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2021 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Jaden Springer

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Oregon State at Tennessee Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Peachtree Hoops continues its 2021 NBA Draft scouting report series with a look at Jaden Springer, a guard out of Tennessee.


The Southeastern Conference produced a handful of guards that are projected to be taken in the first round of the draft on Thursday.

Tennessee’s Jaden Springer is one of those guys, and he is full of potential. He is listed as a combo guard, and that is fitting since he does not play like a true point guard and he is a little undersized to be a typical shooting guard in the league.

Springer does not turn 19 years old until Sep. 25, so this is a guy that a team is drafting knowing that there is time to develop him.

Regardless of his youth, Springer is currently slotted at 27th overall on ESPN’s best available and No. 20 overall on The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie’s rankings.

While he did not score at the volume that Cameron Thomas did at LSU (he did not take as many shots), Springer is another guard who knows how to put the ball in the basket. The league is about getting buckets right?

Offense

Strengths

Inside Scoring

Springer can put up points at all three levels, but he wants to get to get to the rack, and he is pretty good at it for that matter. While he is not considered huge or overly muscular, he is good at using his body to get physical with defenders and make his way to the basket, where he is an efficient scorer.

This goes beyond just dunks and layups. Springer will pull up from just inside the paint after a bruising drive. His bag is full of tricks to score close to the basket.

Open Shooting

He is a reliable shooter that cannot be left open out on the perimeter. The counter to his shooting ability is that the sample size is fairly low. He did not even average a full three-point attempt per-game at Tennessee, but he knocked them down at a 43.5% clip.

He will likely be asked to shoot more at the next level, but he has shown that he has the ability to hit open shots.

He averaged 12.5 points per game in 25.9 minutes per. That gives him a per 40 average of 19.3 PPG, showing that he does not shoot in high volumes.

Weaknesses

Springer is not an elite playmaker, which is why he is not listed as a point guard. He has experience bringing the ball up the floor and initiating offense, but most of that offense is for himself.

This is not to say that he can develop into a secondary playmaker on a team. The fact is that he is not that right now.

Defense

Strengths

Off-Ball Defense

Springer is extremely aware on defense. He keeps his head on a swivel and is patient for opportunities to step in on help side or poke the ball free. He is one of the better guard defenders in the draft and part of that is because he does not only focus on his man when that person has the ball.

On-Ball Defense

Springer keeps his feet in motion in order to not let defenders slip by him. He has a high motor on defense and will seek out steals. He is not an elite defender but he is good, and that can develop even further. REMEMBER, he is only 18.

Weaknesses

Interior Defense/Rebounding

This is not a surprise. He is a guard. He is not necessarily to excel in low-post defense.

Springer did manage to haul in 3.5 rebounds per-game at Tennessee, so he is not just a ghost on the boards.

Fit on the Atlanta Hawks

Springer is one of the better fits for the Hawks out of all of the players that are realistically going to be available for them at pick No. 20. The consensus in some circles seems to be that the Hawks should look for another guard to add to the rotation that can immediately give them quality bench minutes and potentially develop into a starter alongside Trae Young.

Springer fits that mold, and he is a two-way player. A combo guard that can score and play solid defense is rarer than a guard coming in who is solely being drafted for their offensive potential. Springer would not be another negative defensive player, while at the same time can be relied to lead the bench unit in scoring if needed.

Springer would be a solid selection for a Hawks team that does not have any gaping holes on their roster.