Why I Don't Like Perry Jones III For Mavs
Perry Jones III is all over the map on all of the mock-draft board. According to the mocks, he could go as high as the seventh pick or drop into the 20's.
Which might just plunk him right in front of the Dallas Mavericks, with the 17th pick in Thursday's 2012 NBA Draft.
A tough decision on the Baylor Bear? Not in my eyes.
In my career as a professional baseball player, I took pride in keeping my cool. As a passionate MFFL, I've been known to get a little ... emotional. And I get emotional with Perry because of the things he doesn't do.
Jones is a local product from Duncanville and was considered a top-five high-school recruit nationally in 2010. But at Duncanville in his junior year, he was judged (by me) to be only team's fourth best player. Why? Who were the three guys ahead of him? They all got Division-1 scholarships, but none of them are considered NBA prospects.
What was missing?
My former basketball coach at Duncanville High school, Hall-of-Famer Phil McNeely, coached Perry Jones his junior year before retiring in 2010. I asked Coach at the time why this 6-11 "stud'' isn't dominating the high-school game.
The problem, Coach McNeely said, was, "He's too nice."
Coach McNeely said he's one of the best kids he ever coached and the most talented, but that he didn't really want the basketball. As a high-schooler, Jones just wanted to be part of the team.
These aren't negative issues for a mere high-school kid, but ...
Fast-forward to his freshman year at Waco. Jones averaged 13.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and .9 blocks a game in 2010-11. That was enough for much of the country to see. Most mock drafts had him projected as a top-10 pick after his freshman year but Jones decided to go back to Baylor for one more season.
This past year Jones averaged 13.5 points, 7.6 boards, 1.3 assists, and .6 blocks per game. Those aren't bad numbers, but they don't represent improved numbers, either. And coming from a player some projected as a top-three pick coming into the college season, nothing stood out in college. Perry wasn't a dominant scorer or ball-handler or defensive player.
He was in fact the same player in college as he was in high school ... just a guy who liked being part of the team.
I always like to look at how a NBA prospect plays against another NBA prospect. Perry Jones III, now 20, played against Mississippi State's Arnett Moultrie here in Dallas at the AAC in December. Jones was 4-of-13 shooting for eight points and six rebounds. Moultrie (according to DallasBasketball.com a Dallas draft target at 17) had eight points and 10 boards.
Jones also got to play against Thomas Robinson, the Kansas Jayhawks power forward who is projected as a top-five pick this week. In the first matchup of the season at Baylor, Jones was 1-of-8 shooting for five points and three rebounds. Robinson had 15 and 11.
In the rematch, Jones turned it on on offense a bit and went 8-of-17 from the field for 18 points and five rebounds. But Jones was also guarding Robinson most of the game, and the Jayhawk star went for 27 points and 14 rebounds.
Jones's last college game was against Kentucky. Kentucky's starting five from last season will all be first-round picks in the 2012 draft. Jones was 6-of-14 for 17 points and eight rebounds in that game. That looks good but if you watched the game as I did (or if you look inside the numbers) Perry Jones was dominated in the first half and the game was over at half-time. Kentucky had a 20-point lead at the half and Baylor never got the lead under 10.
In the first half, when the outcome was actually in doubt, Jones was 1-of-5 for two points, with one rebound and three turnovers.
I watch the above scouting video and have no doubt Perry Jones III has wowed somebody in an individual workout. (I also notice how a month ago he was a top-6 guy, but then two weeks ago a top-12 guy and now seems to be floating into Dallas' range at 17. Why?) His whole career of "potential'' has been about Jones performing against nobody in noncompetitive situations.
I turned this article into Fish on Sunday night. On Monday morning, we bump into this news on Perry: He's got a 41-inch vertical leap but he never really bothered using it in games.
His projected comparison on the high end is Rudy Gay and Josh Smith, and on the low end it's Yi Jianlian and Anthony Randolph. That sort of range is normal in these projections, but I believe in this case it shows how big a risk Perry Jones III is in this year's draft.
I've even heard upside comparisons to Tyson Chandler and Kevin Garnett, and here's where I really balk. Those guys are huge effort guys, intensity guys ... Perry isn't anything like that.
In a way, I'm rooting for Perry. If our old coach says he's a great kid, I want great things for him. I want Texas kids -- and Duncanville kids -- to succeed. But my greatest sports allegiance is via my Mavs fandom. Therefore, the hope for Mavs fans should be that Jones is selected before the Mavs pick, thus causing the Mavs to land a player who has not just his talent but also the requisite "want-to.''
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