Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
Orlando Pinstriped Post turns its attention to the 2012 NBA Draft with a look at mid-tier draft prospects who might be available when the Orlando Magic select 19th overall. Previously in the series: Meyers Leonard.
No one can question Terrence Jones' talent. The Kentucky Wildcats combo forward ranked as the tenth-best prospect in the 2010 high school class, and as a freshman with UK, he averaged 15.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, and three combined steals and blocks. What worries NBA scouts, writes Matt Kamlasky of DraftExpress, is his maturity: "the difficulties he has had making his presence felt on a consistent basis, staying focused for entire games, and not pouting when things don't go his way remain disconcerting." With a somewhat disappointing sophomore campaign, albeit one that included an NCAA Championship, he hurt his draft stock and could be available when the Magic select 19th overall.
But Jones is gifted, as Kamlasky calls him "one of the most talented players in the country." The issue for whichever team that selects him is honing that talent and keeping him focused.
Why he fits for Orlando:
Apart from Howard and former Wildcats teammate DeAndre Liggins, the Magic have a dearth of athleticism on their roster. Jones can provide that at either forward position. Kamlasky notes that Jones seems "stuck" between the three and the four at the moment, and would probably have more success at the four earlier in his career, as his ability as a spot-up shooter can create mismatches. If he eventually learns to play small forward at the NBA level, then Orlando would have itself a reliable backup for Hedo Turkoglu once the veteran Turkish forward's contract expires.
Why he's not a fit for Orlando: Given that the Magic will be in the midst of installing a new front-office and coaching staff during Jones' first year in the league, it may not have the nurturing environment necessary to bring Jones along and maximize his considerable talents.
Orlando needs talent up and down the roster, at every position. Jones figures to help at two crucial ones. It's hard to imagine he'll be on the board at no. 19, but if he is, the Magic would have to think long and hard before passing on this talented prospect.