His eyes set on quick points, Jalen Duren began striding up the court.
Memphis was up by four points against South Florida last season when guard Tyler Harris grabbed a steal. Duren, who is among the NBA odds favorites to be drafted first overall, saw a chance to add to the lead.
Harris lobbed a pass up from the left wing. The ball seemed out of reach to everyone — except Duren, that is. The Memphis center leaped upward and slammed the alley-oop dunk downward.
These kinds of remarkable moments are commonplace for Duren.
Jalen Duren Draft Odds
Duren is tied for the seventh-best NBA Draft odds to be selected first overall at +25000. Jabari Smith of Auburn is first at -175, while Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren is second at +125 and Duke’s Paolo Banchero is third at +1300.
The Orlando Magic have the first overall pick after going 22-60 a year ago. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets pick second and third, respectively.
|Name||Position||Team||1st Pick Odds (6/22)|
|Jabari Smith Jr.||F||Auburn||-300|
|Dyson Daniels||G||NBA G League Ignite||+50000|
|MarJon Beauchamp||G||NBA G League Ignite||+50000|
|Jaden Hardy||G||NBA G League Ignite||+50000|
|Nikola Jovic||F||Mega Mozzart (Serbia)||+50000|
|Blake Wesley||G||Notre Dame||+50000|
Jalen Duren Draft Pick Projection
The New Orleans Pelicans would be a fantastic destination for Duren.
Though they made the playoffs, the Pelicans could use some assistance in certain areas. They were 19th in offensive rating, 18th in defensive rating, 21st in net rating and 21st in pace, for example.
New Orleans would benefit from Duren’s presence. Though the team has Jonas Valanciunas at center right now, he’s 30 years old.
Duren could infuse some youth and energy into the New Orleans lineup. If he adjusts well to the pro game, Duren, Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson would make up a formidable squad.
Jalen Duren Stats
Duren was impressive in his lone year at Memphis.
He made the All-AAC first team and was the AAC Freshman of the Year. He was also on the All-AAC Tournament team.
In 29 games started, Duren averaged 12 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. He added 61 blocks and 24 steals. In 25.3 minutes per game, Duren made 60% of his shots and 63% of his free throws.
Jalen Duren cleared for TAKEOFF ✈️ @Memphis_MBB pic.twitter.com/Vki2fJQoHL
— ESPN (@espn) February 6, 2022
Against Western Kentucky, Duren became the fourth freshman in the country since 2010-11 to put up a 20-point, 19-rebound, five-block performance. But those weren’t even his season bests. He totaled as many as 22 points, 20 rebounds and six blocks in various single games.
He helped the Tigers reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament. They defeated Boise State to open and then lost to top-seeded Gonzaga.
Jalen Duren Draft Profile
Duren made his presence known against Holmgren in that matchup with the Zags. The Memphis freshman was more physical, a common theme of the season.
Duren is strong and dominates the paint. But, for anyone, moving him on box-outs or in the post is near impossible.
That’s why dunks and putbacks happened so often for him. And with his power, he seemingly could rip the rim off the backboard on nearly every dunk.
Around the hoop, Duren uses his wingspan of over 7-5 to his advantage, especially on drop steps. But he’s also smart and knows how to find open space for those alley-oops. His court vision also helps him as a passer, though he could better his accuracy in that area.
Jalen Duren contributing on both ends with the steal ➡️ bucket. @Memphis_MBB pic.twitter.com/e2gBbsNTux
— CBS Sports CBB (@CBSSportsCBB) March 6, 2022
Duren is exceptional for a big man in transition. Though he can play like a traditional center, his mobility helps him on cuts, drives and fast breaks.
Defensively, Duren’s height and vertical make shooting over him perplexing. And, usually, trying simply results in emphatic blocks. But, likewise, contesting Duren’s shots is a challenge, and he’s capable of sinking them from midrange when he’s open.
Duren could expand his repertoire of post moves, especially if he spends ample time around the block as a pro.
Duren isn’t the shooter that other centers like Holmgren are. But he absolutely has the potential to become an impactful one in the NBA.
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