Only about a quarter of second-round picks make it to the NBA, and it's no secret what Nets rookie Jalen Wilson needs to do to stay there:
Guard opponents and hit shots.
Though his zeal and physicality have never been questioned, his shooting style has. Because of this, the All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year fell 51st overall against the Nets in the June draft.
And that's why he's made plenty of leaps to turn a weakness into a strength.
“[The idea] It's just about being in the best shape of my life and being the best defender I can be. As a rookie, that's going to be the main thing that keeps me on the court and gets me on the court… defending and deflecting shots,” Wilson told The Post. “You're going to play hard and keep bouncing, but defending and hitting whenever the time comes will be the most important thing.”
It's unwise to read too much about Wilson's defensive performance during the Las Vegas Summer League.
He turns 23 in November, so he should be able to outperform younger opponents, and he's done just that, averaging 17.6 points and 7.8 rebounds.
But by far the most auspicious sign was his execution.
His career 31.6 percent from 3-point range at Kansas cast serious doubts on Wilson's NBA future.
But thanks to his work over the summer, he put in a 45.8 percent rating in Las Vegas and looked confident from a distance or even in combat.
“Including preliminary design and the time we had in Brooklyn before we left [to Las Vegas]it was somewhere between 600 and 700 shots [daily]' Wilson, who has a two-way deal, told The Post. “I would just stick with the same recordings. I wouldn't change them. I would shoot every shot I take in the game.
“All the 3s I did were the same shots I shot in practice and in practice. So it became second nature to me to know where I am on the pitch and how fast I need to get there. I owe that to my performance.”
Wilson, who is 1.80 meters tall and weighs 100 kilograms, showed an ability to read the floor (he averaged 2.8 assists) and a willingness to physically attack the edge.
“The [was] “One of the biggest things I focused on was just being clear about what I'm doing and when I need to do it, and understanding the ending,” Wilson said. “That was the most important thing I did pre-draft, reading close-outs, and that's going to be the most important thing for me going forward, to understand when someone goes short, kicks the ball, goes out too strong, mine Using my body.” , my size and my drive to color and create something out of it.”
Wilson was at the Dodge YMCA in Brooklyn, where he teamed up with his namesake Wilson Sporting Goods to host a free basketball class and made a $10,000 donation. It's just down Atlantic Avenue from the Barclays Center, where he's hoping his outsider spirit and work ethic will impress Nets fans.
“How hard I play. I always play with a huge chip,” Wilson said. “I don't take the game for granted. No matter who I play against, I use it as an opportunity to show what I can do and what game I love. It has brought me so many different things in my life that I feel like I owe it to play so hard. The most important thing people will notice is the winning mentality and the plays I make.”