Jared Sullinger might be the name most familiar to Pistons fans hoping the team lands a stud big man in the lottery, but Perry Jones is widely considered the best big man prospect in this year’s draft. Jones, like Sullinger, is a freshman, but playing at Baylor, he hasn’t received the exposure that Sullinger has playing for the No. 1 team in the country at Ohio State. Here’s a little background on Jones.
Measurables: 6-foot-11, 235 pounds, freshman F/C from Baylor
Key stats: 13.9 points, 7.2 rebounds per game while shooting 55 percent
Projected: Top three pick
How would he help the Pistons?
Greg Monroe uses craftiness and positioning to finish a high percentage of his shots around the basket. Perry Jones uses otherworldly athleticism. Jones is able to handle the ball well for a big man and he already possesses a nice arsenal around the basket, with the ability to get off floaters and finish with finesse or go up and over players for dunks. Pairing the contrasting styles of Jones and Monroe in the frontcourt would provide the Pistons with nice balance offensively, and with Jones’ ability to finish combined with Monroe’s passing ability, it’s not hard to picture the two of them playing exceedingly well together in a high post/low post combination.
How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?
Just what position Jones is best suited for is up for debate. At 6-foot-11, NBA teams would obviously hope he could fill a need up front. But at only 235 pounds and with a perimeter skillset — he handles the ball and can shoot from 15-18 feet — some scouts see him as more of a small forward than a power forward or center in his future. With 6-foot-11 Austin Daye already in the mix and likely to see an expanded role at small forward next season, if Jones is viewed more as a wing than a post, drafting him could add to the perimeter glut the Pistons are working to fix. I’m not saying Daye’s presence should at the wing should prevent the Pistons from taking Jones if they think he’s a wing too, Jones very well could turn out to be a star player. But most assume the Pistons will come out of this draft with a big man after picking in the lottery, and if Jones has more wing tendencies, that might encourage the Pistons to look at a player like Sullinger if they’re lucky enough to pick in a spot where both are still available.
What are others saying?
He’s the most talented kid in the class, but I don’t think he’s a franchise player. He doesn’t have the personality for that. He’s more of a blend player. He reminds me of Tim Thomas. He gets you 22 and 11, but you want him to get 36 and 17. If a team has a point guard and wants to pass on Kyrie Irving, I could see him going No. 1. He’s so stinking fast it’s amazing. You talk to the coaches, they say he wins all the sprints in practice against the guards. One thing you have to wonder about is he never won, not in high school, not in AAU.
His NBA position is definitely on the wing as his perimeter skills – notably ball handling, lateral foot speed and athleticism – are phenomenal.
The clear comparison which jumped out at me was that Jones seemed like a 6-11 Tracy McGrady, not just in terms of pros and cons, but also physical resemblance in body type – Jones has great length and he can sky, and his shooting form is strikingly similar to T-Mac’s.
Baylor has been increasingly utilizing him in post-up situations, an area in which he’s been relatively effective. Jones doesn’t possess the girth to establish great position against the strongest collegiate big men he’ll match up against (such as the Morris twins at Kansas), but with his decent footwork, outstanding touch and phenomenal extension around the rim, he’s able to do some very interesting things at this level, especially when he’s being aggressive. Moving forward, it’s paramount for him to add strength to his promising, yet currently underdeveloped frame.