Column - KJ could have bright future at the next level
Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 21:05
Former West Virginia forward Kevin Jones has begun his journey in the NBA, as he was recently one of 12 players to work out with the Golden State Warriors.
Jones’ career might not have ended exactly the way he wanted it to when the Mountaineers fell in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Gonzaga, but his NBA career could begin on a high note.
Former West Virginia great Jerry West is a consultant for the Warriors and most likely knows what Jones brings to the table from keeping his sights on West Virginia throughout the season.
Add Jones on a team like the Warriors that has young, athletic players such as former Davidson point guard Stephen Curry, big man Andrew Bogut and veteran forward Richard Jefferson, you’ll get the most out of a player who has good character and is coachable.
At 6-foot-8, 260 pounds, Jones is certainly big enough to hang with the post players in the NBA. He’s not the most athletic player out there, but what he lacks in athleticism he makes up for in effort, outstanding rebounding ability and his ability to shoot beyond the 3-point line.
I’m not sure who he’ll be guarding on defense. A small forward might be too fast and athletic for Jones to keep up with. And if a power forward is bigger than him, they might muscle their way past him – but not without a fight. Jones does have long arms and a big body, so he won’t be at too much of disadvantage against the larger players, despite several players who are 6-foot-11 or taller.
Jones’ willingness to learn, the amazing improvement he made throughout his four years at West Virginia and his constant effort are what I think will allow him to be a decent role player in the NBA in the future.
Let’s not forget, Jones shot 49.1 percent in his career at WVU and made more than 100 3-pointers in his final three seasons. A big man who can spread the floor and make open shots on top of being able to rebound with anyone will certainly play some role on some team in the NBA.
Jones grabbed 1,048 rebounds in his career, including 450 offensive boards, which ranks first in school history. There’s no fluke in putting in the hard work and being physical in the paint to get second chances for your team.
Jones reminds me a little of Tim Duncan, only because of his classiness and work ethic. He’s probably a better outside shooter than Duncan, at least from the 3-point line.
That’s one of the reasons I think Jones would be a good fit on the Spurs: his style of play. He’s a team player and would learn the game the right way from Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, Duncan and Co.
No matter what team Jones lands on, it will get a talented, hard-working athlete who plays his best when he’s under the radar. Jones might not ever be a superstar in the league, but there’s no question in my mind he can play his role exactly how he is supposed to and help a team win games.