The first time Larry Drew saw John Jenkins play live, during a workout in Santa Barbara, the Vanderbilt guard didn’t shoot well. The second time Drew saw him, at the Chicago pre-draft camp, Jenkins was “just OK” shooting it.
That changed during Jenkins’ workout at Philips Arena.
“He came here and he shot the hell out of it,” Drew said. “He has an NBA skill. He’s a guy that, watching him play and the way teams play him, it’s kind of that J.J. Redick feel. If he’s on the court, you better be with him at all times. It would be great to have a guy like that.”
Jenkins’ shooting display during his Hawks workout was no fluke. He was an elite shooter in college, posting the best effective field-goal percentage among D1 perimeter players.
Jenkins will have to prove he can do enough other things well enough to help offensively once defenders crowd his jump shot–presumably John Hollinger’s draft rater doesn’t like Jenkins (Insider) because of concerns about his ability to do so. His assist rate ranks last among DraftExpress.com’s top shooting guard prospects and his free-throw rate wasn’t much better.
The more pressing questions regarding Jenkins are his potential as a defender because he’s not particularly quick or athletic. Not surprisingly, Jenkins said teams have keyed in on testing his defensive ability during workouts.
“I’m a good shooter,” Jenkins said. “They know I can shoot and score the ball but they need to know if I can play defense. This league is so good, you have got to be able to defend, too. I just want to prove that I can.”
He apparently made a good case during his Hawks workout. Drew, Dave Pendergraft and Rick Sund all used the word “deceptive” to describe Jenkins’ athleticism.
Jenkins said he’s heard that a lot along the workout trail.
“They really underestimate it,” he said. “I didn’t show it so much at Vandy because that wasn’t my role and I didn’t get enough opportunities. But now that I’m in my individual workouts I can show that I can dunk the ball and do a lot of good things athletically.”
Jenkins rarely missed while putting up shots after his workout, but that was expected. I was surprised to see that Jenkins has good size. He’s legitimately 6-4 with long arms and broad shoulders.
Drew, Pendergraft and Sund all said they believe Jenkins has the potential to be an adequate NBA defender.
“I think so,” Drew said. “I think he’s got the package. It’s just the know-how. Knowing personnel, knowing how to defend certain guys, what they like to do. This kid, he’s a smart guy.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat