Height: 6’6” Weight: 194 Wingspan: 6’9” Age: 20 College: Texas Tech Hometown: Lubbock, Texas
Jarrett Culver had a monster sophomore season averaging 22.8 Points per 40, and leading his team to the National Championship game. He can help a team with his scoring versatility, and defense. He can play on and off the ball, but is best with the ball in his hands. He was one of the best defenders on the #1 ranked Texas Tech defense in college, and he should continue being a great defender in the NBA. Jarrett is very aggressive and confident, and he always wants the ball at the end of the game. There were games he struggled in the NCAA tournament, but even in those games he made huge plays down the stretch. He’s a solid playmaker, but there’s times when he forced too many contested layups, and if he wants to be a primary ball handler on a team his 1.4 a/to ratio could improve. His college coach says he has an elite work ethic, and is addicted to the game, which is a very good sign and will help him reach his potential.
Culver is definitely one of the best defenders in the draft. On the ball he has great technique, quickness, and effort. He also has solid length to contest shots. He appears skinny at only 194 pounds, but I didn’t see him getting bullied going to the rim in college much at all, it will be interesting to see if it remains that way in the NBA. He can definitely guard 1-3, and maybe some 4’s. He also has a good feel for positioning off the ball, and was very well coached defensively in college by Chris Beard. This definitely helped prepare him for the NBA.
Culver’s main offense this year came out of the pick and roll, and I think will be the primary way he operates in the NBA as well. He was in the 67th percentile in pick and rolls including passes which is solid. He’s very good at reading when the defender jumps early and rejecting the screen. After coming off the pick he’s good at playing at his own pace, and finding easy paths to the rim out of hesitations. He has solid vision out of the pick and roll and can often hit the weak side corner out of the pick and roll for open threes. Although he is solid in the pick and roll he definitely can get better at some things. He doesn’t always go shoulder to shoulder on the screen which gives the defender an easy path to get over the screen. He also takes too many pull up jumpers in the pick and roll for the level of shooter he is right now. He either needs to take less pull ups, or get better at them because he right now he is not efficient with them. He didn’t shoot the ball well this year, and that is the number one thing he needs to improve to reach his potential. He was in the 37th percentile on jumpers, and had .904PPP on threes and .76PPP on mid range. None of these are good numbers, and it meansCulver shooting a jumper is typically a win for the defense. He changed his mechanics a little this year, and there are times when he looks he lost confidence in his jumper. I can tell this by him passing up wide open jumpers to take contested pullups. Despite his bad shooting year I think it is very possible he becomes a good shooter in the NBA. He shot 38% from three as a freshman with less volume (but still pretty high volume). He is also known to be a gym rat so I would bet he spends a ton of time working on his shot and becomes a solid shooter.
Culver is a very solid isolation player and shot creator. He was in the 83rd percentile this year in Isolations including passes. He’s a little better going right than left, but still is capable of going both ways. He’s a very versatile iso player that can score at all 3 levels, and although he is best going right, he is still capable of going left, and can make some jumpers. His versatility makes him a very tough cover. He can isolate from out top or out of the mid post, and I imagine he will destroy smaller two guards in the NBA in the mid post. He has tight handles and doesn’t give up on his drives. He makes very good moves when he gets cut off, and seems to have many counters. He’s also very good at attacking closeouts to get to the rim and finish. If he becomes a better shooter teams will be forced to closeout hard on him, and this will help his driving ability even more. He is a solid finisher at the rim and was in the 66th percentile. He has very good extension with his right hand to avoid shot blockers, but to become a more complete finisher he will need to work on his left hand. I think he’s a better finisher than the numbers suggest, but his selection of when to go up versus kick out to shooters can be improved. He forced up some very tough contested layups which hurt his efficiency a lot. Another area Culver thrives in is transition, and I like that he can finish after running the wing, or be the ball handler leading the break. The more ways a player can help his team, the better.
Jarrett Culver will be a great defender right away in the NBA, and although not unstoppable off the bounce he is a very capable shot creator. He is a very good competitor and hard worker who should have plenty of success in the NBA. He needs to improve his shot to maximize his potential. If he doesn’t improve his shot he will either be a solid primary or secondary ball handler that plays good defense. If he improves his shot I would be surprised if he wasn’t an all star. If he improves I don’t think he’ll become top 10 in the NBA good, but he can be a very complete two way player that makes an all star team. Even if he doesn’t he should still be a starter and solid contributor to his team.