Utah Jazz NBA Draft Prospect: Herbert Jones
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA Draft is one week away and the Utah Jazz will be making the 30th pick at the end of the first round. One name projected to be available in the Jazz range is Alabama wing Herbert Jones.
Jones spent four seasons at Alabama where he became one of the SEC’s most decorated players, earning Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors a senior.
The 6’7, 206 lbs forward averaged 11.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.3 assists while shooting 44 percent from the floor and 35 percent from the three-point line in his final season at Alabama.
Herbert Jones – Alabama: Wing
11.2 Points, 6.6 Rebounds, 3.3 Assists, 44.6/35.1/71.3
Strengths: Jones is the type of basketball player that every college coach would love to have. At 6’7, with a 7’0 wingspan, nimble feet and plus athleticism, Jones has the ability to line up anywhere on the floor defensively and give opposing teams trouble.
Furthermore, his effort and varied skillset make him an even more valuable role player that wears a number of hat,s and can excel alongside multiple types of players. Jones has a terrific basketball IQ and motor that allow him to make plays on both ends of the floor.
Jones will shine initially in the NBA on the defensive end where he can guard multiple positions on the wing, switch among assignments in the pick and roll, and add rebounding.
Not many college players look as comfortable defending everywhere on the floor as Jones did at Alabama averaging 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per game.
Offensively, Jones is a rebound-and-go ball handler capable of getting an offense into its sets, making passes to cutters out of the post, and creating for himself on simple straight-line drives.
He shot 35 percent from the three-point line as a senior which was a marked improvement from the first three years of his college career.
Weaknesses: Despite showing improvement on his three-point shot during his final season, his ability to score from the perimeter will be an enormous concern for whichever team drafts him.
Jones shot 23 percent from downtown over his first three seasons in college while attempting fewer than one three per game. During his junior season, he knocked down just one of his 14 attempts.
As a senior, Jones burst out of the gate shooting an eye-opening 52 percent from three in 24 games on a healthy 1.6 attempts per game.
However, he’d go on to miss his next 19 threes over the final nine games of his college career to drop his three-point percentage down to 35 percent for the season.
Jones’ shooting was so fickle it makes it difficult to have any confidence that it will develop enough to be any kind of threat in the NBA, especially with the deeper three-point line. If NBA teams are content to sag off of him on the offensive end, he’ll be relegated to scoring almost solely in transition as he lacks the ball-handling skills to be an isolation scorer at the next level.
Though his basketball IQ allows him to make smart passes in Alabama’s offense, he was also one of the more turnover-prone players in college basketball. Jones left the Tide with career averages of 2.2 assists and 2.1 turnovers per game.
Jones will turn 23 in October, making him one of the older prospects in the draft.
Overall: Jones defense and hustle will likely earn him a spot on an NBA roster next season where he may be a back-end rotation player due to his production and experience in college.
Like some of the best role players in basketball, he’ll really excel in a system where the coach knows how to hide him offensively while highlighting his strengths on the defensive end. Jones will be best suited as the least talented player in a lineup with four more offensively skilled players.
If his shooting comes along, he has a chance to be a premier role player in the NBA, but that’s a big if. Even if it doesn’t develop, in the right situation, Jones can be a quality piece on a good NBA team.
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