Jalen Lecque just turned 19 years old a month ago, and has never played basketball above the high school level.
Yet the athletic marvel had the poise to lead the Summer Suns in scoring (14, with 2 assists) in his third-ever game against NBA competition — albeit against fringe guys and rookies — including the game-deciding free throws to give the Suns a 79-78 win.
We didn’t have anyone at the game in Vegas this time, so let’s use the excellent work of others to fill in some gaps.
First, here’s Kellan Olson with the recap (bottom of this article).
And here’s some highlights from youtube.
Here’s what Monty Williams said about Lecque during second quarter of the broadcast, which tells you how Williams will be coaching his young Suns.
“He’s an amazing talent,” said Williams of Lecque. “I talked to Jalen before the game about not swinging for home runs all the time and when you’re a young guy in summer league you want to show and promote that you know how to play.”
Remember, this was coach Williams in the second quarter of the game, recounting a pregame talk with Lecque.
“I love your talent,” he says of the talk before the game. “I don’t want to box you in. But you’ve got to build trust and coaches will play you if they can trust you.”
Lecque listened. And he helped the Suns win the game.
The kids doesn’t just play offense either. He’s not hunting shots or home run plays.
He rotates on offense, moves the ball. On defense, he bodies up the offensive ball handler — without fouling! — and rotates well most of the time off the ball, and even goes skying for weak side block attempts on occasion.
But his jumper is pretty broken, or at least tragically inconsistent. And until he can hit something from the outside, or develops a major secondary offensive skill as a playmaker, he will have trouble being more than a role player in the NBA.
The Suns signed the undrafted Lecque to a four-year contract at league minimum salaries, the last being a team option. That gives Lecque ample time to figure it out. He will start mostly in the G-League this season, and hopefully be ready to make his mark on the NBA late season or next season.
From what I’ve seen so far, I’m stoked about this kid’s future. He’s more poised in basketball awareness than Archie Goodwin or Josh Jackson — a pair a super-young guards who fit the athletic mold of Lecque when they joined the Suns in recent seasons.
If you missed his media availability this week, here he is.