Greetings, gentlemen and ladyboys.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I was recently fired from my job. While this didn’t worry me too much, given that I live at home and don’t spend much money since I quit drinking, there was one point of concern.

You see, one of my many cousins is getting married in London this December, and I’m invited to both the wedding (who gives a shit?) and the bachelor party (the reason I’m going). Along the way, I’d also planned to spend a week in Paris with a friend who’s doing a six month exchange over there, and another 10 days touring around Italy, primarily because I love all things Italian (their food, their cars and their women in particular) and have always wanted to visit the country.

Well, my recent unemployment put the shits up me. Would I still be able to afford it?

Thankfully, Tom Cruise was smiling upon my bank account as I calculated that since I’ve already paid for airfares and I only need to pay for accommodation in Italy (and I figure I can couch surf for a few days if need be), I still have enough money left over for a couple of decent French prostitutes and a good time in general. (My mum refused to let me go to Amsterdam for that reason).

So, before I head off, I figured I may as well get a few more editions of the Class of 2011 out before I take a month-long holiday. Which finally leads to the point of this column – today I am profiling Baylor freshman recruit Perry Jones.

Player Profile

Jones primarily plays the power forward position, although he can also slot into small forward for stretches or center in a small ball lineup. At 6’11” and 220, it’s obvious he needs to put on some extra muscle – however bulking up could prove a detriment to his greatest strength, which is his sheer athleticism.

Offensively, Jones is a prototype of the modern power forward – he can handle the ball like a guard, drive and slash to the rim and finish with brutal ease and hit jumpers out to the NBA 3pt line. His shot itself tends streaky like most young guys, but he has nice form and mechanics – practice will go a long way here.

His main flaw is that he has no low post game to speak of – as I subscribe to the school of thought that the best low post players have a certain innate touch in that aspect of the game (the main reason why I also believe that Dwight Howard will never be the low post threat everyone hopes he will become, no matter how many Hakeem fantasy camps he attends) I’ll assume that he probably won’t ever become truly great in that regard.

Defensively, Jones’ flaws are mostly due to a lack of consistent application. He uses his athleticism very well to get plenty of blocks and steals in the passing lane, and he has the ability to play solid D when he puts his mind to it.

However, Jones often suffers from AAU Syndrome in that he rarely fully applies himself to playing solid D, which means he often gets overpowered in the post or (less commonly) beaten off the dribble.

His rebounding could also be a problem, as he rarely boxes out or hustles for boards. Jones tends to suffer from Michael Beasley Disease in that he tries to just use his athleticism to overpower everyone and get rebounds – that works in high school and college (and not 100% for Jones, since he’s not the strongest guy around) but not in the NBA.

How Likely Is He To Declare?
Same story as Barnes – he’s pretty much a lock for a lottery pick, assuming injury or a horror Baylor season doesn’t get in the way. Currently he’s considered at least a top-3 pick, so it’s pretty unlikely he doesn’t.

NBA Comparison
One name comes to mind here – Anthony Randolph, or more accurately what Randolph wants to be. I’ve made my views on AR as a baller pretty clear in the past, and I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Jones will have a similar NBA career for his first few years at least, even though he’s a more polished offensive player than Randolph – only since he’ll probably be a higher pick than AR we’ll probably hear the “bust” label a few times until he matures both physically and emotionally and finds his niche on his third or fourth team.

Who Could Use Him?

Jones will probably only develop fully on a team with a good coaching staff who can harness and nurture his talents while giving him opportunities to develop. Cleveland wouldn’t be a bad landing spot for him, especially since they don’t seem too keen on investing long term in JJ Hickson (not offering him an extension before the deadline). Otherwise Toronto once again makes sense, or possibly even Detroit if the Pistons view Greg Monroe as a center (although that would be the worst defensive frountcourt in the league by a mile).

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