Tag:Perry Jones
Posted on: January 28, 2012 3:41 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2012 4:18 pm

NBA Draftbook: The PJ3 debate continues

Perry Jones III has a pro skill set but questions linger about his physicality. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

WACO -- There are going to be a lot of fights over Perry Jones in the next five months. And they're not going to be pretty.

In the most loaded draft class since 2003, we have a pretty good feel for where most of the top players will go and how good they will be. But no one tantalizes scouts while driving everyone else bonkers like Perry Jones III.

Jones' size and skill combination isn't just rare, it borders on special. A 6-10 forward with incredible length, Miller also possesses terrific handle for a player his size. But the same questions that plagued his freshman season have not vanished into the night, and they are perhaps the only thing keeping him from being a top-five pick.

Let's put it simply. No one knows how tough Jones is. On Saturday against an out-sized Texas team, Jones plugged in a double-double in the first-half. He showed better work in establishing position down low than he has for most of the season, while also using his superb mid-range face-up game and maneuverability in the lane to rip the Longhorn defense to shreds in the Bears' 76-71 win Saturday.

But there were still moments when Jones showed the same problems with physicality and focus that have held him back. His touch is what sets him apart from so many combo-forward prospects, but it also means he too often drifts the ball up into block-magnet territory. He can sky for the occasional alley-oop, and off the dribble he has the ability to take his defender to the rack for a strong finish. It is not a matter of ability, of skill, of talent.

It's a matter of want-to. Jones body language on the floor has taken a beating from pro evaluators and scouts. On Saturday, you saw the best and worst of Jones. Casually jogging up the floor during live play... then detonating towards the rim. His attitude and approach is contrasted by the other lottery pick on the Bears, Quincy Miller, who plays with an aggression and determination that you can't help but wish Jones had. With the score tied with 7:51 to go against Texas, Miller nabbed an offensive rebound in between two defenders, went up and drew the foul. It re-energized a Baylor team that had fallen into listlessness again.

"We've got to work on our aggressiveness," Jones told reporters after the win.

Two weeks ago in Lawrence, Jones was muscled out completely by Thomas Robinson. While Robinson's been destroying everyone this season as he shoots up the draft board in his own right, it was a challenge to Jones. He showed the same things he can show, the mid-range game, the perimeter shot-making, a nasty pump-fake-and-go dunk. But it's the infrequency of his attempts at those plays that bring questions as to whether he's mentally "there" enough to hinge a franchise on.

In Baylor's two losses, he snagged just nine rebounds total, a number he eclipsed in the first-half against Texas. He finished with 22 points on 10 shots and 14 rebounds. It wasn't a dominant performance, but it was more than good enough to put his team in position to win. His rebounding was very strong, even considering the lack of size he faced against Texas. If it's effort scouts were looking for with Jones, Saturday was an example of what happens when he brings it. And that's the other part of the "Good PJ3 vs. Bad PJ3" debate. Just when you think Jones simply doesn't have the ability to make tough plays, he makes one.

"I gotta have a double double to help my team win," Jones said after the game in response to why he's focused on his double-double streak. 

"Perry's a lot more aggressive, being healthy," Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. An ankle injury had limited Jones early in the season and his rebound totals continue to improve as he gets healthier, despite the dip during the brief losing streak. 

Jones has the remainder of the season to try and put these fears to rest and show he's developed those skills. Even if he doesn't, he'll be a top-ten pick and be in strong consideration for a top-five selection. His game would translate well as a small-forward, but lateral quickness matters at that position in the NBA these days.

So the debate will continue. Skilled all-around weapon or tweener lacking muscle? Small forward or power forward? A mini-LaMarcus-Aldridge, a second-coming of Lamar Odom, or another big who doesn't play big? We know Jones can play at the NBA level. But the issue of how he will play at the NBA level continues to be a complicated one up for debate.

Other notes from Baylor's 76-71 win over Texas:

- Apparently sending mixed messages was a theme for Saturday. Texas guard Myck Kabongo showed the recklessness and sloppy play that has seen his stock drop since the start of the season... and the kind of perimeter range and blinding speed that put him there in the first place. Twice, Kabongo nailed a a three and drew contact for the four-point play. On one of them he was even touched! In reality, it was a crafty move that helped put the Longhorns in position to tie the game late.

- Miller's role in the NBA is still impossible to figure out, but his playmaking is easy to see in translation. He's aggressive on the glass and has that freakish length you love to see in a small forward. He's not "scratch his knee standing up" like Bismack Biyombo, but he's within range. He's looking like a steal between 7 and 14.

- That same handle that Jones is so strong with also gets him into trouble. He's got a habit of wanting to run the floor, particularly coast to coast. That creates problems when there are, say, three defenders closing to attack his dribble.

- J'Covan Brown doesn't have the body to consistently play at the next level, but he certainly has the skills and moxie. Brown was a motor for the Longhorns and a huge part of what brought them back from a sizeable deficit.
Posted on: April 11, 2011 8:18 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 9:00 pm

Draft Update: Kemba in, Jones out

Kemba Walker is in, Perry Jones is out of the 2011 Draft.
Posted by Matt Moore

Some interesting draft news today. One star from the NCAA tournament is in, one star that was assumed to go top-five is out as the 2011 class gets weaker by the day. 

