In theory, Perry Jones III is exactly what the Phoenix Suns need: a kid with the potential to become the face of their franchise.
As it stands now the Suns lack talent, direction, and most importantly starpower. If Jones were to pan out he could inject Phoenix with a boatload of talent, move them in the right direction, and serve as the superstar they’ve been longing for.
He has a skill-set foreign to an NBA game that’s seen everything from 5-foot-3 point guards to 7-foot-7 centers, and there’s no question the Suns’ front office members will all look at each and wonder “is he worth the risk?” if he falls all the way to 13.
While Jones is indeed an intriguing prospect for a rebuilding team, he has bust written all over him. The Suns may be one team with enough misdirection to take a swing for the fences on a high-risk, high-reward guy like Jones, but as much as you want to believe his physical tools will translate, it’s almost like the NBA world is waiting for him to fall short of expectations.
Yes, he has every physical tool an NBA coach could dream up, but Jones lacks the mental firepower that turns mediocrity into greatness. He’s lethargic and often uninterested. Playing hard is an option and that coveted killer instinct is absent.
Baylor head coach Scott Drew told me Jones is misjudged. He said Jones is simply a team-first guy, a great teammate willing to sacrifice a few points for a win.
“Perry’s a tremendous teammate. He’s someone that people all love playing with. He’s very unselfish,” Drew said. “It’s refreshing to coach somebody that really only cares if the team wins. Whatever he can do to help the team that’s what he’s for.”
While those are all good qualities to have, Drew lost me when he said this: “If he scores two points and gets two rebounds and the team won he’s the happiest guy in the locker room.”
That, my friends, is the exact reason Jones has fallen from a surefire top-10 pick to the mid-to-late first round. Great players aren’t satisfied with two points and two rebounds even in a win. Great players lose sleep over performances like that, while Jones and his lackadaisical attitude give off the vibe that he couldn’t care less.
After already going through the Earl Clark Experience it’s become much easier to sniff out guys like Jones. Clark was just like PJIII — a versatile talent with a great handle but little drive and motivation.
Since when did playing hard become such a foreign concept? Since when did a player’s “drive” and “motor” have to be in question? The sole fact that Jones has those Clark-esque qualities means the Suns should stay away from him at all costs.
Yes, he does have the skills to be a franchise-changer down the road, but the Suns are in dire need of young talent. They can’t afford to swing and miss on this one, and Jones is the exact player who will drop 12 to six into the strike zone and get Phoenix caught looking for strike three.
While it’s going to be tempting to pull the trigger on a talent like Jones, the Suns should stay as far away as possible because the last thing they need is Earl Clark 2.0.