2020 NBA Draft: Can Jay Scrubb be the Nuggets’ diamond in the rough?

Jay Scrubb is anything but one. Here’s why the Denver Nuggets should draft him.

Junior college prospect Jay Scrubb could become a key member of the Denver Nuggets’ rotation should they select him with the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

There have been many prospects who played ball at a junior college — Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Sam Cassell, Shawn Marion — that wound up having notable careers.  However, none of these players spent the entirety of their collegiate career at the NJCAA level. Nonetheless, that’s just what Jay Scrubb is hoping for after spending two seasons at John A. Logan College, opting to forfeit his remaining collegiate eligibility rather than play for the University of Louisville.

The Stats

2018-19: 20.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.6 blocks and 2.3 turnovers per game.

.549/.464/.791 shooting splits

2019-20: 21.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.9 blocks and 3.1 turnovers per game.

.501/.333/.727 shooting splits

The Tape

Admittedly, I’m not sitting here watching a plethora of JUCO games but it’s not hard to see why they named Scrubb as the Junior College Player of the Year. With his size at 6’6″ and 215 pounds, he’s a physical dominant point guard who scores in seemingly every way and whose lefty shooting stroke gives him deep range. He simply dominates in transition thanks to his athleticism, ball-handling and size.

The blocks he can generate as a weakside defender standout as well. It’s a skill that’s a little reminiscent of Dwyane Wade.

Optimistic Outlook

A highly-skilled scorer with exceptional athleticism (40-inch vertical), the 20-year-old Scrubb has plenty of time to develop and add to his game. Defensively, he’s undisciplined but has great potential as a man-to-man and team defender. He simply has the ability to be a key rotation player.

Obviously, a highlight tape doesn’t show where a player lacks and the level of competition that Scrubb faced in college differs tremendously from what he’ll face in the NBA. However, he has the athleticism, physicality, touch and ball-handling to consistently create separation against NBA athletes and make the most of it.

On both ends of the ball, a coaching-up will be needed in order to improve his discipline, but it’s hard to put a ceiling on just how good Scrubb can be with the right mindset and effort.

The Verdict

Drafting Scrubb with the 22nd overall pick would show that the Nuggets have plenty of confidence in him and these he’s their guy, as it would likely be possible for Denver to maneuver and get him in the second-round. Such a move should only inspire the Louisville native, who would join a team with championship aspirations next season.

Scrubb would, ideally, fill the role of a scorer at shooting guard that’s lacking with both Gary Harris and Torrey Craig. The former doesn’t seem to have the touch and the latter doesn’t seem to have the moves.

Because Scrubb has both, along with the potential to be a defensive stopper, it’s even feasible that he could earn a starting role down the line. With the Nuggets needing players who can generate consistent offense in both the first and second units, Scrubb fills a need for Denver.

Next: Jerami Grant to the Hawks?

There are probably sexier names that the Nuggets could get with this pick but Scrubb is a diamond in the rough. With the right development, teams could be kicking themselves a few years from now for not drafting him.