Philadelphia 76ers

Sixers draft profile: Ja'Kobe Walter has intriguing shooting, scoring upside

The Big 12 Freshman of the Year is a talented movement shooter.

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A scouting report on NBA draft prospect Ja'Kobe Walter: 

  • Position: Shooting Guard
  • Height: 6-4.25 (without shoes)
  • Weight: 198 pounds 
  • College: Baylor 

Ja’Kobe Walter was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year for a Baylor team that was a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and was upset in the second round by Clemson. He’s a pure two-guard and volume three-point shooter, but his poor shooting percentages at Baylor could make him available for the Sixers with the 16th pick. He averaged 14.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 turnovers and 1.1 steals in 32.3 minutes per game last season.


Walter is an excellent movement shooter. You’ll see him sprint around screens, quickly set his feet, and the shot is away before the contesting defender can reach him. The form on his shot appears effortless. 

What makes Walter especially intriguing is his ability to drive a close-out. He was one of only 14 players in Division I —and the only freshman — to make at least 75 threes and 145 free throws. He made the third-most free throws in the Big 12 because he was able to attack those close-outs and draw contact at the rim. He shot 79.2 percent from the free throw line.

Walter has big-time scoring upside when you combine his potential to become a high-volume three-point shooter and his ability to get to the free throw line at a high rate.  


There are a lot of reasons why Walter may slip in the draft despite his obvious scoring upside. 

He shot 34.2 percent from the three-point line but just 37.6 percent from the field overall. He shot 42.3 percent on two-point field goals, which points to an inability to finish in the paint and an inefficient mid-range game. He’s not a high-wire athlete and is going to have to learn how to score over NBA length once he drives past his defender.

Walter didn’t show much as a playmaker at Baylor, averaging just 1.8 assists per 40 minutes. NBA teams will have to decide if Walter’s low assist rate was a function of how he was used or if he has real limitations as a playmaker.

He’s an excellent catch-and-shoot guy from three-point range, but can Walter create his own shot? Eighty-nine percent of his three-point makes were assisted.

Defensively, Walter isn’t particularly great at staying in front of opposing ball handlers. He doesn’t look like the type of defender you’d want guarding the other team’s best player. You’re more likely to be trying to hide him on a lesser perimeter player.


I won’t be surprised if Walter is one of the best three-point specialists in the NBA in a few years. He is a stellar off-ball player and a great fit next to stars who demand double teams. The issue is that he better shoot it incredibly well because he doesn’t have many other elite skills. 

He reminds me of two-guards who make their living primarily as three-point shooters — guys like Tim Hardaway Jr., Malik Beasley and Gary Trent Jr. I’ve seen him compared to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but he has a long way to go defensively to reach that ceiling.

I think the Sixers could use a bigger wing more than Walter, but his ability as a movement shooter and floor spacer undeniably makes some theoretical sense next to Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. 

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