Column - Workouts shouldn’t have impact on KJ’s NBA future
Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 01:06
Kevin Jones has two things working against him as he prepares for the NBA draft.
He’s not going to amaze a lot of scouts with his athleticism or the way he measures up to other prospects during his workouts, and as an undersized power forward, he doesn’t really have the consistency in his perimeter game to make himself a stretch power forward at the next level.
Frankly, those were two of the reasons that he wasn’t overly impressive during last week’s NBA draft combine.
But West Virginia’s all-Big East Conference forward isn’t the type of player whose draft stock was going to benefit from the combine, mostly for those reasons.
Things like that are great for athletic players like Vanderbilt’s Jeffery Taylor, who is beginning to move higher up draft boards after an impressive showing in Chicago.
It’s happened in the past and will continue to happen in the future in both the NBA and the NFL. The players who go to the combines and can show off tremendous athletic abilities will always be looked at as a better pick than a player like Jones because it looks like they have more upside.
History has also shown us that that isn’t always true.
Take another former Mountaineer, Joe Alexander, for example.
Alexander used an amazing stretch during the 2008 Big East tournament and West Virginia’s Sweet 16 run in the NCAA tournament to get his foot in the door of the NBA draft’s first round. In the final 10 games of the season, he averaged 23.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
Then, after wowing scouts with a combine workout that had him near the top of just about every fitness test he participated in, Alexander skyrocketed into the lottery where he was selected No. 8 overall by the Milwaukee Bucks.
After bouncing around the NBA and the Developmental League while battling injuries, Alexander found himself with BC Krasnye Krylya Samara in Russia last season.
He is the perfect example of a player who looked great at the right time: The great stretch at the end of the college basketball season, the great measurements and phenomenal combine workout made him look like a solid NBA player to a lot of teams.
Things just didn’t work out.
Jones isn’t a workout warrior like Alexander was. He ranked in the bottom three among power forwards in the combine in almost every athletic test. His standing vertical jump was tied for the sixth shortest in the combine, and the only test he finished high was the 185-pound bench press. Jones had 17 reps and was only second to Alabama’s JaMychal Green’s 19 reps.
But even though his workout results weren’t outstanding, he’ll be a success in the NBA.
Especially if he falls to a team with some pieces in place that just needs to find a role player to tie everything together.
Jones can be the perfect role player for a lot of teams in the league. He won’t be a guy that you’ll need to count on to score a lot of points – but considering where he’ll be drafted, that won’t be something the team will need him to do.
That team will be looking for a player who is going to work hard, do the little things and help the team win games.
Now you tell me, does any player sound like a better fit for that job description than Kevin Jones?
I don’t think so.
And that’s why he’ll find a place in the league. Teams don’t pay you for how high you can jump or how many times you can bench press 185 pounds (ask Kevin Durant), they pay players for coming in and getting the job done on the court.
That’s something Jones did for four years at West Virginia, and I’d put a lot of money on him being able to go out and do the same thing in the NBA.