The Texas Longhorns’ season was cut short due to a surprising upset at the hands of Abilene Christian, but the Burnt Orange will be sending a couple of studs to the NBA. Kai Jones, a 6-foot-11 sophomore forward, is the best of the bunch.
Kai Jones 2021 NBA Draft Profile
Born in the Bahamas, Jones blossomed into a star in high school. In 2019, he chose Texas over other top-tier programs such as Arizona and Kansas.
Jones took a while to accumulate into college ball his freshman season, only playing 16 minutes per game. His production was what one would expect with that floor time – 3.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game.
This past season, he increased his time on the floor by seven minutes. This also came in a crowded Longhorns frontcourt. Jones put up averages of 8.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and a block per game. He also had a strong shooting split for a big man at 58-38-69. Jones was set to shine this past March Madness before the Longhorns bowed out early. In that game vs Abilene Christian, Jones went 4-for-4 on the inside and only missed a single three. His career ended in the wrong way as more usage in that game would’ve led to a Texas win.
Jones’ numbers don’t bounce off the stat sheet, but his potential is tantalizing. He’s super athletic, long, and extremely bouncy. Jones can live and thrive above the rim, blocking shots and throwing down dunks with ease.
He’s also surprisingly quick and silky with the ball for a player his size. He can take defenders on the dribble and be very effective in any fast-break opportunity. The ball-handling isn’t there quite yet, but it rarely is for big men.
Jones is going to be drafted more for what he can become than what he is now. That’s a common trend in NBA drafts, however. He has the tools necessary to become a star sooner rather than later.
For starters, Jones has NBA height but isn’t close to having the physical frame necessary for the league. He’s just 20-years-old, however, so this will come in time working with NBA trainers.
There are two glaring weaknesses in his game, however, with one on offense and one on defense.
On offense, he struggles to create his own shot. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it limits his potential of being a number one option in the league. If paired with an elite playmaker, Jones can still consistently put up double-digit points.
When it comes to defense, Jones needs to improve his rebounding. A player of his height should pull down more than four or five boards a game, especially at the collegiate level. Any team that drafts him is going to make his defense improvement and involvement a focal point.
NBA Comparison for Kai Jones
This should come as no surprise, but Jones is very similar to former Longhorn Jaxson Hayes. Both are extremely bouncy with high-flying abilities, but both came into the league with glaring holes in size and other intangibles. Hayes has carved out a nice role for himself with the New Orleans Pelicans, however, but there’s still more work to be done. Jones will be similar.
NBA Draft Projection
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