Tenth Pick Tournament Round Two: Perry Jones III vs. John Henson

It’s Tournament Time here at Hornets247! Who will be the Hornets 10th overall selection voiced by you, our readers? Today, Jake takes on Joe in the battle of Perry Jones III vs. John Henson.

Perry Jones III

(By Jake Madison)

As you read through all the first round arguments, did you stop to think about why Hornets247 is having this 10th pick tournament?

Anthony Davis is such a lock to become a great player, a franchise cornerstone, that it frees up the team to go in any direction they want with the 10th pick. That’s why there are guards, wing players, big men, and trade options. It’s why some players seem like a reach for the 10 spot, why some seem like a high risk, or why some might even be a bad fit. The Hornets are hitting a home run in this draft no matter what. They could sell the 10th pick and this draft would be considered a success. All because of Anthony Davis.

And it’s why the Hornets should draft Perry Jones III with the 10th pick.

The knock on Jones III is that he’s a boom or bust type player. But him boom is so much bigger than nearly every other player that the Hornets have to take a chance on him.

But all those concerns about why he might be a bust? Well, I’m much less concerned about those now. Jones admitted his biggest problem is his “motor.” Yeah that is a bit of a red flag, but it would be worse if he wasn’t motivated by it which, however, he is.

I went over the potential that Jones III possesses in my first round post. While I’m not going to cover all that again, let’s go over a few things: 6-foot 11, 235 pounds, 7-foot 2 wingspan with the athleticism of Josh Smith, the versatility to play the 3, 4 or 5. Drooling yet? Because every scout is. Now that I have that out of the way, I want to talk about how Jones III would fit with the Hornets–specifically two players, Eric Gordon and (future Hornet) Anthony Davis.

Jones III is not only a freak athlete, but he also possesses incredibly strong ball handling skills. He has no problem taking his defender off the dribble. Even from as far out as the three-point line. Jones III finishes strong in the paint. Once he gets past his man and into the lane, you may as well put two points on the board. He’s going to make a great pick and roll partner for Gordon.

Close your eyes and picture it: Gordon with the ball in his hands, Jones III coming over and setting a screen, Gordon moves past the screen, but the defense switches quickly, Gordon doesn’t have enough room to get by his defender, but there is Jones III blows past his defender, rolls to the hoop, Gordon hits him with a quick pass, and Jones III throws down a monstrous dunk. SportsCenter top 10.

It has the potential to be something like the pick and roll Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire used to run in Phoenix.

Jones III’s versatility will also work well with Anthony Davis. Along with his ball handling, Jones III has shown great range for a big man. He’s not going to be lighting it up from 3-point range but he is certainly capable of knocking down the deep shot. Basically this mean that defenders won’t be able to cheat off him and crowd the paint. This is going to give Davis plenty of room to work offensively.

This will all make Jones III a pain to guard on defense. It’s a pick your poison situation. Stick a defender on him by the perimeter and he’ll just drive past him. Have a defender cheat off him and watch him hit jump shots.

As for why I’m not interested in John Henson, Jason put it very well: We already have players similar to him–especially when you factor in Anthony Davis. I’d rather go for a guy who provides depth at multiple positions and not just one. What if there is another injury crisis like this past season? Jones III can help plug those holes because of his versatility.

Yeah, Jones III has some risk, but, with Davis on board, the payoff is too much for the Hornets to pass on.


John Henson

(By Joe Gerrity)

What happens when a college athlete notorious for his inconsistent motor and apathy for large chunks of the game starts making two million dollars a year guaranteed?

Hard to say

Well what if that same athlete doesn’t have a true position, and already has a history complaining about not being used properly by his coaches (aka blaming others)?

Getting easier…

OK, well lets say the same guy is now being coached by Monty Williams, a defensive-minded coach who thinks that kids these days get paid too much and need to work harder?

I think you see where I’m going with this—Perry Jones is an enormous risk, especially because of Monty’s history of benching guys who don’t perform in practice and on the defensive end.

My opponent will try to convince you that PJIII is worth the gamble since his ceiling is so high, but the odds of him ever getting anywhere near that are slim to none. He’ll probably repeat his old claim that Jones could be a “home run”, but what that really means is that he acknowledges that there’s a stronger likelihood that he fails than he succeeds. After all, even the best home run hitters strike out far more often than they homer.

Moving past the baseball metaphor, for every positive quality in PJIII’s game there’s a drawback or a “but”.

