While Jordan Farmars physical attributes certainly dont jump out at you, at 6-2 he will not be considered undersized for the NBA point guard position.
His best attributes all revolve around his phenomenal playmaking skills, basketball IQ, and the way he makes everyone around him better; which separates him from every other PG in this draft except for possibly Marcus Williams of Connecticut.
Farmar is an unbelievable passer first and foremost, possessing terrific court vision and an uncanny knack for getting the ball to teammates in a favorable position to score. This skill will undoubtedly look infinitely better at the next level when he is playing next to more talented teammates. Farmar is capable of executing every pass in the point guard instruction manual to perfection; whether its threading the needle from the perimeter with a bullet pass, driving and dishing to find the open shooter on the wing, throwing up imaginative lobs perfectly out of nowhere for alley-oops, or especially with simple and highly effective bounce passes into the post right to the hands of his big man or cutter for an easy basket. Farmar is just as good passing on the move as he is from stand-still positions, and is equally adept at making top 10 highlight reel passes as he is playing fundamental old-school basketball to set players up for easy layups. He consistently makes the game easier for everyone around him with the way he gets his teammates involved, and indeed helped his UCLA squad overachieve severely and make the NCAA tournament finals, where they lost to Florida.
As a floor general, Farmar is outstanding at controlling tempo, organizing his teammates and executing half-court sets. He picks up on plays quickly, knows when and how to improvise, and very rarely looks unprepared for what is evolving around him on the floor.
Farmar played a style of grind it out basketball that did not really suit his strengths as a player, but adapted himself wonderfully as an assistant coach out on the floor for Coach Ben Howland. He loves to push the tempo of the game and is excellent at organizing the fast-break, but is also just as good at slowing down the pace of the game, eating up clock, and getting his team a good look at the end of the shot-clock.
Much of his success as both a passer and a scorer has to do with his terrific ball-handling skills. Farmar is a natural born dribbler, keeping the ball low and always in control and never being phased or rattled by anything around him. He keeps the ball alive at all costs in the most impossible of situations, often in And-1 style.
His ball-handling skills are a huge reason why hes found plenty of success as a scorer at the NCAA level as well. Farmar possesses all the crafty little tricks in his arsenal that all great shot-creators have, including nifty head and ball-fakes, plenty of change of pace ability, but also a surprising and quite unexpected extra gear he can go to on his 2nd and 3rd step once he gets his man off-balance. He sees and uses all the angles available to him to create scoring opportunities for teammates, but especially to find an angle to slash to the basket, often splitting apart the double team if needed on his way to the hoop.
Considering that he is not an explosive athlete, this ability to create space for himself to operate is extremely important. Once he gets past his man, either on his own accord or preferably with a screen, the defense is at a serious disadvantage. Farmar is excellent at using his body to fend off defenders while hes dribbling, keeping them on his hip and holding them at bay, being the one who dictates his motion and not the only way around. Just like in all other facets of the game, Farmar displays great toughness here, never backing down and having no problem taking contact on his way to the basket.
Despite his youth, his leadership skills are excellent. Farmar became the unequivocal leader of a young team that as mentioned overachieved severely in going all the way to the final game of the NCAA tournament. He did it on the floor with his voice, off the floor by example, and always with a calm and cool demeanor about him that is extremely rare for a player that only turned 19 a month into the season. He gained the respect of his upperclassmen teammates very early on in his tenure at UCLA thanks to his poise and focus, and never gave them any reason to lose it, particularly with the way he played through multiple nagging injuries all season long. This comes as no surprise as hes both a physically and mentally tough player who seems to be programmed to succeed. In the clutch, Farmar wants the ball in his hands and is pretty reliable in terms of making good decisions. Off the court, Farmar is an honors student.
Farmar doesnt have nearly as many weaknesses as he does strengths, but the ones he does posses are serious concerns.
The most glaring would be his lack of athleticism, as he possesses average explosiveness at best. His first step in particular is not all that impressive, often needing a screen, some nifty ball-handling skills or other crafty tricks to be able to get by his man already at the college level. Not being the most explosive player vertically getting off the floor to finish at the rim, Farmar will have to add some strength to continue to get his shot off effectively in the paint once he does get in the lane. The fact that hes not very tall or long only compounds this problem.
