Duke Blue Devils freshman guard Tyus Jones will enter the 2015 NBA draft.
Duke head men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski made the announcement on the university’s official athletics website on Wednesday, April 15.
This simply tells us the NBA draft on June 25 will be loaded with plenty of young talent.
And that bodes well for bottom dwellers such as the Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks. The two latter teams, which have proud and rich traditions, have taken a serious tumble in the past two seasons. They need a breath of fresh air.
That could come in the person of Jones.
From what we’ve seen from the 18-year-old guard, he definitely has a bright future ahead of him in the pros. Could he make as big an impact as his fellow Dukie, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers? That remains to be seen.
We will zero in on some scouts’ take on Jones’ game just to see how big an upside he has for the pro game.
Coach K Announces Tyus Jones Will Enter 2015 NBA Draft
Duke head men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski announced freshman guard Tyus Jones’ intention of turning pro on April 15 on GoDuke.com:
Tyus could not have done a better job for us this past year. We’re so very happy for him and his family to have the opportunity to declare for the draft. He is projected to be a first-round pick.
He’s going to get a lot better, but people have already seen him and knows how he handles himself, especially in pressure situations and in the biggest games. He comes through like a champion!
I loved coaching him, and I believe he’ll be an outstanding professional. At this time, I think is so appropriate for him to take advantage of this opportunity.
For his part, Jones told GoDuke.com he will forever cherish his memories with the Blue Devils on the day he decided to declare for the NBA draft:
Coming to Duke was a dream of mine and being part of such a special team was amazing. I knew coming in I would be part of a great team, but I never envisioned I would be part of such an incredible family.
That is what has made winning a national championship such an amazing experience. I am faced with the tough decision of returning to a place I love or pursuing my next dream.
With the support and guidance of my family, my coaches, my teammates and Duke University, I have decided to start my professional career. Even though I am entering the NBA draft, I will forever be a Duke Blue Devil.
Jones becomes the eighth Blue Devils player to declare for the NBA draft after just one season in Durham, N.C. He follows in the footsteps of Corey Maggette (1999), Luol Deng (2004), Kyrie Irving (2011), Austin Rivers (2012), Jabari Parker (2014), Jahlil Okafor (2015) and Justise Winslow (2015), per Duke’s official athletics website.
Jones’ announcement comes just a day after Winslow’s and almost a week after Okafor’s.
Jones is just the second Duke freshman in the program’s history to record 400 points and 200 assists in a season. He averaged 11.8 points and 5.6 assists in his only year with the Blue Devils, per ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
The Pros Of Tyus Jones’ Game
Check out some of Tyus Jones’ strengths, per NBADraft.net, which compares him to Trey Burke and Luke Ridnour:
- “Point guard in the truest sense of the word with excellent court sense and feel for the game.”
- “Maturity beyond his years, very comfortable in a leadership role, also very adaptable to those he is playing with.”
- “Not afraid to take on a larger scoring role when needed, seemed to play his best basketball in the biggest games.”
- “Has a great understanding of how to feed the post, something not many freshmen PGs excel at doing.”
- “Creative, crafty and one of those rare players who you are confident with running offense in half-court situations.”
The GoDuke.com press release also highlights Jones’ 88.9 percent shooting from the free-throw line while the NBADraft.net scouting report lists his almost 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, good enough for fourth in the ACC.
The Cons of Tyus Jones’ Game
On the other hand, NBADraft.net lists Tyus Jones’ weaknesses:
- “Lacks quickness and athleticism most top-flight PG prospects possess.”
- “Doesn’t possess a great first step. Struggles to beat quick opponents off the dribble.”
- “While his jump shot is not necessarily a major area of concern, can still improve his efficiency and range and will have a more difficult time creating shots at the next level.”
- “Lack of explosive ability hurts him in transition, could have a lot of difficulty finishing at the basket.”
- “Will need to work on his off-hand, definitely a player who seems to have more difficulty finishing at the basket.”
UpsideMotor.com’s Stephen Sheppard also chimes in on Jones’ flaws in his March 5 article:
He isn’t quick enough to consistently drive in the paint or to keep a defender in front of him. At the professional level, an offense won’t succeed without at least a moderate athlete at the point guard position, and that’s the rub against Jones.
It isn’t clear, right now, that he can be anything more than a moderate athlete when going up against NBA players.
The Final Say
The NBA welcomes another promising prospect in Tyus Jones. However, will he be able to live up to expectations at the pro level?
Based on our information, Jones is an 18-year-old who is mature beyond his years. He has great basketball instinct and the savvy to thrive as a point guard in a man’s league.
Let’s not also forget he earned 2015 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Honors after he helped the Blue Devils beat the Wisconsin Badgers in this year’s national title game, per GoDuke.com.
For a freshman to pull that off, that tells us just how much potential Jones has.
On the downside, Jones’ physical limitations could hinder him from having an outstanding rookie year in the NBA. Let’s not forget he’s still an 18-year-old teenager who has three years left on his growth spurt.
That being said, it would be best for him to work on his quickness, athleticism, jump shot and off-hand in order for him to get off to a good start in the pro ranks. If he improves on these game facets, watch out.
While Krzyzewski boldly declared Jones will be drafted in the first round, Goodman’s sources agree when they told him on Wednesday Jones is projected to go somewhere between 20th and 25th.
Taking everything we know about Jones into account, that should be a realistic scenario.
As a parting shot, maturity and court savvy will only take you so far in the NBA. You need to combine those with first-rate athleticism to be able to beat the competition on a nightly basis.
Tyus Jones still has several holes which need to be plugged, but he’ll eventually rise to the top sooner than you think.