OKC Thunder Continue to Add Young Talent with Baylor Star Perry Jones III

Bradlee Ross@rossbeCorrespondent IIJune 28, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 25:  Perry Jones III #1 of the Baylor Bears dunks against the Kentucky Wildcats during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Final at the Georgia Dome on March 25, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder just keeps adding young talent to their roster. On Thursday night, the Thunder used their lone draft pick to take Baylor standout Perry Jones III with the No. 28 overall pick. Jones will end up being the steal of this draft.

The Thunder are already a very talented, young team, and the addition of Jones just adds to that persona. Oklahoma City needed another young, athletic big man, and that’s exactly what it got.

Twenty-seven teams passed on Jones, largely because of a report from Chad Ford of ESPN that he’d been red-flagged by doctors due to a knee issue. That risk isn’t a big one when you’re drafting a player No. 28 overall.

Jones has a ton of upside as a player that would have been a lottery pick in last year’s draft. At 6’11”, he has the size to excel at the power forward position. He also has elite length with a 7’2” wingspan.

His natural abilities also allow him to do whole lot of different things. In his sophomore year, Jones averaged 13.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field.

That type of versatility is something the Thunder could use in their frontcourt, especially since they have one-sided players Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. Neither can score like Jones can.

The former Baylor Bear can score from literally anywhere on the floor. He can hit a jumper and get to the rim. He even shot 30 percent from the three-point line this past season.

Athleticism is also an attribute PJ3 brings to the table. He can leap out of the gym, and he runs the floor better than anyone else in this class that is his size. He’ll have no problems keeping up with this up-tempo Thunder unit.

The Thunder have really gotten lucky with some of their draft picks, but this pick might be the luckiest. In all the other cases like Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka, the Thunder executives merely did their homework and got lucky that what they thought they saw in those players was there.

In this case, Thunder general manager Sam Presti had a lottery-caliber talent fall right into his lap, despite the fact that they had just one pick and it wasn’t until No. 28. If that isn’t lucky, I don’t know what is.

It will take Jones some time to mature, but he’ll be given that time with this team. He’s struggled to be aggressive and a star at times. With the Thunder, he can develop at his own pace and not be depended upon to carry a team. He’ll get to develop under the same organization that developed Kevin Durant, Westbrook, Harden and Ibaka. That can only help him.

Ultimately, this pick isn’t fair for the rest of the NBA. Yet, it really is, because the rest of the NBA had a chance to get this guy and passed. The Thunder will give Jones the chance to show those teams that they made a huge mistake, and he’ll deliver.