Scouting Report: JD Davison's Mouthwatering Athleticism Only Begins to Pierce His Appeal
The Alabama guard is an exciting player.
Turn on the tape, and it’s easy to see why JD Davison is so highly touted.
The Alabama point guard’s eye-popping athleticism is clearly in the upper echelon. His blend of speed, quickness and leaping ability absolutely jumps off the screen.
The 6-3, 195-pound freshman arrived in college basketball with high prestige. He joined a loaded Alabama squad with a talented trio of guards, which forced Davison to come off the bench.
But his impact would not be denied.
Davison is constantly hammering down sensational dunks and making highlight-reel plays, but his game goes beyond that.
That starts with his savvy passing ability. Davison is averaging 4.1 assists in 24.7 minutes.
Davison displays excellent passing vision. He’s aware of where all nine guys are on the floor and manipulates defenders with his eyes. He can throw up lobs, sling one-arm passes, hit skip passes — he does it all.
He executes passes with a high degree of difficulty. Davison seems to have mastered the jump pass. He’ll do a marvelous job leveraging double teams, forcing them to commit to him, which opens up dump-offs to teammates for easy looks.
The velocity and accuracy on his passes are impeccable. With that, he threads the needle and fits the ball into tight angles to make plays.
Davison utilizes ball fakes to move/freeze defenders and open passing lanes. He’s patient in his approach.
He has proven to be a true floor general who makes unselfish plays. It’s not just passes leading to assists, he will make cerebral passes to teammates who can attack closeouts and create their own offense. It may not result in an assist, but it’s the right play.
That mentality spills over to his scoring profile.
Davison’s obvious caveat is his perimeter shooting. He’s shooting 29.2% from deep on a mere 2.5 attempts. His spot-up shooting has been solid. He has a natural shooting motion with a relatively quick release.
He looks comfortable in those spots, but displays close to nothing as a pull-up jump shooter. There are sporadic flashes where he pulls up off the bounce, but that’ll most certainly be the next step in his development.
Even as a standstill shooter, he’ll need to tighten up his efficiency and become a consistent threat from the perimeter.
As it stands, defenses use it against him. They consistently go under screens and dare him to shoot.
But he continues to be patient and attack downhill when he finds an angle. When he does start driving, if he doesn’t procure a good look at the rim, he’ll pull back and find a teammate rather than force something up.
Which is commendable. That approach forces help defenders to move just a few feet, which opens dribble-drive opportunities for his teammates.
When Davison does end up attacking the rim, he has the tools/skill to excel. He’s an adept finisher, employing floaters, euro steps, hop steps and spin moves in his arsenal. He has the strength to finish through contact. With a 44.5-inch vertical and superb body control, Davison is a highly productive finisher.
He’s not an advanced ball-handler, but he does an excellent job combining his handles with his athleticism. His sweet crossover especially stands out.
Davison is a blur in transition. His speed obviously stands out, but his decision-making also helps him flourish.
Overall, he’s such a high IQ player who makes wise decisions and doesn’t force bad looks, which may be my favorite quality of his.
It’s easy for players with his athleticism to lean on that so hard, but his patience aids him in so many aspects. For one, the pick-and-roll sets that he thrives in with his aptitude to make decisions as a passer/scorer.
The numbers support it too. Davison is shooting 59.6% on his 2-pointers.
There are a number of splendid qualities, but Davison will need to develop a left hand. He can drive with his left, but he’s left-dominant as a passer/finisher.
He’ll also need to cut down on the turnovers a bit. He’s averaging 2.8 on the season, and they mostly stem from trying to hit the slimmest of windows. It’s not a huge concern, but something to note.
Still, his passing catches your eyes. Much like his rebounding does.
Davison makes rebounding fun. He has a number of “highlight-reel rebounds,” including the game-winning putback dunk against No. 14 Houston.
Again, he doesn’t get complacent with his athleticism. He crashes the glass hard — on both sides of the ball.
He tallies so many putback dunks because a defender falls asleep and Davison just waltzes right by him. He seems to creep in to try to grab offensive boards every possession. On the defensive glass, Davison crashes hard and uses his obscene vertical to snatch the ball out of the air.
Davison corrals 4.8 rebounds a game. It’s a solid mark that speaks to his effort in that department.
He provides such gaudy traits, but his defense is a place where you’ll like to see improvement.
Davison has the physical tools to develop into an elite defender. He’s typically vigilant as an off-ball defender and swings well as a help defender, but there are times when he needs to stay disciplined and/or alert.
He can be a bit overzealous on ball denial or get caught ball watching, which provides the defender enough space to shoot or opens backdoor cuts.
When he is locked in, he presents good anticipation on when the shot is going to go up so he can elevate and contest. If he can harness his physical traits, his defensive potential is pretty bright.
Maybe it’ll be bright enough to illuminate Davison’s draft stock and make him a lottery pick.