Power Forward / Center Damian Jones
Wade Baldwin IV’s teammate, Damian Jones, is also high on a lot of team’s draft board in the upcoming NBA draft. The 20-year-old prospect is coming off a solid junior season with the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Jones was a three-year starter at Vanderbilt and improved each season he played. Overall, he averaged 13.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 99 games for the Commodores. He was also a very efficient shooter as he shot 56.6% from the floor in college.
While his numbers are decent, scouts and analysts love his physical characteristics. He is almost 7’ tall and has a wingspan of 7’3.75”. Size is something that cannot be taught in the NBA so naturally, he has a high draft stock.
The two issues with Jones are free throw shooting and lack of aggression. He was career 56.5% free throw shooter. This is a problem because big players who cannot shot free throws are hard to trust in late-game situations. Meanwhile, people have questioned why Jones did not have better stats than he did because of his physical gifts. He often disappeared at times while on the floor.
Jones is projected to be a first round pick almost all mock drafts, and a lot of these projections believe the Indiana Pacers or teams one or two picks near them will select Jones. Here is what DraftExpress had to say about his overall game.
"On the whole, Jones isn’t an incapable scorer, but he disappeared for stretches on the offensive end… Jones doesn’t always impose his will on games, lacking a degree of toughness, intensity and assertiveness at times, but his ability to finish around the rim, draw contact, and make the most of his tools on the glass figure to be far bigger part of his role than his ability to consistently impact the game on the block. His skill level is still a work in progress and his feel and motor leave something to be desired, but we’ve seen a number of big men with similar physical gifts make significant leaps or find key roles at the NBA level…"
Jones is a true low-post scorer. He takes most of his touches in the post and rarely steps out to take long jump shots. The Pacers could certainly use his offensive skills in the post. Although, Myles Turner is a nice frontcourt player for them, his post skills are not very refined.
The addition of Jones would give the Pacers more offensive scoring in the post, and it gives them more length on the defensive side of the ball.
Jones has not participated in a pre-draft workout with the Indiana Pacers so he might not be the first player on the team’s draft board. However, there is a good chance Jones will still be available for them to take with the 20th overall pick.
Next: PF / C Brice Johnson