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, on June 28, 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 University of Connecticut’s freshman center Andre Drummond. Today, we’re looking into the future of Baylor’s explosive prospect, Perry Jones III.
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Best Case: Kevin Garnett
Worst Case: Anthony Randolph
Final Comparison: Josh Smith
Ratings (on a scale of 1-10, 1 being overseas talent and 10 being NBA Rookie Of The Year)
Perry Jones has a freakishly long frame with surprising athletic ability to go along with it. At 6-11 and 220 pounds, he’s about 15 pounds shy of being Serge Ibaka‘s size. His jumping ability might just be superior to Serge’s so you can see the potential he has as a shot blocker. He also moves very quickly for someone his size, so he could have a strong impact as a help side defender. Offensively, his athleticism will be the focal point of his game. He has the potential to be a great offensive rebounder, and is mobile enough to run the pick-n-roll with fluidity. His size and jumping ability makes him a great target for lobs. Put him alongside the right point guard and he could reach his potential much quicker. He has the chance to be a Josh Smith-type of athlete both offensively and defensively, but he will need to become much stronger and more physical as he seems to shy away from contact too often.
In today’s game, (which is mainly guard oriented) the traditional power forward has become a rarity. Up until the late ’90s/early 2000s, you could draft a player like Perry Jones with hopes to build your franchise around him. The idea would be to make him a centerpiece of your offense, feed him the ball down low and let him go to work with his back to the basket. Perry Jones has the size, the touch, and the potential to be that type of player, but with the way the game has changed today it’s hard to imagine that happening. Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan were the last of that batch of traditional power forwards. At his best, if he develops his skills quickly enough, Jones has the potential to be like a young KG. However, his jump shot is far from polished enough and his back-to-the-basket skillset needs developing. Coaches are more likely to use Jones as a pick-n-roll power forward (which has almost become the norm for any young power forward). Slashing to the basket after setting a pick allows him to utilize his finishing skills, which are by far his best asset. Jones is a good finisher, and has the ability to blow past his defenders in space, but it’s too predictable. If he can develop a consistent jumper from 15-18 feet out, that will be the key to him reaching his potential offensively.
[RELATED: Dime Mock Draft 1.0]
Perry Jones has the size and athleticism to be a good help side defender but he isn’t built enough to guard the stronger big men in the post one-on-one; bigger and more physical power forwards have an advantage over him. Once he puts on a few pounds he’ll be able to avoid getting out-muscled by those types of players. Offensively, he isn’t ready to contribute on a big level just yet. His best chance on the offensive end right away will come from the pick-n-roll and the transition game. Jones has tremendous touch and finishing ability around the basket, however he isn’t strong enough to back his opponents down and finish in their faces on his own. He’ll have much more success rolling to the rim, and using his length, and touch to put the ball in the basket. Once he develops his jump shot, he’ll add another element to his game and it will make him less predictable in isolation settings from 15 feet out. Inside of 15, Jones is very efficient. As you can see on this chart from statsheet.com, Perry Jones rarely shoots under 50 percent from the field. If he can continue to operate at such a high percentage, it will translate into success for him at the next level.
In terms of upside, Perry Jones might just have the highest ceiling out of everyone in the draft. He has an extremely rare and unique package that you don’t come across everyday. Right now, he’s at a stage where he does everything good, but nothing great. He’s almost like a straight-A college student who hasn’t picked a major yet. He doesn’t really know what type of player he wants to be, but he could be successful whichever path he chooses. Ultimately, that decision will be made depending on what team drafts him. He has a much better chance at contributing right away as an athletic power forward, thriving in transition and the pick-n-roll, like a Josh Smith. Down the road, if he develops his jump shot, and back-to-the-basket post moves, he has a chance to become similar to Kevin Garnett and other traditional power forwards. In his best-case scenario, he earns his minutes by contributing with his athleticism and is given the time to develop his post game. Worst-case scenario, he is thrown into the fire in a half-court offensive setting, continues to do everything good, but nothing great, and turns into Anthony Randolph.
Perry Jones’ intangibles are what hold him back from becoming the great player that many expect him to become. He has the whole package, but doesn’t have the cerebral approach to put it all together just yet. At Baylor, there were times when he went long stretches throughout games having no impact at all. Whether that has to do with a lack of motivation, or just simply being in the wrong system is a mystery, however it is a concern NBA general managers must take into consideration. He lacks the tenacity, aggression and ferocious drive that he needs to become dominant. He’s the definition of a kid that is just too nice on the basketball court. Also, his motor is limited. He often seems to run out of gas, and throughout the course of a 48-minute NBA game, there’s no time for him to be lazy. If there was one thing Jones has to prove going into the draft, it’s that he has a good motor.
Combined Score: 38 out of a possible 50 points
Best Fit: Golden State
Playing in an up-tempo offense like Golden State will give Jones the best opportunity to have success right away. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson love to push the basketball, which will leave him no choice but to run the floor. Curry is underrated as a distributor and will find Jones in transition for easy baskets as defenders commit to his three. With both of those two taking the majority of the shots for the Warriors, Jones will have plenty of opportunities to get offensive rebounds and second-chance points. Also, he will have room to operate the high-low with Andrew Bogut, similar to what the Lakers have done with Pau Gasol.
Is Jones more likely to be a bust or an All-Star in the NBA?
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