They used to call it one of the best draft classes of the last 25 years. Now, it’s looking more and more like Anthony Davis… and then everybody else. Still, this Thursday, the 2012 NBA Draft will bring hope, and hopefully new talent to some teams that desperately need it.
As we do every year, Dime will be holding you down with mock drafts, player interviews and diaries (you should check out Dion Waiters‘ draft diary), and we will also be bringing you draft profiles for every potential prospect deemed worthy. With this year’s crop of talent, that list is long. Our last profile was on the future of Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger. Now, we’re looking at Kentucky’s Terrence Jones.
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Best Case: Carlos Boozer (with outside shot)
Worst Case: Marvin Williams
Final Comparison: Thaddeus Young
Terrence Jones is an explosive forward with all of the tools to become an NBA player for a very long time. For a player his size, he has excellent speed and jumping ability. He moves just like a guard while standing at 6-9.5. The only problem is that he does move well enough laterally to guard NBA perimeter players.
The biggest question mark about Jones is what position he will play. He believes that he will play both forward positions. At the college level, he could handle and shoot adequately. We have seen so many players in the same mold as Jones that looked like the ultimate mismatches. The problem with these tall, perimeter-oriented players is that they cannot handle playing on the perimeter because they do not have the handle or athletic ability to get by NBA defenders. What is the point of having a big perimeter player if he cannot even get by his defender? Players like this usually end up being face-up power forwards or overseas players. Jones has skills, but whether they translate to the NBA is a huge question mark. One good sign is that from his freshman year to his sophomore year, Jones became a little less perimeter-oriented. In his sophomore year, only 12.4 percent of his offense came from spot-up opportunities whereas his freshman year, 18.6 percent of his offense came spot-up opportunities.
From a basketball standpoint, Jones is ready for the NBA. From a mental standpoint, however, Jones might not have the maturity to handle the NBA lifestyle. He improved his body language a little bit this year but there are still question marks about his motor and how badly he wants it. There’s no doubt that he plays with intensity but sometimes he gets a little too intense or whiny. The other question mark will be about his defense. Jones drastically improved his defense from his freshman to sophomore year. His lateral quickness and defensive technique were the biggest improvements, along with his shotblocking. In college he showed the ability to guard posts and perimeter players, but there are still question marks whether he will be able to in the NBA.
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Jones has as close to the full package as anyone in this year’s draft. The most promising sign about Jones is that he joined a team that put aside their egos and personal goals to win a national championship. Teams can say what they want about his personality, but the fact that Jones has championship experience and all of the talent in the world already makes for a player with a high ceiling. Obviously, the character issues will still remain but should Jones figure it out one day, he could be a special player in this league.
As mentioned before, Jones is not known as a great guy. He is not much of a leader. He is not the type of player that is going to dive for the loose ball. He does not have a great attitude and the only thing that can fix this is time and aging.
It’s easy to see Terrence Jones as a guy who would not be able to handle the NBA lifestyle and be out of the league in a few years. Jones, however, has top-10 talent and could fall into the 20s on draft night. Oftentimes, this is a good combination. Jones will likely fall to a good team where he can grow under veterans. If this is truly the case, Jones could be in for a bright future.
Combined Score: 37 out of 50 possible points
Best Fit: Boston Celtics
Is there any better player other than Kevin Garnett that could whip Terrence Jones into shape? The Celtics still need to re-sign Garnett, but even if they do not, Jones would still fit in well. The Celtics need scorers. It was apparent during the playoffs that it was incredibly hard for them to score. Jones has a knack for getting the ball in the hoop and could use veterans to lead him into the league. With Brandon Bass and Jeff Green likely hot options in free agency, the Celtics need someone ready to step into the power forward spot right away. Jones would be one of the best options for the job.
“There is no doubt, Jones’ style of play fits the NBA game better than the college game. However, his biggest problem early on will be his position. He may be matched against bigger players as a 4, but he probably isn’t quick enough to guard a 3. Either way, his versatility will allow him to do many things. If he keeps his head right, he could be one of the more productive players in this draft class.” – Garrett Tucker, a scout for Future150.com
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