First up, CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish reports that Kemba Walker will announce his decision to enter the draft on Tuesday. Walker is coming off a stellar college season and a magnficent tournament run that had him vault up the draft boards thanks to the most popular of all assessments: "He just knows how to score." With so many top picks dropping out of this class, Walker is a lock between 5 and 10, and may go higher if some GM gets to feeling like gambling on a reach. 

The problem is that Walker is badly in need of the combine's measurements. Some scouts have pegged him as short as 5-11. Walker's not a point guard, he's a shooting guard, but he'll have to play point guard in order not to get swallowed alive. It isn't that he doesn't have the quickness or scoring ability to make teams pay in the NBA, just that his size is going to be a huge concern. You can't pair him with a point guard under 6-3 unless you're fine with getting rolled in the post. Still, Walker does score, and teams fall in love with scorers with speed. His stock will never be higher than it is right now. 

Then there's the bizarre decision of Perry Jones. Our Eye on College Basketball's Jeff Borzello brings word that Jones will return for his sophomore season. Jones was a top-five lock. There is no question. Even if Jared Sullinger hadn't elected to return to Ohio State, he was going to go top-five. Jones' question marks were on bulk and defensive effort, along with rebounding. But he's a big man with a hook shot and nice touch around the basket, and those guys are a premium. By returning to school, it's hard to see him improving his stock. Especially considering he's serving a five-game suspension for improper benefits. You'd think that alone would push him to the draft. But Jones is out, meaning the best bigs in this draft are pretty much Derrick Williams and a bunch of guys whose names you can't spell. 
Posted on: November 26, 2010 2:21 pm

Hunter's statements ring in Freshmen ears

NBA labor dispute could have impacts not only on NBA players but freshmen headed for one-and-done status.
Posted by Matt Moore

Kyrie Irving was busy tearing up teams on Duke's way to dominating the CBE Classic in Kansas City. Terrence Jones was making a name for himself in Maui. Josh Selby was continuing his ineligibility thanks to Team Melo. Harrison Barnes was struggling to find himself, and Enes Kanter, well, he wasn't doing anything much at all.

The country's best freshmen draft prospects were a little distracted last week when NBA Union head Billy Hunter said he was 99% sure there would be a lockout next season . But don't think the comments didn't trickle their way into the youngsters' ears at some point later, along with Ken Berger's report of hope emerging in the talks just as Hunter talks doom and gloom.

You're going to hear a lot from these kids as the year goes on about how they're not paying attention to the CBA talks. You're going to hear about how they are just focused on their team and trying to win now, for their teammates. And everything you hear is ignoring the reality which is that the current tensions between the owners group and the union has to have these standout freshmen concerned.

The freshmen have a bigger decision because "one-and-done" players are usually the most talented and have the best chance of getting drafted as high as possible. There are certainly exceptions (Evan Turner and Blake Griffin are two that spring immediately to mind). But "one-and-done" has come to mean high profile draft pick in recent years and next year's projected draft class is chock full of them. Five of the top six players projected in the 2011 class by Draft Express are freshmen (though it's hard to argue Enes Kanter is a freshman anywhere at this point).

A lockout means leaving college puts them in a precarious position financially should they elect to jump to the draft this summer. Staying in college increases the odds of injury, their stock dropping, or other forces beyond their control impacting the number of millions they're able to collect when they decide to become a professional.

So it's kind of a big decision.

The question is if the concerns surrounding a lockout for the freshmen will be enough to keep them at their schools next year. If they do talk kids off the professional highwire ledge, it could have huge impacts on next year's college basketball season. Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com isn't convinced the lockout concerns will freeze the freshmen, because they'll have other options to make some dough before their contract dough gets sorted out. But if they do, it'll make for a stellar college basketball season in 2011-2012. As Parrish told F&R:

"I'm not certain a lockout would force everybody back to college the way some suspect because the elite guys, at the very least, will still have options. A freshman coming off a great season and deep run in the NCAA tournament -- Jared Sullinger? Kyrie Irving? Terrence Jones? -- might be high-profile enough at that point to secure endorsements that can't be turned away, or maybe a European club offers big money to bring a 'name' over. Beyond that, academics could always force the hand of a few who never intended to be in school more than a year. So we shall see. But if a lockout comes and guys subsequently decide it's to their benefit to just remain in college, wow, we could be in for a great 2011-12 season of college hoops.

Imagine Kentucky adding Mike Gilchrist, Anthony Jones and Marquise Teague to Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb. Or Duke operating with Kyrie Irving, Quinn Cook and Austin Rivers. Or Baylor putting Quincy Miller beside Perry Jones. Or Texas with Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and Myck Kabongo? Or Memphis returning every relevant player from a team currently ranked 14th, and then tossing Adonis Thomas into the mix.

Again, I'm not sure a lockout will create all or even any of this because returning to school wouldn't be the lone option for the current crop of freshmen, especially the ones who spend March turning into household names. But are the possibilities fun to consider? Yes, absolutely."

The union naturally isn't concerned with players who aren't in the league, beyond some preliminary talks about eliminating the age restriction. They've got bigger concerns for established veterans and trying to fend off the losses in revenue share being discussed. (Read more about how the union is softening on that stance in Ken Berger's column here.) But this situation goes to show how massive this lockout situation is. It will hold an impact on the NBA which is enjoyed success it hasn't seen since Jordan retired (the second time), players, owners, agents, and even those youngsters making a name for themselves in front of the student bodies.

It's just another example of a world that could be dramatically altered not by play on the hardwood, but by talks held in boardrooms over the next ten months.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com