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2022 NBA Draft Profile: Jake LaRavia

Could the former Wake Forest wing fall to No. 27?

2022 Men’s ACC Basketball Tournament - Second Round Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Jake LaRavia

Wing | 6’8” | 225 lbs. | Junior | Age: 20

2021-22 stats (33 games): 14.6 PPG | 6.6 RPG | 3.7 APG | 1.7 SPG | 1.0 SPG | 55.9 FG% | 38.4 3P% | 64.9 TS% | 22.9 PER

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 23 Wake Forest at Clemson
Wake Forest forward Jake LaRavia (0) during a college basketball game between the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the Clemson Tigers.
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Strengths:

Multi-faceted scorer:

LaRavia knocked down 37.1 percent of his 3-point attempts across three seasons with Indiana State and Wake Forest, including 38.4 percent of his 2.2 attempts with the Demon Deacons. Most of those were off the catch; he possessed a very fluid, quick release stemming from getting little lift. LaRavia found open pockets on the perimeter as a floor spacer and routinely capitalized on those opportunities — especially when open. He caught defenses lacking with timely cuts and throwback interior post moves. Spins, half-spins, step throughs, you name it — LaRavia likely did it.

Defensive upside:

The 6-foot-8 wing was a very capable defender at the collegiate level. LaRavia kept defenders in front; his sturdy frame and wide base prevented opposing wings to completely blow by him. LaRavia is a good “free safety”, sniffing out passes off-the-ball and will occassionally gamble when such opportunites arise. He does a good job getting his hands on the ball and generating deflections plus stocks (steals + blocks).

Low post prowess:

As I alluded to briefly above, LaRavia is a very skilled low-post player. He holsters an array of tricks in his bag and can finish over either shoulder. He would mostly get to those spots off the dribble against smaller wings and not off the catch. Regardless, he boasts keen footwork that’s been worthwhile to his repetoire.

Weaknesses:

Defensive versatility:

I hesitate to label this a “weakness” in LaRavia’s game, it’s rather a question. At the NBA level, he currently projects to defend 4s and lesser/slower 3s. He could also defend smaller 5s, but I have questions about his versatility defensively. At 6-foot-8, he’s very nimble north-to-south but I have questions about how his lateral quickness will translate at the next level. He’s a very polished team defender and is a good rebound, I just worry he’ll be a prime “Let’s hunt him” candidate for top-flight guards.

Shot creation upside:

Low-post game? Check. Floor spacer? Check. In-between game? Not as potent. Morey-ball — 3-pointers and layups — is ever-so-common in today’s game anyways, so this might entirely be moot anyways. But I have questions about LaRavia’s creation upside when he gets ran off the 3-point line without being able to navigate through the lane. It’ll be much harder to finish over bigger defenders at the NBA level, obviously, so I’m interested to see if and when he develops a sustainable in-between face-up game. He doesn’t have bad handle, so it’s not inconceivable.

Overall:

LaRavia worked out with the Heat earlier this week and has been working out with teams in the 20-30 range, per HHH’s own Matt Pineda. He has risen on the draft boards from an undrafted player preseason to a possible first-round pick now. Teams are noticing what he brings to the table and the consistency at which he does it. Pineda was told that the workout went really well.

LaRavia may not be the most explosive athlete in the world, but the Heat have done a more than fine getting the most physically of previous players. He’s a polished two-level scorer with defensive and playmaking upside. LaRavia, 20, would theoretically fill the need as a backup-4 and could contribute right away. He should be a player the Miami Heat braintrust target if he falls.


Highlights/Games to watch:


What others are saying about him:

Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo:

It feels like there’s a fairly good chance LaRavia becomes a nice complementary player, as a smart passer, capable shooter and willing defender with positional size. His competitive mettle helps pull the whole package of skills together nicely, and he’s a good enough athlete to hold his own. He is unlikely to initiate any offense and won’t be a focal point, but understands how to play off teammates and impact the game while operating within his own limitations. LaRavia played only one year in the ACC after transferring from Indiana State, but his statistical profile is quite well-rounded and backs up the eye test. Unselfish, tough players who supply multiple important skills in a broadly useful role tend to be good bets in this part of the draft.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony:

LaRavia, who shot 38% from 3 last season and 78% at the free throw line, brings a strong feel for the game and intriguing playmaking ability defensively. The fact that he’s only 20 years old gives him some additional upside he can still tap into as he continues to improve his frame, maximize his athleticism and become a more assertive perimeter shooter.

NBA Draft Room:

A versatile and crafty wide-bodied forward with a high skill level, LaRavia has been rising up draft boards in the months leading up to the draft and is a possible mid to late first round pick.

He had a strong junior season, his first at Wake Forest, after transferring from Indiana State.

LaRavia shoots the ball very well from outside and has a smooth quick release. Hit 38% from 3pt and 78% from the FT this year. After shooting the lights out at the draft combine he seems to have solidified his place as one of the best 3pt shooters in this draft class.

Jake isn’t a plus athlete in terms of speed and vertical but has a lot of strength and power. Has good length and broad shoulders, which helps him hold his own in the lane. He also shows very good positioning and decent lateral agility when guarding in space and is able to switch onto guards. He might not be an elite defender but won’t be a liability on D.

His great 3pt shooting really opens up his offensive game. He’s able to attacks close-outs well and has some creativity with the ball when driving into the lane. He’s more of a below the rim player who uses his broad shoulders to carve out space and shed defenders.

CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone:

A big forward with good 3-point shooting skills, LaRavia has a role player’s skill set as a selfless, keep-the-ball-moving player. Can create a bit off the dribble, good in transition, heady cutter.

HHH’s Matt Pineda

LaRavia has such great upside because of his versatality as a ball-handler and a power player. Growing up, Jake was a guard and relied on his ball-handling and shot making for scoring, it wasn’t until a late growth spurt that moved him to a power player at 6’8” so now he has the best of both worlds. He’s an ideal fit next to Bam in many cases, but he still has a ways to go before making a consistent NBA impact. Great upside with a high-floor in the right system.