Draft Profiles: Jarnell Stokes, 6’9, PF, Tennessee, 265 lbs., Junior

Draft Profiles: Jarnell Stokes, 6’9, PF, Tennessee, 265 lbs., Junior

Athletic Ability

Athletically, Stokes is surprisingly agile for guy built like a built tank.  While not the most adept at leaping, though no slouch, Stokes presents great lateral quickness along with solid front-line speed.  Combine that with his size and basketball smarts, and his athletic ability should translate to the next level.


While slightly undersized for a NBA power forward in terms of height being slightly below 6’9, Stokes makes up for it with a tight end type body frame and a 7’1 wingspan.  I think with Stokes’ smarts and size, he will be a physical presence in rebounding, setting hard picks, and wearing down opposing big guys at times or guards going around screens.

Basketball IQ

Stokes is not only extremely basketball smart, but smart in general.  He graduated a year early from high school and despite being a junior, he is only 20.   What separates Stokes from most big guys is his ability to see the game unfold well.  In fact, his passing is a skill that should translate.  He seems like one of those Spurs players that just makes people better.


Typically rebounding usually transfers to the next level and Stokes averaged near 11 rebounds for Tennessee in a major conference.  While rebounding is a tremendous skill that Stokes has, he is also a very good low post defender which opponents struggle backing him down. 

Stokes defends the guard on the pick-and-roll solidly due to his surprising lateral quickness and large wing span despite his thick build. He can body up ball-handlers, or shield the ball-handler while recovering to the pick-setter.

Offensively, Stokes sets extremely hard picks to free up shooters easily.  If the ball-handler passes it to a flashing Stokes, he can either try and finish or is an excellent passer.   While being a great rebounder overall, he's a beast on the offensive rebounds (a Bulls requirement) and uses shear strength to knock off box-outs regularly.  

While Stokes is not known as an offensive stalwart, occasionally he can post-up and finish, has spin-moves, and has an improving, but still raw mid-range jumper.  One other strength of his running the floor as he hustles. He hustles and has above average foot speed.

While Stokes has plenty of strengths to carve out a niche in the NBA, his weaknesses will likely keep him in a role player position. His biggest weakness is struggling to finish against length. While he's improved his touch, he's still not much of a jump shooter at this point.  

While surprisingly quick, he can be beat easily by quick ball-handlers. 

The biggest question mark for Stokes will be whether he can improve his jump shot.


Overall, it is hard to come up with a comparison for Stokes.  He is no DeJuan Blair as he is more skilled from the perimeter, presents more passing, more athletic, has two ACL’s, and a better understanding of the game.  He is not a scorer like a Corliss Williamson or a Jared Sullinger, but does other things better.  

I just think Stokes is one of those players that can rebound, set mean picks, pass, and score opportunistically.  At this point, I think he is one of the safest players in this draft due to his rebounding, knowing his role, and should be drafted anywhere from early 20’s to early 2nd round.   I don’t think he will be a stud at the next level, but will be a very useful player.

How does he fit with the Bulls?

While the Bulls need more athleticism, shooting, and playmaking skills, Stokes at least provides great big-man depth.  If we don’t plan on bringing Mirotic over or sometime plan on trading Taj, he would be one of the better big guys to have in this draft. 

While I like Mitch McGary, I am sometimes concerned by back issues and more so his refusal to show up for the combine.  I like Payne and think he and Stokes provide differences that could both be of benefit to the team.  Payne provides more shooting which seems to be a focus this year, while Stokes can defend the post and rebound.  If we traded down to mid-20’s and drafted Stokes, I would be elated.


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  • Kevin, I would not be elated if we traded down to draft this guy. First, I have to admit I have not really seen this guy play much. I have just seen Utube highlights. But I think he replicates a lot of what Smith already brings to the table. That is to say rugged, capable back-up minutes from a skilled, but slightly undersized big. Moreover, I have a prejudice about guys who come out of the Tennessee program. They seem to underperform.

