Jalen Lecque’s Potential Shining Throughout Summer League
Jalen Lecque is entering his first year in the NBA as one of the most explosive rookies in his class, but at just 19 years old, much of his game has been determined by his potential and high ceiling. That potential has quickly been growing and put on display throughout the first three games of Summer League as the young point guard has shown flashes towards a promising career.
Lecque is a high-motored athlete that uses his physicality to battle through the paint and throw down highlight-reel dunks. While most basketball players who possess such high energy often struggle with control issues, Lecque has been proving that’s not the case for him.
Multiple times throughout Summer League, Lecque has driven to the basket, had the defense close-in on him, and fed the ball back out to a teammate instead of forcing a shot of his own or causing a turnover. This IQ for the game and making the right plays is exactly what Coach Willie Green has wanted to see out of him.
“I think our jobs as coaches and our staff in general is just making sure that he’s doing things the right way,” Green said. “Whether it’s in practice, shootaround, his own individual time, we want to make sure that he’s building and building a great foundation and that’s what we’re preaching all summer.”
Channeling the pace of the game and following the same flow of the rest of his team is what Lecque is hoping to learn from the players around him, including Suns’ second-year guard Elie Okobo.
“Just learn more of his pace,” Lecque said. “That’s really big in the NBA. Just learning when to go fast and when to slow up. Just learning those different things and just a great opportunity to learn from E. E’s a really good player. He played overseas when he was young and now he’s in the NBA. He’s just a really good guy to learn with.”
Playing with control doesn’t mean that Lecque is losing any bit of his flashiness. In fact, Suns fans have already been treated to a nice baseline slam from the rookie as well as seen the physicality and excitement he’s brought on both ends of the court.
“I just liked his aggressiveness,” Green said. “We can see that that kid is athletic. He has some ability that is sky high, but I thought he just was aggressive all night. He made some mistakes, but we know those things are going to happen. I want him to continue to be aggressive, continue to go out, look for shots, but also get his teammates involved because he has that capability.”
Lecque had a chance on Wednesday night to make the play of the game against the San Antonio Spurs and the young guard didn’t let the opportunity slip away from him.
The Suns found themselves down by one with 18 seconds remaining with the ball in their possession. Billy Garrett Jr. found Lecque beyond the arc with the game on the line. Instead of settling for the jumper, Lecque hesitated, let the defense close-in and then blew passed the defender on his way to the paint. He showed-off his physicality and control as he drove to the rim and forced the foul to send him to the line.
With just five seconds remaining, Lecque knocked-down both free throws and secured the victory for the Summer Suns.
“Coaches just trusted me,” Lecque said. “Putting me in the game and they trust me to make the right plays. So, I just made the right play and came out with a victory.”
The decision making, the control and the success in the clutch moments were exactly what the coaching staff was looking for from Lecque.
“Huge free throws down the stretch,” Green said. “The more important thing that we saw from Jalen today is he just played the right way all game long. There’s going to be times where he can get the ball and attack and use his athleticism, but the ball kept moving. Other guys got involved and that’s what we want to see from him.”
Lecque has been taking this opportunity in Summer League to grow and learn and both have been evident in just the three games.
“Just the experience, the physicality. I’m just getting everything,” Lecque said. “The speed of the game. It’s just a great opportunity to just be here so I’m happy and learning.”
Green believe it’s only a matter of time until Lecque’s game takes the next level.
“I think when he puts it all together, he’s going to be scary,” Green said. “He’s basically out of high school and he’s still learning the game…If he keeps that motor as he did tonight, he can be scary in the future.”
The Suns wrapped up preliminary play with a 2-1 record in Summer League. The top eight teams in Las Vegas will be seeded in a tournament culminating with a Championship Game on July 15. Teams that do not qualify for the tournament will each play a consolation game, so every team will play at least five games and as many as seven.