Peachtree Hoops will profile several prospects ahead of the 2021 NBA Draft. In today’s installment, we look at Georgia Tech point guard Jose Alvarado. For a look at the full list of prospects we have done so far, click here.
Jose Alvarado was the heart and soul of the Georgia Tech basketball program over the past four seasons. All of his blood, sweat and tears finally paid off when the Yellow Jackets won the ACC Tournament in his senior season this spring. Alvarado is not the prototypical NBA prospect, but after a standout senior campaign, he’s getting more attention from those in NBA circles than many once thought.
ESPN has Alvarado comfortably inside their top 100 prospects, where the guard ranks as their No. 79 ranked player for the 2021 class. A four-year starter for Georgia Tech, Alvarado has an array of skills that may be valuable to an NBA team.
Alvarado’s top strength projecting towards the next level is probably his defense. He has impeccable hands in terms of both stealing the ball from his man and in the passing lanes. His instincts are off the charts, and despite his 6’ frame, he was able to impact the ACC’s best playmakers with his relentless effort. Alvarado ranked second in all of Division I in steals per game, and while steals aren’t always a good barometer for defensive prowess, in Alvarado’s case, it exemplifies all of his traits.
An underrated guard who will likely finish inside my top-100 is Jose Alvarado. He's small, but a pesky defender, a floor general and a good shooter. Should get a Two-Way somewhere. He's worked out for several teams including the Bucks, Jazz, Knicks, Pelicans and Warriors pic.twitter.com/fTBf5Bp9JR— Zack Padmore (@ZP12Hoops) July 10, 2021
Shooting is another area of strength for the four-year starter. He shot 39% from 3PT as a senior, and 42% on spot ups per Synergy Sports.
Jose Alvarado improved his scoring efficiency a lot as a senior. He went from 44% as a junior to 50% shooting and 33% to 39% from 3 with a career best 62 TS%. It’s easy to see why with his versatile shooting portfolio off the dribble or spotting up pic.twitter.com/GQSKiilHgS— Mavs / Magic Draft (@MavsDraft) July 15, 2021
The guard also graded out well in transition, isolation and as a cutter.
Projecting to the next level, isolation and transition may not be areas of strength for someone Alvarado’s size. He’s not a high-level athlete in terms of explosion either, so his top skills in the NBA would likely be as a point-of-attack defender and as a spot-up shooter. He’s an aware passer, but not an elite creator or someone who throws a ton of guys open with high-level anticipation.
Jose Alvarado with a TON of JJ Barea in him as a ball handler. Elite deceptiveness as a ball handler/ playmaker pic.twitter.com/LbNxIVWXyu— Mavs / Magic Draft (@MavsDraft) July 12, 2021
If he pans out, he would likely project as a backup or even third point guard who is capable of assisting in running a second unit, and someone who plays with tremendous effort.
He may be best suited on second unit alongside someone like Kevin Huerter, a bigger guard who can also create offense and run pick-and-rolls.
Alvarado’s biggest weakness is purely size. At 6’0 he will be outmatched a fair amount of the time in terms of size. This has never been a deterrent to him achieving success, however. As a four-year starter in the ACC, he’s already seen his fair share of big guards, including in the ACC Championship game win over Florida State, who featured lottery pick Scottie Barnes in their backcourt. Alvarado combats the size disadvantages he often faces by getting up under his man, crowding their space and making it difficult for them to dribble.
Still, the NBA schemes are more advanced than what he faced in college and will most certainly do a better job of getting him cross-matched on to even bigger players, much like what teams try to do to Trae Young. While defensive ability is a strength, the lack of size is something teams will look to exploit.
Another area where Alvarado did not particularly excel is as a pick-and-roll ball handler. This may be something he improves upon going forward, but he didn’t have a ton of success in this area at Tech. Drilling down into the data, he was far more effective as a passer out of PnR than he was a scorer. This is partially due to teams trapping him, but also he had a pretty good roll partner in Moses Wright, but Alvarado’s lack of size is obviously a big factor in terms of his lack of efficiency at the rim. When his drive gets cut off, he’s faced with making a tough floater over a bigger defenders, and hasn’t consistently shown the type of touch someone like Young has shown to make up for the size disparity.
Wright sort of burst on to the scene as an impact player during this past season, so coming into the year Alvarado was viewed as the key cog to slow down for the Jackets. Wright wound up winning ACC Player of the Year, but I think a lot of people in the ACC would still tell you Alvarado was the straw that stirred the drink for Georgia Tech. Teams were often times focused on getting the ball out of his hands to force anyone else to make a play.
Fit with Hawks
Alvarado would fit in fine with Atlanta on a Two Way contract. If the Hawks neglect backup point guard in the draft, he could be someone who comes in and doesn’t need a ton of seasoning before contributing. The backup point guard role in Atlanta obviously isn’t what it is in some other places, with Young playing the majority of the game and ideally not sharing the floor with another point guard due to his skill set and lack of size. Alvarado could be someone the Hawks look to bring in to training camp to compete for those few minutes that are available. The effort Alvarado will provide will be unmatched, so if he can compete offensively, there will certainly be worse options in the undrafted free agent market.