    I would much rather go with Payne at 19 if he is available. Moreover, even if Payne is off the board I would much prefer a guy like McDaniel who eventhough is not much of a shooter is a terrific rebounder for a wing and a shutdown defender. I suppose you can make an argument that he somewhat replicates Butler but IMO has much more potential offensively. He had a very high PER last year. There are others I would prefer as well.

    Would like for the Bulls to get a legitimate big man as as back- up to Noah. Smith could work but would have preferred us to draft Plumlee or Dieng last year so we wouldn't be scrambling this year to fill a need.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    I get what your saying and definitely see your viewpoint. I guess I have no idea what the Bulls are hearing and if they trade down and such. All I am saying is that he is a good option to be had if our other options are taken. While there are similarities to Smith body wise, they also have some differences. The big thing is Smith going to recover and if so, he will only be here one year unless we trade Noah. Smith is going to cost too much if healthy. I always am about BPA and think Stokes can give you the best rebounder in the draft!

  • This guy could be a nice rotational big in 3-4 years. I watched a lot of SEC games since I went to Kentucky.

    Still, Bulls need offense and I agree with hgarbell that we have this type of player in Smith and he already has a few years of experience under his belt.

    Now, taking him in the 2nd and getting him for absolute league min to stay out of the tax and let him develop.... I have no problem with that. Kind of like Murphy this year, although outside of shooting he brought nothing to the table.

  • In reply to Granby:

    He won't be available in the 2nd and is a much better player than Murphy!

  • a undersized but physical rebounding 4, sounds like a Trevor Booker type to me, what do you think better or worse than Booker. I'd have traded boozer for Booker anytime over the past 4 years, although Booker might still have been in college.

  • Thanks for the review Kevin. Stokes sounds like the type of guy that even with his limitations will end up grading out a lot higher then many drafted ahead of him. A real player as in a great teammate/presence. A guy who flat out produces and with efficiency. Could end up being a solid rotation player and second round steal to be sure.

    I have other guys on my list I would draft ahead of him.at 19. But anywhere after say 23-25 he could be a steal rather then a reach as some might suggest. Nice find.

  • Side note: In regards to our/the Bulls pick at 16, many of the guys near the top of poster's lists actually project to be available at 19 including Jordan Adams and very possibly Adreian Payne. Also with Adams, while I'd be happy if the Bulls picked him, the fact remains not many successful SG's have the kind of sub par athleticism he possesses. Also for what it's worth his combine numbers were not good. Again though, his game is unique and likely will translate when you look at all his intangibles steals, boards, style, quality kid etc.

    Meanwhile Rodney Hood and or James Young very possibly could drop a spot or two to 16. While I think most people like Hood the same can not be said of James Young. However, the more I look at him the more I like James Young at SG/SF. If you look through all of the scouting reports and at his stat line as an 18 yr old who doesn't turn 19 until August the kid has good size, presence, shooting, and despite criticism excellent defensive potential due to terrific wing span and, if buy NBADraft.net, exceptional quickness.

    If you feel the Bulls are close then you probably don't draft this kid, but if you want young talent with major upside you find a way to get this guy some court time. Unlike say a Jeremy Lamb this guy has raves on his attitude and energy. Though you'd have to put a contract out on Thibs to "eliminate" his Rookie Roadblock. I'm not saying this kid is a sure thing the way a Damian Lillard appeared to be, but he is very, very intriguing at least from my vantage point. Though I'd probably have to keep Hood ahead of him, Young would likely be my second choice at 16 provided Payne looks definitely available at 19 the way he does right now.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Sorry man, can't agree with you on Young and will post soon. However, I like most of the other prospects you like!

  • This morning I went to the Draft Express website and looked again at the scouting report video on Hood. Really impressed with that high release and his nose for the basket when he is on the block. Terrific range on the three ball as well. Would I take Young if available and Hood is off the board? Sure, because of his potential but Hood is the real deal IMO.

    By the way, I love that Draft Express has provided a PER for all 60 or so projected draft picks. A few guys have PERs over 30, or close to it. You have to believe those guys can really play even if you are not a big Hollinger fan.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    I like Hood a lot for this team!

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