He went back to school to improve his motor– a commendable move, but he didn’t prove to anyone that he succeeded. If your motivation for going back to college is jump start a motor, and you spend a year failing to get it going, there have to be serious questions about whether there is something fundamentally wrong with said motor. Not only that, but his numbers, including offensive efficiency, declined this year despite his usage rate going down.

He can do everything pretty well, yet there’s nothing that he’s great at. As DraftExpress says

“…nothing in his game is especially polished. He does not have a consistent means of putting the ball in the basket, and he goes through long stretches where he doesn’t have any impact on the game…”

While he’s physically gifted both in terms of size and athleticism, he shies away from contact and still, even after another year of college, doesn’t have the strength or toughness to back down opponents in the post. Hell, he doesn’t even appear to have the desire to try at the next level. As I’ve said, he’s already under the impression that he’s not going to be a traditional big man in the NBA.

PJIII’s desire to stay out of the paint would be one thing if he was capable of hitting the jumper at an NBA level, but he’s currently not. Oh, and he didn’t improve at all last year, taking 3.5 jumpers a game and hitting only 36% of them. He his college threes at a 30% clip. Neither of those numbers inspire faith that he’ll one day be a sharpshooter from the perimeter. Sure he’s a pretty good driver of the ball at the college level against smaller, less athletic players, but he shies away from contact and has trouble finishing in traffic.

Could Jones develop a jump shot, improve his shot selection, stop shying away from contact, find a position to call his own, avoid turnovers, get a better head for the game, AND bring it consistently enough on defense and in practice where Monty will feel comfortable letting him stay on the floor?

Sure, and I hear Julian Wright is making a comeback, too.

The Hornets have said that they’re going to draft based on talent, not need. While I’ll be the first to agree that they don’t necessarily need John Henson, he’s still a heck of a player to have on the roster, and if he lasts to number 10 he’s likely going to be the best player left on the board.

While his traditional measurements (6’10 in shoes, 216) aren’t anything to marvel at, his standing reach (9’3.5) is. That’s five inches higher than Perry Jones III, and it’s higher than any other player at the combine this year.That’s right—he’s number one in arguably the most important physical category for big men at the combine. The Golden Boy, Anthony Davis, gets up to only 9 feet even.

In a few years, after Henson and Davis have bulked up, they would present Monty with the ability to trot out one of, if not the, premiere defensive front line in the league. The glass would have a creole blue tint to it, no matter which end of the floor we’re on. Simply put—teams would struggle to get good shots off inside, and they would stand even less a chance of getting rebounds from their poor shots.

Or you can blindly swing at that 102 MPH fastball with a minibat and hope you can pull off a miracle…

Your call.

[polldaddy poll=6313685]

44 responses to “Tenth Pick Tournament Round Two: Perry Jones III vs. John Henson”

  1. This one is going to be close. I think, all things considered, I’d rather Henson, but I think Jones could very well end up having a better NBA career. Every single big man in this draft class not named Anthony Davis have drawbacks, but I think Henson has a couple less than Jones. Can’t blame people for voting either way, though.

  2. I understand the love for the potential of Perry Jones and how people think we can take a risk, but can we really afford to take a risk? Michael recently wrote about how we should learn from mistakes of the past regime. One of those mistakes was having bad drafts when we needed good ones (Hilton Armstrong, Cedric Simmons, Julian Wright). We can’t afford to take a risk. We need to get this pick right. John Henson is the better pick because he has a lot of talent but actually uses it and is elite at one specific thing: defense. He can block shots and rebound superbly. Perry Jones has superb athleticism, but will he use it? As Jake pointed out, he isn’t elite in a specific category. He is versatile, but he has flaws at those positions. Henson is also versatile in that he can play the 4 or the 5.

    • No arguments with any of your points on Jones vs. Henson, but I just wanted to point something out. Go take a look at the rest of that Armstrong/Simmons draft class. It was TERRIBLE. After the 8th pick (Rudy Gay) there are only three guys that really make you say “Damn, we missed out” – Rondo at 21, Lowry at 24, and Millsap at 47). The rest of the draft was filled with role players and guys who are either scrubs or no longer in the NBA. Could the Hornets have done a bit better? Sure, but there wasn’t that much room for improvement. The Julian Wright pick was a much bigger whiff, but at the same time, most scouts never thought he’d even fall to 13th, so you can’t fault the Hornets too much.


      • You are forgetting Thabo Sefolosha- who the Hornets were debating about vs. Armstrong. They took Hilton. They also considered Ronnie Brewer. Would Thabo or Brewer have made a world of difference. In some ways no, in some yes. I tell you this, if they drafted either of those guys, they wouldn’t have taken Julian Wright the next year.

