Jordan Hawkins: 2023 NBA Draft Scouting Report
The hero of March and a national champion, Hawkins hopes that more than just his elite movement shooting will translate to the league
Way back in August, I predicted a breakout season for Jordan Hawkins of Connecticut. But I didn’t see this level of production coming.
The case for Hawkins was clear: a really good shooter who had such a pretty stroke and a solid freshman season. Entering the season, I wondered if more could be done with the ball in his hands. Connecticut lost a lot of perimeter playmaking, so the opportunity was there for Hawkins to step up and turn more into a true combo guard.
Instead, Dan Hurley brought in Tristen Newton at the point, weaponized Andre Jackson as a point forward, and doubled down on Hawkins embracing his shooting prowess. Jordan finished the season second in all of college basketball in points scored off screens, shot over 39% from 3-point range on the year, and was the linchpin of college basketball’s most diverse and successful offense.
Hurley’s Huskies reminded me a lot of some of my favorite NBA teams to watch over the last decade. The depth and layers of the playbook were all so fascinating. Their ATO sets were incredibly effective. All of that is due to Hawkins, who never stopped moving and was a threat to score off every action.
After two years in Storrs, it’s clear what Hawkins brings to an NBA team: shooting. He can be the guy in the half-court who consistently drills shots and serves as a gravity-creator for others. He can be a Kyle Korver or Buddy Hield piece who unlocks the playbook for a creative coach. He can change the course of a game once he gets in the zone.
The questions for Hawkins revolve much more around whether he does enough of the other things to consistently see the court. The Huskies finished the season with a top-10 adjusted defense, positional length everywhere, and two elite rim protectors. Hawkins contributed in a positive manner to the defense, but he clearly benefitted from having great personnel next to him.
Even as I write this scouting report, I remain torn on how much to value Hawkins. I love movement shooters and what they can do next to star players; Hawkins is the most seasoned movement threat in this class. He’s also got some frustrating points where he statistically does so little to impact the game other than score. The only players drafted in the last 15 years with as low of a rebound, steal, and assist rate at his size are John Jenkins and Cameron Thomas. Not exactly beacons of well-rounded play.
Still, Hawkins is a great off-ball connector piece and brings first-round value without question. How high in the first will depend on how much he can win me over with his defensive aptitude and upside to add another layer to his game.
That buttery shooting stroke that Hawkins possesses: it almost never takes a night off. He’s wildly consistent and ultra-confident. If he misses a shot and the Huskies get the offensive rebound, he’ll just fire up another one on the same possession if he gets it again. Hawkins had only two games this year where he did not make a 3-pointer… both games he left early due to injury and played fewer than 10 minutes.
Put another way, he made a trey in all of the 35 games he was healthy for. He had five or more 3-pointers in seven games, and went 50% from 3-point range during their historic NCAA Tournament run.
Hawkins showed up big when it mattered most, but that shouldn’t overshadow the consistency he plays with. He was 40-81 (49.4%) on spot-up catch-and-shoot looks, which are those half-court attempts where he isn’t darting off a screen. His form is pristine, and he seems to always punish defenses that leave him open.