Perry Jones is the highest ranked prospect in this weak forward group, but looks average at best overall from a statistical perspective. His 0.964 overall points per possession ranks right in the middle of the group at 8th overall, despite doing it on the fourth fewest number of possessions per game at 13.6. Jones' efficiency is certainly hurt by getting to the free throw line on just 11.2% of possessions, which ranks second worst in the group, but his 49.0% FG% also ranks in the bottom half.
Jones has a pretty average distribution of possessions across various situations, ranking towards the middle in the percentage of possessions he gets with cuts, jump shots, offensive rebounds, post ups, spot ups, and isolations, and just really hurts himself by having average to below average efficiency in nearly every area.
The biggest bright spot for Jones is his finishing ability on cuts, something that accounts for an average 14.9% of his possessions and is unsurprising given his outstanding physical tools. Jones' 1.254 PPP on cuts ranks 4th of the group and is a somewhat encouraging sign for him projecting forward, as this is likely something he'd be expected to do more off at the next level.
Jones also did stand out by having the highest PPP of any player on transition possessions at 1.571, but did so on just 1.1 possessions per game, second lowest in the group. Baylor played at just the 142nd fastest tempo in the country this year according to kenpom.com, so Jones could see more opportunities here if he's drafted into an up-tempo situation.
The simplest thing Jones could improve on in the short term is cleaning up his inconsistent jumper, as jump shots account for 34.3% of his shot attempts (3.5 shots per game), and he's only hitting for 0.798 PPS, 4th worst in the group.
Jones' problems creating his own shot are more concerning, as despite his intriguing flashes, his efficiency in isolation and post-up situations are very poor. His 0.654 PPP on isolations ranks 4th worst, while his 0.795 PPP on post ups ranks second worst overall, and dead last among NCAA players.
Despite being projected as a likely top five pick, Perry Jones surprised many last April by electing to return to Baylor for his sophomore season, citing the need to "grow as a player and person," and “have fun” before leaving for the NBA.
After a fairly average freshman season production wise, at least relative to his talent-level, the burden was on Jones to have a much stronger year, as he would no longer be able to rest quite so heavily on the laurels of his upside.
Unfortunately, Jones' follow-up season was fairly disappointing. His production dropped or stagnated in several key areas, and many were left to ponder whether he simply isn't a good fit at Baylor, or if he lacks the internal motivation and wherewithal needed to get the most out of his unbelievable natural tools.
Upon announcing his decision to return to school, Jones was asked what he thinks he needs to improve the most on the following year. His answer was fairly revealing: “My motor. To be able to keep playing consistently throughout the entire 40 minutes of the game.”
With another full year to evaluate Jones, it doesn't appear that those questions are going anywhere. If anything, they've only gotten much louder.
One thing that no one ever questions is Perry Jones' talent. Just how rare and unique a player he is becomes immediately evident the moment you start watching him. He has a tremendous combination of size, athleticism and skills, making him appear to be capable of doing anything he wants on the basketball court. He shows terrific footwork inside the paint, has 3-point range on his jumper, can handle the ball fluidly from coast to coast, and is a breathtaking finisher around the basket.
What isn't quite as clear is why Jones struggles so much at times to make his presence felt over his college career, and why we didn't see more improvement from his freshman to sophomore seasons.
Jones' usage rate dropped this year, as he accounted for just 18.1% of his team's possessions, which ranked 54th amongst the 81 college players in our top-100 prospect rankings. His scoring production fell, as did his efficiency. His field goal percentage went from 55% to 50%, and he got to the free throw line much less frequently than he did as a freshman.
Jones is somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, as he can do a little of everything, but nothing in his game is especially polished. He does not have a consistent means of putting the ball in the basket, and he goes through long stretches where he doesn't have any impact on the game, although part of that may have to do with the way he was utilized.
He sees the biggest share of his possessions in the post, either with his back to the basket, or facing up from the mid-post. He doesn't really have the strength or toughness to be overly effective backing opponents down, but his excellent size, length and quickness allows him to get shots off here with relative ease. He shows nice potential with his smooth footwork and soft touch around the basket, particularly with his jump-hook, but will have to improve on his ability to draw fouls and finish through contact if he's to maximize this part of his game.
