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Scouting Report: Tre Jones

Tre Jones Scouting Report

Alex Brown


Player Profile 

Age: 20.45 years old on draft day, current Duke sophomore.

Measurements: 6’3, 183 lbs, 6’5 wingspan

Background: Younger brother of NBA player Tyus Jones… hails from Apple Valley, Minnesota… 5-star recruit and the number 2 point guard in the 2018 recruiting class… Averaged 23.5/10.4/7.5 during his senior year and led his school to 2 state championships (2015/2017)… Was the primary initiator in a Duke offense that included Zion Williamson, R.J Barrett, and Cam Reddish. He now is the definitive leader on the Duke squad and a lower usage engine that drives the team on both ends.

Personality Analysis: Tre Jones is a natural leader, and was a major factor in bringing Zion/Cam/R.J together at Duke in 18-19 due to his ability to connect and network with other players… He is focused, intelligent, mature and very likable on and off the court. He recently put his killer instinct, focus, and desire to win on full display to get that comeback win vs UNC. When he can get into attack mode, his energy can set the tone and be infectious on both ends.

Athleticism: Jones is not an elite athlete, and is rather average for an NBA point guard. Positively, he moves very well laterally, turns his hips quickly, and has the burst needed to get into the lane against average defenders. He is not a vertical threat as he plays below the rim, but his body control around the rim allows him to finish some NBA level finishes with either hand.

https://twitter.com/dmurrayNBA/status/1203370974093205504?s=20

Projected Role: Rotation | Two-way playmaker | Second Unit Leader

Projected Draft Landing: Pick 22-30

Career Projections: 

  • High: Jumper develops, turning Jones into a serviceable (but average) deep threat that opens up his playmaking and the rest of his offensive game. Superior POA and team defender that has the ability to lock the 1 spot and play solid 2-guard defense and generate 2+ stocks per game. Ends up a starter (on a lower level team) or an impact second unit leader on a good team while being a primary or secondary handler and initiator, but a 4th or 5th scoring option.
  • Medium: Average backup point guard that can lead, handle, and initiate for the second unit while being a high level defender on and off the ball generating a stock or two per game. Jumpshot develops, allowing Jones to be just a (slightly below) average 3pt shooter, but not a consistent threat.
  • Low: Lack of jumpshot development confines Jones to the bench, and results in him generating limited spacing that hinders his ability to effectively playmake. Above average combo guard defender.

Current Statistics: (Via SportReference)

Per Game:

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Advanced:

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Synergy Profile (as of Feb 5th)

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Offense

Projected Role: Second Unit Primary Handler and Initiator | 4th Option Scorer

Strengths:

  • Playmaking Ability: Tre consistently controls the pace of the game, and looks very comfortable as a lead initiator. The game has certainly slowed down for him even more so than in 18-19, which was still impressive back then. He has excellent touch on deep lob passes, and above average offensive vision. He shines as an open court playmaker with the synergy numbers to back it up as he consistently makes the right reads (4.4:1 AST:TO ratio in transition)… Career 5.8 assists to 1.9 turnovers per game across all offense. Also, he notably has a 32.3% assist percentage.
  • Mental Approach and Leadership: Tre Jones has one of my favorite mental approaches in this class, and while I noted it above I thought I would dive a little deeper offensively. Jones is a winner through and through, and his killer instinct and competitiveness can take over a game on both ends, which is incredibly rare (see Duke vs. UNC, Duke vs. GA State). He fires up his team and pushes the pace constantly when the team needs energy. While he is not good enough to consistently be a high level NBA offense’s engine, the idea of him running the second unit with this competitiveness and leadership should propel him to be a major value pick this draft.
  • Offensive IQ: Tre remains focused, thinking, and playing both proactively and reactively to the sets that develop. He is a student of the game and his ability to read the game will play a major role in his transition to the NBA. He is built to lead an offense, and should augment any offensive scheme he can lead.
  • Mid Range Pull-up: Tre has shown that he can consistently get to his mid-range pull-up off the dribble (which was major for him in HS). It is clearly the shot he is most comfortable with that isn’t around the rim, and assists in expanding his ability to get to the rim and keep defenders honest. While it likely will not generate a ton of points per game, it is an important skill of his that could provide insight into his potential as a shooter.
  • Finishing Touch: Tre Jones is an excellent finisher through contact with his left for his age. In general he has great touch with both hands around the rim, and has a good sense for absorbing contact and getting to the free throw line. He is no elite finisher, but a serviceable one that should be able to do so at an average (or slightly above) NBA level when needed. His body control and craft around the rim when at his full speed can occasionally be lethal…