      • I put Thabo and Brewer under the “role players” category, which I mentioned. Sure, it sucks that we took Hilton/Simmons instead of them, but it’s not a catastrophe that it happened. Rondo, Lowry, and Millsap are really the only guys that make you hit your head and say “why didn’t we take them?”

      • that’s true, i happened to be looking at that draft recently, wow how relatively devoid of talent. interesting footnote to that group, look at the draft day trades, all of the players of note were dealt for that day- portland stole both aldridge and roy in lopsided deals, memphis got gay for battier, and boston got rondo for a 1st (thabo was also dealt/aquired)

        guess that shows some scouting departments did their homework and zeroed in on the best (&only) talent on that group, as those were notnfrom a sample but the only significant trades that day

        as much as we love dell, we still have little data on him draftwise with qpon being the only pick he drafted for us (lets assume okc asked him to draft aldrich and even that philly wanted brackins to give him benefit of doubt)
        so lets call him 1 for 1 so far

      • Bower was still with the team for that draft. He got replaced in July. I see July 13th in one place, but it may not be laser accurate. It was him, though.

        Not picking, it’s just less data on Dell. After all, in 2011 . . . we sold our secound rounder and our first one went for Bayless.

    • You’re right about Jones, but Lamar Odom is…err…WAS the same way as far as versatility and not being great at anything(save rebounding). But Odom lacked something that Jones has, and it was pointed out. Athleticism. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind a BETTER version of Lamar Odom on this Hornets squad in the next few years. This is all assuming Jones’ motor is fixed of course.

  3. The kid who posted this piece has NO idea what he’s talking about relative to Perry Jones III. PJIII is weak in the post, does not have great ballhandling skills and plays extremely soft in the paint while being allergic to rebounding and playing hard nosed man to man defense. See Kentucky v. Baylor in the NCAA Tourney this year. If I were the Hornets I would shop the 10th pick to see what it could bring in to complement your younger players while moving Okafor’s salary off the books. That’s sound advice but lay off the PJIII hype please.

    • I’m not going to go much into Jones III, but you clearly have not watched him if you think he does not have great ball handling skills.

      What hurts your point even more is thinking the Hornets can bring in complementary pieces if they package the 10th pick and Okafor. That move would be a salary dump and nothing more. The Hornets wouldn’t get any quality young players back in a deal involving Okafor. I’m not shocked ‘Donnie Walsh’ would think he could get solid players back in a trade like that; it’s why the Knicks are so dominant.

      But what do I know? I’m just a ‘kid.’

      • In a choice between these two, I’d shop the 10th pick, too. Henson is basically AD lite and Jones is basically Aminu heavy. I say we need a different piece, not a near copy of a piece we already have.

    • Terrence Jones in no way outplayed PJIII in that game. I’d say it was a draw at best, but if we put Acy next to Terrence and AD next to PJ the matchup wouldn’t even have been close.

    • while i fully support dell giving away solid assets in the past to clean the books. not this time. this draft is too stacked to give away 10 just to clear salary. with very little cap room to operate with after we sign ej, we need to pick ip a solid contributir on that rookie scale with #10. that will help balance the books til some of these other contracts come off

      • We have room under the tax line*, but that isn’t the point. Any trade can be cap neutral because we trade up or down in the draft, or ship a player with a similar salary out. Also, Dell has made great trades outside of the draft, and dumped salary in some. I don’t expect Dell to take on unnecessary salary in any future trade. But the trade point is just if this is the only choice at 10, which it won’t be.

        *The Hornets’ current cap/tax figure is $42M. [Go to http://hoopshype.com/salaries/new_orleans.htm and add the numbers not in black to the $35M listed for 2012-13.] Add $5M for AD, $2.5M for the 10th pick, and $1.5M for Lance and Dyson. That’s a roster with 13 players for $51M, plus whatever we sign Gordon for above his $5M qualifying offer. The Hornets offered him $50M/4 years. So assume Gordon gets $8M more in 2012-13. That’s $59M for 13 players, with a tax line somewhere in the $mid-60s. (I can’t find a source with the new tax line, but it will be a number below the $70M of last year’s tax line.) No tax issues here, plus the Hornets have all of their signing exemptions and a $2.3M trade exemptions.

        Adding a 10th pick player who won’t help the Hornets at $2.5M-$3,5M/year for four years isn’t good for the Hornet’s cap, either. Which is why I say shop the pick if Henson and Perry Jones are our only options.