Where Jones seems to be more effective at the moment is facing up from 12-18 feet in isolation settings. His incredibly quick first step and long strides allow him to blow by opponents, and he can finish strong at the rim thanks to his terrific leaping ability or with a floater inside the paint.
Unfortunately, his lack of experience and average feel for the game hampers him here somewhat. He often struggles to read the secondary line of defense rotating into the paint, as he's not a great passer on the move and isn't quite advanced enough with his ball-handling ability or off-hand to weave his way around defenders.
Improving as a shooter could help make him a more efficient offensive player, as he took 3.5 jumpers per-game this season, but only converted 36% of them. The main issue here appears to be his shot-selection. He has a tendency to settles for too many off-balance fade-aways at inopportune times, even when he has a clear path to attack the basket. At this stage opposing defenses don't have any real issue getting him to take the shots they want him to, something that will hopefully change as his knowledge of the game improves and he better understands how to take advantage of his unique strengths.
Defensively, Jones again has great potential, but is somewhat of a mixed bag when it comes to actual results. His tremendous size, length and phenomenal mobility should theoretically allow him to guard up to three positions in the NBA, but his poor fundamentals, awareness, intensity and toughness certainly put a damper on that, as does his occasional lack of focus.
His team played a lot of zone the past two seasons, which will likely make the transition to playing man to man defense a little rougher initially considering his lack of experience. Right now he's clearly better using his size and length defending big men inside the paint rather than forwards on the perimeter, where he tends to get lost.
Similarly to last year, Jones was a surprisingly average rebounder and shot-blocker this season for a player with his athletic tools, not showing much in the ways of instincts, hustle, or physicality, particularly in terms of boxing out.
Jones is going into this draft process with quite a bit less momentum than he had last year. His last college game was an especially poor NCAA tournament showing against Kentucky, where his team was thoroughly dominated and all his weaknesses were seemingly on full display.
With that said, Jones can easily turn that momentum around with strong workouts and interviews in the next two months, as he's exactly the type of prospect NBA GMs tend to fall in love with in June. At the moment, he clearly has no idea how to use the tremendous tools that are at his disposal, but it's far too early in his career to definitively say he never will.
In a strong environment with great coaching and plenty of patience, Jones could become a very useful NBA player, and surely there will be no shortage of teams willing to invest in his talent. The question is, how high in the draft will he ultimately be selected? [Read Full Article]
adidas Nations Highlights and Interview: Perry Jones
August 15, 2011
A video profile featuring Baylor sophomore Perry Jones from the adidas Nations Experience in Los Angeles.
Deemed by many scouts as the prospect with the highest upside of any player in college basketball, Perry Jones of Baylor has had an up and down freshman season that appears to be taking a turn for the better at the moment.
Jones was extremely deferential early in the season, looking somewhat lost or apathetic at times, but he has been more assertive in Big 12 play, scoring 19 points or more in six of nine in-conference games thus far. While some of that has to do with Jones' increasing comfort level and individual aggressiveness, it also has plenty to do with how he's being utilized by his coaching staff and teammates.
Even though he's one of the most efficient players in college basketball, shooting nearly 60% inside the arc, Jones is still not getting as many touches as he probably should. Baylor's guards (specifically LaceDarius Dunn) have exhibited poor shot selection all season long, and the team ranks as one of the most turnover prone in college basketball.
When not being ignored by teammates, it's easy to see what makes Jones such a tantalizing prospect, as you can see in the first two minutes of the following video we created:
Perry Jones Strengths/Weaknesses Video
Watch in full screen mode by clicking button in upper right hand corner of video
Standing 6-11, with long arms, an excellent frame and incredible fluidity for a player his size, Jones is a rare physical specimen by any standard. When motivated, he runs the floor about as well as any big man in this draft and is capable of beating his man off the dribble with a terrific first step. He has great hands and an exceptionally soft touch, which makes him an incredible finisher around the basket. (His length and highlight reel-caliber explosiveness help in this regard as well.
