Continuing our run of uber-intelligent floor generals is none other than All-American 3rd team point guard Tre Jones. He comes with flaws that are entirely fixable: a jumper that needs to be rebuilt and some finishing concerns at the rim. Jones took on a bigger role in his sophomore year at Duke, running the show without the help of Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett to fill the scoring void. Jones didn’t turn into a bonafide scorer but he did see a big uptick in usage rate and while still bringing his trademark intensity of defense.
Jones averaged 16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 6.4 assists in just over 35 minutes per game in his sophomore season. His 3-point shooting increased to 36.1% on 5.8 3-point attempts per 100 possessions, both big-time improvements from his freshman season in which he was an abysmal 26.2% from 3-point range.
NBA teams will still ignore Jones on the perimeter and go way, way under screens to force him to be a jump shooter. Fortunately for Jones, he has the speed to penetrate despite the poor shooter treatment and is particularly effective in finding big men in the dunker’s spot.
At the end of the day, Jones projects as a high-end backup point guard because of his ability to contend with lightning-quick guards —of which there are many in the NBA— on the defensive end of the floor and run the offense on the other end.
But with elite coaching, which is more scarce in the NBA than you think, Jones can develop into a solid starting point guard, somewhere in the top-30 area long-term. He will likely go high in the second round because of outside shooting concerns but Jones represents a clear first-round value coming off of a season in which he was both the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and the ACC Player of the Year.