  4. Look at how skinny Joakim Noah was coming out of college. Now look at how skinny John Henson is coming out of college.

    Noah was able to bulk up, just like all players coming out of college do, and get stronger and he’s now one of the top defensive centers in the NBA.

    Henson will obviously add more weight and strength. He can turn into a Joakim Noah, with probably a better offensive game, and maybe even a better defensive game as well.

    Imagine pairing Joakim Noah (John Henson) and Kevin Garnett (Anthony Davis) in the frontcourt. Best defensive frontcourt in the NBA? …I’d say so.

    Opposing teams wouldn’t get anything easy inside, and be forced to take more jumpshots, lower percentage shots. The Hornets would be able to dominate games mostly due to their defence, having those two down low and not to mention two great perimeter defenders in Gordon and Ariza.

    Case closed. Henson wins this one.

    • noah has been successful in the nba because of his crazy motor and work ethic (good reason not to pick pj). hope henson follows in his footsteps but not sure he’ll make that leap.

      either way, i’m sure monty would agree with you and salivate at the thought of a beefed up henson and ad swatting everything on their vicinity 3 years down the line. henson definitely got this one

  5. I loved Henson when I thought the Hornets would get the 2nd (MKG) or 5th (Barnes) pick. But once they got AD, I took him off my board, but now that I think about it- I would actually welcome Henson to the squad. I thought he could max out at Serge Ibaka, as they both come into the league at a similar size. While there would be some limitations offensively, both Henson and Davis have shown the ability to extend their range offensively and CP3 will get them easy buckets starting in 2013. 🙂

  6. I have to go with Jones. Call me a talent chaser, but his gifts are too special to pass at ten. Not to mention Henson is a lesser version of AD.

    • Agreed.

      This is a hard one.

      But, why would I vote for Henson? Joe, 75% of your article is on “why I should NOT vote for PJIII”. I am sorry but the remaining %25 is not enough to convince me to vote for Henson. I’d still take the risk and vote for PJ.

      But, this is a hard one. Because Okafor will be gone anytime within the next 2 years. Who will be our second big man when he is gone? Should I vote for Henson. Is he that big man we are looking for? Hmm. Wait a minute. Sullinger is still on the board. 😉

      PS. Percentages depend on the number of sentences.

      • when oak goes, so does nearly 15 m in cap space we could use to replace him so thatis not a major concern. much as i like henson, i also like jsmith and ayon so i’d rather see us grab a guard

  7. OMG i hate this tourney. Its pitted Marshall vs Lillard (two players I really like) and now PJ3 and Henson? GOD. As much as I hate PJ3s lack of motor and Hensons lack of strength, I think Hensons problems are more easily correctible. Henson is the pick, but just by a hair. 3 smart shot blockers on a team not to mention Ayon (who’s pretty solid defensively) and an improved Smith is a go-go for me 🙂

  8. Henson is redundant. For 4 years he’ll be on the bench more than you want at tenth pick to be there because of our first pick, if Henson is as good as advertised. If not, he shouldn’t be picked…

    Remember, people, this is an actual, real life team. Minutes and mix count.

    PJIII may be worse than Henson and bad overall (he is not bad, by the way), but he is not redundant.

    I don’t see another way to look at this.

  9. I don’t want either…
    I’m still flabbergasted at how Perry beat Terrence in the 1st…
    My three targets (barring an astronomical fall from Barnes, Drummond, Robinson or any other top prospect) are T. Jones, Zeller and Marshall.

    if forced to choose, I’d take Jones III…only because he might be able to play the 3…

      • It’s not that I feel T Jones will be a star (although he has the potential to be)…
        It’s more about the fit for the team…
        PJ is all potential… His most likely position is PF… We want another skinny PF alongside AD… When we already have the competent J Smith and Ayon on the bench? 4 power forwards?
        The same argument goes for Henson… He is AD-Light…
        Lighter in weight and skill…
        Lets say Henson (like some have said) move him to C…
        Put 20-25 pounds on him… He will be the size of Smith who often gets told by the Howards Bynums and fans that he isn’t big enough…
        REDUNDANT!!! Now and in the future…

        Meanwhile T Jones, versatile on offense, good in transition, and more than solid defense with upside! His only knock is motivation…
        And I have confidence that monty can work on that…
        Terrence Jones fits a need…
        The inconsistent Ariza is on his way out this year or next… If Aminu didn’t show something by the end of his rookie contract you can bet he is gone… Big Hole at the 3…
        @10 The hornets have to be looking at PG/SF/C.. And maybe back up SG
        PF only comes into play if Robinson somehow Falls (he won’t) based only on value

