Jamal Shead NBA draft projection: 5 landing spots for Houston Cougars' point guard ft. San Antonio Spurs and more

Miami v Houston
Houston Cougars point guard Jamal Shead

Houston star Jamal Shead announced he will be forgoing his last year of eligibility and entering the 2024 NBA draft, through his Instagram. Shead decided to stay with the Cougars for one more year at the start of the 2023-24 season and ended up winning the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

The 6-foot-1 PG also won the Big-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards, making it one of the best individual seasons for a Cougar.

Jamal Shead was one of the reasons why Houston is among the top favorites to win this year's NCAA Tournament. His tough, physical, and hard-nosed style of play gives the Cougars boundless energy and intensity in every possession.

In his senior year, the 6-foot-1 guard averages a career-high 13.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 2.3 steals and 0.6 blocks. His field goal accuracy at 44.6% is the highest since he was named as a full-time starter for Houston in the 2021-22 season. His three-point shooting has also improved, making 1.3 triples in 3.6 tries per game for a 35.1% clip (another career high).

Pass-first Shead is one player who can provide excellent play-making skills and decision-making in offense and physical defense on the other side. His last game against No. 6 Iowa presented a glimpse of what he is capable of when he is on the court. The 6-foot-1 playmaker scored 26 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 12-of-13 from the free throw line to lead Houston to a 73-65 win.

Shead, whose season-high was 29 against Texas Tech in January, also had six assists, four rebounds, and three steals in 38 minutes of action. NBADraftRoom.com projects him as a second-round pick in the coming draft and teams that needed a solid backup playmaker could secure his services.

5 best NBA landing spots for Jamal Shead

#1, San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs point guard Tre Jones
San Antonio Spurs point guard Tre Jones

San Antonio needs a backup point guard that could help relieve Tre Jones and Shead fits the bill. Fanspo.com notes that the Spurs as one of the teams that "severely" needs a point guard. The 6-foot-1 point guard's pass-first mentality is perfect for the Spurs' system and could benefit from the coaching wizardry of Gregg Popovich. His hard-nosed, physical defense and court intelligence also comply with the Spurs system.

San Antonio is also known for developing "under the radar" players who became stars in their own right (Avery Johnson and Dejounte Murray) and Shead is one of those lesser-regarded prospects who could provide solid minutes when he is called up to play.

#2, Los Angeles Clippers

Clippers' <a href='https://www.sportskeeda.com/basketball/russell-westbrook' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'>Russell Westbrook</a> (left) and James Harden (right)
Clippers' Russell Westbrook (left) and James Harden (right)

Here is one team that needs young assets that can be utilized in case "point guards" James Harden and Russell Westbrook decide to rest one game or find another team that needs their services. Shead can provide the statistics the Clippers need to win ballgames but his decision-making could spell the difference in this star-studded team.

Fanspo.com emphasizes the Clippers' severe need to secure a pass-first playmaker who also has good offensive skills in the draft and Shead could be available in the second round when needed.

#3, Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers point guard Tyrese Maxey
Philadelphia 76ers point guard Tyrese Maxey

Fanspo.com ranks Philadelphia in the list of teams that "severely" need a point guard in the NBA Draft. They have a second-round pick (35th overall) which they could use to draft Shead.

Tyrese Maxey needs a backcourt mate that could fill up his role when he is resting and the 6-foot-1 Houston point guard could fit for the role. With Shead at point, Maxey could shift to a two-guard that would give the 76ers a dynamic guard lineup in the 2024-25 season.

#4, Orlando Magic

Magic forward Paolo Banchero
Magic forward Paolo Banchero

If Orlando has seen enough of Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony manning the point, picking Shead in the second round would be a big-time "heist." The Magic will add youth to their "aging" point guard rotation and a winner like Shead could push top stars Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner to work a lot more for a chance to make it to the playoffs.

The team is currently ranked eighth in the Eastern Conference and is in contention for this year's playoffs. If the Magic wants to sustain its winning run next year, picking a proven winner like Shead would help.

#5, Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics point guard Jrue Holiday
Boston Celtics point guard Jrue Holiday

Despite having veteran point guards Jrue Holiday, Derrick White and Payton Prichard platooning as playmakers for the league-best Boston Celtics, FanSpo.com placed the point guard spot as a "severe" need for the Eastern Conference powerhouse. The Celtics have two second-round picks for the 2024 NBA Draft that they can use to select Shead.

For a team that is fifth in the league in points allowed, having a physical defender like Shead is a luxury for the Celtics. They could even develop him as the "next Marcus Smart."

Also Read: "Steve Ballmer is gonna pay for his fine" - Tyronn Lue fined $35,000 for criticizing referees have NBA fans triggered

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