2015 NBA Draft: Tyus Jones


Finishing out a trio of 2015 NBA Draft profiles of players to be featured in this weekend’s slate of action in the NCAA tournament, we begin our look at some players at the tail end of the first round whom the Lakers may target with the pick they acquired from the Houston Rockets.

Name: Tyus Jones

School: Duke

Position: Point Guard

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 184 pounds

Draft Position: Late first/early second

Overview: There are many point guards in this draft, three of which we’ve already profiled in D’Angelo Russell, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Gary Payton II. However, there isn’t a better pure point guard than Tyus Jones in this draft. What does pure point guard mean? Jones can handle the ball without question, makes the right decisions, and is someone you can rely on to initiate the offense. That differs from someone like Russell, Mudiay, or even Jerian Grant later in the draft as play-making combo guards.

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  • Jones’ stock has shot up this year. Once thought of at least a two-year project at Duke, Jones has shown the poise and leadership you’d expect from a seasoned veteran point guard, yet he’s only 18 years old. He can knock down an outside jumper, get to the rim, and set up teammates. Really, there isn’t a ton of downside to his game. The downside is his small stature and size and the fact he’s not a great defensive point guard.

    Why The Lakers Should Be Excited: If the Lakers draft either Russell or Mudiay with their first pick, Jones is out of the picture. However, if they move up to land Jahlil Okafor, Karl-Anthony Towns, or Willie Cauley-Stein, someone like Jones is certainly in the picture.

    The biggest thing that has stuck out in Jones’ freshman year is he clutch ability. I’m not sure how that directly translates to the NBA, but it has to amount for something. First, he’s not afraid to take the big shot late in the game. On the road against the then-undefeated Virginia Cavaliers on primetime TV, the Lakers mounted a huge comeback late, capped off by this dagger:

    Later on in the season against arch-rival North Carolina, the Blue Devils were down double-digits late when Jones went on a personal mission to rescue Duke and send the game into overtime:

    You can see in both clips how versatile Jones’ offensive game is. He got to the rim multiple times in the second clip, using a P&R nicely a couple times. In the first clip, you see the type of range he has. He shoots 38.1% from deep, but averages just over one make a game. That being said, he doesn’t look to score often, with threes being 40.2% of the shots he takes.

    Instead, Jones is your pure point guard. His poise, as shown above, mixed with his ball-handling and passing ability. The latter is on display here, twice in one play. First, you see a great entry pass, which is something underrated that he does well. Second, you see his vision and high IQ, knowing that someone is open with Okafor being doubled.

    His 5.8 assists per game rank him 20th in the nation, while he is also a nearly automatic free throw shooter, making 88.4% of his shots at the charity stripe. Really, his offensive game is nearly everything you want out of a point guard.

    If the Lakers don’t see Jordan Clarkson as a point guard for the future, then Jones could play alongside him and form a great duo. Jones has experience playing off the ball some as well, having split time with backcourt mate Quinn Cook as the primary ball-handler.

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    Why The Lakers Should Be Wary: The biggest (or smallest) problem with Jones’ game is that he is small. At 6’1″, he’s a big undersized as a point guard. That lack of size limits his defensive ability. If he’s small, he needs to have quick hands to force steals and turnovers, which he does decently, averaging 1.5 steals a game. However, against bigger, stronger NBA point guards, Jones will be overmatched.

    On top of that, he doesn’t have elite speed or quickness, so he’ll have problems staying in front of point guards like Russell Wesbtrook (to be fair, most NBA PGs have the same issue). Overall, he’s just not someone who will physically blow you away.

    If the Lakers are looking at a back court of Clarkson and Jones, you aren’t going to have a very good defensive one, and I’m not sure it’s one that can win a title. Then again, that depends on if you project either, both, or neither as future starters.

    Overview: In the end, what Jones lacks in size, speed, and physical gifts, he makes up for with his high IQ, poise, leadership, and talent. At the end of the first round, in the right situation, Jones could be a great talent and a future contributor to a title-winning Lakers’ team.

    Next: Lakers Free Agency Profile: LaMarcus Aldridge

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