At the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, it was announced that 108 international players from 38 countries and territories were on opening-night rosters. This was the sixth consecutive season that opening-night rosters had at least 100 international players. That number increased as the season progressed.
When looking at European countries, France sit top with 33 players in the NBA. The country is considered a basketball powerhouse in terms of producing and developing young NBA-ready talent. One of the latest names to fall in this bracket is Jaylen Hoard of the Portland Trail Blazers.
21-year-old Hoard is on a two-way contract and has been splitting his time between the Trail Blazers and the Texas Legends of the G League. Portland don’t have a G League affiliate, therefore Hoard was assigned to the Legends. The affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks.
In 24 G League contests (4 starts) in the 2019-20 season, the French forward averaged 16.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2 assists. On 52.5% shooting from the field.
He has also featured in 13 NBA games, posting averages of 2.9 points and 2.5 rebounds. Converting at a 46.9% rate.
Born in Le Havre, Jaylen Hoard attended the well-renowned athlete institution, INSEP, in Paris. Playing for affiliated club Centre Fédéral de Basketball (CFBB) in the Nationale Masculine 1, the third-tier in France. In his one-and-only season with CFBB (2015-16), he averaged 8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.1 steals.
In the summer of 2016, Hoard moved to the United States. Playing basketball for Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, North Carolina. There, he was starting to build a reputation of being one of the best prospects in the 2018 class.
At the collegiate level, the 6-foot-8 forward represented Wake Forest University. In the 2018-19 season, he posted averages of 13.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists, in 31 games. Additionally, he took part in the 2018 Nike Hoop Summit and the 2018 Jordan Brand Classic. Alongside a host of current NBA talent.
Taking on the Professional Ranks:
After going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, Hoard signed a two-way deal with the Portland Trail Blazers. Where he was assigned to the Texas Legends, when on G League duty.
In the 2019 NBA Summer League, he played in 5 games for Portland, averaging 8.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists. He also played in 5 pre-season games for the Trail Blazers, posting averages of 1.4 points and 1.8 rebounds, in 8.7 minutes per contest.
Throughout November, December and January, in the G League, Hoard took no time to adjust to the professional ranks. Putting down numbers of 18.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists, in 13 games. On 54.4% shooting.
Those numbers dipped in February, and in the 3 games in March, before the suspension. As he averaged of 9 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1 assist per contest, on 42.3% shooting.
Standing at 6-foot-8, with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Hoard has an NBA-ready frame that can rotate between both forward positions. His length allows for versatility on the defensive end, as he can guard both wings and big men.
With a continuous motor, Hoard can crash the boards at a high rate. In the G League with the Legends, he averaged 2.8 offensive rebounds per game. On February 6, he posted a career-high 15 rebounds in a 123-107 win over the Aqua Caliente Clippers.
In terms of his offensive work, this is mainly done within 8-feet of the basket. Where he shot 61.6% in the G League through the 2019-20 season. In the restricted area, Hoard shot at a 70% rate. On January 23, he scored a career-high in points (34) against the Oklahoma City Blue. This was on 13-23 shooting from the field, with just a single 3, off his only attempt of the game from beyond the arc.
His main trait, rebounding, will translate well into the NBA, but he does need to develop more of an outside offensive game. Hoard only shot 22.6% from 3 at Wake Forest and 22% in the G League this past season.
However, at 21-years-old, Jaylen Hoard has plenty of time to develop his craft. Whether it be through NBA opportunities or assignments in the NBA’s official minor league.