Bucks bring in two Joneses for a look
ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — Perry Jones III is one of the most unique NBA prospects in this year’s draft and will give the Milwaukee Bucks a lot to think about if the former Baylor star is still available at No. 12 — which he most likely will be.
Along with two other high first-round draft picks, Kentucky’s Terrence Jones and Mississippi State’s Arnett Moultrie, Perry Jones worked out for the Bucks in a star-studded group on Wednesday.
But with Perry Jones, there are more questions than answers when it comes to the type of NBA player he will be. Had he entered the 2011 draft, he would have very likely been a top-five pick, a theory that Bucks director of scouting Billy McKinney confirmed. But his sophomore season looked a lot like his freshman season, and his stock dropped as a result.
“When you stay in school and you play an extra year, sometimes you have that sophomore slump or people get to see more of your games and you tend to over-analyze what players do, or you see more of what they can do and what they can’t do,” McKinney said. “I think that’s one of the things that happened with Perry.
“The expectations with him were so great, that unless you win it all, you never really reach the expectations and meet the expectations that others have of you. And I think that’s one of the things that, talking to him, that he’s going to have to learn to manage, with the expectations of others and be satisfied with the expectations and demands that he places on himself.”
As expected, even against top-tier competition Wednesday, Jones was described by McKinney as “without question, the most skilled and the most talented player” on the court. But his 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds last season in college don’t reflect that level of elite skill.
“I think he’s going to find his way in this league,” McKinney said. “As he continues to mature physically and from the mental aspect, he’s going to be a heck of an NBA player.”
Measuring at taller than 6-foot-11 in shoes with an 8-foot-11 wingspan and a 38.5-inch vertical leap, it’s obvious why Jones has been so sought after as a prospect.
But despite his draft stock having fallen so far in just one year — he’s projected by some leading analysts to not be selected until pick No. 19 — Jones is happy he went back to college for a second season.
“I probably would have been a lot more immature than I am,” he said. “I probably wouldn’t have even taken some of it seriously and probably wouldn’t be as talkative as I am, and probably wouldn’t bring as much energy as I have now.
“I was so immature. All I wanted to do was play video games and watch cartoons. (It was) another year of helping me become a man and get ready for this league.”
Though he initially was hoping to play a wing position in the NBA, Jones’ height and skills in the post were just too much to keep him far from the basket.
“If the coach says I can play wing and puts me out there, so be it, but my best position right now is the 4 (power forward),” Jones said.
McKinney agreed, at least for the most part.
“I think initially coming in it will be the 4 position,” McKinney said. “He has the ability to play three positions. He’s skilled enough that he’s got some shooting guard skills in terms of being able to handle the ball.
“It’s a case of him getting to the point where he finds himself and gets comfortable at a position where he’s going to play a lot at. It could be 3 (small forward), it could be 4.”
While Perry Jones was the most skilled, it was Terrence Jones (no relation) who stood out in a different aspect of the workout with the Bucks.
“It’s his intensity, and that’s the way he plays in games,” McKinney said of Terrence Jones. “He really brings it. He understands the importance of playing hard every possession.”
Terrence Jones lacks a true position right now but is likely going to be able to play both forward positions in the NBA.
“He’s really a hybrid,” McKinney said. “When you watch him play, he’s a guy that when you look at his individual skill set, when you get him into a game is really when you see what he can do. He can play multiple positions defensively. Offensively, he has the ability to step on the floor and make threes or just make outside shots, but he also can put it on the floor.
“So what’s tough about defending a player like him is, if he plays at the small forward position, he can post people up. If he played against power forwards, he can post them up or take them out on the floor. He’s got great versatility in his game.”
Though some scouts and front office executives view players without a true position in a negative light, McKinney doesn’t see it that way.
“I think it helps; Absolutely it helps,” McKinney said. “I think now in the NBA you see so many players being able to play multiple positions, even guards. There’s value when you can play a couple positions.”
If the Bucks are interested in either Perry or Terrence Jones in next Thursday’s draft, one of them could very likely be looking for a home in the Milwaukee area soon.
“Those guys should definitely be in our (draft) range,” McKinney said.
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