2012 NBA Draft: The Problem with Baylor's Perry Jones III

Kevin HsuContributor IIIMarch 29, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 10:  Perry Jones III #1 of the Baylor Bears rebounds against Matt Pressey #3 of the Missouri Tigers in the first half during the championship game of the 2012 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 10, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Baylor's Perry Jones III is an intriguing player, to say the least. He is widely regarded as one of the most talented players in the NBA draft, but has been criticized for his tendency to disappear at times on the court. That is why, instead of making the Bobcats argue about taking him or Anthony Davis, he is struggling to stay in the lottery.

He is essentially a 6'11" wing player with developed skills. A player with those specifications comes along only ever so often. His talent is undeniable, but he does not dominate like he should, because his mentality is holding him back. He is way too content with deferring to teammates to truly be an alpha dog. However, his potential is so immense that someone will find no choice but to take him. His potential is also why I'm begging for him to fall to the Suns.

But the truth is, his mentality is more of that of a role player, or at best, a second banana. He has the potential to be the ultimate two-way player with the ability to post up or spot up, as long as talent wins out of course. Unfortunately for him, it seems as if talent will not win out in the end.

The reason is because that idea is flawed. Talent rarely wins out in the end. Basketball is probably 70% mental, 20% physical, and 10% luck. Jones III has about 20% down. If a player does not have the right mentality, he will have a hard time succeeding.

If you look at the best players, they all were on another level mentally. Jordan was extremely gifted physically, but his real success came from his mentality. His work ethic was incredible, and it manifested itself in his games, where he was simply more prepared than his competitors. Even if you look at someone like Kobe Bryant, who was not as athletic as say, Vince Carter, mentality won out in the end. He enjoyed more success simply due to his mentality and work ethic.

Unfortunately, that is where we're likely headed with Jones III. Simply put, if you don't have it in you, you don't have it in you. A killer mentality cannot be learned. Either you have it, or you don't. That's what separates the Jordans from the Drexlers of the world.

Having played basketball, I know that I don't have a killer mentality, and as hard as I try, I can't change my nature. I imagine that it is not any easier for an NBA player. That is why Perry Jones III will have an uphill battle. Every so often, a player with undeniable talent with a questionable mentality will succeed. However, those are few and far between. As a basketball fan, I hope that talent does win out and that we are treated to countless highlights. As a skeptic however, it doesn't seem likely. 

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