  10. Cant I just vote for marshall with this matchup while keeping my lillard support over marshall??

  11. Give me Jones. This is the right point in the draft to take an all-world talent with questions—Jones is similar to a young Stoudamire in size and athleticism (slightly taller, slightly shorter arms, faster and jumps higher but did slightly worse in agility). Like when Phoenix took Stoudamire at 9, you’d be taking a guy largely because of how he looks when he runs and jumps at his size. Unlike Stoudamire coming out, he already has the basis of a very good perimeter game which Amare really didn’t develop until after microfracture. He could be otherworldly; even if he isn’t, there are still a lot of different ways he could develop and still be a terrifically useful player. I don’t think we’ll be picking this high for a while. While we’re here, it’s not a bad idea to take a chance on a top-of-lottery talent.

  12. I’ve gone with Henson before and I’m sticking with him here. Jones’ talent and potential are off the charts, but his lackadaisical mindset and take on the game make me think he would never see the floor with Monty as coach.

    Not only that but, in taking Jones, you almost certainly have to move Aminu out. There’s no way you can devote the amount of time and effort to develop the both of them.

    Henson may be Davis-lite but I’d prefer developing him into an elite defender and either having him back Davis up, pair up with Davis when he’s floating over to the 5 or just cashing in on him in a few years. There’s more upside in that than in hoping you can be the team that makes PJIII finally into the player everyone thinks he can be.

  13. Josh Smith and Rudy Gay are two other guys who had similar athletic and skill profiles coming out. A mistake we make is forgetting that NBA players mostly don’t arrive fully formed. Things guys are okay at become go-to moves. Today All-Stars all had major question marks coming out or thy would have been top 3 picks, and even guys picked that high had message boarders casting aspersions. Lots of low-risk, low-ceiling guys never even become role players. We tend to assign false dichotomies to players. Perry Jones could be boom or bust or pretty good or meh. But athletes like this , even if they are unproven or even not good at all, go in the Top 10. At ten, he’s a good value.

    • Rudy Gay was an outstanding talent…. A player who consistently produced during his college career…

      • The first part is true, the second part is not. The main knock on Gay coming out was inconsistency, a maddening tendency to oscillate between trying to do too much and disappearing for long stretches at a time and that he rarely dominated despite phenomenal talent. There’s a reason one of the 2-3 best physical propects in the draft dropped to 8 and it was because he ddn’t do anything particularly great and would disappear. Go back and read what was said about him. His PER in college was 19 as a freshman and 22 as a sophomore; Jones was 19 and 21.

  14. Neither of these guys are on my big board for who we should pick tenth. However, if I had to choose I would take Henson. We know that he will be at least a good defender and can potentially be insurance for Davis. He proved that he consistently plays well in college in a tough conference. His elite skill is shot-blocking and rebounding. Perry Jones didn’t prove that he can play consistently in college and doesn’t have an elite skill set besides being an athletic 6’11 player that can play multiple positions. I agree that he can be a great player, but I feel that the coaching staffmay have to give him too much attention.

    I think that if the staff is willing to make Perry the best player he can be, take him over Henson. If they aren’t 100% committed to helping him, don’t draft him.

    s pock if they were 100% committed to helping Perry become the best player he can be

  15. No Brainer.
    PJIII > Henson in college.
    PJIII > Henson from a potential perspective.

    He wins the numbers battle and the Potential battle.

    We’ve got 3 solid front court players to go with Davis already (Ayon, Smith, Ariza.) We don’t need nother Aminu (who I see Henson as being more like than Davis) to go with that.

    At least PJIII has the potential to be a starter. Henson can be a hard working Aminu with no outside game. And that’s only if he puts on weight.

  16. wow, i didnt think Henson will give me a hard time choosing PJ3 over him, but Joe painted a picture of 2 long shotblockers manning our frontcourt made me think. But still the idea of having PJ3’s potential trumps everything. I vote PJ3

  17. I really think that the “we have a sure-fire thing and now we can go for boom-or-bust” is not healthy. If you have a sure thing, surround him with guys you can help. If we keep Gordon, we will have a boom guy beside Davis. Sorround themn with workers and good productive players. That is why I voted Henson over Jones.
    Also, I see no reason in trading Emeka. We shouldnt be doing anything big in free agency this year (unless we get our hands on Deron Williams) and should wait and see what is possible next year. If necessary, use the amnesty on him next year.

  18. this is a hard one but there is something about a 6’11 athlete playing the 3,

    i think im going perry jones

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