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Is 2012 NBA Draft Prospect Perry Jones III Too Big Of A Risk For The Warriors?

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Perry Jones III 2012 NBA Draft Video by Mike Schmitz via DraftExpress.

SB Nation's Jonathan Tjarks described Baylor forward Perry Jones III as one of the biggest gambles of the 2012 NBA Draft in an article yesterday looking at five prospects whose pro potential is uncertain, to say the least.

And Tjarks' best and worst case projections (linked from that article) probably articulate that as well as any scouting report.

  • Best case: A five-tool 6'10+ player with versatility to play inside and outside on both sides of the ball -- Lamar Odom.
  • Worst case: Talented but enigmatic big man who drives coaches crazy by not maximizing his talents -- Anthony Randolph.

That is at once intriguing and absolutely frightening, which is exactly why Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group believes that the Warriors can't afford to play that game. Nevertheless, Jones is a player that most mock drafts have had in the 7-12 range since the end of the college basketball season and both the Hoopsworld and Sheridan Hoops post-lottery mock drafts currently have the Warriors selecting him.

One of the major, but hardly the only, criticisms of Jones is his lacking consistency in just about every sense of the term; Jones' scoring production, perimeter shooting, and effort have all been questioned, as outlined in the DraftExpress video above. Tjarks, who also covers Baylor as managing editor of SBN Dallas, alluded to that in his article yesterday and I followed up with him to get some additional insight.

In short, Tjarks suggests that some of Jones' oft-cited shortcomings could be attributed to context.

That's the main problem: they never looked to get him the ball in his two seasons at Baylor.

The year before he came Scott Drew lost his McDonald's All-American PG to graduation (Tweety Carter) and he never replaced him nor changed his offense so that it would work without a natural distributor. His freshman year, his starting back-court was LaceDarius Dunn (one of the biggest ball-hogs I've ever seen) and AJ Walton (purely a defensive specialist); last year, it was Pierre Jackson (a score-first combo guard) and Brady Heislip (a pure shooter).

What most impressed me about PJ3 is that he plays the game the right way; if he's doubled, he's going to kick it out. The problem is none of his teammates did and his coaching staff was pretty hapless.

The biggest difference between him and Randolph is that he can shoot so he can function w/o having to have the ball in his hands. He's never going to be a 25+ point guy in the NBA, but he'd be a great fit at the 3 for Golden State and he'd cover for Lee's defensive weaknesses at the 4.

Just a year ago, Jones was described as the prospect with the highest NBA upside of any player in college basketball and perhaps the idea of him being Randolph with a jumper will lead some GM to take the gamble. And if he really has the talent everyone ascribes to him, perhaps he could be a fit with the Warriors.

But, if healthy, the Warriors are a team that could very well look to contend for the playoffs next season as they build for a future of sustainable success. The question is whether it's worth spending the lottery pick that they spent so much time tanking for on a player surrounded by so much uncertainty.