Perry Jones III is a risk the Phoenix Suns shouldn’t take

Posted by on June 21st, 8:19 am

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.

The answer?

Absolutely not.

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.

Mike Schmitz

Mike Schmitz is a former ValleyoftheSuns writer who now works as an assistant video coordinator for the D-League\\’s Bakersfield Jam. He specialized in video breakdowns for VotS.

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Tags: Draft · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Analysis

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 GoSuns // Jun 21, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I hope we pick Terrence Ross

  • 2 Cam // Jun 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I think jones III just needs to be in the right system to succeed. Lamar Odom comes to mind when I see articles on jones III. That being said, if the Suns don’t re sign Hill and/Fropez I think they should take a chance. Especially if they get a second 1st somehow. Jones can fill multiple positions. Imagine a lineup of Nash, SG of your choice, Jones III, Frye/Morris, and Gortat. That’s a tall front court. Or how about Nash, SG of your choice, Dudley/Childress, JonesIII, and Frye/Morris. Thats a fast team with SSOL part 2 written all over it. Here in Vegas you need to remember, you can’t win big if you don’t play big. At this point the Suns need to take chances instead of playing safe. Go for the home run. Otherwise this team will continue to wallow in the filth that is mediocrity.
    Go Suns.

  • 3 Scott // Jun 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    While it is possible PJ3 could find his motor and become a star, it’s unlikely to happen on a Suns team. Suns players need to be self-motivated; there’s no Kobe, Pop, or Garnett to rail at them.

  • 4 Ty-Sun // Jun 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Jones isn’t worth the risk. From everything I’ve read about him, he might actually thrive on a team that is already doing well but he’s not someone that a struggling team – like the Suns – wants to try and build around. Lamar Odom is really a bad example to bring up. He’s a head case that only plays well if he’s happy with his situation/team. He proved that in Dallas this year. If anyone tries to make the case that Jones is the next Lamar Odom… I’ll say “pass” on him.

  • 5 Matt // Jun 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    @Mike
    Hey Mike, I know this Jones isn’t worth the risk and I absolutely agree with you, but how about the other Jones that no one seems to be talking about? Terrence Jones I think would be a great fit on the Suns’. He can handle the ball, play both forward position, got a pretty good jumper, good rebounder and defender. Not to mention he’s a solid 6’10 guy who can move. Now that Austin Rivers doesnt seem like he’ll be there at 13 so what do you make of having Terrence Jones as a back up plan? Assuming Steve comes back I’d think he’d be a great fit next to Steve as well, taking away some of the ball handling responsibilities and play making and with his athleticism it’s a guarentee we’ll see some highlights out of him.

  • 6 Scott // Jun 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Let me also point out that it’s not just young draft picks who lack motors. The Suns have a few players already on the team who have inconsistent drive. That makes it even more imperative that the Suns only add high motor guys to the team.

    I’d single out Childress as the highest paid guy with no drive. The man knew he was coming to the Suns to play SG/SF, and yet he didn’t work on his 3 point shot that summer, or ever afterward. Over the last two seasons he’s made probably less than 3 of his 3s.

    This guy knows which team he’s on, what position he plays, and how the system works. Everyone knows. (Man on the street: “You’re on the Suns? You’ll be shooting 3s.”) And his lousy 3 production is not just a slump or a dry spell. It’s because he’s not trying AT ALL to provide what the team needs. He’s totally coasting.

    This summer, after two seasons of sitting on the bench with his annual $6 million paycheck, he’s going to look at some tape to see if there’s some way he can help the team. That’s nice. See if you can work that in, Josh.

    Contrast that with Dudley who adds a new skill each off-season, and is even working to secure a broadcast job after his playing days are over, and you can see Childress lacks all ambition.

    I think he went 6th in the draft and has decided to hang his hat on that and call it a successful career. The red flag on him was probably raised when he left the NBA for Europe, first of all, and then again when he didn’t accomplish much against inferior competition.

  • 7 B. Cray Z. // Jun 22, 2012 at 7:23 am

    True story Scott.

    That sleazy lawyer (Babby) was careful not to sign on officially until after he had already sold Sarver on the idea of signing Josh to a ridiculous deal & picking up an even more costly Hedo.

    This way, Babby hoped to side step the appearances of obvious conflicts of interest & who knows what under-the table cuts he may have been paid. From these opening (pre-opening?) deals, it has been painfully obvious that Babby wants the worst, not the best, for our team. He wants to rid the team of Nash & drag it down. He hopes to gain power over Sarver, by making him a broken man, vulnerable & dependent, by doing this. As overpriced as Hedo was, losing LB in that trade made for an even greater cost. Barbosa was our best “go-to scorer” at the close of the game. He & Louis & Gogi all have that motor sought by Scott & most Suns’ fans.

    MUST reunite that killer bench unit. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • 8 Scott // Jun 22, 2012 at 8:34 am

    @B Cray -

    I don’t see as much of a conspiracy in it as you do. I think that as an agent Babby probably prided himself on representing talented good character guys like Hill and Childress and was happy to promote them. But now, as a basketball front office guy, he’s seeing the situation from the other side, and coming to the realization that good character and talent isn’t everything. There has to be a motor, too. Otherwise the contract money is wasted, the time is wasted, the roster spot is wasted, and the low-motor player drags down the dreams and desires of everyone.

    I feel a bit bad about dissing Childress like I did, but I think it’s an accurate portrayal of the situation. Childress isn’t exactly a bad guy, he’s just not motivated to do what’s right for himself and the team, though he’s being paid millions of dollars. When he’s asked to practice, he practices, and when he’s asked to play, he plays, which is living up to the letter of the contract. And when he’s not with the team he’s not out being a hooligan with fights, drugs, guns, and whatever. But we all expect more of a highly paid person who aims to be successful. And there isn’t any confusion about what he needs to do. It’s obvious. So while he seems to be a nice, intelligent guy with a good character who doesn’t get into trouble, despite that he still isn’t sufficiently motivated, and he’s not getting the job done.

    Warrick and Lopez are also on the low motor list, and I have questions about a few more players. The players I don’t question are Nash, Hill, and Dudley.

    Frye and Gortat have put forth tons of energy during the seasons, but I’m not sure they’re taking enough personal initiative in developing their games during the offseason. I imagine they’re working on whatever the Suns’ staff has recommended, but in my opinion they should also have their own training goals to do what’s needed to help them be more complete players.

  • 9 Cdubbbb // Jun 24, 2012 at 3:31 am

    @Scott

    Completely unfair and irresponsible of you to say those things about Chilly. You have NO idea how hard he works and how he thinks. You are talking like the things you say are fact when in reality they are the views of a guy who thinks he knows. Not trying to blast you, but nothing you said has any fact to support it.

    In fact, last season Gentry and some other players talked about how hard Childress was working to improve his shot. Childress’ shot is broken and it really cant be fixed, he is already 28 and its near impossible to chasnge shooting mechanics that are the deeply flawed after such a long period of time.

    Dont blame Childress, blame whoever signed him. He is the worse possible fit for our team that you can get, yet the FO signed him to a fat contract, probably hoping he could figure out how to shoot. It was a desperation attempt after losing Amare. Childress is a very very good player in the right system, but he isnt right in ours, and thats not his fault.

    You arent fooling anybody, except maybe yourself!

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