Perry James Jones III
Baylor - Freshman
6' 10" 230 lbs , 19 Years Old
Stats after 10 games - 31 minutes, 12.4 points (55%), 7.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.9 blocks
Draft projection: Top 5 - I have him as #2 in my mock draft.
NBA Position: Small Forward
And the mystery player is.............
By now you must have guessed that my number 2 pick in the 2011 draft is Perry Jones. I was finally able to see a couple Baylor games on TV and based on my previous notes, and some research, I'm still convinced he'll make a great Professional. I prefer to make such statements based on actual College production and generally don't like to make predictions based solely on upside - but if there's one thing that's keeping me from putting him ahead of Terrence Jones in the #1 spot is the fact that Perry has not had the production that Terrance has. Perry had a couple good games against Morgan State (17/7) and Texas Tech (20/6) but also put up zero points and zero rebounds in a poor effort against Texas Southern.
And here is the biggest negative against Perry Jones in my mind - he just does not dominate like a top player should. One game it looks like he's getting close to breaking out, and the next he looks passive and doesn't do much. Even within games, he'll show an incredible flash of brilliance for a short stretch, then disappear for the rest of the half. I'm convinced that the reason he is not dominating in College is the fact that he's playing out of position.
Is he still a good NBA prospect? Oh brother.... he's got tremendous potential. He's quite possibly the most talented player in the draft. He could also be the player with the most upside. Most mock drafts I've seen list Perry Jones as the #1 prospect (NBADraft.net ; ESPN ; mynbadraft.com ) - not because of his current production, but based on his upside. Everyone here knows how much NBA General Managers love upside. We'll explore his attributes and skills after the jump.
Perry Jones is a lanky, long 6'10" 235 lb forward playing for the Baylor Bears. He's got a 7'2.5" wingspan, quick feet and hands and elite athleticism. At his size, he's as athletic and mobile as a shooting guard. His physical attributes and basketball skills are off the charts. As a matter of fact, some scouting reports compare him to Tracy McGrady (others compare him to Kevin Durant). There's no question that he possesses skills to play the perimeter - the only problem with that is that Baylor is playing him inside; either at Center or Power Forward. His unquestioned best position in the NBA will be on the wing as a Small Forward, but he'll have to learn those perimeter skills at the Pro level.
On offense, Jones can score from anywhere on the floor. He can shoot a jumper or drive to the basket. He's equally confident pulling up for a floater, or powering to the rim for a dunk through contact. Right now, he's best attacking the rim. He has a very quick first step and long strides; combined with his versatile offensive repertoire (floaters, hooks, scoops, dunks, etc...) it makes him difficult to guard. You just don't know what to take away.
In the post, Jones seems uncomfortable. As for actual low post moves - I haven't seen much. When he does get the ball deep, instead of moving across the lane for a hook or taking it up strong on a drop step, Jones will try dribbling toward the foul line or dribble away from the basket. He likes to take his man off the dribble from the top of the key - and as a result, I think he's not accustomed to taking his man down low. As the center in Baylor's offensive sets, he usually flashes to the middle or to the free throw line, and from there he can either hit a turn around jumper, or take it to the rim. Seeing as how his best position in the NBA would be Small Forward - and given that at 6'10" he would likely be bigger than most of his opponents - I'd like to see Jones develop some basic back-to-the-basket post moves. Adding some rudimentary post up moves would go further to making him a complete player.
As for his jump shot - he has been inconsistent; shooting only 35% on 2-point jump shots and 13% on 3-pointers. He's also not been consistent from Free Throw line, shooting well one night and poorly the next. From what I've seen on highlights and in the games I've watched - he really has not been asked to shoot much from outside. The inconsistency is certainly not a result of poor mechanics - as he gets great height on his jump, has his shoulders square to the basket and releases the ball high with a good follow through. His form is consistent whether he's shooting from 12 feet or from the 3-point line. Not Phil Chenier perfect, but an excellent shooting form nonetheless. He should become a much more consistent shooter with experience and repetition.
In transition, Jones is almost impossible to stop. He's faster than the other players on the floor - and even with the ball, he can beat most of the College players down court. His length and elite jumping abilities, along with some in-air creativity and the ability to finish through contact make him great in transition. He handles the basketball like a guard. Baylor frequently has Jones bring the ball up under pressure, or after he rebounds the ball. He can go coast-to-coast in a flash. His ball handling though is not just relegated to straight line dribbling. He's got excellent secondary and advanced moves - including nasty crossovers, spins, behind the back, between the legs, hesitations and he can dribble in and out of crowds. It's odd to me seeing Baylor's center bringing the ball up against the trap; but that's how good Jones ball handling is.
On the defensive end it's almost impossible to predict how he'll fare in the NBA based on watching his College games. Number one, Baylor almost exclusively plays zone - with Jones patrolling the middle. Number two, they have him playing inside - and his position in the NBA will be on the wing. He has shown some abilities as a weak-side shot blocker - but you would expect that from a player with his athleticism and length. Given the fact that he's tremendously long, and cat-quick; he has the tools to be a very good perimeter defender. He's got exceptional lateral quickness and good footwork along with quick hands and "quick twitch" jumping ability. The only question I have is whether he will commit to becoming a good one-on-one perimeter defender. If he does, he has the tools to be an elite lock-down type defensive player. If not, he could look like Gilbert Arenas 2.....
When reading some preliminary background materials I was led to believe that Jones is a good rebounder... but watching the actual games, and looking at the advanced stats shows a different story. He's grabbing only 9.5 rebounds per 40 (pace adjusted) - a pretty average number considering he's playing Center/PF for Baylor. In the games I watched, Jones used his jumping ability and length to snare rebounds. He didn't display fundamental skills like blocking out, securing the ball with two hands, or proper stance. Bigger, stronger players were able to push him out of position - and he sometimes gave up the rebound to a smaller opponent that displayed more effort. What is more disturbing is that given his quickness and length, I would expect him to be better grabbing rebounds out of his immediate area - but I didn't see any evidence of that in the two games I watched. He can occasionally be electrifying on the offensive boards... but I'd prefer to see substance (defensive rebounds, blocking out, etc...) over style (spectacular put-back dunks).
To sum up: On the negative side, he's a big man with no back-to-the-basket game. He's an average rebounder. He's a streaky and inconsistent jump shooter. He's an unknown quantity on the defensive end. On the positive side, he can attack the rim. He's great in transition. He's a versatile offensive player, and he has tremendous upside. In short - he's shown no skills that would slot him as a Center or Power Forward, but lots of indications he will be an excellent perimeter player.
Evaluating Perry Jones based on his actual performance and production has been hard. He's playing inside, when his natural position is on the wing. He's playing on a team that zones on defense when his physical abilities would be better utilized in defending one-on-one on the perimeter. He mostly has not been able to showcase his immense talents because he's being asked to play a different role. My difficulty in trying to evaluate Perry Jones is trying to take glimpses here and there.... a quick step... his dribbling through traffic.... a jumper here or there - and put together a whole picture. So until I have more to go on, he will stay at number two in my mock draft - based on his incredible upside, physical attributes and some very solid skills (ball handling, shooting form, transition finishing). Let's hope that the NBA General Managers are smart and draft Perry Jones with the intent of playing him at Small Forward where his skills and physical attributes will be best utilized. If you're looking for Andray Blatche II, put him at Power Forward.
Rook's Mock Draft
1. Terrence Jones
2. Perry Jones
3. Harrison Barnes
4. Enes Kanter
5. Kyrie Irving
6. Jared Sullinger
7. Kemba Walker
8. Jonas Valanciunas
9. Donatas Motiejunas
10. John Henson
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