Damian Jones NBA Draft Profile

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Damian Jones – 6’11” Centre, Vanderbilt Commodores

Strengths

If an NBA scout were to look at Damian Jones in warm-up, or in a few short possessions on defence, they would immediately rate the athletic 7-foot center from Vanderbilt as a top ten pick. The young man from Baton Rouge won All-SEC and All-NIT honours last season. Jones has all of the physical attributes to be a dominant force in the league. At a muscular 245 pounds, 7’4 wingspan and 37 inch max vertical jump; Jones could be a top end rim protector and rebounder.

With his NBA ready size and athleticism Jones is capable of carving out space; gobbling up 7 rebounds a game, including 2.2 offensive rebounds per game last season. The junior was also in the top-10 for the block rate per 40 minutes played. He proved more than capable at protecting the rim and being an anchor in the middle of a defense. What is intriguing about Jones is that he is also athletic enough to guard players out in space, including in the pick and roll game that is so prevalent within the NBA. Jones has demonstrated that he is quick enough to hedge a screen and bump the ball handler. He is able to get back to guard bigs olling to the rim or popping to the three-point line.

Weaknesses

Offensively, Jones still has a lot of work to do. While it is unlikely that he will be a go to scorer on any team in the NBA; he has shown enough improvement and skill to be an effective scorer on the rare occasions he gets the ball at the next level. Being an uber-athlete, Jones finishes everything above the rim, usually with authority. However, he has also shown an impressive touch around the rim with both his left and right hand. Jones scored a solid 14 points per game shooting an efficient 60% from the field.

The form on his jump shot should intrigue NBA general managers. While Jones did not take a lot of jump shots, and shot under 60% from the free throw line, he has very consistent mechanics. With a little work could be a very effective shooter from 10-15 feet. Jones would occasionally get the ball in the post. He uses his size to get to his go to hook shot over the left shoulder. In the NBA he will almost never get an isolation post-up. Instead, he would most likely be utilized on the perimeter to set screens and drive to the rim.

NBA Potential

The fact that Jones has all of these attributes is what frustrates many NBA scouts. He has so much potential, but goes missing in long stretches of the game. Often taking up a poor defensive stance, coming over late in defensive rotations, not boxing out and relying on his athleticism to out-rebound opponents. Because of his tendency to float in and out of games, Draft Express put Jones at 21st. Fortunately, although Jones finished his junior season at Vanderbilt, he is only 20 years old.

Draft Projection

There are a couple teams that could be in the running to acquire Jones’ services. Indiana owns the 20th pick and has a front court of Ian Mahinmi, Lavoy Allen, Myles Turner and Jordan Hill. Other than the rookie Myles Turner, there is not much there to build upon, which could be seen by how easily Jonas Valanciunas dominated the Pacer big men in the first round of the playoffs. Atlanta has the 21st pick and would be wise to pick Jones. This would represent great value. They should also be weary of the possibility that they could lose Al Horford to free agency, something that could cripple them as; like Indiana, they do not boast an impressive array of forwards.

If Jones were to somehow slip past Indiana and Atlanta the Toronto Raptors front office will be jumping for joy. There is a pretty good chance that they will not be able to re-sign Bismack Biyombo who is this year’s Tristan Thompson. When he hits free agency, teams will offer a massive contract. If Toronto wants to sign any other key pieces they may have to let the big man walk. While Jones does not provide the energy of Biyombo, he is just as athletic and could be effective defensively.

NBA Comparison

Damian Jones’ game is similar to Festus Ezeli of the Golden State Warriors.

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