Jared Harper Scouting Report
Profile: During his junior year at Auburn, Harper averaged 15.3 points per game, 5.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.1 blocks on 39.9% shooting from the field and 37% from three. At the combine he measured in at 5’11 169 pounds with a 6’5.5 wingspan and 40.5 inch max vertical. He led Auburn’s 3pt barrage pace & space offense to the final four in the NCAA tournament with his electric offensive style. His game compares to (most notably) Nate Robinson regarding his stats, impact, style, ceiling, and fit. Nate had an inefficient career but was able to carve out a few impact roles in his 10 year career before going overseas and pursuing other opportunities. At Jared Harper’s best, he could end up in this type of fit. While he was incredibly fun to watch, his game is better suited for the G-League/Two-Way deals and international scene. He may be able to find a role off the bench as an 10th/11th man at some point in the NBA, but it is unlikely to last as a long term player and will likely find himself going overseas/staying in the G-League.
- Shooting Ability/Versatility: Harper can hit shots in so many ways, and has a good pull up game from deep. He can create shots for himself beyond the arc, and was 79/212 (37.26%) from NBA 3 this past year while only hitting spot ups on roughly 19% of them. He can make an immediate impact with his NBA range, and his shot is likely to translate if he forces it less. He is comfortable using dribble pull ups from anywhere, and can punish defenders for going under ball screens or playing too far back. He excels in high pick and rolls due to his ability to pull-up from anywhere and blow by defenders with his blazing speed. Defenders are uncomfortable going over pick and rolls due to threat of him blazing through, and this opens up his pull-up game greatly. In the NCAA tournament, his pull-up 3pt shot was lethal and he was able to hit shots in a variety of ways with an inconsistent base. He is a very fluid shooter when he can step into his shot. He also has good touch, and that was evident in his 82.8% free throw shooting this year.
- Transition Offense/Explosiveness/Athleticism: One gift that Harper possesses is incredible athleticism and high level explosiveness. Harper has some of the best bounce of any point guard in the draft, and measured a 40 inch max vertical in the combine. This contributes to his prowess when pushing the ball in transition. He is very quick running the floor with the ball in transition, and can be very bouncy in space off 1 foot. He gets up in the air quickly, and has excellent body control. He can throw down some nice dunks too, despite being just 5’11 in shoes. Harper often uses his speed to his advantage by utilizing high pick and rolls and pushing the ball coast to coast in transition to catch defenders off guard. He excels when he can control the pace of the game with his explosiveness, and often created easy finishes and open teammates. He can punish defenders by using his great acceleration to slip right by perimeter defenders.
- Passing Ability/Vision: Harper has above average vision as a passer, especially out of the pick and rolls, lobs, and drive and kicks. He makes the basic reads necessary for a next level point guard, and has excellent touch and accuracy on his passes. Even when at high speeds, Harper puts it directly where the shooter wants it. He excels at punishing defensive rotation issues when hitting the roll man on lobs or live-dribble passes, which should translate well to the next level. He is one of the best lob passers I have seen in the NCAA, and will really bring out the best in a rimrunning 4 or 5. In transition he throws lobs incredibly well when he can see his team running the floor hard. He can get his passes off in a hurry (without forcing the ball) with incredible accuracy, and has a lower level version of the live dribble passing coveted in the modern game, especially with modern point guards like Trae Young or Ja Morant. Harper had a 32.4% assist rate this last year, while Morant and Young were each over 48%.
- Mentality/Basketball IQ: I like Harper’s mentality, as he seems ready to do whatever he needs to do to become the best player he can be, and is already has a very professional approach and mentality while having fun at the same time. Harper has a great feel for the game and does not get flustered easily. He can step up and hit clutch shots when needed, and wants to play team ball. On the court, he has an excellent feel for transition offense and passing that is present in the videos above. He makes the right reads most of the time, and has a lower turnover percentage than elite passers like Ja Morant (14.7% vs 20.5%). Harper could increase his playmaking volume with ease, and it could help him be a more efficient all around player. He can force shots a little too often, which can change with time and a lighter load. He sounds like he understands who he is as a player and wants to keep improving and playing his heart out. He was a standout at the G-League combine, and has the potential to beat expectations of him. He doesn’t sound entitled to a position either, but said that he is just ready to be a pro.
