Kai Jones' Draft Scouting Report: Pro Comparison, Updated Hornets Roster

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2021

Texas' Kai Jones cuts down the net after the team's win over Oklahoma State in an NCAA college basketball game for the championship of the Big 12 men's tournament in Kansas City, Mo, Saturday, March 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The Charlotte Hornets took a chance on one of the big men with the most upside in the 2021 NBA draft class after Texas' Kai Jones went No. 19 overall on Thursday.

The New York Knicks originally owned the No. 19 selection but reportedly dealt it to the Hornets for a future first-round pick, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

While Jones wasn't always consistent from a statistical standpoint during his time with the Longhorns, he brings a high ceiling to the NBA level.


Bleacher Report Draft Expert Jonathan Wasserman's Scouting Report

PlayerKai Jones

Position: PF


Pro Comparison: Jonathan Isaac

Scouting ReportFoot speed and explosive leaping ability set Jones apart. However, flashes of spot-up shooting and fluid drives past closeouts suggest there is more scoring versatility to unlock.


Gordon Hayward, SF: $30M (2024)

Terry Rozier, PG: $18.9M (2022)

LaMelo Ball, PG: $8.0M (2024)

Miles Bridges, SF: $4.1M (2022)

P.J. Washington, PF: $4.0M (2023)

James Bouknight, SG: $3.5M (projected first-year salary, per RealGM)

Kai Jones, PF: $2.3M (projected first-year salary, per RealGM)

Vernon Carey Jr., C: $2.2M (2024)

Jalen McDaniels, PF: $1.5M (2023)

Cody Martin, SF: $1.5M (2022)

Nick Richards, C: $1.4M (2023)

Caleb Martin, SF: $1.4M (2022)

JT Thor, PF (No. 37 overall pick)

Scottie Lewis, SG (No. 56 overall pick)


Cody Zeller, C: UFA

Malik Monk, SG: RFA

Bismack Biyombo, C: UFA

Brad Wanamaker, PG: UFA

Devonte' Graham, PG: RFA

Grant Riller, PG: RFA

Nate Darling, SG: RFA

Jones arrived at Texas as a 4-star prospect, per 247Sports' composite rankings. He was a secondary contributor as a freshman but averaged 8.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game as a sophomore while shooting 58 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from three-point range.

His agility immediately stands out, which helps him get out in transition and throw down dunks as a rim-runner in half-court sets.

Jones' ability to shoot from the outside will also help create matchup problems at the next level, and he has the profile to develop into a rim protector on the defensive side as he grows in the NBA with Charlotte.

The Hornets added Jones to a roster that also welcomed UConn guard James Bouknight at No. 11 overall Thursday. In the second round, Charlotte took Auburn big man JT Thor (No. 37) and Florida guard Scottie Lewis (No. 56).