RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Dominique JonesPosted by rtmsf on June 23rd, 2010
Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.
Player Name: Dominique Jones
School: South Florida
Height/Weight: 6’4, 205
NBA Position: Combo Guard
Projected Draft Range: Late First Round/Early Second Round
Overview: Despite playing in the far outreaches of the Big East, Dominique Jones had a junior season, and really a strong three-year career, to make the rest of the basketball-strong league stop and take notice. As a junior, he won the Big East scoring title with 21.4 PPG, he grabbed a spot on the All-Big East team and an honorable mention on the AP All-American team, and dropped 46 in a January game against Providence, falling two points shy of tying the Big East record for points in a game, all while willing his undermanned Bull squad to NCAA tournament consideration and an eventual NIT berth. Jones was always the primary focus of his opponent’s defense, but still managed to carry his team at times, knocking down 45% of his field goal attempts and getting to the line a whopping 282 times (9.2 free throw attempts per 40 minutes), converting those chances at a nearly 75% rate. While Jones is more of a scorer than a shooter, he isn’t necessarily a volume shooter, getting his points in a very efficient manner.
Will Translate to the NBA: Jones is perhaps a couple inches shorter than ideal for an NBA shooting guard, but has enough ballhandling skills to be able to take some minutes at the point in the NBA. Not a stereotypical point, Jones could be more of a facilitator than a creator, although with the ball in his hands he is capable of creating for himself. With a powerful first step, Jones is able to get penetration with ease, relishes physical play and is able to maintain body control and still finish around the rim through contact. His shotmaking skills are excellent, with midrange jumpers, a beautiful floater and plenty of acrobatic tricks. Defensively, Jones is a competitor that never backs down from a challenge and makes up for his average athleticism with tenacity and smarts.
Needs Work: Jones’ perimeter game is just average. He knocked down just 31% of his threes as a junior and was just an average shooter even on open perimeter jumpers. His jumper will need to improve from him to stick in the NBA, and he even had some trouble in college getting separation for his jumper when closely guarded, a problem that will only increase at the next level against bigger and more athletic competition. Jones does have good mechanics, however (a slightly slow release notwithstanding), and should be able to clean up his jumper in due time.
Comparison Players: The best comparison we’ve seen is Rodney Stuckey, and Jones may have a little more upside than Stuckey. Both players are capable of playing either guard spot, and both are equally capable of playing with the ball in their hands or off of the ball, running through screens and traffic. Stuckey is bouncier than Jones will ever be (Jones sports just a 33-inch vertical), but Jones makes up for his relatively earthbound game with strength and savvy. Another former Piston comes to mind as a good upside for Jones: Vinnie Johnson. Jones has a couple inches on Johnson, but Jones has a similar physical style and the ability to play both guard positions, and when he heats up, Jones can score points in bunches, much like the Microwave did.
Best Case Scenario: Every NBA rookie has one area on which they need to focus their improvement; for Jones, that is clearly the jumper. He is capable of developing into a solid NBA shooter with range out to the arc, and if he does he’ll be a very hard player to guard. We envision Jones, much like the Microwave, as primarily a reserve, able to provide energy and instant offense off the bench, spelling both starting guards, while going for 12-14 ppg for a good decade in the League.
2013 Projection: With Jones’ jumper problems solved, he has settled into his role as one of the first guys off the bench for his team, a valuable reserve getting minutes at both guard spots for somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-30 minutes a game, providing him plenty of time to get his points and hand out a few assists along the way. By 2013, Jones should be just about the player he is going to become long-term and should be at the start of a very consistent stretch of solid and steady years in the NBA.
Best NBA Fit: New Jersey has the 27th pick in the draft along with the first pick in the second round (#31 overall), and while Jones would certainly prefer the first-round pick, either selection would land him in a good situation. While Devin Harris has the point guard slot locked up there, Jones could compete with Courtney Lee at the two guard, likely settling into a backup role with some spare minutes at the one. Throw in some fun parts up front to play with, namely Brook Lopez, and potentially Derrick Favors as well, and Jones in Jersey would be a good match.
* Andrew Murawa contributed this profile to RTC