The 2021 NBA draft will take place Thursday, July 29 with the Detroit Pistons holding the No. 1 pick. The Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic round out the top five selections.
We take a look at some of the prospects available in this draft, gauge their strengths, weaknesses, NBA comparisons and best landing spot within the player’s projected draft range. Here’s a breakdown for Texas forward Kai Jones.
Jones is an excellent rim protector and has the potential to anchor a defense. His athleticism allows him to take that defense out to the perimeter and guard multiple positions. Jones is also a strong shooter from deep, but his free throw percentage doesn’t necessarily reflect that. The development curve is tough to gauge because Jones only recently picked up the sport but he has the tools to be a star in the league.
There is no post game for Jones, which could create problems in half court situations. His development will require patience from the organization, meaning Jones might not make an immediate contribution.
Jerami Grant is a good comparison for Jones, who has the skills to become a ball-handling forward who also protects the rim and shoots the three. Grant took time to develop all his skills before ultimately landing a big contract with the Pistons and putting up 22.3 points per game last season.
Best Landing Spot
Jones could go anywhere from the middle of the lottery to the late teens depending on how teams view his development path. The Oklahoma City Thunder won’t let him fall past 18 if he’s still on the board. The Memphis Grizzlies are also a great fit given Jones’ defensive skills.