Jaylen Nowell to Timberwolves: 2019 NBA Draft Scouting Profile and Analysis

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2019

Washington's Jaylen Nowell drives against Utah State in the first half during a first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, March 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The Minnesota Timberwolves added one of the most proven college players in the country to their backcourt rotation Thursday when they selected University of Washington guard Jaylen Nowell with the No. 43 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. 


The @Timberwolves select Jaylen Nowell with No. 43 pick in the 2019 #NBADraft! https://t.co/sGaCIpI004


Nowell's Scouting Profile (h/t B/R's Jonathan Wasserman)

Offensive Strengths

Skilled scorer from all three levels who can create his own shot. Made encouraging strides as a three-point shooter and playmaker.


Offensive Weaknesses

Not an explosive athlete. Takes some low-percentage shots in the mid-range, may have trouble fitting into an NBA lineup.


Defensive Outlook

Played zone in college; doesn't have any experience playing man-to-man but has fine tools to guard 2-guards.


Projected role: Bench scorer

Nowell arrived at Washington as a highly regarded 4-star recruit, per 247Sports' composite rankings, and was an immediate contributor for the Huskies. He was a Pac-12 All-Freshman selection in 2017-18 behind 16.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists per game and 35.1 percent shooting from three-point range.

He then led Washington to the NCAA men's basketball tournament in 2018-19 as the Pac-12 Player of the Year behind 16.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game and a blistering 44.0 percent shooting from deep.

It was his shooting that stood out the most, especially when evaluating his NBA prospects in a league that relies so much on the perimeter attack.

He can slash into the lane and finish through traffic when defenders press up on him, but they often have no choice but to do just that because of his shooting prowess. All he needs is the slightest bit of space to unleash his shot.

Nowell is also versatile enough to play with the ball in his hands as a shot creator or off it and try to work into openings with his shooting.

It is fair to question how Nowell's defense will translate to the pros, especially since Washington largely played a 2-3 zone that often left him in the back corner. He isn't going to play in that type of scheme in the NBA, but he does have enough athleticism and length to contribute on the defensive end.

"I take pride in that a lot," Nowell said during the predraft process, per Ky Carlin of USA Today's Sixers Wire. "It's something you don't see a lot out of offensive players, but I do take a lot of pride in my defense."

Minnesota surely hopes that pride translates into effective play as soon as his rookie season.