Jaron Blossomgame – 6’7″ – 215lbs – Senior – Clemson – 24 y.o. – SF
I’m going to make the joke now so I can get it out of the way. I like Blossomgame because his game is really blossoming. There. It’s over. Let’s move on. Bad jokes aside, Blossomgame provides things the last two prospects I reviewed: an already refined game and veteran experience. Yes, Jaron (who originally went out for last year’s draft but pulled away at the last moment) is probably the most NBA-ready prospect in this year’s coming draft class as Clemson’s style of play fits in pretty much with what most of the NBA is switching to: smaller lineups, faster style of play, fuck defense, you know, the works. But in all seriousness, Jaron is a very good player that will help out almost immediately to any team that drafts him.
4 year Starter + Redshirt – Clemson is a very good basketball team. They took a lot of ACC opponents to the limits last year and years prior with extreme precision. And a large part of that was due to Jaron’s play. His first year coming off a redshirt year, which game him another year to refine his skills as a player, he was shifted in and out of the lineup to give time to other players (some of whom who would end up transferring), giving Clemson a good push for relevancy. This would continue, even as the team started to thin out, and Blossomgame continue to carry the team and keep them on the verge of tournament play for years. Expect this year for Jaron to be a team leader, an extra coach, willing his team to victory.
Developed Jump Shot – I was looking at players in this draft who could be very good shooters because they already have the athleticism to be threatening. Well, with Jaron, you have that shooting stroke. His jump shot seems to be a bit grounded, but it doesn’t necessarily mean much to me because of how effective it was. I’m blessed enough to get ACC games on my programming, and I looked at a couple games from the 2014-15 season and 2015-16 season and there was a drastic difference in how Jaron shot the ball. He really looks comfortable shooting NBA range 3PTs, and his stats tell the same story. He sports a 40% 3PT, which is astounding when you compare to his freshamn year when it was 20%. That’s quite significant, jumping up 10% points per year, but I don’t expect him to be a 50% shooter this year. Honestly, him keeping at around 40% would be good enough in my books. That shows consistency.
Defense, Defense, Defense – I like to put out there that Jaron is a Center in a Small Forward’s body. He plays WAY bigger than he is, and with the quickness he has at not being 7’1″ allows him to be a one-man block party. He has developed a sense of anticipation that you can see whenever he is looking at a defender, just waiting for them to layup on him. I’ve seen a couple times where he is keeping pace with a person all game, but allows them to get around him (which makes them feel like they’re going to get hot and get free points) until he swoops in from behind and smacks the ever living shit out of the ball (which demoralizes them). I haven’t seen something so intentional since I saw video highlights of Bill Russell. He’s an assassin on both the offensive and defensive side.
Versatility – I don’t know how versatile he’ll be on the offensive side of the ball because Clemson is hesitant to allow him to play big in the Power slot and have a lot of guys at SG, but on the defensive side, Jaron can defend 4 positions, possibly 5 depending on the Center.
What you see is what you’re going to get – He’s going to be 24 years old this season, 25 when he enters the NBA. That’s borderline already in his prime, so whatever kind of potential he has is going to be walled off pretty quick, and I don’t expect a 10-year career out of this guy. He’ll be very serviceable for the years to come, but he isn’t someone you’re going to build up for a few years and have him run the game like Mykhailiuk or Anunoby. He’s going to take a year to adjust to the NBA, making him 26 or so when he’ll be ready completely. That’s a down.
Overly aggressive – Look, Jaron is good on the defensive end, but he WAAAAAY too damn aggressive. He gets fouled a lot and has a bit of a temper, which leads to more fouls. He’s a good kid, but on the court that’s a different matter completely. Especially when, Per 40 minutes, he averages around 3 fouls a game. That’s too much, and in today’s game where refs throw calls up for breeathin on a player the wrong way, it’ll be an issue through and through.
Isn’t a passer – If you wanted to know if he could possibly run point at all, there’s issues with that. First, from what I’ve seen, he doesn’t always pass it, even when it seems like he should or the play dictates. This might change when he realizes he won’t be the scoring demon he is now in the NBA, but his mindset seems to be “Oh, I have the ball, that means I get to score.” That, plus he isn’t a reliable passer anyways. He averages a 1 to 1 ration on assists to turnover ratio, which is kind of telling in and of itself.
Draft placement: Late 1st round, Early/middle 2nd round