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.