21 year old 6’4, 181 pound guard out of Ohio.
Averaged 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 7.3 assists on 51.4% fg, 39.0% 3, 59.6% ft.
Jason Preston is one of the most interesting late first round to early second round prospects as the numbers he was able to put up at Ohio were undeniable but questions about his age, consistency, and competition he faced are concerns.
Though his years in college lead to him being nearly 22 coming into the draft, that experience he gained is key for him being the player he is. By far his best attribute was his play out of the in ball screens. He was able to generate an absurd 13.4 PPG in the pick-n-roll. The pace he was able to play with was what made him such an elite player in ball screens, he had a clear understanding of when to take a slower approach or when to speed himself up. His ability to attack was at its best when he just put his head down off a screen an bursted to the hoop. The single best move he has in his toolbag was his hesitation that he freezes opponents with often. When he got a defender on his back he continued to show a nuance of an NBA veteran as he gets the defender on his hip and then goes up for a floater. When watching you can just tell how much smarter he is than everyone else on the court and an example of this is how he continued to use his body to his advantage as he backs his man down, patiently waiting for his shot. As a passer he has some of the best vision that anyone in this class can offer. Big men who roll to the basket will feed off of his playmaking as he loves nothing more than locating his teammates. The precision and touch he showed off was very impressive as fellow Bobcats would always get hit in the exact spot they needed to. His precision was on full display when he made pocket passes as he fit them into tight windows effortlessly. When the defense collapsed on him he was also more than comfortable to locate shooters on the wings and in the corners, some really exciting crosscourt passes in there. The creativity he has was huge in his ability as a passer with him making behind the back passes and passes to the opposite corner with ease. In the open court his playmaking was electric as well with his quarterback-like ability to make full court passes. As a shooter while not necessarily being the most consistent this class has to offer, he does have some of the highest upside. His pullup shooting was an area with plenty of ups and downs but the highs he showed off were incredibly exciting. There were many times where he was comfortable pulling up from the logo. He also was able to punish teams for going under in the pick-n-roll at times, many of these shots coming from deep as well. As a catch and shoot player he was much more consistent, shooting 47% in 2021. The way he moved off the ball was fantastic as his nuance for how to get open without the ball in his hands yet again showed basketball intelligence beyond his years. He was effective as a cutter too, frequently catching the defense sleeping for easy points. Defensively while he has his clear drawbacks he does bring some value. His 6’8.5 wingspan allows him to be effective on contests. That size also was helpful on the boards where he was a strong rebounder who would fight for positioning in traffic.
With him being just below 22 years old by the time of the draft and not being a top tier athlete he has a very clear cap on his potential that will scare many NBA teams away. He’s a solid team defender but his one on one defense is very worrying. The problems he faces as a point of attack defender mainly comes from his underwhelming athleticism. His footwork on closeouts were incredibly sloppy and this led to him getting burnt often, he needs to improve his balance badly. Lateral quickness was another big problem as even against much less athletic players than then he will see at the next level he struggled. In the pick-n-roll we saw these same issues continue as his lack of side to side speed caused him to struggle massively when navigating around screens. With the NBA being a league that has such athletic players who will be running action in ball screens often he could really have some problems. We saw this lack of athleticism be a big problem offensively as it was a challenge for him to consistently get to the basket without the assist of a screen. This lack of explosiveness led to him settling for a lot of awkward, off-balance shots which was a big factor in his low free throw numbers. He also struggled to finish through contact in the rare times where he would draw it. By far the biggest swing factor for how good Jason will become is how consistent his pullup shooting can get. While you love to see the confidence and comfort he has from outside, the results are not pretty. There were moments of him catching on fire and punishing teams for going under on him but teams will still dare him to do so as they will play the percentages. I think his shooting off the dribble could be good but he needs to either chill out on the deep, contested, and stepback threes or improve dramatically at hitting those shots.
What I Rate Him As A Prospect
Where He Fits Best
New York Knicks: The Knicks need someone who can set up teammates. While shooting was a big problem in the playoffs, generating those shots were nearly just as big as a problem.
Boston Celtics: With the Celtics being one of the worst passing teams in the NBA by every metric they need a real big time playmaker desperately.
- Malcolm Brogdon
- Derrick White
- Ty Jerome
- Markelle Fultz
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