2012 NBA Draft: Perry Jones Pros and Cons

Forward Perry Jones was expected to be Baylor University’s first one-and-done player. He decided to stay at Baylor for his sophomore season. Assuming he sticks to his decision, Jones is one of the top prospects at forward for the 2012 NBA draft.

Here are some of the pros and cons to drafting Perry Jones. All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com.

#1. Athleticism

Jones stands 6’11” and weighs 235 pounds. His body is a chiseled and hard 235 pounds, not the soft frame that some players entering college have. He has the natural talent to defend and even play all five positions. His physical tools are excellent.

Despite his height, Jones has an explosive first step. He handles the ball well with both hands and shows a decent arsenal of techniques when he needs to maneuver off of the dribble. His shooting motion is crisp and smooth most of the time.

#2. Finisher
On the offensive side, Jones can take the ball to the hoop easily even with defenders on him. He’s especially efficient when teammates feed him the ball in or near the key.

#3. Wingspan
Jones had a 7′ 2.5″ wingspan when he was recruited from high school. He can catch off-target passes anywhere in the neighborhood.

Jones’ wingspan is an asset defensively but he needs to learn how to utilize it better. He doesn’t appear to understand how to consistently interfere with a shooter or how to block passing lanes.

#1. Ineligibility

Jones was penalized for impermissible benefits at the conclusion of the 2010 season. He sat out 1 game at the end of 2010 and will have to miss 5 games in the 2011 season. Jones also must repay $700.

It appears that this was a one-time accident. It primarily stemmed from Jones’ mother taking loans from Jones’ AAU coach for their mortgage. Jones has had good character evaluations and hasn’t had any behavioral incidents. During the 2011 suspension and when he returns, Jones needs to show that he’s ready to play.

#2. Soft
Like other top prospects, Jones’ adjustment to the next level of competition has been uneven. Although he showed a lot of enthusiasm and willingness to attack in high school, Jones has been less aggressive in college. He plays hard all of the time but he defers to his older teammates too often.

Jones needs to work on his rebounding, particularly on the defensive end. He also needs to be more aggressive and use his size to his advantage against smaller players.

#3. Unpolished Project
Jones is clearly better on the offensive end at this point in his career. Although he has the tools to dominate defensively, he doesn’t do so consistently yet.

His shooting motions from all areas are decent. But Jones doesn’t seem to be able to maintain a consistent shot. His footwork also needs some attention from a coach.

Make no mistake. Barring a catastrophic injury or law enforcement incident, Jones is an elite NBA prospect. He has unusual athleticism and outstanding size. I don’t see Jones’ soft label as being a problem if he can come into a team that has an established leader. I think he’s more of a lead by example type of guy and that’s why Jones needs a vocal, rah-rah type of leader to complement him in the locker room.

However, Jones needs some quality coaching to close the holes in his game. NBA franchises will need to do their due diligence on whether Jones is willing to be selfish at times. If he’s drafted by a team full of veterans, will he be willing to stand up to them and take shots away from them? Or will he just let them take the lead and tell him what to do? He’s almost too willing to help his teammates succeed.

I see Jones as a top-5 pick at the moment but he needs to continue improving and learn to be selfish.

ESPN.com Perry Jones’ Player Page. April 17th, 2011.