NBA Draft Preview: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson


With the conference finals set to begin, we are a little more than a month out from the NBA Draft. The Draft Combine closes out tomorrow with the lottery taking place on Tuesday night, so several teams across the league are currently in draft mode.

Earlier this week, we previewed the draft prospects of Stanley Johnson. We’ll continue on that course of discussing Arizona players with taking a look at Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

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  • Unlike Johnson, Hollis-Jefferson spent two seasons down in Tucson. After a solid freshman campaign in which he was to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team, RHJ had a slight bump in minutes this past season, averaging 11.2 points, 6.8 rebounds 1.6 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field.

    For his efforts, Hollis-Jefferson was named to first-team All-Pac-12 and to the Pac-12 All-Defense Team. Not too bad for just two years in college.

    Hollis-Jefferson’s strengths are pretty clear to anyone who has watched him play.

    His athleticism is through the roof. Throughout the season, Hollis-Jefferson had a lot of noteworthy dunks and plays which made you shake your head.

    Dec 9, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (23) celebrates during the second half against the Utah Valley Wolverines at McKale Center. Arizona 87-56. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

    Despite being only two years removed from high school, Hollis-Jefferson has the type of body to play in the NBA right off the bat. He measured just under 6-foot-6 at the combine, but he only has five percent body fat and his freakish long arms give him a wingspan of seven-foot-two.

    With how he’s built, Hollis-Jefferson will at the very least be able to come in and be a stout defender during his rookie season in the league. More times than not, he was guarding the opposing teams best player while in a Wildcats uniform.

    Now, there are a few things to be weary of when it comes to RHJ as well.

    Coming in at just under six-foot-six, he’s considered a bit of a tweener. He might be too small to play forward but also too big and not fast enough to guard most shooting guards in the NBA.

    Hollis-Jefferson is also a work-in-progress on the offensive end. Yes, he shot better than 49 percent from the field in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, but most of those came inside the key.

    When Hollis-Jefferson moves out from that point, he has problems putting the ball in the hoop. He shot just under 21 percent from behind the arc this past season.

    In order to become a better offensive weapon at the next level, Hollis-Jefferson is going to have to improve his jumper. If he doesn’t work on it, he’s going to be an easy guard at the next level.

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    As far as mock drafts are concern, you can find Hollis-Jefferson going anywhere from the middle to late in the first round. I’ve always felt that he would be a perfect fit for the Suns, but he might be a bit of a stretch with the 13th pick.

    If Hollis-Jefferson is taken late in the first round, that probably would be the best thing for him. He’d very likely being going to a team that is a title contender which can bring him along slowly on the offensive end while at the same time use him in key situations on the defensive end, his big strength right now.

    Whoever decides to select Hollis-Jefferson, that team is going to get a guy who could turn into an elite defender and could be a steady player on the offensive end if given the time to develop. We will find out which team will pull the trigger on Hollis-Jefferson come late next month.

    Next: NBA Draft Preview: Stanley Johnson