Perry Jones III - The Next Paul George?

Perry Jones might end up being a workout wonder, but scouts still seem to be divided on how bright his future is as an NBA player.


With the NBA draft lottery only a few days away, the draft talk is heating up, and workouts are finally getting started.

Still no word on the Raptors' front, but I'm guessing once the draft order is set late next Wednesday night, we'll start getting some emails from the team on scheduling.

However Mr. NBA Draft, ESPN.com's Chad Ford, is in full gear already, making his usual cross-country tour of NBA workouts, the latest being a check-in Baylor's Perry Jones III, the feature player in a BDA sports group workout held in Santa Barbara.

It's an "Insider" piece on ESPN, but the gist of the article is that despite showing well in the workout, it doesn't seem to be any more of a consensus on the future of Jones. On one side:

"That sort of talent doesn't come along very often," one GM said. "As I was watching the workout, I thought you finally got to see what a freed-up Perry Jones could do if a coach just lets him be himself. He could be a dominant, and I mean dominant, forward with his size, athletic ability and skill set. I think he's a hard worker and will be a much better contributor if you give him the chance to be himself. I'd have no concerns drafting him in the top five. He could be a home run of a pick."

And then also from the article, on the other:

"Of all the guys that are in your top 10, I'd have the hardest time taking him," another GM said. "I know he wants to be a 3, but I don't think he does anything that we ask our 3s to do that is special. He's not a great shooter. He doesn't have a great handle. He's not an aggressive defender. He's got great size and athleticism, but he's not skilled enough. That means he'll end up being a stretch 4, which is a euphemism for a guy who doesn't have a position.

"Could he be great? Sure. But I think he's a major project and a major risk. There are safer picks in the top 10 with very good upsides. I think there's a good chance that he slides in the draft as people continue to wrestle with who he is."

Hmmm.

The one interesting comment from the article is Ford's comparison of Jones to Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, a player of similar physical ilk, and who at times has had similar "drive" questions surrounding him. I personally don't see a great comparison, you may recall that George was our preferred pick in the 2010 draft, as George was always a wing at the next level in my books based on his play in college. Jones may have been played out of position at Baylor as a 5, but I'm not convinced his shooting or ball-handling is good enough to be a 2 or 3 at the next level.

At least not at this point.

I'm still very much in the "buyer beware" camp for Jones III, and would prefer a litany of other options even at the eighth or ninth spot in the draft.

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