I have never been a huge fan of Tyus Jones. I thought he was over-hyped coming out high school, and I didn’t think he’d be that good in college.
However, he proved me wrong with how he performed in the national championship game.
He doesn’t fit today’s mold of NBA point guards. He is nothing like Russell Westbrook, John Wall, or even former Duke point guard Kyrie Irving.
Despite that, Jones has a lot of qualities that make him an intriguing player.
He has a lot of experience in the spotlight. He has been a heralded player since he started for his varsity squad as an eighth-grader. He is calm, cool and collected. Not a lot of things, if any thing, seem to bother him.
He has played for Team USA Basketball and was a McDonald’s All-American. More importantly, he had one of his best games for Duke in the national championship game.
He has great vision, is crafty and, I think, unique. While he isn’t very big, he is extremely quick and has a great handle. He is a team-first player, and has been a major part of teams that have won in the past, whether it was a state or national title, or winning on Team USA.
Like Chris Paul, Jones is a leader. He has shown great ability to lead and make his teammates better. I like that about a player. He isn’t the flashiest player, but he can make the simple plays look fantastic.
He has shown ability to shoot the ball fairly well. I think that’s something he will need to improve on at the next level, though. A player can never be too good of a shooter. Even Stephen Curry got better.
Jones’ biggest disadvantages at the next level will be his size. He is not a tall kid and he is about as thick as an iPhone 6. I do expect him to put on muscle once he gets on an NBA-level training program.
He isn’t overly athletic, but does have some athleticism. He reminds me of a combination of Tony Parker and Steve Nash. Both players were and, in Parker’s case, still are crafty players with a variety of shots and floaters to use against bigger defenders. While Jones will probably never be the three-point shooter Nash was, I think he could become as good of a passer. Nash was never a good defender because he was never that quick and didn’t really focus on it. I think Jones could become a very suitable defender. Jones reminds me of Parker in the sense that he has a knack for finishing in the paint. Everyone knows that Parker is the master of finishing in the paint. I think Jones could become 80 percent of what Parker was or is.
Jones’ downside is that he could end up being something like Trey Burke, a player who might be too small to have any sustained success in the NBA. Burke really hasn’t had an impact in his first two years in the NBA. No offense to Burke, but he isn’t very good.
I think he [Jones] will be significantly better than Burke, a former National Player of the Year, though.
There is just something about Jones that draws a person’s interest to him. I don’t believe he will “wow” a lot of scouts at the NBA Draft Combine, and that could affect his draft stock. In the combine scrimmages, though, scouts will see what separates Jones from other, more experienced point guards.
While I agree that his physical attributes aren’t overwhelming, actually they are probably underwhelming, basketball it a game of skill. He has a lot of the skills.
I see his ultimate ceiling being [Tony] Parker. I don’t believe he is the type of player that can change a franchise by himself, and very few can. I think he will turn out to be a good second-fiddle guy. If he were to play with Anthony Davis, that combo would be dynamite.
I see his floor being Jarrett Jack, who has proven to be a pretty decent player in the NBA.
Jones might not be a lottery pick, but he could end up benefiting from that. Playoff teams like Boston, Dallas, and even New Orleans might be looking for a point guard. He could end up on one of those teams and make an impact for those franchises right away.
I see him having a long and, possibly, very successful career in the league. After two or three years, we will see a clearer picture of where his career is going.
I think he will be good, though.