NBA Draft: Arizona forward Grant Jerrett works out for Spurs

Grant JerrettRemember two years ago when Cory Joseph declared for the NBA Draft after one year at Texas?  Everyone was really confused why he would do that so early.  Surely he wasn't going to be a first round pick.  Joseph's decision paid off when the San Antonio Spurs selected Joseph with the second to last pick in the draft.  This year, there may be a guy, Arizona forward Grant Jerrett, who takes a similar path and he may again end up in the Spurs' hands.

Craig Grialou of Arizona.com writes that Jerrett worked out for the Spurs earlier this month.  Jerrett surprised everyone when he left the University of Arizona after one season where he averaged 5.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per game while only playing 17 minutes a game.  So just what the hell is this guy doing in the NBA Draft at all.  I watched Jerrett about a dozen times last season and can tell you those numbers do not his reflect his potential.

I asked Kevin Zimmerman of Arizona Desert Swarm and Valley of the Suns to help me break down Jerrett's game and potential.  Here's a portion of that conversation.

TZ: Having watched him all season, describe Jerrett's game. From afar I'd like to think Robert Horry 2.0, but will settle with a more athletic Matt Bonner.

KZ: More athletic Matt Bonner is a pretty good description. As of now, he's pretty much locked into a similar role considering he has little other value than as a stretch 4 with questionable defensive capabilities. That said, his numbers as a freshman don't do him justice as far as a prospect. Jerrett is still a bit awkward like he's
getting used to his long body. He wasn't strong enough to battle for boards in the paint or post up on offense, and that is his biggest issue — it also didn't help in terms of seeing his true skillset.

His shot is obviously what has him going in most mock drafts despite the little production. He has an interesting release but I think it's fast enough where he could stand out and be a three-point threat immediately. It doesn't have the best arc but definitely is accurate and he has confidence in it.

TZ Jerrett was a top 5 recruit coming out of high school and started last season as Arizona's power forward before getting moved to the bench. Did something go wrong or was Arizona's front court that
crowded?
 
KZ: At Arizona he was competing with two other big men for playing time, both of whom were more fluid and brought different things to the game.  Those inconsistent minutes made it tough to get a feel for him. Kaleb Tarczewski was a back-to-the-basket center who was more of a physical presence, and Brandon Ashley was sort of a gritty, less skilled power forward. Both of those guys were also top-15 prospects in the class, so it wasn't that surprising.

As a group, those guys didn't have much room for error with another NBA prospect, Solomon Hill, often taking the power forward minutes because he was a better defender. So considering those four playing
for two spots — and another raw big man Angelo Chol sometimes getting minutes — time was hard to come by.

Zimmerman told me Jerrett needs to get stronger, though it doesn't seem like that should be a problem given his age and frame.  Jerrett is not NBA ready, but he could be in a year or two.  Like Jospeh, he'd go to Austin for at least a year and get comfortable with his body and polish his game on both ends of the floor.

The funny thing about Jerrett is DraftExpress has him projected to go to the Spurs in the second round.  However, his draft stock is all over the second round right now.  Like Joseph, the Spurs could use their late first round pick to make sure they get him.  Or they could trade back in to the early second round so it's less costly if he doesn't pan out.  Still, Jerrett is a stretch shooter the Spurs like to deploy on offense and could slide right in to the rotation in a year when Matt Bonner's contract expires.

Photo: ArizonaSports.com

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