Terrence Jones, No. 15 (Mock)
The Sixers dip into the UK well for a high-risk, high-reward big man.
by Doobie Okon / @doobieSLAM
With a few different bounces here and there, the Sixers could’ve very well ousted the wily Celtics in the second round instead of Boston’s eventual conference final defeat to the Heat. That being said, Philly still stretched their East semifinal series with the Cs to seven games, losing the clincher in a very competitive contest in Beantown.
You’d think a team coming off that sort of Playoff run, which also included upsetting the top-seeded Bulls (albeit without Derrick Rose) in the first round, would have such a bright future ahead of them. With all its youth and speed, this 76er squad was able to sport the third-best defense in the League this season. You’d definitely think they were a star-player away from being true contenders.
Unfortunately, a couple problems face the Sixers this offseason, throwing a wrench in their plans for contention. One being that no star player on the trade block or free-agency market really wants to come to Philadelphia. Another being that, as of right now, it seems no true superstar lies below Anthony Davis on the Draft board.
But even more so, the continuity of the team is in great jeopardy. Lou Williams just opted out of his deal, which doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t return to Philly. But in order to retain the services of their leading scorer, the Sixers would have to offer Williams a pretty lucrative five-year deal and thus they’d probably need to trade the highly overpaid Andre Iguodala.
You could make a case that these two players were the most important pieces for the Sixers the past few years and especially this season, so it’s looking like Philly will lose at least one of their key guys. Also, starting center Spencer Hawes is a free agent and Elton Brand could very well be ‘amnesty-ed.’ The future is not clear or bright—it’s very hazy right now.
Having the 15th pick means something. It means you’re in the middle of the pack. You’re mediocre. You might have some potential, but not enough to fight for a title. It’s the worst place to be, since the NBA Draft rarely tends to help those outside the top 10, albeit the whole lottery. The Sixers had an impressive and fun post-season run, but they still remain in the middle of the pack in this frustrating League. They’ve dwelled in mediocrity for years now.
That being said, luck could be on the Sixers side if a certain Kentucky Wildcat remains on the board on Draft night. And since he’s available in SLAMworld…
With the 15th pick of the SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select…
Terrence Jones from Kentucky.
Obviously, no sure future superstar would drop this low without some risks attached to his resume. The biggest one I’m seeing from scouts is this supposed ‘body language’ problem that could signify laziness and a tendency to disappear for stretches on the court. Jones is not a bad kid in the least and is still only 20 years old, so I can live with a body language issue for now.
What also scares some organizations is Jones’ regression this year after a very impressive freshman campaign where he averaged 15.7 points, 8.8 boards and 1.9 blocks. This year, his stats dropped in almost every category, even including minutes, but that can be attributed to two UK teammates who just happened to be selected first and second in this mock draft.
Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist definitely deserve to be picked that high, but with the right coaching, maturity and effort, Terrence Jones could grow into as big of a star. Some projected him as a top-five pick in the 2011 Draft, but his decision to stay ultimately hurt him this year. But you could argue that Jones contributed just as much as MKG during Kentucky’s championship run in the Tourney, and with the Sixers’ need for size down low, Jones fits in very nicely with his 6-10, 252-pound frame.
The Sixers definitely developed an identity this season as a run-and-gun team who also played proud, staggering defense. That’s all well and good, but too many times Philly’s main flaw—a poor half-court offense—was exposed which inhibited them from beating the better teams. It was especially ugly in the Celtics series, which made the seven-game battle all the more baffling although it now stands as a testament to the Sixers’ defense and heart.
An efficient half-court set is certainly difficult to piece together in the NBA as many teams rely on sheer athleticism and isolations, but two ways to instantly upgrade this offense is with a point guard and a mobile space-eater in the post who can dish. PG Jrue Holiday has All-Star potential, so that’s taken care of for now, but Jones fits the latter description to a tee. He is an excellent passer and ball-handler, boasts an athletic NBA-ready body, and can score from both inside and outside. You can definitely run an offense through this type of big man.
But Jones does have a tendency to stay out of the post and fall in love with the outside shot, but that’s something that can be fixed with the right coaching. And though Doug Collins’ half-court offense leaves something to be desired, he’s still the right kind of mentor Terrence Jones could thrive under.
Though Jones’ decision to stay for a sophomore season ultimately lowered his stock, it might’ve just worked out for the Sixers, who need that key cog in the middle to make it all come together. Right now, Terrence Jones is not Anthony Davis, but the All-Star talent is there and therefore he could someday have a similar impact on the NBA as his former one-brow teammate. It’s just a matter of Jones wanting it badly enough.
|2012 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|13||Suns||Perry Jones III||28||Thunder|