ESPN Insider Believes Hollis-Jefferson Top ‘Cat In Draft

The summer months are the time of year NBA general managers and scouts are truly put to the test.

The seemingly endless hours of travel, phone conversations and scouting can make for sleepless nights particularly around the draft where first-round picks usually boom or bust.

A player’s professional evaluation will most likely vary depending on who you talk to so it’s no surprise the jury is split when it comes to the “ceilings” of former University of Arizona star forwards Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

“I can see a scenario where [Hollis-Jefferson] has a better NBA career than Stanley Johnson,” ESPN NBA insider Amin Elhassan told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “He’s more physically gifted.”

Strong words considering Johnson was frequently a dominant physical force as a freshman last season in Tucson averaging a team-high 13.8 points. He was also second in rebounds (6.5 per game) and steals 57. Many believe he will be a higher first-round pick than Hollis-Jefferson.

RHJ’s offensive game, despite averaging over 11 points per contest, is far from polished but the Philadelphia native more than makes up for those shortcomings at the other end of the court.

“People are intrigued about his defensive versatility and his length,” Elhassan said of Hollis-Jefferson and his 7’1” wingspan despite being only 6’7”. “Stanley Johnson measured not so impressively at the NBA Combine.

Johnson measured in officially at 6’5 1/2 and 241 pounds. 

Hollis-Jefferson is viewed by some as a prototypical swingman in the same mold as long-time, also left-handed NBA stopper Stacey Augmon. He displayed at UA the ability to guard several different positions. His biggest knock offensively has been his lack of shooting range, poor footwork and shooting mechanics.

The draft is scheduled to start Thursday afternoon at 4:00PM Arizona time. Be sure to check back for the latest pre and post-draft news right here at Sports360AZ.com.

 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.