Assessing Jalen Lecque
May 25, 2019
by Alan Lu
Recently, I decided to take the time to watch Brewster Academy’s draft-eligible point guard, Jalen Lecque play in an early season basketball game against Mount Zion Academy that was on November 16th, and I was able to see it with thanks to YouTube via Jeffrey Kee. Lecque is a very athletic playmaker that was considered to be one of the best prospects in his recruiting class before declaring to enter the 2019 NBA Draft. He was invited to the 2019 NBA Draft Combine, and after excelling in the athletic testing and playing in one combine scrimmage game, he sat out of the next match after having received positive feedback from NBA teams. I wanted to watch another basketball game of his to further assess his skill set. Here are my thoughts on how he fared against Mount Zion, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.
Jalen Lecque is a young point guard that possesses vast athletic abilities, which can allow him to thrive as a scorer off the dribble and as a help defender. He also is a developing playmaker that can throw solid passes in transition, but he will need to improve his jump shot and shooting mechanics on the offensive end. Lecque possesses an adequate ability to score on quick drives to the hoop. He has a solid first step to the hoop, and he can quickly get past the first initial defender to get scores and free throws at the rim. He tends to favor going left, but he will also use crossover moves to finish plays with his right hand. However, he can also tend to go too fast and rush his moves, and he would generally struggle to score when the help would arrive, leading him to miss shots wildly when he wouldn’t get foul calls.
He also excelled at scoring on quick drives in transition. Lecque’s best score of the game came late in this contest, as he quickly drove left before going to his right, and he proceeded to explode to the hoop to score on a thunderous dunk. He possesses great speed, leaping ability, and acceleration, and his tremendous athleticism can allow him to get numerous buckets as a driver on fast breaks at the NBA level.
However, he will really need to improve his jump shot. He missed all of his three-point attempts as well as on a mid-range jumper. Lecque tends to kick his legs out when he shoots, and despite having high arc on his shot, he doesn’t really follow through, which lead him to often times miss short on his jump shots. He also didn’t usually follow through on his shooting motion at the free throw line, and he had his struggles at the foul line in which he missed two free throws near the game’s end that could have helped his team get the win rather than fall short on a buzzer-beater in overtime.
Also, Lecque displayed solid playmaking skills in this game. He is an unselfish player that will probe to kick balls out to shooters off the dribble, and he also throws accurate, long passes to set up scores for his teammates in transition. He also did a good job of finding a roll man on the move to notch an assist late in this contest, but sometimes he has a tendency to rush his moves and throw hasty passes, as he had a couple of them get intercepted that led him to commit turnovers on those possessions.
Lecque didn’t seem to get many boards in this game, but he was able to get a couple of defensive rebounds, and he was able to run down a defensive board to help his team on the glass late in this contest. He also played fairly good defense. Lecque is an active help defender whose physical tools allow him to excel as a weakside roamer. Late in this contest, he managed to run back on defense, as he then blocked a shot off a drive emphatically out of bounds due to possessing great leaping ability, timing, and instincts. Lecque also would jump on loose balls tipped by his teammates to help his team get steals, and he also successfully drew a charge on a drive another time. Plus, he will stay in front of opposing ball handlers and close out hard to force opponents to miss on three-point shots.
However, Lecque can tend to run into foul trouble at times, and despite rotating to cover for a teammate that would get beat off the dribble, he would be prone to committing reach-in fouls on those plays. Because of this, he was forced to sit out for a rather long stretch midway through this contest. He also can sometimes end up out of position when defending opponents off the dribble, which can lead him to occasionally allow a score on mid-range jumpers and drives to the rim.
Overall, Jalen Lecque is an intriguing prospect, as his tremendous athletic gifts could make him a solid candidate for NBA teams to consider in the second round range of this year’s draft, and he could even maybe go in the first round if an NBA team is especially confident in their ability to develop young players. Lecque is an explosive athlete that has elite physical tools, and he has a player that may have a great deal of upside for the next level. However, he may be far from being a polished prospect for the NBA at this stage. He does not shoot the ball very well outside of the paint area, and he will need to clean up his shooting mechanics to improve his ability to make free throws and jump shots from the perimeter. He also has a tendency to rush his moves when he tries to create plays off the dribble, so he may struggle to score or make solid passes consistently against help defense.
Most likely, Jalen Lecque will need at least a season in the G-League to hone his game, but even so, he could be a worthwhile long-term project for an NBA team if they are patient with him. If this ends up being the case, he could end up being a solid find for a team in the late first to the second round range, as he may have the talent to develop into a starting point guard in the league in the mold of a Jeff Teague type. Otherwise, if an NBA team takes him but is not patient with him, Lecque could end up being a fringe roster player that could struggle to consistently land in teams’ rotations at the next level. In all, Lecque is a talented, vastly athletic guard who may be years away from being able to be a contributor in the NBA. He could potentially be a sleeper in this year’s draft, but he also could be a very risky pick for teams to pick high in the draft, and he may profile into being a high risk, high reward type of prospect for the league.