Terrence Jones is starting to slip in 2011 NBA mock drafts. With Kentucky barely advancing in the NCAA Tournament, Jones was unable to really show the national audience what he could do on the court. There are those NBA analysts who saw enough, though, and it has Jones slipping toward the bottom of the lottery picks. This is not a good scenario for a freshman who is looking to make the jump already, unless he doesn’t mind becoming a selection in the second half of the first round.
During his only season with the Kentucky Wildcats, Jones has averaged 16.1 points and 8.7 rebounds. In his first two NCAA Tournament games, Jones is averaging 11 points and six rebounds: not exactly numbers that are going to blow away scouts. He also didn’t finish out the season strong, with games of seven points and seven rebounds against Mississippi and seven points and five rebounds against Alabama in the SEC Tournament. Those are role player statistics, not ones that will impress a team with a lottery selection.
There is still a shot for Jones to “wow” the scouts from the NBA, especially with the Kentucky vs. Ohio State game in the Sweet Sixteen. If Jones is able to play a key role in the Wildcats pulling off an upset, that could get him on highlight reels around the country. At this point he really needs to have his name up in lights so people will remember him as the NBA offseason approaches. Otherwise he could become a footnote to some of the other players who have seen their stock rise during both the NCAA Tournament and the NIT.
Sometimes the NCAA Tournament can flat out dictate how well a player is scouted; just ask Carmelo Anthony how high his stock rose after he led Syracuse to the national championship as a freshman. With Jimmer Fredette, Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, Jared Sullinger, and Nolan Walker all still actively leading their teams, Jones does not want to get left on the sidelines of SportsCenter coverage. The simple solution is to make some great plays on Friday and post a double-double against one of the best teams in the country.
As for the NBA mock drafts that have been dinging Jones so far, ESPN dropped Jones to the “not good” stock pile for his poor outside shooting lately. Over at NBADraft.net, Jones is all the way down to No. 12 on their big board, below teammate Brandon Knight on the list. If Jones keeps falling, he might get to play for a better team in his first few NBA seasons, but his paycheck is going to be far less than if he can break back into that top seven list of college prospects
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