Terrence Jones scouting report, SF Kentucky
Cole’s Take: If you comprised a list of everything you wanted from an NBA prospect both physically and skill-wise, Terrence Jones would satisfy every desired characteristic and would likely be a top 5 pick. Jones is 6’9 and sports a lengthy 7’2 wingspan, with a strong NBA ready body to boot. His length allows him to challenge and alter shots defensively, while his strength is already on the pro level, so he can bang with a majority of NBA fours right out of the gate. Jones also possesses the athleticism, speed, and agility to guard both forward positions, so he offers rare defensive versatility for someone his size. Physically, Jones is just a specimen with all the tools that transfer to the NBA level.
What really separates Jones however is his skill, especially his ball-handling. For someone his size he possesses Lamar Odom esque handles, which will enable him to take bigger, less mobile fours off the dribble. Jones can bring the ball up, break less afoot bigs off the dribble and either finish at the rim with his athleticism or find open teammates with his unique court awareness and passing ability. There aren’t many face-up fours in the league who can handle the ball and create both their own offense and offense for others, which immediately puts Jones in a unique class.
Downside: Reading the above excerpt it sounds like Jones is the messiah, right? I mean how can someone with such physical tools and skill not be a star? Well, we’ve seen it countless times (see Williams, Marvin), you can have all the talent in the world, but if you aren’t wired mentally to work at your craft and you take plays off you wont succeed in the league. Jones is dare I say a question mark mentally. He has a questionable motor, is mentally inconsistent, disappears in games, and most importantly, it just doesn’t seem like he wants it. Even with Calipari riding him and pulling him out after every mental lapse for two years, Jones never silenced the critics that challenged his mental makeup. That’s a red flag folks.
While Jones possesses the versatility to guard both forward spots defensively, he’s strictly a four offensively. I don’t think he has the consistent jump shot nor the perimeter instincts to play solely on the outside. Plus, playing him at the three detracts from a significant part of what makes Jones successful: his finishing ability around the basket. Jones is an excellent finisher and rebounder, and while he thrives with the ball in his hands, he would fair better closer to the basket when playing off the ball instead of being relegated to a perimeter floor-spacer. Basically, Jones can be a force as a face-up four taking bigger guys off the dribble or taking the occasional jumper while still maintaining the opportunity to finish around the basket and rebound, but if a team is planning on using him solely at the three-spot, that’s a problem.
Best Fit: Dallas’ Second Unit, Boston’s Second Unit
Jones needs a strong coach who can keep him focused and strong veteran leadership. It’s hard to imagine a better combination than Rick Carlisle and Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavs only have 5 returning players on the roster if they waive Lamar Odom and Vince Carter, so there is hole in their second unit for Jones to step in and thrive. Ironically, Jones, an Odom clone with his ball handling skill and mental makeup, could fill the void that spurned Odom was brought in to fill this past season. At pick #17 Dallas has the need, structure, and are at a point in the draft where they can roll the dice on Jones’ high upside. Should Jones make it past Dallas the Celtics would also fit the mold of a strong coach in Doc plus strong leadership if KG re-signs. Even if Bass stays on board Jones would still fill a need if Boston can’t sign a center.
Best Case Scenario: Poor man’s Lamar Odom
Worst Case Scenario: More physical Marvin Williams