By Max Feldman
It has been no secret whatsoever since FOG launched about nine months ago that there is no one in NBA Draft media that is higher on Texas Tech freshman guard, Jahmi’us Ramsey.
One month ago, the full scouting report on Ramsey was released. Check that out to take an even deeper dive into the nuances of his game.
With that, here I am again doubling down one more time on Jahmi’us Ramsey as an NBA Draft prospect. The May Edition Big Board saw Ramsey slide down one spot, from 8 to 9, to make room for Cole Anthony as he vaulted back up slightly from the 10th spot. The drop was not caused by any differing reads on Ramsey, but a modified perspective on Anthony’s talent.
At the beginning of each and every month, the FOG Big Board is released. Each and every month I receive backlash and complaints on how Ramsey could possibly be so high up. Multiple major sports media outlets have labeled Ramsey as a “sleeper”, but FOG is here to spotlight how he is anything but, and belongs near the top of boards. Tankathon ranks Ramsey as their 25th best player. ESPN ranks Ramsey as the 23rd best player. Bleacher Report ranks Ramsey as the 41st best player in the field. So yes, the consensus is pretty low on him.
The full scouting report covers the complete case of how Ramsey’s game breaks down. This is to cover all your questions and concerns on why/how Ramsey has cemented his stock in my eyes. While being one of the youngest players on the FOG Big Board, Ramsey is one of the most physically mature prospects at 6-4 with a legitimate 200 pound frame. Measurements are all the hype these days for NBA testing, and Ramsey shows off a whopping 6-10 wingspan. The excitement of measurements might seem over the top, but analytics do show that players with advanced wingspans do excel on the defensive end especially. The concern and rationale across the NBA scouting world is that Ramsey is a below average athlete, thus holding him back from separating himself as a top tier scorer in this class, which I see as an incomplete narrative. Ramsey would not be a favorite to claim the highest vertical or three quarter sprint, but certainly would be in the race for the strongest players for his respective size. He is not a mediocre athlete, and dating back to his high school film consistently shows off rim-rocking finishes and vertically impressive swats around the rim. Every NBA draftee has work to do on their body while transitioning to the next level, and believe it or not Ramsey might be ahead of the game.
To address another major media concern of his Ramsey’s game is his ability to create separation and create for himself. Many pin his supposed lack of burst or athleticism. Yet, Synergy Sports placed Ramsey in the 88th percentile in the isolation scoring category, where he scored 1 point per isolation possession. And again, Ramsey placed in the 88th percentile in scoring off of screens and the 86th percentile while scoring off of hand offs. Yes, he is not as fast as other guards like Kira Lewis Jr or Anthony Edwards, but does place in the 76th percentile in transition scoring where he uses his change of pace and imposing build to finish through defenders. Jahmi’us uses his instinct and athleticism to score around the rim, but also boasts one of, if not the best shooting strokes in the draft class. Ramsey lands at the 75th percentile in half court shooting, 91st percentile in catch and shoot jumpers in the half court while showing off an impressive 1.27 points per spot up shooting possessions. Ramsey is incredibly efficient scoring while driving to his right, but does need improvement going to his left hand although he did drive that direction 10 more possessions than his right in iso situations showing he is not shying away. Numbers show a strong narrative in Ramsey’s favor as a scoring weapon at the next level.
I did not expect the advanced scoring skillset, burst or the positive signs of efficiency on the offensive end coming into Ramsey’s freshman season, but I did spot his toughness, instincts and versatility on the defensive end. Ramsey led the way for the Red Raiders offensively, a potential reason why he seemed to struggle defensively at times this season. Yet, Ramsey still led the team in steals (1.3 per game) and was second on the team in blocks (0.7 per game). Early on his NBA career, the scoring load will likely not be on Jahmi’us Ramsey shoulders regardless of where he lands. This opportunity will allow Ramsey to show off his versatility and cement what first stood out to me, his defensive prowess, while watching Ramsey play at IMG Academy in his Junior season and Duncanville High School for his Senior campaign. The average wingspan for NBA shooting guards is 6-8, placing Ramsey ahead of the curve. It is safe to say Ramsey will be capable of the 1 and 2 effectively, but his length and girth provides optimism in terms of guarding wings at the next level. I see the longterm potential of Ramsey winding up somewhere between Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Brogdon and Marcus Smart, with a very safe floor of Gary Harris. All four are lockdown defenders who thrive off the ball offensively but can produce as secondary ball handlers. An identity that I believe will stick with Ramsey when moving to the NBA similar to Holiday, Smart and Brogdon is that he is a guy you’ll hate to play against but will love to have on your team.
With all of this, I am not supporting the idea that Ramsey is an all-around prospect and has no areas to grow in. He must become a better playmaker for his teammates, mature in terms of reading P&R situations and tighten his footwork & ball handling. But, I do believe Jahmi’us Ramsey’s stock is being slanted by major draft media. At the end of the day, NBA teams in the draft lottery have routinely chosen the route of taking players with “sexy” skillsets and high-flying highlight tapes, and Ramsey does not fit that bill. But, he will come in day one and infuse toughness, help build an identity and serve a role every team needs which is bringing defensive energy and an offensive scoring punch at all three levels. By looking at Mock Drafts, Big Boards and scouting reports across the internet, it might seem absolutely ludicrous to compare Jahmi’us Ramsey to Anthony Edwards. I have no problem with that and to be honest when you dive deeper, Ramsey might be a safer prospect. From the moment FOG launched, Ramsey has been one of the first names I wanted to tag onto and will continue to till the 2020 NBA Draft opens.