Welcome back to our weekly appointment on future Euroleague-players!
Last time we have analyzed DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell of NEF Galatasaray, and this week we move from the Bosforus back to Germany, and more precisely to Ulm, where the Ratiopharm is heaving a great european campaign and aims at finishing in the top 5 positions of his Group. One of the leaders of the team coached by Jaka Lakovic is Jaron Blossomgame, who is having a complete breakout season registering 15.7, 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists.
Blossomgame is already on the radar of many Euroleague teams for the next season, and in this article we will point out his streghts, where he has to improve and we also gonna make a comparison in order to give you an idea of the player we think he could become. Enjoy!
Jaron Blossomgame is 28-year old (born September 16, 1993) forward coming from Atlanta, Georgia.
He started his college career at Clemson (South Carolina) in 2013-2014 and, after two seasons of costant improvement in his production, Blossomgame had a great 2015–16 season. During his junior year, he infact averaged 18.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game and was named first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). In his senior season, Blossomgame averaged 17.7 points and 6.3 rebounds and led the Tigers to the 2017 National Invitation Tournament and, after his last year at Clemson ended, he was invited to his second straight NBA Draft Combine event.
Blossomgame was selected with the 56th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs, but shortly was included in the G-League roster and mostly played there, winning the 2017-2018 G-League title. Still, on October 8, 2018 Blossomgame was waived by the San Antonio Spurs and, one month later, was traded to the Atlanta Hawks, with whom he recorded his first NBA double-double against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 10. At the end of the season, he became unrestricted free agent and, after two years moving around the G-League, he finally decided to go overseas.
Blossomgame signed a contract with Ironi Nahariya on August 13, 2020, where he avaraged 18.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 0.7 assist on a 30-game span.
Finally, he signed with Ratiopharm Ulm in the summer of 2021.
Blossomgame has always been a gifted athlete, and this helped him a lot improving more and more his presence under the backboards.
He is infact capable of being a constant threat for the opponents on both ends of the floor, as it is very hard to put him out of position and grab an offensive rebound and, at the same time, it’s even harder to box him out. He is excellent especially when rebounding in a dynamic way, being able to don’t give references to his defender and get under the rim in the best position very easily.
In addition, even when it seems that the rebound is almost impossible to be grabbed, the guy from Atlanta can prove you wrong thanks to his athleticism and verticality, which allow him to outjump his opponents.
Blossomgame plays his best rebounding game when paired with a big man that can allow him to not be consider the only threat under the boards, as it his happening this season with Cristiano Felicio. The two of them are one of the most interesting duos in the whole EuroCup competition and very rarely lose the battle of the rebounds, as the recent match against Virtus Bologna suggests (51-34 in the rebounds count).
Another very important skill that Blossomgame has is his ability to score dynamically.
He is not a player able to create is own shot from the dribble yet, so he has to rely on his teammates when playing half-court offense, but he is one of the best “4” to run the floor in transition and on a fast break in the whole continent I would say.
This year, I have watched many Ulm games cause I believe they are one of the funniest team in Europe thanks to the their high-pace offense and immense amount of talent and, in many cases, it happened to see Blossomgame grabbing the rebound on the defensive end, passing the ball to his point-guard and finishing on the other end of the floor by running faster than everyone else. On this aspect, his leg lenght is crucial, and his phsical structure is perfectly suited for this game.
Since there are more and more teams trying to play at a high rythm, I strongly believe that Blossomgame’s profile will increase his value even more in the upcoming summer and I would be extremely surprised to not see him in a EuroLeague team next year.
In the last Eurocup round, against Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana, he had 29 points, with an 8/9 from 2 points, mainly due to his ability to punish the D when not well position in transition.
BLOSSOMGAME: WHERE TO IMPROVE
Said that Blossomgame his improving his shooting ability, as the 4/5 from the 3-point line against Cedevita suggests, it still is one of the fields where the american forward has to work more on.
His incosistent percentages sometimes make it very hard for him to be a reliable scorer, as the defense can make the choice to put pressure on the ball during a pick and roll and leave him unguarded for a while without being to much worried about the consequences.
At the same time, we often see that the defense prefers, when rotating, betting on his shooting abilities instead of making risky closeouts that could lead to a shot at the rim from Blossomgame, where he is surely more efficient.
In modern basketball, being sufficiently good from behind the arch is crucial, especially when we talk about the power forward position, and I believe this is the last step Blossomgame has to make in his game.
COMPARISON: NIKITA KURBANOV
As always, it has been very hard to find the right player for the comparison, but I believe Kurbanov is the right one.
Even though the two currently play different roles (Kurbanov is a versatile small forward, while Blossomgame is more a power forward, especially at a EuroCup level), their physical structure and impact are similar, as both have a very strong upper body and long arms, which make them solid defenders on and off the ball.
In addition, what reminds me of Kurbanov is Blossomgame’s ability to switch on every role without suffering too much, as he can rely on quick feet and good instinct. In my opinion, even if I strongly believe he should play at small forward too, Blossomgame has litterally everything to become one of the most versatile defenders in Europe, and he is already showing it.
Kurbanov is surely more a shooter than the native of Atlanta, who is instead more vertical and plays more over the rim, but still, both of them would play a crucial role in every team for their ability to cover multiple position, both on defense and on offense.