Jalen Hood-Schifino has all the tools to be a great NBA player

Jalen Hood-Schifino #1 of the Indiana Hoosiers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Jalen Hood-Schifino #1 of the Indiana Hoosiers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Jalen Hood-Schifino is a six-foot-six guard who showed flashes of high-scoring upside while being an exceptional on-ball defender. The Montverde Academy product was named the Big Ten Rookie of the Year and made All-Big Ten third-team honors in his lone season at Indiana.

His off-dribble scoring, and combination of playmaking and size, make Hood-Schifino one of the more exciting prospects in the 2023 NBA Draft. His high effort on the defensive end and shot creation ability is encouraging, but the lack of efficiency from three and at the rim is something to look out for.

Jalen Hood-Schifino is an all-around guard with a high ceiling.

In 32 games for the Hoosiers, Jalen Hood-Schifino averaged 13.5 points with around four rebounds and four assists per game while shooting 41.7 percent from the field. However, what doesn’t show up on the stat sheet is his defensive capabilities.

Defensively, Jalen Hood-Schifino was impressive in college. He could stay in front of his man and was rarely caught ball-watching. The 213-pound guard did a great job fighting through screens, and despite only averaging 0.8 steals per game for the Hoosiers, JHS has highly active and quick hands.

He also has tremendous upside on the offensive end of the floor. The Indiana guard did a fantastic job finding his mid-range spots and making defenders pay. As a pick-and-roll ball handler, Hood-Schifino was great at baiting defenders into biting on a pass before creating space for himself and knocking down an open mid-range jumper.

Jalen Hood-Schifino is most comfortable moving to his right, where his pull-up game is perfect. However, while moving left, he still has a lot in his bag, often using step-backs to create open looks.

Although Hood-Schifino made most of his money in the mid-range game, he has shown potential as a scorer on all three levels, even if he’s not there yet. As a three-point shooter, JHS is streaky.

From the first regular season game at Indiana until Jan. 8, Hood-Schifino shot a blistering 47.7 percent from three. However, from Jan. 11 to the end of Indiana’s NCAA Tournament run, JHS shot 23.9 percent from beyond the arc. This brings up two of his biggest concerns: inefficiency and inconsistency.

Hood-Schifino had just a 49.2 true shooting percentage this season, which is not ideal. Part of this is because of his absence of an aggressive slashing game. JHS has both the size and the craftiness to be a good finisher around the rim, but he doesn’t attack very often.

Hood-Schifino averaged just 2.4 free throw attempts per game at Indiana and had 12 games this season where he did not take a trip to the charity stripe. As a taller guard with his quickness, he should be driving aggressively a lot more. Even though he’s not the most athletic player, he still has the tools to be a plus finisher.

Sometimes, Hood-Schifino settles for jumpers rather than attacking the paint. In the Hoosiers’ final game of the season, when Miami eliminated them in the NCAA Tournament, Hood-Schifino shot 11 three-pointers, of which he made three. Miami defenders would go under screens, and JHS would shoot it immediately, which isn’t his game yet.

Passing is one of Hood-Schifino’s biggest strengths. In the pick-and-roll, he did a great job playing at his own tempo and finding shooters on the wing or in the corner for open looks. His one-handed skip passes are impressive, and he can use both hands when making them.

Hood-Schifino struggled to place entry passes and hit cutters, but he’s still a very skilled passer with a lot of room to improve.

He works best on offense as the primary ball handler. Often Indiana would run sets that saw JHS sitting in the corner. Not only is he a poor corner three-point shooter and poor on catch-and-shoot, but he usually just became invisible on offense and was a non-factor.

Jalen Hood-Schifino is similar to the 2021 prospect and Thunder pre-draft darling James Bouknight, but JHS looks to be much more successful in the NBA.

As for the Thunder, Hood-Schifino will most likely be available wherever they select. OKC could be in the market for a backup point guard with Tre Mann’s regression last season, and JHS could fill that role.

For Hood-Schifino, Oklahoma City is a perfect landing spot as it gives him a young team to develop with and an All-NBA guard in SGA to learn from.

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