Observing Sacha Killeya-Jones
May 11th, 2020
by Alan Lu
I decided to take the time to watch BC Kalev/Cramo’s 6-10 center, Sacha Killeya-Jones play in an Estonian-Latvian Basketball League game against Valmiera Glass/VIA that took place on December 18th, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via Paf Latvian-Estonian Basketball League. Jones is a very athletic big man that played college ball at Kentucky for a couple of seasons, and he is currently automatically eligible to enter the 2020 draft. Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.
Sacha Killeya-Jones possesses a decent ability to score off the dribble. He was able to use a jab step prior to driving aggressively right to the hoop to score on a smooth layup while getting an additional free throw on the play. Plus, he also pushed the ball up the floor off of a steal to score on a drive in transition, as he displayed solid foot-speed and decent ball-handling skills to score that basket.
He also displayed an adequate ability to score in the post. On one play, he managed to score on a reverse layup while also getting an extra free throw from the post. Killeya-Jones often would go up strong to draw numerous fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line, and he did a very good job of making his foul shots. Sometimes though, he would miss on contested shots in traffic, as he would occasionally miss wildly when he wouldn’t get foul calls.
He also ended up missing some shots on off-ball motion plays. Killeya-Jones would often roll to the rim, but it wasn’t often when he would get the ball on the move. He did attempt to score off of a roll after using a hop step late in this game, but ended up missing on a contested, reverse layup. He also missed on a contested put back another time after grabbing an offensive board.
He also displayed average at best playmaking skills. Killeya-Jones didn’t seem to make any noteworthy passes in this game, but he would set numerous screens for his teammates, and he would help his teammates get open jump shots to get them scoring opportunities. However, he did commit one turnover. Late in the game, he ran across the paint to get the ball in the post, but immediately had the ball poked away from him by a defender. It could be argued though that his perhaps teammate should not have made that pass, as he threw it to him amidst a crowd of defenders that time. Killeya-Jones showed a decent ability to rebound the basketball. He didn’t grab many rebounds, but he would get leap up to get them aggressively, and he was able to haul in boards on both ends of the floor.
Plus, he also played adequate defense in this game. Killeya-Jones is an active help defender that would play passing lanes and also look to challenge shots when he was on the floor. He was able to deflect a pass, and he also jumped on loose balls to help his team get steals. He also would contest shots off of drives and in the post to force misses, and he also managed to rotate to contest a three to force a miss late in this game due to possessing good length and timing. He also appeared to rotate to make a terrific shot block on an opponent’s roll to the rim, only to instead to be whistled for committing a foul instead on a controversial call by the officials.
On the downside, he would tend not to call out screens to his teammates, as his teammates would often run into screeners, and he also would tend to hang back too often, which would allow his opponents to score on jump shots. There was another play where he bit on a pump fake in the post, and ended up allowing a score that time.
Overall, Sacha Killeya-Jones is an athletic, energetic big man that has the ability to excel on both ends of the floor at the next level. Though he wasn’t able to muster up much playing time in his two seasons at Kentucky, Killeya-Jones was able to fill his role quite nicely for BC Kalev/Cramo overseas this year. He will need to improve his jump shot, rebounding ability, and ability to defend screens out on the perimeter, but his ability to score on one-on-one situations and defensive potential could make him an intriguing option for teams to consider late in the second round in the 2020 draft.
6-8, 1999-born forward, Sander Raieste from Estonia also played for BC Kalev/Cramo in this game. Unfortunately, he didn’t really do much of anything in this match, as he barely played, and he received only a few minutes in the first half before he was benched for the remainder of this contest. On the plus side, he was able to leap up to get an offensive rebound. From analyzing the statistics, he could project into a shooting specialist role if he makes his way to the NBA. Most likely, he will need to spend another season overseas or in the G-League to hone his game, as he could either take the time to dominate his current level, or use it as an opportunity to show that he can play well at the highest levels of international basketball. He didn’t really stand out from an athletic standpoint. Currently, he may be a long shot to be drafted, but his size and shooting percentages suggest he could potentially be a draft and stash candidate if he ends up getting selected by an NBA team in this year’s draft.