The Atlantic 10 Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament is being held at Capital One Arena this week. In the first game of the week, La Salle defeated Saint Joseph’s 63-56. The headliners for the tournament are Davidson, Dayton, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and St. Bonaventure. Local teams George Washington and George Mason are also participating as the 7th and 9th seeds respectively.
As it pertains to the Wizards, there are several NBA prospects playing this week. Davidson wing Hyunjung Lee, VCU wing Vince Williams, Richmond forward Tyler Burton, Dayton forward DaRon Holmes, and Saint Joseph’s point forward Jordan Hall are probably the most prominent names among NBA Draft analysts.
I’ve been impressed by Hall all season and he was probably the player I was most excited to put eyes on in person. I referred to him as a “point forward” above but Hall, at 6-8, is essentially a point guard in a forward’s body. In 34 minutes per game this season, Hall averages 14.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.2 steals.
Hall has hit 35.5% of this threes on 6.3 attempts. He’s also a respectable 73.7% free throw shooter, which is often a good indicator of long-term perimeter shooting success. Hall shoots under 40% from the field but I think a lot of that has to do with how reliant Saint Joseph’s is on him and how much defensive attention he draws.
Despite being substantially the most talented player on the roster, Hall is a very willing passer. He uses his size well to survey the entire floor and is a strong enough ball-handler to not be disrupted by smaller, pesky defenders. The NBA game places a premium on players who can grab a rebound and push the ball in transition themselves before defenses can get set, an area where Hall shines. Very few projected second-round prospects can impact the game in as many areas as he does.
A lot of the areas for improvement in his game could potentially be addressed by being surrounded by better players. He turns the ball over too much and forces passes that he doesn’t have the space to make. Hall also doesn’t get to the rim as much as you’d like for someone his size. It seems reasonable to project that being surrounded by more talent and NBA spacing would serve him well and help alleviate those concerns to some extent.
At the start of the opening game of tournament, it looked like Hall would put on a show for the hundreds of fans in attendance. In just the first three minutes, he crossed over a defender before hitting a step-back three and then elevated over a defender to hit a turnaround baseline jumper. He struggled the rest of the half as La Salle sent multiple defenders at him and tried to wall-up and prevent him from driving and kicking. La Salle led 39-27 at the half.
Despite poor shooting, Hall led his team back early in the second half by penetrating into the paint and kicking out to open shooters. During an early 7-0 run, he drove and had two lay-ups that rolled out and were put-back by trailing teammates. Unfortunately, he and backcourt mate Erik Reynolds were not able to make enough shots to get Saint Joseph’s over the hump. La Salle ended up winning 63-56.
Hall finished the game with 11 points on 4-17 from the field (3-5 from three), 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 turnovers in 39 minutes. He struggled to convert on pull-up jumpshots he typically makes and failed to get to the free throw line at all. Despite the shooting woes today, I saw enough from the other facets of Hall’s game to remain bullish on him as a prospect.
This year’s NBA Draft is particularly devoid of point guard talent, especially first-round caliber prospects. For a Wizards’ team in need of a young, point guard with a pick likely to be in the 50’s, I would not mind them taking a flier on Hall. His length and unselfishness would give him a chance to fill the Tomas Satoransky role longer term.
More to come on each of the other prospects as the tournament progresses. There will also be a full recap of player mentioned here on the Bleav in Wizards podcast as a part of our weekly NBA Draft-focused “Player Profile” segment.