Jahmi’us Ramsey is an NBA caliber athlete. He walked on to the Texas Tech campus as the highest rated recruit in program history. As the buzz was still warm from Jarrett Culver being drafted with the sixth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, you had to figure Ramsey was next. After being projected as a fringe first rounder for the majority of the back half of the season, it’s clear scouts are hot on him. Let’s look at why.
Ramsey stands at 6’4 and weighs in at just 195 pounds. He is just a little undersized for a traditional NBA shooting guard, but not enough for him to lose serious stock. His frame is comprised of pretty much all muscle (thanks Coach Reilly). He looks like a professional athlete. Although he has a strong body, he doesn’t use it very often. I’ll talk about this more later. He has an above average wingspan for his size that helps him bring in highlight reel blocks and builds his stock as a defender. He has a pretty good first step, but it’s not quick enough to be a main component of his offense. He moves his feet well and has decent lateral quickness.
Offense is obviously the selling point for Ramsey. As a 2 guard, his main attraction is his shooting. Ramsey shot an incredible 42.6% from three this past season, making him one of - if not the - best shooter in the draft. The greatest strength for Ramsey is his catch-and-shoot ability. This was perfect for Chris Beard’s motion offense. Ramsey made 33 of his 88 C&S opportunities which gave him a 37.5 FG% and a beautiful 63.6% eFG% on those kind of shots. This is the biggest upside to Ramsey’s offense and the thing that seems most polished for the NBA. Ramsey is decent at scoring when the ball is in his hands. Clearly a guy who’s watched plenty of Melo/Kobe film, he loves to use the jab step to create space. There’s a lot of potential for the iso game to get pretty good. Another great strength of his is being able to stop quickly off the drive and take a pull up jumper. Ramsey needs to work on his pick and roll game as ball handler. He sometimes makes the wrong read and is shooting 30% off P&R Ball Handling opportunities. Luckily for him he will likely not see very many of these in the NBA and will probably only see off-ball screens. The biggest issue I have with Ramsey’s shooting is his inconsistency and shot selection. Ramsey is extremely streaky and can sometimes go games without making multiple shots. He failed to show up in big games, putting up less than 15 points in 4 out of 7 games against ranked opponents. In 3 of those games he had 8 points or less. Despite the inconsistencies, all of the building blocks for his shot are there. A long off-season of getting shots up in the driveway could improve his numbers. His shooting ability and fundamentals is enough for him to be a lottery pick if a team sees the upside.
Outside of his shooting, Ramsey is a little lackluster offensively. He doesn’t use the mid-range shot very much, having less than 50 attempts all season in that regard. Scouts seem to think Ramsey’s biggest weakness is his consistency, but I think it’s his finishing. Ramsey struggled badly to finish against big men in the paint. He was only 43.6% in the paint this season. He tends to force drives, often resulting in turnovers or charges when he tries too hard to create. The more he dribbles, the more he panics and tries to force something, often resulting in a turnover. It doesn’t help him that the left hand is virtually unusable. He did not have a single left-handed finish the entire season. When he was forced to go left, the dribble often got away from his body, and he either picked the ball up or had it stolen. When he drives, he is dedicated to getting to the rim. He can miss open teammates behind the arc and instead take really tough layups. He has good pass vision when he’s not moving, which is another selling point. He has a soft touch and a good runner that if used properly could drastically improve his numbers in the paint compared to college. The crossover isn’t really there, but I don’t expect him to be used as a ball handler in an NBA offense. The hesitation is a good move for Ramsey.
Jahmi'us Ramsey also had a good game vs OU, going for 13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal on 5/10 shooting. His jump shot is smooth and he has an overall all-around offensive game. Mid range, spot up & moving shooting, floaters, getting to the basket, etc pic.twitter.com/Gw7sHFvmUx— Mavs Draft (@MavsDraft) April 20, 2020
Ramsey has shown flashes of good defense, but is overall inconsistent. His high school defensive film was incredible, unfortunately a lot of that didn’t translate to the college level. Thanks to his big frame, he can defend the guard position well and could possibly guard the 3 in the league. Ramsey is not afraid to come from the weak side and contest a shot from anyone of any size. He had a couple of incredible blocks against centers. He tends to bite on shot fakes, often leaving his feet. There are two big weaknesses to Ramsey’s defense: footwork and off-ball IQ. When he forces the ball handler to go a certain direction, he looks like a great defender. He’s unlikely to get “exposed” in an iso situation. Yet when the defender is not facing a specific direction, Ramsey struggles to change his direction multiple times. He tends to overstep and can get beaten easily off the bounce. His good lateral quickness provides some upside, but he’ll need some training on his balance. If he fixes his ability to close out and stops biting on fakes, he’ll look like a completely different defender, making him at least a reliable option.
The defense IQ is seriously concerning. Jahmi’us can sometimes look totally lost on defense. When he’s off the ball, his man can often lose him with a simple move. He’ll often fully focus on either the ball or his man, virtually eliminating him as a help defender. Sometimes his back was even fully turned around to focus on either one. He’s pretty good at switching in on-and-off ball screens.
There’s not enough there for me to label Ramsey as a 3-and-D player - yet. I don’t think he will ever become an elite defender, but I don’t think he needs to. If he improves his awareness, works on changing direction, and slides his feet more he’ll be a good defender. Unfortunately for him, that hasn’t been consistent yet. With any young prospect, you have to prioritize potential while also analyzing weaknesses.
The name of the game for Ramsey is offensive upside, potential, and consistency. Being surrounded by the best coaches in the game of basketball could completely transform Ramsey as a player. If Ramsey improves his shot IQ, works on his off-ball defense, and creates for himself he could be a high scoring sixth man in the league. Ramsey’s almost 43% shooting from deep which includes his sometimes questionable shot selection is extremely promising. If Ramsey gets picked in the lottery/first 20 range, it’s because a team has watched film on him and has seen how good he can be.
Ceiling: Danny Green / High scoring sharpshooter with defensive ability, primarily used as a six man and occasional starter in his prime
Floor: Mychal Mulder / Low percentage shooter who’s used almost exclusively in C&S, can’t be redeemed by other aspects of his game, likely an end-of-bench player
Jahmi'us Ramsey doing things besides shooting the basketball. pic.twitter.com/zWHJZHbnc3— Tech Hoops Guy (@TechHoopsGuy) March 25, 2020
I’ll say this. I really do believe Ramsey has more upside than any other Tech prospect in the past 5 years (yes, that includes Culver and Smith). If he cleans up his game, he could be a very important piece in any NBA offense. The problem is there is also a lot of risk. His inconsistency could allow him to shoot himself out of the NBA. I don’t think it’s impossible for Ramsey to become a good rotation player in the NBA. In fact, I think it’s the most likely scenario. He has made Red Raider Nation proud this past season, and I’m excited to see what he does in the league.
How will Ramsey fare in the NBA?
This poll is closed
High scoring bench player (10-15 PPG), potential starter
Mid-rotation player, decent scorer (5-8 PPG)
End-of-bench player (0-3 PPG), short and unsweet NBA career