Offensively, Jones gets his touches in a variety of ways. An extremely reliable target for his teammates to throw drive-and-dish passes to, he has great potential as a pick-and-roll finisher thanks to his hands, touch and leaping ability. He is also a solid (although clearly not a dominating) presence on the offensive glass for the same reason -- he has the ability to pogo stick off the ground multiple times before his opponents can react.
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.
Another area in which Jones has shown promise in is with his jump shot. He has excellent shooting mechanics and solid range out to about 18 feet, even showing flashes of being able to convert shots off the dribble at times. He should be able to develop into a solid pick-and-pop option in time, although he's definitely not as consistent as he needs to be just yet – he's only made 18 of 55 jumpers this season, or 33%.
Where Jones might be at his best a few years down the road is as an isolation threat from the high post. With his solid ball-handling skills and devastating first step, he has the ability to beat most big men off the dribble with ease, something that will only become more pronounced with the NBA's superior spacing. Jones doesn't see many opportunities of this fashion at the moment and he's been fairly erratic when he does, which often results in turnovers.
As Jones gains more experience, improves his feel for the game and continues to tighten his ball-handling skills, expect his shot-creating skills to become a major part of his offensive arsenal. He's already had a handful of impressive moments grabbing a rebound and taking the ball coast to coast himself, but it's not a consistent part of his game just yet.
The weakest part of Jones' game clearly lies on the defensive end. He's shockingly unproductive from a statistical standpoint, averaging an alarmingly low number of blocks and steals every game, and very few rebounds.
Of the 90 NCAA prospects currently classified as power forwards in our database, Jones ranks 78th in defensive rebounding on a per-minute basis, which is extremely disappointing considering his physical tools and the fact that none of his teammates are particularly prolific in this category. He shows fairly poor awareness here, often failing to box out opponents and doesn't look very instinctive or energetic in the way he pursues loose balls.
These attributes definitely translate to the rest of his defensive game, where Jones clearly lacks toughness and activity. He regularly gets lost off the ball, being a step slow to react to things happening on the floor and not putting enough work in early in possessions to stop opponents from getting the ball in a favorable position. Physical players move him around the paint fairly easily and Jones doesn't always respond the way you'd hope. He often allows himself to get outhustled and outworked.
Beyond his poor fundamentals, Jones doesn't seem to be the most contact-loving player in the world. He tends to shy away from putting a body on opponents and isn't one to dive on the floor for loose balls. With his size, length, quickness and ability to get in a low stance, Jones has all the tools to be an excellent defender and rebounder down the road.
We must remember that he's still in a very early stage of his development, being somewhat of a late bloomer who didn't really emerge as a top-shelf prospect until the summer prior to his senior year of high school. It's possible that with increased strength, good coaching and added experience, he could get there in time.
It's not easy to teach toughness and hustle, though, and these are things that are sorely lacking in Jones' game at the moment.
Seeing the lackluster manner in which he sets screens and shies away from contact around the basket offensively, it's not difficult to tell why Jones often struggled to crack double digit scoring figures at the high school level. The people who saw him play the most back then—recruiting analysts—were very skeptical about his prospects, as evidenced by their rankings.
In a perfect world, Jones would be drafted in the mid to late portion of the lottery and given time to develop — there's absolutely no question he possesses the talent to reach his terrific potential. Unfortunately, in a draft that is looking increasingly shallow by the day, teams may not be able to resist taking him early on (potentially as high as first overall), which will put a significant amount of pressure on both him and the organization. Whether or not he's able to deal with such high expectations remains to be seen.
How Jones is able to finish the season should give us some clues about his mental toughness and readiness to produce immediately in the NBA. Can he rise to the occasion and lead Baylor to an NCAA tournament berth with an ultra-productive March? [Read Full Article]
Mcdonald's All-American Week Player Evaluations and Interviews
April 5, 2010
Jones had no problem putting behind a very disappointing high school senior season behind him, showing immediately in the practices why he's arguably the best long term prospect of any player in this class. His body has developed noticeably since we last saw him, and his athleticism and upside is clearly off the charts. He did a great job of showing his perimeter skills as well, in particular his shooting stroke, which looked outstanding even out to the 3-point line. Defensively, he was active and aggressive rotating from the weak-side as a shot-blocker, but struggled at times in man to man situations, particularly when being backed down by the super strong and tough Jared Sullinger.
