When I took my initial look at Jamaal Franklin, I thought that this was a guy who simply wasn't good enough of a shooter to be a target for the Hawks. After listening to Mike Budenholzer today and doing some research, I went back and took a second look at this guy.
I think you better keep this guy's name in mind for the Hawks. Mike Budenholzer kept stressing the desire to have players who will compete night in and night out, especially on defense. I think being a strong competitor is probably the #1 characteristic they are going to look for in players.
Jamaal Franklin may be the most intense competitor in this draft. He's got his warts, but he really stands out with the intensity, energy, and competitiveness he plays with. This is a 6'5" player who averaged right at 11.4 rebounds per 40 minutes, #1 among all shooting guards and small forwards in this draft. Rebounding is all about being intense and competitive. You are fighting for that ball with other players that want it, and he came down with that ball at a very high rate.
When you watch the video of this guy, he is relentless in the on the ball pressure he puts on the ball handler. From a defensive standpoint, if he has a weakness, it is that he may get too aggressive and allow penetration too much. I'll be honest with you. I consider that a minor weakness if you have a rim protector guarding the goal. I want my perimeter defenders to shut down the three point shot. If they give up some penetration and allow a mid range shot, so be it. I'd much rather let someone shoot at mid range at a 40% clip than shoot behind the arc at a 35% clip. He is also a playmaker defensively, averaging 2.0 steals per forty minutes as well as 0.9 blocks per forty minutes.
From an offensive standpoint, he has a lot of work to do. He's a high usage player at San Diego State, and when you combine that with his aggressiveness, it causes him to let himself get out of control at times. He averaged over 4.0 turnovers per game and had a very high overall turnover percentage. He turns the ball over more than any other guard in this draft.
He's also a mediocre perimeter shooter at this point. He shoots only 48% on 2 point shots and 28% on 3 point shots. He's right around 26% or so in catch and shoot situations. Jamaal is a flat footed shooter with a long release at this point. He's also a player that is hurt by poor shot selection. He too often settles for long two point jumpers and contested threes (sound like someone else?) when he can pretty much score when he wants to by attacking the lane and getting to the free throw line.
Jamaal also has no left hand at this point. His point production and FG% is almost doubled when he goes right vs when he goes left.
What's interesting about Jamaal from a numbers and analytical standpoint is that his numbers are actually pretty similar to another former San Diego State player who came out in 2011.
Numbers for Leonard:
Numbers for Franklin:
Obviously, the major differences between the two players are from a physical size standpoint. Kawhi Leonard is a 6'7", 227 lbs small forward and Jamaal Franklin is a 6'6", 205 lbs shooting guard prospect that can probably slide down and play the small forward position in smaller line ups.
Here's the main point of this long post though. Kawhi Leonard is a player that Spurs, with Mike Budenholzer on the coaching staff and Danny Ferry in the front office, felt strongly enough about to acquire by trading combo guard and Pop favorite George Hill in a draft day trade with the Indiana Pacers during the 2011 NBA Draft.
Here is a link to an article that states why they made that deal:
Kawhi Leonard is the kind of player the San Antonio Spurs like: he's a character guy who plays defense and comes from a winning program.
"I try to go after every rebound like Dennis Rodman. Some nights he came out with 20 rebounds; one night I had 20 rebounds," Leonard said. "It just shows how much passion we have on the defensive end and how much energy we bring to the team."
Here is an article on Jamaal Franklin:
“He doesn’t do a lot of things great,” a respected NBA scout, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told U-T San Diego last month. “But he just plays so hard. He’s active. He’s all over the floor. He’s blocking shots. He’s getting steals. He’s flying in to grab a rebound. And right now, we’re seeing a lack of toughness in the league.”
Where I once thought this guy would be off the board of the Hawks because of his current shooting woes, I now believe he may be the player they have targeted the most as an example setter. They want competitiveness, fire, and intensity. His shooting woes can be worked on. Kawhi Leonard had similar shooting woes coming out of SDSU, and now, he's a legitimate threat from deep that can defend all over the floor and has been invited to the Team USA tryouts this summer.
Danny Ferry had a major hand in drafting Kawhi Leonard, and Mike Budenholzer had a major hand in coaching him up. I think they reach into that bag and bring out another SDSU prospect in Jamaal Franklin.