This wouldnt be as much of an issue if he was a consistent outside shooter, but he is most certainly not, only hitting 33% of his 3-point shots in both his freshman and sophomore seasons at UCLA. Farmars shot selection can be questionable at times, sometimes feeling the need to take too much on himself. What should be mentioned here is that he plays in an offense that likes to run down the entire shot-clock more often than not, which means hes usually the one stuck with the ball in his hands and forced to hoist up a tough and contested shot at the end of possessionssomething that is obviously not his strength.
Becoming a better mid-range shooter off the dribble would help him compensate for the average physical attributes he possesses, which will make things more difficult on him in terms of finishing around the basket.
Related to these problems is the fact that Farmar is quite a dominant offensive player in terms of the way he handles the ball almost exclusively when being played at the point guard spot for UCLA. His teammates have a tendency to stand around and watch at times, just being accustomed to the fact that hell at some point magically create an easy shot for them out of nothing by threading the needle with a pin-point accurate pass. Sometimes that works, but more often than not he ends up getting himself in trouble, which causes turnovers. Farmar averaged 3.6 turnovers per game his sophomore year (3.9 as a freshman), having problems with this issue particularly early on and midway through the season, coincidentally when he was struggling with nagging injuries the most.
Regardless, Farmar showed some definite problems with not knowing his limitations at times; forcing the issue with penetrations, getting too deep under the rim, looking out of control with excessive spin moves, and hoisting up crazy shots that were clearly out of his repertoire. To help relieve this to a certain extent as well as get an extremely talented freshman some well deserved minutes, UCLA would at times switch him over to the SG spot in order to get Darren Collison on the floor. The 5-11, 155 pound speedster was only capable of playing the point, but did it well enough to average just under 20 minutes per game.
Farmars second biggest weakness is his defense. He only possesses average length and lateral quickness and therefore struggles to stay in front of quicker opponents. It wasnt rare to see him being lit up by the point guard he was assigned to guard (which was sometimes all the more reason to bring in the superb defending freshman Collison), and at times this did not seem to bother Farmar all that much. Later on in the year, when putting in more effort, he did show some nice anticipation ability and overall craftiness in terms of being able to contain players, but its pretty clear that hell be at least somewhat of a liability in the NBA until he gets his feet wet and adjusts to the pace of the game.
Jordan Farmar was the first recruit that committed to former Pitt coach Ben Howland. He was considered a fantastic college prospect in a deep class of high school PGs, and was even named a McDonalds All-American, amongst other accolades.
As a freshman Farmar took little time to adjust to the college game. With Cedric Bozeman out for the year with a torn ACL, Farmar was asked to step in and start from day one for UCLA. He did so and played heavy minutes, starting every game and only seeing less than 31 minutes in a contest twice all season. He helped UCLA return to the NCAA tournament, and was named Pac-10 freshman of the year for his efforts, averaging 13.2 points and 5.4 assists on the season. He was mentioned on numerous occasions by DraftExpress as one of the most exciting freshman prospects in the country (see links).
Coming into his sophomore year, expectations were huge. He was nominated as a preseason Wooden Award candidate and a finalist for the Bob Cousy (point guards only) Award. An ankle injury made him miss a few games early on in the season, but Farmar rushed himself back onto the court and was clearly hampered by it (as well as ensuing groin, thumb, wrist and another injury to his opposite ankle) later on in the year. Farmar continued to play and UCLA was ranked in the top 20 for most of the season. After dropping two games on the road at Washington and arch-rivals USC, UCLA reeled off 12 straight wins to make it all the way to the Finals of the NCAA Tournament as a (many considered overrated) #2 seed. The Bruins made their name known based on their defense, and Farmar was an important cog even on this end. In what might have been the last game of his college career, the Finals against Florida, Farmar was obviously the only player to show up for UCLA, scoring 18 points with 4 assists and 2 turnovers. On the season he averaged 13.5 points and 5.1 assists.
A prospect with rare strengths and glaring weaknesses, Farmar is clearly a beauty in the eye of the beholder type prospect. This scout is sure he will find success in the NBA eventually, but the buzz around him all season long has been very weak, with most scouts we talked to seeming to think that he isnt that great of a prospect at all. Whats for sure is that Farmar has a definite itch to play in the NBA, and would likely stay in the draft should he be guaranteed of being selected in the 1st round. Hes already said he will not be attending the Orlando pre-draft camp, instead relying on private workouts to try and get his stock to where it needs to be.
His father Damon Farmar played professional baseball. His godfather is MLB great Eric Davis.
Farmar will likely be the first Jewish player in the NBA since David Bluthenthal, and the first one to really stick since Danny Schayes.