In the NBA, a player’s second season is a significant indicator of their development in the league. The “rookie to sophomore jump” can go a long way in solidifying one’s upward trajectory in the association.
Three games into the 2023-24 season, it appears former Memphis big and current Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren has taken that leap.
Duren’s Strong Start
The 19-year-old Duren is off to an incredible start in his sophomore campaign. However, after watching him during his rookie season, this isn’t much of a surprise.
In his first season with the Pistons, he averaged 9.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. In 67 games played and 31 starts, he shot 64.8% from the floor. He was a dominant force in the paint and on the glass, collecting 19 double-doubles and also leading his rookie class in rebounds. Duren showcased his ability throughout the year with performances like the ones he put up against San Antonio (30 points, 17 rebounds, four blocks) and Milwaukee (23 points and 15 rebounds). He also earned a selection on the 2022-23 All-Rookie Second Team.
The physical and athletic big built a foundation for success in his first year in the league. Just three games into his second season, he’s capitalized on his early production with even better numbers.
Duren’s Stat Lines
At Miami – 17 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, and four blocks on 8-11 shooting.
At Charlotte – 14 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and a steal on 7-8 shooting.
Vs. Chicago – 23 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and a steal on 9-11 shooting.
Duren is averaging 18.0 points, 15.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.7 blocks per game. He is shooting 80% from the floor and leading the NBA in rebounds.
Three-game spans of 50+ points, 45+ rebounds, 10+ assists, 5+ blocks, and 80+ percent shooting in NBA history:
Charles Barkley, ‘86-87 (games 26-28)
Jalen Duren, ‘23-24 (games 1-3) pic.twitter.com/LrVBbm1hTm
— Brett Usher (@UsherNBA) October 29, 2023
What’s to Come for Duren
Jalen Duren is off to a fantastic start to his sophomore season. He’s been a force on both ends of the floor, dominating on the glass and as a rim protector.
However, the Pistons big man has also expanded his game, showing some nice flashes as a playmaker. He has the potential to grow into a true offensive hub in his time with Detroit due to his combination of size, athleticism, physicality, and feel for the game.
Don’t be surprised if the former Memphis Tiger capitalizes on this strong start and becomes an All-Star in the Eastern Conference. So far, he’s shown tremendous talent, and he’s only 19 years old.