to his size, quickness and length, although he struggles on the offensive end. Even so, the Blazers needed help on the wing with Arron Afflalo opting out and Wesley Matthews possibly leaving.
At 6-7, 210 pounds with a 7-2 wingspan, Hollis-Jefferson’s physical attributes are more than ideal on the wing with athleticism to match. His quickness, athleticism and speed in the open floor are very impressive, and it allows him to be a terror on the fastbreak and on offensive putbacks. These attributes made him the lockdown defender on Arizona, even with Stanley Johnson on the same roster.
But Hollis-Jefferson has zero touch from the perimeter on offense, which hurt his ceiling as an NBA player. Hollis-Jefferson has a hitch in his release which makes any jump shot hard to watch, and it’s hard to wonder if it’s fixable or even improvable. He struggles creating off the dribble and gets the majority of his points off effort plays.
After watching forward Draymond Green guard every position as a defensive force last year, it’s easy to wonder if Hollis-Jefferson can play a similar role in a few years. However, Green showed more promise from the perimeter as a senior, with a decent jumper that has continued to develop. How similar might Hollis-Jefferson grow as a player?
NBA comparison: Bruce Bowen
2014-15 stats: 11.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.2 spg (50.2 FG%, 20.7 3P%, 70.7 FT%)