Jim Hlavac / DraftExpress
Jones is clearly an extremely rare talent who likely be picked very very high whenever he decides to enter the draft. Recruiting analysts continue to question why him and his high school team underachieved so badly this year, but Jones has his fair share of explanations for why he struggled at times. You can hear all of them in the interview we conducted above. [Read Full Article]
2010 McDonald's High School All-American Dunk Contest Videos
April 2, 2010
Perry Jones was up next, and he showed exactly why he’s considered one of the best athletes in this class, despite standing 6-11. He opted to throw the ball off the bottom bumper of the glass and do a 360 windmill, earning him a shockingly low score of 62.
Jim Hlavac, DraftExpress
Jones’ next dunk was a full 360 with a one-handed extension slam, earning him a 69.
Initial High School Player Scouting Reports, Part Two
August 22, 2009
Simply put, no prospect in the 2010 high school class displays more NBA potential than Baylor commit Perry Jones (#12 Scout, #6 Rivals, #3 ESPN). Right off the bat, Jones wows you with his terrific physical attributes—standing 6-10 or 6-11, with a great frame, long arms and incredible athleticism. Jones runs the floor like a deer, explodes off the ground as if he has a personal trampoline at his disposal, and is extremely fluid and reactive to everything that goes on around him.
Skill-wise, there is quite a bit to like here as well. We regularly saw Jones grab a rebound and then handle the ball up-court himself, often weaving in and out of traffic before dishing off a perfectly timed no-look pass right into the path of a teammate streaking towards the basket. He also has a very nice jump-shot, showing streaky range out to the 3-point line, but with the type of touch and mechanics that lead you to believe that he can develop this part of his game into a real weapon in time.
When attacking the rim in the half-court, Jones displays an excellent first step and is capable of getting to the basket in two long strides, sometimes mixing in some very nice spins and pivot moves, often starting off a sharp crossover. Once he’s inside the paint, he finishes with the greatest of ease, typically in highlight reel fashion. Jones is certain to be a fixture many a highlight reel, as he has slamdunk contest-caliber leaping ability. His teammates regularly just throw lobs in the general direction of the rim, knowing that Jones will find a way to go get the ball and hammer it home.
In terms of weaknesses, there are a few you could point towards. One would be his complete lack of a back to the basket game, something you’d like to see him develop considering the quickness and nifty footwork he displays. He needs to get stronger in the lower body first, and probably quite a bit tougher in the paint as well.
Jones doesn’t always seem to be as focused or intense as you might hope, as it’s not rare to see him check out of a game mentally, at times for long stretches. He seems to get down on himself from time to time, not being aggressive at all, and playing with too little energy if he’s not directly involved in everything going on around him. This shows up on the defensive end and on the glass in particular, where he tends to rely too much on his athleticism and displays just average fundamentals. That athleticism does come in very handy in the form of steals and blocked shots, though, which he gets plenty of.
He also doesn’t always box out for rebounds, and is way too upright trying to guard the post, often just waiting for an opportunity to go and chase a blocked shot, rather than trying to deny position and play solid man to man defense. These are not very rare things for a big man this young, especially one who is a very late bloomer, like Jones clearly is, having experienced a late growth spurt that saw him shoot up dramatically over the course of a few years.
Despite the criticism, you’d be hard pressed to find a player with such an impressive combination of natural tools and skills as Perry Jones displays. His ability to create his own shot from the perimeter and find the open man with impressive passing skills is extremely unique at this level, and should make him a very popular prospect amongst NBA scouts in the 2010-2011 season. If he continues to progress and play like he did in Las Vegas when we saw him this summer, it’s going to be tough to envision him staying in school very long, as he could be a very very high draft pick.