There’s a lot to like about Jarrett Culver. While the Lakers hold the fourth pick in the draft and there are a number of appealing options including De’Andre Hunter and Darius Garland, Culver’s hard-nosed play has worked his name up into serious consideration for the Lakers at four. While Garland is a better pure shooter and Hunter has the more NBA-ready body and game, Culver has impressive upside as an elite two-way star.
Functioning as the entire offense during his last season at Texas Tech, Culver willed the Red Raiders to the national championship game – where they ran into Hunter and Virginia. A vocal defensive leader and a skilled scorer capable of creating and making his own looks, Culver’s stats don’t tell the whole story of what he brings to the table.
A ferocious competitor and as mentioned earlier, the only offense on Texas Tech, Culver was forced into an abnormally large amount of isolation sets. With a stagnant and ineffective offense around him, a contested Culver three-pointer was often the highest percentage look on the floor at any given time. As a result, Culver was forced into a ton of difficult looks with defenses keying in on him and still scored the ball at a respectable clip. His effectiveness from the field should see a huge jump at the next level just based on having actual offensive talent around him.
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Lakers ‘Really Liked’ Jarrett Culver‘s Pre-Draft Workout [Report]
While it is widely thought that the Lakers will take Vanderbilt freshman Darius Garland – they may have even offered him a promise – Culver is a sneaky darkhorse pick. He showed off an insane vertical during his workout with the Lakers and that high-flying athleticism could be scarily good in an up-tempo offense featuring elite passers like LeBron James and Lonzo Ball. Taking the load off his shoulders offensively should help him dial in on the flaws that remain on the defensive side of the ball as well.
Culver showed off during his workouts that he has the physical tools to handle being an elite defender at the next level and at this point, taking the next step is mostly dialing in the mental aspect of the game. Culver is occasionally prone to taking unnecessary gambles or falling asleep off the ball, two things that can be readily coached at the NBA level. He has a fantastic motor and work ethic shouldn’t be the problem when it comes to Culver moving forward.