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

Published: June 14, 2012

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.

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