After 2 years at Indiana State, Jake LaRavia transferred to the acclaimed basketball program at Wake Forrest University. During his first year there, he was named a member of the 2021-22 All-ACC Second Team. LaRavia made his name known for his scoring ability, scoring 20 or more points 7 times in his Junior campaign. Jake is quick enough to be a transition threat while also being a threat to space out and get an open corner 3. LaRavia has an obvious NBA skillset, he reminds me of players like Jeff Green or Otto Porter Jr and has the potential to be a great role player in the NBA. His shooting with his frame makes him a very interesting prospect for the Nuggets who hold the 21st selection in this year’s draft.
Jake LaRavia, Forward, Wake Forrest
Height (with shoes): 6’8
Age: 20 (11/3/2001)
College Career Stats
Jake LaRavia College Stats
Jake LaRavia shot near 40% from three in his final season at Wake Forrest, projecting to be an above-average shooter as he enters the league. He has a good fundamental form that is very square to the basket and doesn't get much lift on his jumper, allowing for a quick release. He steps into open shots with confidence and a good percentage of his makes in college were swishes. LaRavia is able to relocate off of the ball and knock down catch and shoot shots at a high rate. With LaRavia standing at 6 foot 8, he is also able to shoot over a few players when he gets switched onto smaller ones.
LaRavia has a very mixed skill-set, he is capable of doing a lot of different things on the court. He has the size to be an imposing on-ball defender at times, his size also allows him to take advantage of smaller players in the post. LaRavia is an adept off-the-ball defender, he is really great at reading passing lanes as well as being a smart weak side defender. While he isn't especially known for his driving and finishing abilities, Jake is more than capable of making a tough shot over a contest at the rim or hitting a mid-range. He has great court awareness and is constantly in the right spot at the right time, especially near or under the basket for an easy dump-off pass.
While LaRavia still has some weaknesses defensively, that doesn't mean he can't still be an impactful defender. He is a smart basketball mind and simply being in the right place at the right time helps him get a decent amount of blocks. He knows when to help and when to anticipate the pass very well. LaRavia is also a big enough body to be a distributive force in the paint, his smart contests saves fouls and can lock opponents into bad shots. LaRavia averaged a combined 2.7 steals and blocks per game, proving more and more what a good off-ball defender he is and that he can become.
Struggles to Create Offense for Himself:
Jake LaRavia has a lot of help in his offensive production, he thrives off of cuts, catch and shoot jumpers, transition offense, and at times that can get stagnant. He doesn't have much of an off-the-dribble game and really struggles with the ball late in the clock. LaRavia’s jumper doesn't get off the ground enough to negate the oncoming contest and he needs to take an extra bit of time to get square to the basket when shooting. He doesn't finish around the rim especially acrobatically, and relies on hooks and other post moves when under the basket. Prefers to post up rather than drive on somebody.
Struggles to Recover on Defense
LaRavia is not a premier athlete among 2022 draftees, if he gambles for a steal or whatnot he will likely struggle to recover and give up a basket. He is too slow-footed laterally to be able to get back to coverage after reaching for a steal. Jake will sometimes block the play from behind but that's too inconsistent to rely upon. While LaRavia does manage to get a lot of steals, he also puts himself in vulnerable positions often while going for in the passing lane steals. He will also struggle to contain smaller, faster guards.
Projected Draft Range: Late First
Denver Stiffs Big Board: Ranked at 22, right around the Nuggets draft pick.
Jake LaRavia is an interesting prospect, his fit next to Nikola Jokić is also intriguing. The Nuggets will always need shooting and LaRavia can give them that. Jake can become a high-level role player and I think the Nuggets would be happy taking LaRavia. He has a high upside, fills a role well, and has a vital skill set that will be needed for years to come. However, I believe that the Nuggets should go in a different direction. LaRavia is by no means a bad player and I would still be happy if he were to be selected by the Nuggets, but he would likely be behind players like MPJ, Aaron Gordon, Zeke Nnaji, and one of the Greens in the rotation.
Denver doesn't really need much in the forward spot, I personally think the pick would be better utilized on a 2 that can play the 3 as well. Someone who can defend really well, finish at the rim, and space the floor moderately. LaRavia can almost fit that mold, and again I would be happy with him, I just would prefer a better defender than what Jake can bring to the table.