Boy, is this an interesting profile you are about to read. Which of the following are descriptions that have been given of Jet Chang?
* He is only a prospect (if barely) because he is Asian and Jeremy Lin recently blew up
* He is possibly the second coming of Steve Nash and just needs a little polish
* He is completely useless unless his shots are falling
* He doesn’t really do anything at an NBA-caliber skill level
The answer? All of them. Scouts and prognosticators are all over the place with Mr. Chang. His full birth name is Tsung-Hsein Chang, a native of Taiwan who wound up playing his collegiate basketball at Division II BYU-Hawaii.
It is certain that teams are paying attention to him (he was the first Asian player ever invited to the Portsmouth Invitational, and he was at the same NBA Draft workout as Terrence Ross and Arnett Moultrie). It is debatable whether they are doing so because of his skill, or because the number of teams that completely missed on Jeremy Lin are re-evaluating their assessment of Asian talent. Or both. Or neither. Or if they’re are paying attention to him at all. The more important question is: should they be paying attention?
School: BYU – Hawaii
Hometown: Taipan, Taiwan
Position: Point Guard in college, Shooting/Combo Guard in NBA
Height: 6’3″ – 6’5″ (varying reports)
Team Record: 82-26
Jet Chang was clearly a key piece in what was a very successful Seasiders team during his time there (their 17-10 record his senior season was easily their worst record). In his junior season, they went all the way to the D-II National Championship game, largely due to Chang’s 25 points per game (including 78 points in their last two outings). A slasher who is clearly unafraid of contact, Jet’s aggressiveness made him a force to be reckoned with against the opponents he faced – on some nights. He also had plenty of nights where he was the third or fourth best player on the court.
Final Season Averages: 17.8 points…3.5 rebounds…2.0 assists…1,5 steals…41.7% FG…30% 3PT…66.4% FT
Chang is described as an agile player who is great at creating his own shot and defending on the perimeter, and who has a knack for the three-point shot. All of these things make him sound like a great NBA sleeper prospect, perhaps in the vein of a poor man’s James Harden. When you watch his draft workout below, it is hard to disagree with these things. He looks great in the gym, playing against air, but it’s hard to see his gym skills transferring to the pro game right now.
Then you look at his stats. His career average of 17.5 points per game is based largely on volume, I’m sure, because his rate stats are awful. His HOOPWAR of 2.24 and HOOPWAR/30 of 2.8 are “bad but not horrific” and “not the best on his team”…but they were also numbers that were calculated at a Division I rate for a Division II player. I personally can say that an accurate data set would factor in that replacement level would be lower in Division II, and that pace of play is both lower at the D2 level and wildly variable between regional conferences.
I feel confident that his numbers and skill set normalized for level and league would likely resemble a slightly lesser version of Tennessee Tech’s Kevin Murphy. That said, this is not the production of a player that you use one of two draft choices on. It is certainly reasonable to bring him to your summer league, or even sign him outright to your D-League team, but that may be all.
-BEYOND THE NUMBERS-
Strengths: He is quick, that’s for sure. If you watch the video, he has a good first step and a strong desire to attack the basket. That kind of reckless abandon is appreciated by a team that can learn to harness it into the right role.
Weaknesses/Concerns: That ability to attack the basket is also useless if you don’t make your shots, or the free throws you get for the fouls you draw. As one scout who saw him at his Portsmouth Invitational outing said, Chang “appears to be useless unless he is making his shots.” At that invitational, Chang showed his ability to get open for a shot – and not much else. He played as point guard and managed only five rebounds and five assists in three games.
It is also an even bigger leap from Division II to the NBA than it is from Division I – it’s doable, certainly, as players like Ben Wallace have shown, but Chang is one that might benefit from some summer/developmental league time.
Current Prospect Rankings: Chad Ford (ESPN): No 84
DraftExpress: Not on the radar
Possible destinations: Anywhere and everywhere. He could get drafted late, but a smart team will invite him to summer league and build him up – fine tune his ball handling, work a lot on his free throw shooting, and also his decision making – attacking the hoop doesn’t have to mean jacking up a shot. There is potential here, but the boy is very raw.