Usher averaged 14.8 points per game, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game during his senior season. While diving into this 2022 NBA Draft class, I have become very intrigued by Usher and think he would be an excellent fit for the Lakers. Although Usher has only played in the NCAA Tournament once during his five-year college career, he has significantly improved during each college season.
I think Usher could be a realistic Undrafted Free Agent option for the Lakers, and if so, I think he could be another hidden gem for the scouting department.
Top Three Player Traits
The No. 1 thing that pops off when you turn on Jordan Usher’s film is how athletic he is. Usher is an explosive player and does a great job of finishing above the rim. He isn’t just a vertical player, however. Usher is quick and shifty while making cuts and coming off pin downs and other screens. Having someone as explosive as Usher playing next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis would be an excellent fit for the Lakers. Kind of similar to how we saw Malik Monk fit next to the two Lakers superstars. Unfortunately, he wasn’t invited to the NBA Combine, so we won’t get to see how he tests, but when watching tape, you see the athleticism on the floor.
During his interview following his workout with the Lakers, one of the players Usher compared his game to was Draymond Green. Although Usher only averaged 2.9 assists during his final season at Georgia Tech, he is an excellent passer. Georgia Tech ran many actions that involved having Usher playing at the elbow and allowing him to be a playmaker and decision-maker. This is very similar to how the Golden State Warriors use Green – allowing him to operate from the elbow and facilitate while Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson come off of screens.
3. Hustle Plays
The first play I saw while watching Jordan Usher’s tape was him diving on a loose ball and saving it for his team. That is the kind of player that the Lakers were sorely missing last season. Outside of Austin Reaves and Stanley Johnson, it was hard to find a player to dive on the floor for a loose ball. When you look at all the teams in title contention, they have several players who are willing to sacrifice their bodies to get their team another possession.
Three Traits To Improve Upon
1. 3-Point Shooting
Is Usher a bad 3-point shooter? The answer is no. However, similar to Reaves, teams will only need to have a late contest on his 3-point attempts. Usher shot 34.2% from long range in his final season at Georgia Tech. In order to be a real threat from three potentially playing alongside James and Davis, Usher is going to have to improve from behind the arc. This is something that he talked about himself as something he knows he needs to work on.
In order to be a legitimate offensive threat, Usher is going to have to improve on his ball-handling skills. In the NBA, where there are a large number of terrific on-ball defenders, Usher will have to improve his ball-handling to be able to create separation at the next level. While he can create his own shot off the dribble, Usher lacks that first step while using a dribble move.
This issue is what I’m the least concerned about for Usher. No matter where he lands, I highly doubt that he’ll be asked to be the primary ball-handler. However, throughout Usher’s collegiate career, he did have some turnover concerns. Usher had nine games during his senior season with four or more turnovers. That is definitely something he is going to have to clean up. Again I’m not too worried, as if he joined the Lakers, he wouldn’t be asked to be a primary ball-handler.
In total, I think Jordan Usher would be a perfect fit for the Lakers. It doesn’t seem like Usher will be drafted as he didn’t get an NBA Combine invite. However, I truly believe he could be another hidden UDFA find for the Lakers. His skillset and willingness to defend is something that the Lakers desperately need heading into next season. Even if he doesn’t play any meaningful minutes next season, you could always send him to the G League and develop him there like the Miami Heat with Max Strus and Gabe Vincent, and the Warriors with Jordan Poole.
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