RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Kevin JonesPosted by EJacoby on May 22nd, 2012
The 2012 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in New York City. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll work backwards, starting with players who are projected near the end of the first round before getting into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation.
Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.
Player Name: Kevin Jones
School: West Virginia
Height/Weight: 6’8” / 250 lbs.
NBA Position: Power Forward / Small Forward
Projected Draft Range: End First Round / Early Second Round
Overview: Kevin Jones enjoyed a decorated four-year career at West Virginia that included a run to the Final Four as a sophomore and ended with a phenomenal senior season in terms of productivity. This past year, Jones led the Big East in scoring (19.9 PPG) and rebounding (10.9 RPG) while shooting over 50% from the field and committing just 1.3 turnovers per game. He was one of the most productive forwards in the country and helped his draft stock tremendously. Jones remains a bit of a ‘tweener’ without a set position and is limited athletically in terms of explosiveness, but he has a strong upper body and an impressive wingspan (7’4”) that allows him to get easy buckets in the paint. Combine that with a relentless motor for loose balls and you’ve got a player willing to do all the dirty work on offense. He’s also expanded his range all the way to the three-point line and has gained confidence in the outside shot. Jones still has much work to do defensively, where he averaged just 1.0 blocks and 0.7 steals in 38 minutes per game, but his length and work ethic should allow him to hold his own at the next level on that end. Jones is the typical senior with limited ‘upside’ that will get him overlooked by some teams, but his tremendous productivity last season certainly opened eyes to his potential to be a contributor in the NBA.
Will Translate to the NBA: Jones’ relentless work on the offensive boards is a skill that has a history of translating well at the next level. He’s a heady player that’s not afraid to mix it up down low, possessing great hands and a soft touch to convert baskets inside. He’s an all-around versatile offensive player, which will allow him to survive in the league despite limited athleticism. His high work effort in fighting for positioning and hustling for 50/50 balls is something that all coaches love to see. The same goes for his high basketball IQ, as he has never committed more than 1.3 turnovers per game in his college career.
Needs Work: Although he’s shown a willingness to expand his shooting range, Jones was a very poor three-point shooter at 26.6% on nearly four attempts per game as a senior. He must either improve his deep shooting or stop taking those shots, and his mere 3.9 free throw attempts per game suggest that he should probably do the latter. He also needs to improve defensively, where his ‘tweener’ status will be the biggest concern. Unable to match the quickness of small forwards, Jones will likely be defending post players where he needs to work harder to hold his own, considering he was never an impact defender as a Mountaineer and also often played in a zone defense.
Comparison Players: As mentioned earlier, Jones’ relentlessness on the boards as a high motor player is something that has translated well in other players to the NBA. Players like Chuck Hayes, DeMarre Carroll, Udonis Haslem, and Paul Millsap all have a similar skill set and have created very productive NBA careers. Whether as a role player and banger like Hayes or a versatile offensive weapon like Millsap, there is a strong track record for a player like Jones to be a contributor in the league for a long time. Jones has a similar mid-range game to Haslem that will help him succeed as well.
Best Case Scenario: Jones is undersized to defend power forwards, is not much of a playmaker, and certainly doesn’t possess above-the-rim athleticism. These are limitations that will never allow him to become an All-Star, but that does not mean that he can’t have an impact in the NBA. His awesome efficiency as a college senior suggests that he can be an offensive weapon in the league, but most likely as a reserve. A legitimate ceiling for Jones is for him to be a third forward option, someone that comes off the bench as a versatile player on both ends.
Best NBA Fit: All NBA teams could use a player like Kevin Jones. He is a smart player that will always work hard, and he’s not afraid to look for his shot. He would be a great fit on a good team with an established offensive hierarchy of scorers so that he can be a role player that hits the glass and hits open shots. He would work especially well with a unit that has size and shot-blocking ability so that his lack of size won’t be a noticeable weakness. Teams like the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies would appear to be strong fits; good offensive teams with size that could use a versatile forward off the bench.
Scout’s Take (from NBADraft.net): “Moves like an old man but one of those guys that find a way to beat opponents with determination and toughness. Has a strange release point on his shot, but highly competitive and finds ways to score.”
*This post was contributed by RTC’s Evan Jacoby. He can be found on Twitter @evanJacoby.