|Not convinced by either hand position.|JaKarr Sampson
, St John's, Sophomore, 6'9 214lbs
2013/14 stats: 29.0 mpg, 12.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.6 spg, 1.0 bpg, 1.6 TOpg, 2.8 fpg, 49.5% FG, 20.0% 3PT, 56.5% FT
Sampson is one of the best athletes on the list. A really tremendous leaper with length and great size for the position, on physical tools alone, he is the template you would draw a small forward from if such a small forward template service was available. The skills are less templatey, though.
Sampson is old for a sophomore, having turned 21 in March, and there is a lot of work to do. Some of it is in the frame - thin and wiry, Sampson can be muscled off the spot when driving and on the glass, two areas which need to be mainstays of his game. He will not attack a shotblocker despite his leaping ability as he struggles to take the contact, But some of it is just a lack of skill. Sampson's dribbling ability is entirely with his right hand - it's a high dribble which he cannot seem to change direction from, and he cannot normally stop once he's started. He barrels in blind and makes bad decisions once there, that bad decision normally being one that involves continuing to barrel in. There exists the occasional pull-up jump shot, but the form on that and any jump shot is really rather ugly and snatchy, and Sampson lacks any range because of it. He is also a poor foul shooter and rarely gets there due to his lack of handle and strength, which when combined with his absence of a three point stroke, makes for quite the inefficient dunking machine.
Mind you, the athleticism cures these ills pretty well. The handle is not great, as explained above, but Sampson can go from the arc to the rim in one power dribble, so often times he doesn't need much more than that. Sampson can dunk everything, from out of nowhere at times, and is always a threat for a lob play. Furthermore, his length is a defensive deterrent - his defensive focus and effort are not consistent, but so long and bouncy is he that he can recover quickly and shut off driving lanes just by sticking his arms out. He runs the court well and sometimes hustles off the ball for looks. But like the rebounding, he needs to do those things more than he does.
This is the issue with Sampson. He does some things well, and some things badly, yet he won't stick to that which he does well enough. The athleticism is tantalising, but it doesn't take long to look beyond.