In anticipation of the NBA Draft Lottery on May 30th, we will be profiling each of the top-10 players available, discussing strengths, weakness, and how each player could theoretically fit or not fit with the Cavaliers. We’ll also be doing the same with the prospects ranked in the 20-30 range too, as an introductory preview to the options available to the Cavs for each of their two First Round Draft picks.
No. 9 – Perry Jones III, Sophomore, Baylor 2011-12 Season stats: 13.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.3 apg, 50% shooting
Oh, Perry Jones, you should be so much higher on this list. The fact you are only #9 baffles me for days. After Jones’s freshman season, he was a top-5 pick. But he chose to return to Baylor for his sophomore season, possibly holding out hope for an even higher slot in the following draft. Didn’t quite work out to plan though.
Nobody questions his ability, just the opposite. He might be the most talented player in this whole draft, and should be challenging Anthony Davis for the top pick. But, for some reason, he has stretches during games where he becomes more passive then LeBron during Game 5 against Boston. At 6-11, Jones plays much more like a wing than someone who should bang in the post. And maybe that is part of the problem; he might have been playing out of position at Baylor.
Jones can score from anywhere he wants to. He reminds me a lot of Lamar Odom, he has those point-forward qualities to him. He has a nice jumper that he can stretch out beyond the arc. Athletically, he is tough to top. He can jump out of the gym and runs the break effortlessly. He also has all the tools to become a solid defender; he is already an above average rebounder and shot blocker too.
Now, about that passiveness. I had no rooting interest in Baylor this past season and Jones frustrated me more than any player on my beloved Zags. Jones should have dominated competition, yet he didn’t. Jones entered the NCCA Tournament averaging 18 points and shooting 56% from the floor. So, he promptly scored 9 points and shoots 4-14 in his first two games. He just doesn’t have that killer instinct. He almost plays some games like he doesn’t care.
It is possible a coach can get that out of him in the NBA and I certainly hope for whoever picks him can do that. He is far too talented to not make it. I love Jones for the Cavs, but only in the right spot. I think he would make the perfect 3 on this team. He clearly has no interest in playing on the block and we have a glaring hole for another scorer on the perimeter.
Worst-case scenario and the Cavs end up picking six, I hope Chris Grant takes a long and hard look at Jones. Any higher and I think the Cavs would be hurting themselves (there are a few guys from Big Blue nation who make the Cavs a very dangerous team). But, Byron Scott is the coach I think could break through to Jones and get him to play like every basketball talking head knows he can.