Every year, there is going to be one player who comes out to surpass all expectations. Last year, Kawhi Leonard was my pick, and he delivered a strong rookie season. In addition, MarShon Brooks had a great season last year and should be considered the steal of the draft.
This year, there are a few candidates for the spot, and this draft class looks very promising. While it is tempting to say Miles Plumlee or Jared Sullinger, there is one person who has a much higher potential of being a steal: Perry Jones III.
There were some questions regarding his motor, and that somehow dropped him to the Oklahoma City Thunder. While he was expected to drop a bit, it was not expected for him to drop to the Thunder, who were a finals team without Perry Jones III.
I only watched him once in the Summer League, but one look said it all. He is playing with a chip on his shoulder. He knows that he should not have dropped so far, and he is going to great lengths to prove that. During the single game that I witnessed, he was a more aggressive player on the court and showcased all of the talent he has to offer.
He could not have landed in a better situation either. First, he has a great mentor in Kevin Durant, who is not unlike Jones III in certain ways. Both are incredibly athletic, but don't rely on overpowering their opponents with athleticism, even though they can.
Their games are very refined, but Jones needs to learn from Durant's killer instinct. Not only that, but the Oklahoma City fans will embrace him as long as he works and plays hard on the court. Say what you want about Oklahoma City stealing the team from Seattle, but no one can deny that their fans care.
Perry Jones III needs some confidence before he can blossom into his role. At Baylor, he was constantly scrutinized for not living up to his potential. In Oklahoma City, he is not going to be under the microscope and will be allowed to do the things he does best and put the Thunder in a great position to win the NBA Finals, not unlike the role Kawhi Leonard played last year for the Spurs.
In as little as two years, Perry Jones III could be starting for a Thunder team in the NBA Finals. His ceiling is almost as high as Kevin Durant, and while it's crazy to think that anyone could fulfill potential like that, Perry Jones III has been put in as good a position as possible to fulfill that potential.