NBA Draft 2012: Ranking the 5 Best Fits for Perry Jones III
Baylor's Perry Jones III is one of the most interesting players in the NBA draft. He's an incredible athlete with star potential, but he hasn't yet capitalized on it.
For him to reach his potential, Jones is going to have to go to the right team. He needs to play for an experienced coach and with veteran leaders who can teach him the nuances of being a pro. Where Jones goes is going to play a big part in determining what kind of player he ends up being in the NBA.
Here are the five best places for him to end up.
The Bad Fits
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Based on the criteria I set in the opening slide, there are several teams that wouldn't be good fits. Here are three teams that should avoid Jones:
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are among the teams rumored to be interested in Jones, but if they're smart, they'll avoid him like the plague.
Mark Jackson is a second-year coach, they have no real veteran leaders and the entire team seems to be allergic to defense. The last time the Warriors took a player like Jones (Anthony Randolph) he turned out to be a bust.
Golden State is an awful fit for Jones.
The Raptors already have a ton of tall, lanky perimeter players who don't play defense. They don't need to add Jones to DeMar DeRozan, Andrea Bargnani and Ed Davis.
I'll give Dwane Casey credit for getting this team to play some defense, but adding Jones doesn't really help them.
Playing with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis is a recipe for disaster. If Jones is lucky, he might get a shot every other night.
No. 5: Houston Rockets
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Despite his best efforts, Daryl Morey hasn't been able to bring a star to Houston. He has, however, brought a ton of talent to the team. Kyle Lowry played at an All-Star level this year, and the team as a whole is loaded with depth.
Houston would be a great place for Jones to grow into his potential. He could play both forward spots off of the bench, and if he impresses the coaching staff, he could move into the starting lineup.
Kevin McHale would be the perfect coach for Jones. McHale was one of the best low-post scorers of all time, and while he is 6'11'' Jones doesn't have any consistent post moves. McHale could be a great mentor for Jones and teach him how to play with the size he has.
Jones has the potential to be the star Houston needs. It'll take some time, but I think the Rockets could help him become that star.
No. 4: Sacramento Kings
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I know the Kings go against everything I said Jones needed, but call me optimistic, I like where this team is going.
Their backcourt seems to be set with Isaiah Thomas and Tyreke Evans, and they have a stable of big men, led by DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson.
All they need is a small forward.
Thomas really helped the Kings mature last year. He's quickly becoming one of the better floor generals in the league, and Perry Jones would give him another weapon.
Keith Smart did a nice job with the Kings last year. They may not have made the playoffs, but they're a young team on the rise. Jones could grow up with them as they become contenders.
No. 3: Portland Trail Blazers
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Neil Olshey is one of the better executives in basketball, and now he's running the Trail Blazers. He's looking for a new coach, and several of the candidates would be great fits for Perry Jones.
Brian Shaw is one of the league's most respected assistants and is expected to be a great head coach. Jerry Sloan also could be a candidate.
Either would be a great mentor for Jones, who needs a coach who can teach him how to use his talent to fit within a system. Shaw's triangle and Sloan's pick and roll could both be great fits for him.
Portland is filled with young athletes such as LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum, but Jones could fit in with them. Batum is a defender and Aldridge is a big man, so Jones could fit in as a perimeter scorer.
Portland is also in the market for a point guard. With their cap space, the Blazers will be able to find a nice veteran, and they'll even be in the market for Deron Williams.
With two lottery picks and an All-Star already on the roster, the Blazers are set to make a playoff run next year. Playing on that type of team could be great for Jones' development.
No. 2: Chicago Bulls
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The Bulls are reportedly thinking about using Luol Deng to move up in the draft. If that's the case, they'll be in a position to draft Jones and would need a small forward to replace Deng.
If Jones could somehow end up on the Bulls, it would be the perfect fit. Not only does Chicago have a former Coach of the Year in Tom Thibodeau and a former league MVP in Derrick Rose but they have a desperate need for a second scorer.
With Rose out for most of next year, Jones would have a chance to be a featured offensive option for a team that will compete for titles for the next few years (assuming Rose recovers).
The Bulls are also a veteran team that could teach Jones the ropes of being an NBA player. He could learn low-post moves from Carlos Boozer, defensive tricks from Joakim Noah and some shooting tips from Rip Hamilton.
It's a long shot, but if the Bulls somehow end up with Jones, it would be a match made in draft heaven.
No. 1: Phoenix Suns
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This is contingent on Steve Nash staying in Phoenix. Fortunately for the Suns, I think that's what's going to happen.
Playing with Steve Nash can change the entire course of someone's career. Look at how much money he's made for Joe Johnson.
Nash hasn't had an athlete like Jones at his disposal since Amar'e Stoudemire left. Playing together in Alvin Gentry's wide-open offense would be a perfect fit for Jones. He'd put up big numbers from the start and would only get better as his chemistry with Nash improved.
Then, once Nash retires, Perry Jones could become Phoenix's new franchise player. Jones would get a few years to learn from a Hall of Famer before shouldering the load himself. No other potential situation offers that.
That's why Phoenix would be the best spot for Perry Jones.