Athletic beats Jabbari Walker ahead of the 2022 NBA draft

Jabari Walker has been a hot commodity in this draft cycle, working with multiple teams in preparation for Thursday’s NBA Draft. Walker had a solid career in Colorado, perhaps most notably with a 24-point performance in the Buffaloes’ March Madness first round game against Georgetown in his freshman season.

Walker, the Buffs’ leading scorer and editor for this past season, has announced the NBA draft and will look forward to hearing his name called Thursday night. But what makes Walker so attractive to NBA franchisees? Sam Vecenie of Atletic recently profiled Walker as part of his 2022 NBA draft guide.

First of all, Vecenie liked Walker’s physical traits (h/t athlete):

At 6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan and 8-foot-9 in a standing position, Walker has a good size and height for all fours. Play
With real shivering and light on his feet. It also has good functional strength. He was not very flexible as an athlete as a junior student
Significantly improved there.

I buy Walker as a shooter most of the time. Clean edit with a good touch as a teenager. Good prep shot. Ready for one or two steps
in the shot. He gets a good base under him and shoots. Really good as a trailer when he can get into it.

Walker’s height is what stood out during his Colorado career and here we see Vecenie touch upon that. As the old saying goes, you can’t teach size, Walker has the height and two wings to be one of four players in the NBA. It doesn’t hurt that Walker grew up around the game with his dad Samaki Walker playing in the NBA as well.

With the good must also come the wicked; Vecenie was not a fan of Walker’s offensive game:

Outside of the jacket, I don’t see a ton that could translate as an offensive player. A shot might suffice, but Walker has a way to go on all three levels.

Not a good enough terminator for what his tools are. He made 52.8 percent of his shots over the edge this past season, a number well below average for someone this size. He can dive on break or out of the sinking spot, but he’s an important athlete at the edge.

Walker will need to supplement his offensive capabilities as noted above. Given his height, you’d think he’d be more polished around the edge, but based on his shot percentage mentioned above, he has a lot to improve on.

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