Published on April 14th, 2012 | by Bryant West, Columnist0
2012 NBA Draft Prospect Stock Watch: Perry Jones III
Name: Perry Jones III
Hometown: Duncanville, TX
Physicals: 6′ 11″, 235 lbs, 20 years old
NBA Position: Power Forward
Current Stats: 13.5 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.7 TPG, 50.0% FG, 69.9% FT, 30.3% 3P
In this NBA Draft class, it seems the players either have a work ethic of the Gods, or are melancholy to the whole game of basketball. Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Thomas Robinson all have well documented work ethics, and you see it in each of them when they played. But on the flip side, you have Andre Drummond and Terrence Jones, who contain so much talent yet often can’t even bothered to care.
And then there is Perry Jones, an ultimate head case. As quoted by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com, Jones is “deemed by many scouts as the prospect with the highest upside of any player in college basketball.” So why do the mocks have him falling as far as #10? He doesn’t only look uninterested at times, he looks downright terrified. It’s one thing to be Kwame Brown type bored, it’s another to be bored and Karl Malone type terrified when the game is in the clutch.
Realistically, he looks like a young Lamar Odom. He’s got all the necessary skills – a decent game around the basket, a good jumper with very solid range and the ability to drive and finish at the rim. He’s a good rebounder, a capable and willing passer.
He has all the physical gifts you look for in a star – he’s amazingly athletic, has great length and reach and is strong enough to fight off most NBA SF/PFs. He can run the floor like a guard, dunk like a wing and rebound like a center.
But the sad truth is, he’s just not all that tough a player. He shies away from contact, often refusing to use his size against his opponents. Despite his athleticism, he doesn’t get many blocks (just. 7 a game last season). He stays out on the perimeter too much, refusing to go inside where his size and athleticism could have best been used. He flitted at times between looking lost, bored, and nervous. Except for when Baylor was in the NCAA Tournament… then he was downright petrified.
His fear of contact is worst on the defensive end, where most of the time he just stands flat footed. He’s got great reach, which helps, but he is, at this point, a downright poor defender.
Of course, to his credit, Jones didn’t exactly disappear in Baylor’s biggest games. He just didn’t dominate, or even try too. He had 17 points and eight rebounds on 6-14 shooting against Kentucky, which was actually his best game in the NCAA Tournament (he averaged 10 points, seven rebounds and 47.2% shooting in four games).
At Baylor, he played Center, where he really should have been playing PF at the most. Chad Ford quoted one NBA GM recently in a breakdown of Jones’ game – “He really has the game of a two guard or a small forward,” one respected NBA GM told ESPN.com. “Baylor used him as a center for the past two years, so you rarely got to see him comfortable. It’s like, what if UConn had tried to play Rudy Gay at the 5? I think people would’ve had a very different opinion of him on draft night.”
So is the whole problem just that he was out of position? I can buy that, to a point. He wouldn’t have to face as much contact as a wing. Remember, Kevin Durant played shooting guard his first year, and Jones is certainly fast enough. But does that fix his work ethic? Does it make him suddenly WANT to dominant, especially if he’s being guarded by 6’4 guards? I doubt it.
But here is something I still do not understand. Scouts and mock experts everywhere are dropping Jones down the mocks because of his work ethic. Yet they have Andre Drummond, who has the exact same concerns as Jones, as a top four pick. Why is it a deal breaker on Jones, who has as much talent as anyone, when it isn’t a deal breaker on Drummond?
This isn’t a defense of Jones, of course. The NBA’s history is littered with the bodies of high-potential-turned-bust players who didn’t have the mental framework necessary to rule in the NBA. Will Jones be another shoulda-coulda-woulda been in five years? It sure looks like it.
Draft Watch: Much like Drummond, you’ll have a hard time finding a team in thedraft who couldn’t realistically take and use Jones well—outside of the top five, of course.
Toronto needs wing help, and with Jones/Andrea Bargnani and the incoming Jonas Valanciunas, they’d have three sharp offensive weapons who could score from anywhere. But with Bargnani and Jones, you’d have two players who refuse to use their height as they should.
Detroit needs talent of any size. Greg Monroe and Perry Jones would give the Pistons two very smart big men and if Detroit added in a shot blocker then that big man core would be downright scary.
New Orleans needs talent, period. Taking a flyer on Jones with their second first round pick (currently notched in at #10) would be a smart move, especially if they got Thomas Robinson at #3. Jones wouldn’t be all that far from home, either.
Milwaukee has Epke Udoh, who would help elevate many of Jones’ defensive problems. Aside from Udoh, they have no size to speak of.
Phoenix seems the ultimate floor for Jones, and they currently have the #13pick. The further and further down he goes, the less and less risk teams would be taking on drafting him. At #13? He’s a steal.
Conclusion: He’s a dream physically and skill set wise, but he lacks the mental focus to win. He shies away from contact, seemingly refuses to play tough defense, and at times look like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming semi. As he falls down the draft boards come June 28th, it’ll be interesting to see who gambles on his potential, but it won’t be a top 5 pick… which is sad, because he has the talent to be a top three selection.