I really think this guy’s nickname should be Perry “Jigsaw” Jones. All the puzzle pieces are there, the box just needs to be opened and the puzzle assembled. However, only “Jigsaw” Jones himself can get that box open.
In college, the box was open some nights and the puzzle was even partially assembled, but for stretches, the box was closed tight and pushed aside to collect dust.
If you’ll allow me to continue with my puzzle metaphor—don’t worry I’ll stop soon—then the question becomes whether or not Jones can open the box and throw the pieces out where someone can help him put the puzzle together.
To do this, Jones needs to be committed, focused and ready to learn. Judging from his recent workout in Santa Barbara, it seems like he’s getting it, but I could be wrong.
Either way, he can’t put the puzzle together himself. He needs a coach who’s willing to work with him and let him be himself.
All indications are that he wants to play small forward, so if you try to force him into playing PF, you’re not letting him be himself and you’re hurting his development.
We have a perfect example of this here in Toronto with Andrea Bargnani. Playing Jones at PF would have a similar result as playing Bargs at C.
How he fits with the Raptors:
So with that out of the way, it should be clear that the only way I want Jones to be a Raptor is if the team is committed to playing him at the 3. I really don’t see this being a problem since a) we have more than enough PF’s and not enough SF and b) we’re smart enough to not make the same mistake twice.
What does Jones give this team? Jones certainly gives us size and athleticism. We will see that out there every night, it will be clear. It’s when you ask what he can do with those that the picture gets blurry.
With proper coaching and motivation on the Jones’ part, I see him becoming one of the better rebounding 3’s in the league. On offense, he’d play like a guard trapped in a forward’s body.
His ball handling and perimeter shooting are not outstanding by any means; however, for a guy his size, they are certainly impressive and something he must continue to work on if he wants to be successful playing the way he wants to play. Again, everything is there, it’s just needs work.
Given a year or two to grow he could be a versatile scoring SF à la poor man’s Kevin Durant or he could end up like Lamar Odom… post trade to the Mavericks. The ball is literally in his court.
How he fits with the Raptors:
As I touched on, we would draft Jones with the mindset that he is our SF of the future. If he becomes a better inside-outside player on offense, a solid rebounding SF and uses his size and athleticism to his advantage on defense, I think he helps this team immensely. I’d also say that’s about his ceiling.
At the moment, Jones is not my first choice with the 8th overall pick, if you’d like to know who that is, just read my last couple articles, it’ll be clear.