Justinian Jessup deep dive: pace, shot selection, confidence, play-making
Also Mawugbe (two-way?) & McLaughlin
UPDATE 8/19 from the end of Summer League, Jessup with the recap: “pace of the game slowed down for me…stopped forcing things”; deflects future/NBL talk to agent…
In the absence of Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody from the first of a back-to-back at the California Classic in Sacramento earlier this week, which Summer League head coach Kris Weems said was due to Kuminga and Moody traveling a lot during the Draft process and giving their all during workouts, here are some observations on Justinian Jessup from Gabe and Weems himself, and on two other players to keep an eye on: guard/play-maker JaQuori McLaughlin and center Selom Mawugbe. Please check our Instagram account for more visuals on Jessup and everything else!
[Editor’s Note: Apologies for the #latepost but, as you know, it’s been a crazy week. Once we got to Sacramento, suddenly Eric Paschall got shipped away and we had to send our immediate respects, then on Wednesday night, we celebrated Draymond Green’s gold medal as it was happening on our Discord server, then after the midnight drive home, Andre Iguodala announced his return, so here we are, kinda backed up and the Warriors are about to play their first game in Vegas. Hopefully this deep dive makes up for some of the delay.]
Gabe’s scouting report from Game 1 of 2
The shot wasn’t going in for him tonight (5/16 overall and 1/8 from three), but it looks good and he looked comfortable shooting with a quick release. Jessup has only had a year of professional ball and hit the three at a high clip. Guys have bad shooting nights.
Knowing him as basically just a shooter, I was very impressed with how much else he did on the court. Some of that translated into counting stats (4 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals), but mostly he just looked like he was very active, had a high motor, and knew how to play.
He looked like a competent help defender, and made the right play almost every time. The only area of real concern, in terms of projecting his impact in the NBA, was his struggles as a point-of-attack defender. Davion Mitchell hunted him in the pick-and-roll and blew by him a number of times.
On the other hand, Mitchell’s first step is going to be one of the quickest in the league and no one is really expecting Jessup to be locking down the quickest guards. For his role, this shouldn’t be a big deal, but it does place limitations on his minutes long-term.
Weems’ scouting report
In the postgame interview after Jessup’s first game, Weems went into a deep dive from an eye test perspective on Jessup (you can read the transcripts below this video):
On what he liked from Jessup: “I like his pace. He’s not the most athletic or quick guy but he gets to his spots pretty effectively. He also understands shot selection. He took some tough ones but he feels like he can get those off, and I’ve seen him do it in practice now for a few days. You need confidence as a shooter to figure out where to get a shot, but then also because a team needs you to do that. We’re expecting him to put some shots up, somebody that can stretch the floor for us, but it also allows our guys to go crash the glass. So when he takes good ones, we feel like we can go chase it down if it doesn’t go in.”
On other aspects of Jessup aside from shooting: “Play-making. He’s made some nice passes in our practices leading up to this and he had a nice one today. I think he can do more of that. Usually with the lefties, they can handle the ball better with their right hand. I can some of that with him and I feel comfortable with him initiating some plays. So we’ll do more of that with him as we go along in Summer League.”
On Jessup defensively: “He’s probably better off-the-ball now. It’s such a tough chore to deal with guys who have as much quickness, but they also have experience. The way they allow you to set screens, sometimes you can get downhill just by a little brush and other times the bigs really clip you. So he’s gotta be able to close the distance, stay connected to his man and use his physicality and use his size with him being 6’6 and just understanding what these teams are trying to do with the plays they run.”
On Jessup’s ongoing development: “Getting the shot off quickly and being able to do that with guys running at him because now they close the distance so much quicker than in Australia or even when he was in college. And then obviously guarding on the ball. He needs to be better at that so he can keep himself on the floor.”
McLaughlin and Mawugbe
McLaughlin looked like a competent point guard who ran decent offense, but didn’t really get to show much scoring and Mitchell ripped him in the backcourt a couple of times.
Mawugbe showed flashes as a rim-running, shot-blocking center. He was third in the G League in shot-blocking last year and our Discord server has discussed him as a possible two-way candidate, in the absence of a backup physical center when you consider that James Wiseman is still injured, Kevon Looney is only 6’9”, and Nemanja Bjelica is known more as a stretch-4.
Going to be interesting to see how Jessup does in the rest of Summer League. I don't think a spot is guaranteed for him, so he's going to have to work for it.
Kyle Guy is someone that was on my radar last season. His play in the first game of LVSL, is impressive. He's a bit undersized, but this guy can shoot and has a great motor. Perhaps he can win a two way spot. Payton really struggles to playmake. Kuminga is a stud.