Sixers’ Draft Preview: Tre Jones

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With the NBA season still on pause and it’s status up in the air, the next best thing to direct our attention to is the NBA draft. Following the series that my colleague, David Esser, started with his Jalen Smith analysis, next up in PhillySportsNetwork’s prospect chain is Tre Jones.

Tre Jones- Duke University

The Bio:

Tre Jones is a 6′ 3″, 185 lbs sophomore out of Duke University. The 20-year-old guard is a two-year starter for the Blue Devils. Currently, the experts have Jones as a late first-round pick in the 2020 NBA draft.

The numbers:

Season GPGSMINFGFG%3PT3P%FTFT%ORDRREBASTBLKSTLPFTOPTS
2018-2019363634.23.7-8.941.40.8-2.926.21.3-1.775.80.92.93.85.30.21.91.61.59.4
2019-2020292935.45.6-13.242.31.3-3.736.13.7-4.877.10.73.64.26.40.31.81.82.716.2

Stats courtesy of https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/player/stats/_/id/4395626/tre-jones

Jones’s numbers saw a leap during his sophomore season after the likings of Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish all declared to go to the big leagues. The point guard started in all 65 of his appearances with the Blue Devils. His 16.2 points per game during this most recent season were tied sixth in the ACC. In 2019-2020, he also averaged the eighth-most minutes per game (36) in his conference, showing his durability.

These honors won him the ACC player of the year award, along with some high praise from Coach K, being called “one of the greatest defensive players in Duke’s history.”

Strengths:

Passing instincts:

Tre Jones has a natural passing ability that is out of this world. Comparable to Ben Simmons, Jones sees lanes before they even open up. His ability to pass on the move and find the guy wide open on the opposite corners shows that he is NBA ready in that aspect. His decision making with the ball is uncanny, allowing his court vision to be displayed each time he carries the ball up the court. As a plus, his lobbing ability is just fun to watch:

Cutting Into the Paint:

The 20-year-old knows how to cut his angles wonderfully. Not only does he know how to shift his body weight when defending, however, but he does it moving off the ball as well. Offensively, Jones plays angles well when making his run to the rim, and closes out defenders to make his finishes easily. As long as he maintains that edge with his speed, there aren’t many people stopping him. His craftiness alone makes him a prospect that could be fun to watch in the NBA.

Defense

There’s one aspect of a player’s game that the Sixers love, and that’s the ability to play defense. Jones averaged 1.6 steals per game in his most recent season, and his quick hands are the reason why. He has a high basketball IQ, allowing him to read the ball handler and every move he’s about to make. He showed that he can guard anyone one-on-one, allowing his teammates comfort in their own end. Tre’s 6’4 wingspan and quick feet allow him to cover a lot of ground.

Weaknesses:

Physicality/ Finishing:

Tre stands at 6’3, 185 pounds, making him slightly smaller than some of his opponents. Because of this, Jones has a tendency to avoid contact. As mentioned earlier, he plays his angles well, allowing him to cut off his defenders easily en route to the hoop. However, if he doesn’t get that edge, Jones occasionally misses those easier layups, and by a pretty far margin. This led to him shooting a mere 42.6% at the rim, as he doesn’t explode very well with opponents close by.

Sticking With Plays

I hate to call this laziness because I honestly don’t think many players play “lazy.” Sometimes, they could be lazy, but I think a lot of it comes from inexperience and thinking they can give up after being beaten. Defensively, you can occasionally see him giving up after screens. On top of this, if he senses a mismatch, he’ll let his guy take the edge, as he may be guarding him loosely. On the offensive side of the ball, this also finds itself to be the case. If the lane is clogged, he’ll pick up the ball too early at the top of the key, slowing things down maybe a little too much.

Conclusion

The Sixers have a crowded backcourt. Shake Milton has flashed his potential, and Furkan Korkmaz has shown to be the team’s go-to backup guard option. Zhaire Smith is also still down in Delaware, solidifying their depth at the guard position.

As a Sixers’ fan, all you hear about are potential trade packages. In my honest opinion too, everyone is on the table this offseason with the exception of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as well. This being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of their guards listed above to be packaged with Al Horford, or maybe even Tobias Harris. Zhaire Smith hasn’t proved much yet, and Tre Jones could be a great depth asset.

Now the question is if the Sixers want to waste a first-round pick on a depth piece. Currently sitting at 22 in the NBA draft and taking Oklahoma City’s pick, Jones could be the best guy available at that point. As they Sixers should (probably) invest in a backup center or forward first, Jones has the potential to become an NBA starter. If the Sixers stay put at 22, the Duke product would be a great option for Elton Brand and the franchise.

Mandatory Credit – © Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

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