Improvement Areas:

  • 3pt Shooting: Lacks a reliable 3pt shot, misses are all over the place with lack of consistent touch/form. Does not project to be an elite shooter, and likely will be league average at best. However, with his defense & playmaking it will not be necessary for him to be an elite shooter to make a winning impact. Furthermore, his dribble pull-up from 3pt range is still not ideal for such a talented pick roll operator, and needs a lot of work to be serviceable (though flashes have started to emerge as a spot up shooter).
  • Shot Consistency: Touch varies, misses can be all over the place… 75% free throw shooting adds to the average shooting profile. As a set shooter he needs a lot of time to load up, and it is rather clear that shooting from deep is not a second-nature as it should be for a guard with as high of an IQ as Jones. Whether this is from overthinking or lack of repetition, this is the issue teams should be focusing on correcting the most.
  • Shot Creation from Deep: While Jones has started to attempt pull-up 3s when defenses inevitably go under his P&R, his ability to create looks for himself from deep is not at an NBA level. While his ability to create from mid range shows some promise regarding his ability to shoot off the dribble, he needs a lot of work if he wants to create off the dribble from deep. Granted, it will not be overly necessary for him to be an player with a winning impact.

Here is Tre Jones’ shot chart data via The Stepien’s Shot Charting Tool

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As of Feb 5th

Defense

Projected Role: 2-Position Perimeter Disruptor with Lockdown Potential

Strengths:

  • Defensive IQ: Tre plays very intelligently on and off the ball. This includes him jumping passing lanes, getting through screens, and reading the occurring offensive sets. His off ball awareness is admirable, and he seldom takes plays off or loses his focus. He is very present, and mindful about what is going on.
  • Defensive Impact: Some of Tre’s notable advanced defensive stats include a 3.5 DBPM, 91.4 defensive rating, and 3.2% steal rate. He puts on disruptive ball pressure without taking unnecessary gambles. He has very quick, active hands that generate a couple extra possessions per game for his team. While he projects as primarily a point guard defender, the impact he brings without being incredibly a multi-positional defender is notable.
  • Motor and Focus: Tre Jones doesn’t take plays off. He is constantly present and mindful of what is occurring, and ready to make a play when the opportunity presents itself. His effort is admirable, often beginning to pick up around halfcourt, keeping the pressure on opposing guards. You seldom see Tre get outsmarted on the defensive end, and I would attribute that not only to his IQ, but to his focus and effort. As they say, players quickly will learn at the next level that defending is the key to getting quick playing time and maintaining a role.
  • POA Defense: Tre has the potential to be a lockdown defender vs some 1’s, and a above average to high level defender against others. He moves well laterally and can play really effective man-man defense on the ball. He also does a really good job of closing on shooters and making things a lot more difficult for opposing guards than usual…

Improvement Areas:

  • Added Strength: The only thing I can really see Tre adding to his defensive arsenal is increased strength to increase his versatility a bit. As far as his technique goes, it is very hard to nitpick his defensive game other than refining what he already does so well. Of course one can always get better, but he doesn’t have notable weaknesses that I could see within his defensive role.


Overall Outlook

Tre Jones projects as a second unit leader that can make winning plays as a playmaker and high level defender. The key to his offensive development will be the development of his shot, as it will open up his playmaking even more, especially in P&R. Furthermore, Tre Jones provides enough value with his defense and IQ to make the bet on his shot development worth taking in the mid-late first. Should Jones end up going where we project him in the late first round, he could provide a winning team with a second unit leader. History shows that this can be incredibly valuable to playoff teams with tough two-way guards being major keys in winning big games.

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