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Perry Jones III - Feast or Famine?

Unquestioned talent, questioned motor.
Unquestioned talent, questioned motor.

Close your eyes and forget what name you just read at the top of this post (and the picture right above this text). Think about bringing in a guy that's 6'10" with a wingspan of 7'2" who can jump out of the gym, shoot the ball well, handle the rock, and even rebound well.

Sounds like a dream come true right? You are waiting for the "but" right? Well, here it is. He's got a "questionable motor." Uh oh. In fact, he's showing up on "potential busts" lists like this one:

Three potential NBA Draft busts (but we hope not) | ProBasketballTalk

Jones no doubt has the skills. On raw athleticism and potential he could be the second best player in this draft — he can play the three or the four (he’s a bit of a tweener), inside or out, runs the floor in transition, leaps out of the building and can board. But in college you only saw that in spurts, he disappears through large stretches of the game as well. Some teams think if you use him more as a three and less as a five (as was done Baylor) he will blossom. Maybe. But there is risk.

But wait, can the Celtics groom him in the right environment? At least one scribe thinks so.

Best fits need-wise in the 2012 NBA draft

Can you imagine a guy predicted to go in the top five early last year falling to the veteran-heavy Celtics in the early 20s? That would be a dream for VP Danny Ainge – and one that could become a reality. Jones is an athletic freak who just needs some mentoring, and if the Celtics decide to keep around Kevin Garnett, that would be a great match. Add the tutelage of Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce, and the Celtics could rebuild on the fly with a player of Jones’ ability.

So it boils down to his "motor." And just what does that mean? Hardwood Paroxysm talks to Jones' trainer (who to be fair, is trying to sell Perry to NBA GM's).

NBA Draft 2012: Perry Jones III At His Peak | Hardwood Paroxysm

This raises obvious questions: Why hold back? If Jones can touch 12’4.5, why didn’t he use that freakish athleticism on every single possession in college? Why didn’t he dominate consistently when, sometimes, it looked like it was so easy for him to do so? Are the columnists and critics right when they say he has a weak motor?

Not according to Elliott. "I think they’ve got that wrong," said the Harvard graduate who worked with elite athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Center before opening his own facility in Santa Barbara, California. "I don’t even know what that is: ‘A weak motor.’ I’ve heard that around him now over these last few weeks quite a few different times and I don’t know quite what that means. Is that like lack of effort? Does it mean not a lot of drive? Does it mean he can’t work at a high level for a long period of time? I don’t know. I don’t think any of these things are going to be true with this kid.

That's all well and good, but if he's really a workhorse, then why does he carry this rep of being a slacker? The defense is what you hear often with athletes like Jones - that he's just so athletically gifted that it only appears that he's going half speed when in fact he's moving faster than most people go at full speed. On the flipside, guys like that sometimes feel like they can get away with coasting for a while or being sloppy with mechanics because they are so good they can make up for it with their athleticism.

So, once again, Ainge loves guys with huge upside. Sometimes he'll gamble with a guy and if he has both picks he'll have even more reason to roll the dice.

But will a spot on the Celtics be a good thing for Jones (for the structure and the hard line that Doc and KG and others will presumably drive with him? Or is this a bad place for him (like say, if he rides the pine for a whole year and doesn't really see the need to try hard if they aren't going to play him much). Not saying that's going to happen, I don't know this guy's character from Adam, but when you have this label of a "bad motor" then you at least have to ask the questions.

All of which might be moot questions since I've seen quite a few mocks that have him going in the late teens but it would be interesting to see where he fell on the C's war room draft board. In fact, hey Danny, if I could just get a peek at that draft board, that'd be great. I mean, who would I tell about it? You can trust me.

Bottom line: if you are looking for a "safe" pick to contribute right away, this might not be your guy. If you are looking for a guy (like Rondo) that might make other GMs kick themselves years from now for passing over, this might be that guy. No, I didn't just compare him to Rondo... ok, yes I did, but ... oh forget it.

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