- Fit in the Modern Offensive Game: Harper excels in many areas that are key to the modern offensive attack, including pick and roll handling, pushing in transition, hitting teammates off live dribble passes, and hitting pull up 3 pointers. His offensive fit will possibly give him a chance to be a backup point guard at the NBA level, but he would succeed in a more ball dominant role overseas or in the G-League. For instance, the pick and roll game is also huge overseas, and Harper has some crazy athleticism combined with an excellent feel for the P&R that could punish slightly less athletic players that rotate slower. He could be the head of a foreign team’s offense that can put up high scoring and assist numbers. He can also get to the line pretty well, with a career 50.7% FTAr (close to Ja Morant, who had 51.2%). I do not see him fitting in the NBA as a long term player yet though, unless he can conquer his weaknesses. I can see him floating around between the NBA, G-League, and International scene. If he works very hard, he has a ceiling of a backup NBA point guard. He may have to do his time in the G-League and on Two-Way deals, and if he doesn’t make it he could do very well overseas. I believe he will play in the NBA for a little bit at least, but may have more success elsewhere.
- Efficiency/Consistency: Harper could not find consistency from the floor, and shot just under 40% from the floor last season. He is a career 38.4% shooter from the field, and a career 35.9% 3pt shooter. Over 50% of his shots are 3 pointers (57.7% 3PAr) , and he could not consistently score down low unless in transition. He shot 46% at the rim per The Stepien, and was often bothered or deterred by length. He did not have a good enough pull-up game from mid range to keep paint protectors honest, nor an incredibly effective touch shot/floater. He was often forced to be an elusive finisher and throw up difficult layups that look great when they go in, but very inefficient when they don’t. He has an amplified issue similar to that of Coby White down low, except Harper has to also overcome size limitations and a lower skill level. This lack of consistent scoring from inside the arc can make Harper incredibly streaky, and he can shoot himself out of the game.
- Size/Interior Scoring: Harper has less than ideal size for a 1 at 5’11, 169 pounds. He struggled against length and superior athletes in college, and this will not get any easier at the next level. He will struggle to create shots down low against next level defenders, and it will likely keep him from seeing a ton of time or production at an NBA level if he makes it on the court. Furthermore, he can try to do too much on the offensive end, and even tries to force it against adept shot blockers and bigs. Against Duke alone, he was blocked 4 times, and often thought he could challenge bigs (without pulling out finesse finishes) like Zion and Bolden despite their superior length or athleticism.
- Defensive Versatility/IQ: This is perhaps Harper’s biggest weakness, and will keep him from seeing many minutes on an NBA floor unless he improves his focus/effort tremendously. While his defense has improved since his freshman year, Harper likely is going to only be able to check the opposing point guard at the next level he plays at. He had a -0.5 Defensive Box Plus Minus (career best) this last year and was often attacked for mismatches. By comparison, Trae Young was a poor defender in college and at the next level, yet he had a +0.5 DPBM. Even though Harper is longer, he still struggles to keep up on the defensive end at the college level. He struggles to contest taller guards/wings if he has to switch, and they typically can shoot right over him. Also, he only averaged just over 1 steal per game as well, despite his quickness and length for an undersized point guard. He also is not the best scouting report defender, as he does not always play to his opponent’s weaknesses, and may leave a good shooter open to take a gamble at the ball. In the clip below, he tries to strip Duke’s Javin Delaurier after he takes a single dribble (with poor timing) when he is not a threat on the dribble drive. He takes his eyes off his man and leaves a good shooter & corner specialist wide open for an easy 3pt shot, and Javin was even slow on his delivery while Harper made minimal effort to recover. Earlier in the game, his lack of length allowed R.J Barrett, who has been an average shooter from deep at best, to knock down a 3 as if it were uncontested when he didn’t crowd Barrett despite having the quickness/explosiveness to get up in his face. His defensive instincts and timing are off at times, which is something that will be amplified at the next level. He then made a vision/positioning mistake and read the skip pass too late because he didn’t have his head on a swivel and allowed an easy 3. He lacks defensive effort to make up for his lack of height/length against greater size and length.
Jared Harper is an electric point guard with excellent pull-up shooting, athleticism/explosiveness, playmaking vision, and feel. He has some size limitations that ultimately hurt his scoring versatility and defensive potential, though he does have a +7 wingspan. His defensive effort and awareness lapses need to be overcome in order to have a shot at a long time role on an NBA roster. Realistically, his ceiling is that of a bench point guard that come bring in some streaky, electric, but not very efficient play with some defensive matchup issues. He could land in the G-League or overseas if his defense doesn’t take a leap, but will be exciting to watch no matter where he goes. He is a player fans will love to watch and players will enjoy playing with, especially if his efficiency gets better.
Note: His younger brother Jalen will be attending FGCU for basketball, so I will be watching him closely as well.