Every year I fall in love with a prospect. In 2017 it was the Collins twins, Zach and John. In 2018, Jevon Carter. And last year, Grant Williams. It tends to be a player who pops in our model and feels severely underrated as well as simply who I like watching the most. It's also like finding that one unknown, up and coming band that no one else knows and is yours alone. It's just not as cool to say "yeah I really like that Zion guy this year".
In the 2020 draft, I had plenty of potential suitors. Tyrese Haliburton is a delight, but he's a little too highly ranked to hitch my wagon to. Desmond Bane is already every other draft nerd's sleeper pick. I'm a huge fan and believer in Aleksej Pokusevski (side note: how is Chet Holmgren this year's #1 high school recruit and Pokusevski isn't a top ten pick this year boggles my mind) but it's hard to truly fall in love via grainy video. And even though I've been patient and given the field a thorough review, I knew Jahmi'us Ramsey was going to be this year's titleholder right away.
Ramsey was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year this year, playing on the wing for Texas Tech. He's 6'4" and 195 pounds, and has a prototypical shooting guard frame. He's an explosive two-footed jumper whose highlight tapes start with him rejecting unsuspecting big men at the rim. He put up 15.0 PPG / 4.0 RPG / 2.2 APG and hit 43% of his threes using his effortless jumper.
Ramsey isn't perfect, as love never is, but our model says that he's got major NBA talent:
- The first thing that pops about Ramsey is his excellent 93/100 shooting grade. As mentioned, he made an impressive 43% of the 6.0 threes per 36 that he took. That level of accuracy on such a high volume (71st percentile for wings) along with his beautiful shooting stroke gives me little doubt that he'll be a threat from three in the NBA.
- Ramsey also grades out well as a defender, scoring as a 74/100, good for the 83rd percentile amongst wings in our model. He was disruptive, averaging 0.8 blocks and 1.5 steals per 36 (65th and 72nd percentile for wings, respectively), and also was a positive to Tech's team defense, posting a Defensive BPM of 3.2 (73rd percentile for wings). He won't be Marcus Smart on D, but he projects to be more than adequate for a perimeter player.
- He graded at a solid 76/100 as a scorer in our model, but his film may be even more impressive than his projection. He's shown an ability to hit threes off the bounce as well as pull-up in the midrange with ease. His footwork and creativity was unusually polished for a freshman
- The first thing that makes you go hmmm... when looking at Ramsey is his low free throw percentage of 64%, which puts him in the 11th percentile for wings. He's said in interviews that he's not a natural born shooter, and this tracks as an indicator of that. You love to see that he's made himself into a marksman through hard work, but the 43% he shot from three may be his ceiling
- Ramsey only shot 45% on twos (12th percentile for wings). Despite what some of his dunks would lead you to expect, he's not a great finisher at the rim and could stand to improve in his shot selection.
- He only got to the free throw line 3.3 times per 36 (20th percentile for wings), which doesn't bode well for him being an elite scorer
- Despite his sound numbers defensively, scouts have raised concerns about his focus on that end
Ramsey's top 3 comps in our model (see above image) are good to great NBA wings: KCP, Gary Harris, and Donovan Mitchell. Despite that, there's certainly a chance he's a bust. He has a lot in common with Ben McLemore, another prototypical two guard who also seemed like a can't miss. But he also has plenty in common with Mitchell and Bradley Beal as a prospects.
There's a few things that will determine which end of the McLemore to Mitchell spectrum Ramsey's career falls into:
Love is never easy, and I wouldn't want it any other way with Ramsey. He has his warts as a prospect, but his highs are so damn high. With the concerns about his shot selection and defensive awareness, he may be very similar to McLemore in that his career will be very dependent on the type of environment he's drafted into. Get taken by the shitshow that was (is?) the Kings and end up hanging on to his NBA career for dear life, or get drafted by the Jazz and their vaunted player development staff and become the next Spider Mitchell.
Ramsey has a ton of parallels as a prospect to Bradley Beal, who came along as a 3&D wing for 3-4 years before blossoming into a full blown franchise centerpiece. But look for him to have a slightly more bumpy ride than Beal's steady ascension. Think a little more fun, bigger dunks, and a few more boneheaded plays... think the Pipe God 2.0.
- Our Comp: JR Smith
- Suggested Draft Range: Top 10
- Immediate Impact: Low (shooting specialist with occasional defensive lapses)
- Long Term Potential: High (fringe All-Star, 18 PPG / 5 RPG / 3 APG)
Ramsey compared to Bradley Beal as a prospect: