Tre Jones was one of the best point guards in the country for the last two seasons. Jones, the Duke Blue Devils star, played several different roles during those two seasons in Durham, but one thing was obvious the whole time; he is a winner. Jones should be in consideration for a late lottery selection.
Do Not Pass on Tre Jones
Admittedly, it is still very early in the draft process. Also, this is a strange time for analyzing prospects because it is tough to get them into gyms and meet with them. With that being said, there should be no reason to not comb through game tape to analyze a prospect. The result should be Jones receiving a lot of love, but the opposite seems to be the case.
After combing through recent mock drafts, Jones falls between 21 and 34. Yahoo has Jones going 21st and ESPN has Jones slotted 34th. In terms of positional ranks, Jones falls somewhere around the tenth to twelfth point guard selected. In case it is not clear by the title of this article, that is way too low.
The number one thing that people point to when discussing Jones as an NBA prospect is his jump shot. When looking at the numbers, that concern seems legit. Jones shot 31 percent from three for his career, which is well below average. That number is mainly due to his 26 percent from three during his freshman season.
Let’s dig a little deeper. Jones injured his right shoulder against Syracuse in mid-January just 16 games into the season. At this point, he had only taken 27 threes and made eight of them. After that injury, Jones only made 19 of his next 76 threes which brought his season percentage down. His form was clearly affected.
Jones would return to Durham and show a greatly improved jumper after taking care of that shoulder in the offseason. Last year, Jones shot 36 percent from three on nearly four attempts per game. He had some monster games from behind the arc and really showed the ability to stretch the defense. Jones also has a phenomenal mid-range game and is a solid free-throw shooter, so fundamentally he can be a good shooter in the NBA.
Additionally, Jones knows all about shot selection. He usually takes the right shot or understands how to get the right shot. That is a key trait for an NBA point guard who will have the ball in his hands often.
The other concern for Jones is that he is an average athlete. This is fair. He probably will not test very well, if there is an NBA combine. However, several players in the NBA have gotten by really well with average athleticism.
Jones showed that being athletic is not as important as thought. Breaking down Tre Jones, the one word that should be mentioned first at all times is effort. Any time he is on the court, Jones is all-out, making plays and shutting down the opposition.
Let’s take a look at how Jones fared against other NBA talent. Of course, the first name that comes to mind is Cole Anthony. In the two games these two faced off, Anthony went 11-31 from the field and averaged 16 points per game. He was held to just nine points in their last meeting, after scoring 24 in the first with ten free throws. While Jones clamped Anthony, he was able to pitch in 25 points, eight assists, and four rebounds per game while putting on some serious late-game heroics.
The other two NBA prospects that Jones went head to head with were Devon Dotson and Cassius Winston. Jones opened his sophomore campaign against Dotson with a dominating performance. Dotson is very quick and athletic, although undersized. Jones poured in 15 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. He also forced Dotson in 6 turnovers and helped cause 28 turnovers in total by the Jayhawks. Against Winston, Jones came up massive. He scored 20 points and notched 12 assists while holding Winston to 12 points and 7 assists.
Why Tre Jones Will Succeed in the NBA
Tre Jones is a flat-out winner. He is the type of player that every coach needs on a roster. He will succeed because he does everything right. There is no risk in taking a player that does not make mistakes.
Jones will not turn the ball over. He will always get the ball to the right people. In his freshman season, he set a record for assist to turnover ratio while playing as the third or fourth option with superstar talent. Last season, he again maintained a well-above-average assist to turnover ratio while playing as the first or second option on offense. Clearly, he knows how to make plays for himself when necessary, but he is a pass-first guard.
Also, he is a plug-and-play player because he does not need the ball in his hands to be impactful. Jones can float off the ball as a combo guard. When he does have the ball in his hands, nine times out of ten, he will make the right play. That is an invaluable resource on the offensive end.
Jones will bring the defensive intensity every single night. He will make life difficult for every lead guard on the other side which will help his team immensely. Jones does not need to turn people over to be successful defensively. But forcing difficult passes and tiring out opposing guards will be very helpful.
Finally, Jones’ brother, Tyus Jones, backup point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies, has been great in his role in the NBA. Tyus Jones also set an assist to turnover record in the league. Tyus will happily tell anyone that Tre is better at this point. There is absolutely no reason Tre Jones cannot walk into the NBA and lead a second unit to plenty of success. Pass on him at your own risk.
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