The Cleveland Cavaliers will have the first pick and the 19th pick in this upcoming draft. In the next few weeks here at Right Down Euclid, we will be profiling players the Cavaliers might draft in the first round on June 27th. Today, we profile Jamaal Franklin.
Tale of the Tape
Name: Jamaal Franklin
School: San Diego State
Weight: 191 lbs.
Honors: 2013 All-Mountain West 1st Team
2012-2013 Per Game Stats: 16.9 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 41.1 FG%, 27.2 3PT%, 78.1 FT%
NCAA Tournament Stats: 21/8/5 vs. Oklahoma, 20/11/4/4 vs. Florida Gulf Coast
Jamaal Franklin is a quality shooting guard prospect who could be available for the Cavaliers at pick No. 19. Depending on what the Cavs do with C.J. Miles and Wayne Ellington, this could be an area of need for Cleveland. Franklin is an outstanding physical specimen who could be able to be a great NBA defender, and while he’s not the best offensive player, he should be able to make a mark in the NBA regardless. Let’s look at why Franklin has been one of the hottest prospects to talk about in the last few weeks.
HOLY WINGSPAN. Franklin is incredibly long for a guard, with a 6’11” wingspan on a 6’5” frame. That’s, well, pretty long. He should have no problem handling anyone on the perimeter defensively and will be using this to his advantage. He’s a great leaper as well, with a background as a high jumper lending to great explosion off one or both feet. Combine this with his length and you suddenly have a 6’5” guard who can conceivably guard anyone on the court. He’s not the strongest player and often finds himself struggling with contact, which can be a problem. His quickness is fairly average for an NBA guard, but his length still makes him a threat running the floor and getting past defenders on offense and staying in front of quicker guards on defense. Franklin, athletically, shouldn’t really have many problems fitting into the NBA.
Offensively, Franklin has one speed: ATTACK. Franklin is incredibly aggressive, constantly attacking the lane and getting to the rim last season, leading to him getting to the line 6.8 times per game, second in the Mountain West. However, this can bite Franklin as well, as he sometimes gets too set on attacking, and this can lead to taking bad shots. When Franklin can’t get to the rim, he is not a good shooter at all, struggling to score from outside and shooting an abysmal 27 percent from three-point range last season. He is better creating shots off the dribble than in catch-and-shoot situations, though that’s not too big of a difference, as per Draft Express, he hit 32 percent in pull-up situations and 24 percent on catch-and-shoot. Part of this, however, could be because he was the only reliable scorer for San Diego State last year and was forced into bad positions because he was the only real target for defenders. He’ll never be asked to do that in the NBA and instead should be able to morph into a slasher who can occasionally be relied on to take a shot late in a possession. He’s also a fairly good passer for his position, which will benefit him. Franklin’s not the best offensive player you’ll ever see, but he’s going to be able to get by in an NBA offense.
Here is Franklin’s strong suit: Because of his insane length, Franklin already has the physical tools to battle with pretty much anyone on the court. Franklin led the Mountain West in D-Rating, allowing only 85.7 points/100 possessions, and a big part of that was his perimeter defense. Franklin is adept on the ball, where his length cuts down angles, and he’s aggressive in hounding opposing guards, and off the ball, where his anticipation and length let him be a terror in the passing lanes. Franklin is also an outstanding rebounder for a wing, as he posted 9.5 rebounds per game and led the Aztecs in rebounding by a large margin. Franklin has great instincts and is ready and willing to crash the boards, which will serve him well on both ends in the NBA. Franklin’s one defensive issue is that he can be too aggressive, and that can lead to him being beat off the dribble easily, especially in PnR situations. However, this is something he will be able to work on, and his immense toughness and length will serve him well on the defensive end at the next level.
Franklin was forced into a tough situation last season with the Aztecs, as he was by far SDSU’s best player, and he was forced into bad situations offensively, which likely had some effect on his shooting numbers. Franklin has the game of a complimentary player at the next level, and he likely won’t ever be asked to be the top offensive option for a team again. However, it will be interesting to see if this shift in responsibility leads to Franklin getting Jason Terry-esque “Irrational Confidence Syndrome,” and being able to take over late in games, even though he’s not normally a top option. Franklin also is incredibly tough, unafraid of contact in getting to the rim and willing to guard anyone from point guards to power forwards. He also seems willing to accept whatever role he’s given, which will be excellent for him at the next level. He can be a little too aggressive on both ends at times, but that is something he should get a handle on once he gets into the NBA. I don’t really have any doubts about Franklin from this standpoint.
Franklin reminds me a lot of Tony Allen. Allen also was a dynamic two-way player for Oklahoma State and was asked to do a little too much on the offensive end. In the NBA, it took him a while to figure out the offensive side of his game, but he’s always been a quality defensive player. Over time, he developed from an inconsistent bench defender for Boston into the elite defensive wizard he is today. I’d expect Franklin to develop along the same trajectory.
How Does He Fit on the Cavaliers?
If Franklin is there at 19, I’d be shocked, first of all. Chad Ford’s new mock draft has him going 18th to Atlanta, and reports are that his stock is rising sharply after workouts last week. With teams like Minnesota and Philadelphia possibly looking to the shooting guard position earlier in the draft, I wouldn’t be surprised if Franklin is long gone at 19. However, if he’s there, he’d likely be the best player available, and the Cavs could definitely use him. If they don’t bring Ellington back, Franklin would study under Dion Waiters and C.J. Miles, bringing some defensive force off the bench and learning under Mike Brown how to correctly use his impressive physical attributes. I could definitely get used to the idea of Franklin in a Cavs jersey.