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2020 NBA draft scouting report: Jahmi’us Ramsey

Kansas v Texas Tech Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

In advance of the 2020 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops is evaluating prospects with a look at what the Atlanta Hawks might be considering from now until the selection process occurs. Dozens of prospects will be profiled in this space and, this time, we examine Texas Tech guard Jahmi’us Ramsey.

One of the more polarizing prospects in the 2020 class, Texas Tech’s Jahmi’us Ramsey represents, for some, a solid upside play based around his impressive shooting (42.6 percent from three-point range) and status as one of the youngest players in the draft (having only turned 19 in June). For others, Ramsey’s three-point shooting is perhaps a mirage (64.1 percent from the free throw line), along with the fact that he possesses questionable defensive feel.

Regardless of which camp you fall into, or whether you’re somewhere in the middle, Ramsey’s freshman campaign has to be considered a successful one, having been named Big 12 Freshman of the Year, as well as Second-Team All-Big 12. A 6’4, 195-pound shooting guard, Ramsey has a powerfully built frame and will likely continue adding to it, perhaps opening avenues for upside based around physical strength.

Currently sitting at No. 35 overall on ESPN’s draft board at the time of writing, Ramsey could present an option for teams seeking wing help toward the end of the first round, provided they’re willing to develop him within an appropriate role. Most likely (at least to my eyes), Ramsey’s path for success in the NBA resembles something similar to Tim Hardaway Jr.’s — that is, an offensive-focused package built around transition scoring and streaky shooting, probably off the bench. Ramsey also has flashes as an isolation scorer; in time, perhaps he could flesh out this aspect of his game, adding more upside.

Ramsey’s NBA utility will most likely be determined by how good of a shooter he actually is, which is difficult to project given the stark contrast between his three-point and free throw splits. Is the impressive three-point percentage unsustainable given the generally established relationship between it and free throw shooting? Or is the free throw shooting more attributable to a small sample size that could improve in the NBA? Where you fall on this question likely says a lot about where you fall on Ramsey.

Offensive Analysis

  • Will take some shots that appear terrible and then go down (think: No, no, YES!). Has the ability to go nuclear or build a brick factory. These qualities lend themselves toward more of a microwave scorer role on offense; establishing more consistency here is key if he envisions an eventual starting role for himself.
  • Not an impressive passer, with fewer than three assists per 40 minutes, but not a bad one either. When he’s not set on trying to score himself, he’s capable of putting others in position to score instead. Registered seven assists in a game against Iowa State in February.
  • Has a limited handle that will require improvement in the NBA. Ramsey has the ability to create shots for himself off of the bounce — and this is a key element for his upside outline — but will need to develop better control of the ball, especially when under pressure.

Defensive Analysis

  • Has an impressive stock rate (steals + blocks percentage) and can fly in for highlight blocks. If he’s to become a useful defender in the NBA, most likely it will center on his defensive playmaking; he’s not afraid to gamble and has strength to fight on-ball.
  • Despite his aforementioned impressive stock rate, this actually belies his true defensive impact, as he’s prone to ball watching and having lapses off the ball. It’s worth pointing out that Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard’s system is a friendly one for defenders, as fellow Red Raider wings, Jarrett Culver and Zhaire Smith, have thrived on that end. Within this context, Ramsey’s defensive performance is considerably less impressive than his two recent peers, and his miscues within a friendly setup leave questions about his value as an NBA defender.

Fit with the Hawks

With a draft stock that likely places him comfortably outside the lottery, but probably well ahead of Atlanta’s second round pick at No. 50, Ramsey is not likely to find himself holding up a Hawks uniform on draft night. That said, Atlanta could perhaps acquire an additional second round pick through some draft night machinations, so Ramsey is still worth paying some attention to.

While not a Draft Twitter favorite, I tend to take more of a middle ground approach to Ramsey. I’m skeptical he can attain great heights due mostly to a combination of defensive and shooting concerns, but I would not be surprised either to find him a successful NBA player in five years.

Players who can get hot from deep and create for themselves already have a foot in the door, and if Ramsey can smooth things out defensively (worth mentioning again he’s still a very young prospect), tighten his handle, and continue to build out his robust frame, he could find a Hardaway-ian path to NBA value.