Today’s NBA Draft Blog Scouting Report is our first look at one of the freshmen in Kentucky’s exalted 2010 class, and one who has made an impact from Day 1 – forward Terrence Jones. Jones, at times, has looked like a man among boys, though he at other times he has not had the impact he should when his team has needed it most. There is no denying the athleticism and skills of Jones, but will he be ready to make the leap to the NBA after one season in Lexington? Let’s take a look at Terrence Jones:
Terrence Jones, Kentucky – Freshman
Forward- 6’8, 244
17.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.0 bpg, 46.2% FG, 66.7% FT, 30.0% 3FG%
Post Skills- Jones has shown good versatility in the post as a freshman. He gets solid position (though he needs to be more consistent with his effort against bigger defenders) on the blocks, has decent footwork, and has the ability to make a power move or a finesse move around the defender. As a lefty, almost all of his moves come over his right shoulder, which are extremely effective, but when he tries to go over his left shoulder, it looks very awkward. He has nice touch around the rim, though he tends to shoot the ball directly at the rim, and could add some arc to the shot. His ability to face up and hit the short to mid-range jumper or take his man off the dribble make him very valuable, though he still needs to learn more about his defender’s tendencies before he chooses his move. He passes well out of both the low and high post, and his decision-making has shown improvement over the course of the season. He needs to work on developing his right hand, at least to the point of being able to finish around the rim with it – his move dribbling across the lane with his right and coming back to shoot with his left will not work against NBA defenders.
Footwork- While Jones’ footwork is not great, he has the basic moves down, and rarely take unnecessary steps when making a move. Again, he needs to improve moves going over his left shoulder, as good defenders will know to overplay his strong side. He could also do more work on his drop-step move, as I have seen many time where it actually brings him further away from the rim than where he started. The good things is, his movements are fluid, and he has shown some good speed and control on his post moves.
Ballhandling/Hands/Penetration- Jones is a good ballhandler for his size, but he needs to become much better with his right hand. He has shown a nice crossover when on the perimeter or in a face-up post position, but he has to learn to be more decisive when using his dribbles. If you watch him when he is on the perimeter, he uses too many unnecessary dribbles looking to make a move. He has very good hands, and can receive passes in a variety of ways. He is very good at corralling errant passes and has also shown he is a reliable finisher of lob passes around the rim. Penetration and getting to the rim will be a major area for him to improve on as he develops his offensive game. Jones has shown a decent first step, though if he takes more than 3 or 4 dribbles to the rim, he tends to lose control of the ball a bit. He is much stronger with his natural left hand, though he is not bad with his right. When he makes a move to get to the lane, he is most likely going to take it all the way to the rim – he needs to get much better at either creating space for a short jumper or drawing the defense and kicking it out to an open teammate. When he does get to the rim, he is strong enough to take contact and finish strong, though he needs to curb his tendency to try to avoid the contact and take an awkward shot.
Perimeter Offense/Shooting- I think Jones is a much better shooter than he has shown this season, though there are areas where he needs to improve. He has solid range and gets good lift on his jumper, but his release can be quite slow, giving defenders time to close on him. While he shows confidence with the open jumper, he tends to hesitate when there is a defender anywhere near him. He will need to learn how to create space to get his jumper off at the next level, and it would be to his benefit to add some ball and head fakes to his game. Shot selection is another weakness, though, again, I think experience will only make this better. His ability to shoot from the perimeter makes him a good option on the pick and pop, while also making him dangerous on the pick and roll when defenders need to come out on him. He sets solid screens, but he does need to learn to hold the screen a bit longer for his man. He has a solid mid-range game, but he does need to do a better job finding space to get the shot off. One other issue, which is more a product of his Coach’s “offense”, is that he is not very good moving without the ball. He will need to learn to get open off of screens and to recognize when defenders are overplaying and cut hard to the rim.
Rebounding/Passing- Williams uses his athletic ability well on the offensive glass. He has the ability to jump quickly and use his strength to secure the ball. He is very good at following his own misses and works very hard at going after missed shots. The one area he needs to work on here is reading the angles off of missed shots so he can get in better position, though he should gain this with more experience. Jones has shown that he is a good passer out of the post, and he has gotten much better at reading double teams and knowing where to find an open teammate. He does need to become a better at drawing the defense to him on penetration and finding the open man, but that should come with more experience.
Free Throw Shooting – Jones really needs to become more consistent with his free throw shooting. He doesn’t show the same form that he does on his jumper, and doesn’t seem to get the same lift and arc. This should be a minor adjustment. When he works primarily in the post, he does a great job drawing fouls and could consistently get to the line 6-8 times per game.
Post Defense- Jones does a great job using his body, and staying between his man and the basket. He moves his feet well, though his movements could be quicker, and he is susceptible to head and ball fakes, which have led to him getting beat by his man, or getting silly fouls. He is powerfully built and can defend larger men in the post. He is a good help defender when guarding the post, though he is often too quick to get in to help position, leaving him out of position and his man wide open. He doesn’t make enough of an effort to deny entry passes and he should work on fronting the post.
Perimeter Defense- I was impressed with Jones effort guarding out on the perimeter, showing fluid lateral movement, and using his arms well to disrupt passing lanes. His foot speed could improve some, but overall he is a solid defender. Where he really needs to improve is his defensive IQ, which should come with more experience against a variety of players. He defends all players the same, whether they are slashers or shooters, so he can end up positioned very poorly. He is also very poor at closing on shooters, at times not even trying to contest shots. He is very good at getting through screens, and he is also very good at hedging and recovering on the pick and roll.
Rebounding/Blocking- Jones is a great rebounder for his size – a good combination of fundamentals and power. He goes strong after missed shots and looks to secure the ball with both hands. He does need to work on learning how to read missed shots to improve his positioning for the rebounds, but he often makes up with it with his athleticism and strength. Jones is also a very good shot blocker, being very quick to get up and with the ability to extend and get to shots you wouldn’t think he could. Again, he does have problems with fakes, and can be overanxious to try and get a block instead of holding his position.
Jones can be very good in transition, getting out quickly on the break and having the ability to finish strong, and often in spectacular ways. He does run into problems when he thinks he can push the ball himself, but other than that he is a very good option in transition. Defensively, when he gets back on the break, he can be a strong deterrent, but at times he either doesn’t make the effort, or he is too far from the play to make a difference.
Summary & Intangibles
Athleticism – Very Good
BB IQ – Average
Jones has the skills and the athleticism to be a very good NBA player, and having an NBA body already only makes his case stronger. I still think he is a solid 2 or 3 years away from having an impact at the next level, but I don’t think staying at Kentucky is going to improve the skills he needs to become a quality NBA player – defense and the ability to improve his inside-out game. If he does leave this year, I would be surprised if he made it out of the Top 10, but closer to the 9 or 10 slot. His potential is quite good, but he will need to make sure his effort is consistent, and he needs to accept that there is still a lot he needs to learn to be a very good pro. If he does this, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is a starter for some very good NBA teams.
Tomorrow we will take a look at one of the leaders in the National Player of the Year race – Uconn point guard Kemba Walker, along with a new The Case For… on Notre Dame guard Ben Hansbrough. Remember, leave any comments below, follow me on Twitter – @NBADraftBlog, or feel free to email me at the link up top.