We continue to meet the best projects in the NBA Draft 2021 and in this case it is the turn of a couple of players who come from being teammates in Alabama: Herb Jones Y John Petty, two of the best seniors available in this class. Next we know their profiles, reviewing their strengths, weaknesses, statistics, videos and more.
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Herb Jones is a 22-year-old, 2.01-meter-tall 3-4, who has just completed his four NCAA seasons with Alabama. His best numbers were in 2020-2021, averaging 11.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 steals in 27.3 minutes per game, being featured as Player of the Year and Defender of the Year in the tough SEC conference.
When you talk about Jones, you can’t start with anything other than his defensive ability. We are talking without a doubt about one of the best projects in the Draft on that side, with good physique, long arms, solid athletic ability and above all, good energy and versatility. Excellent statistical production: it had an average of 9.6 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.6 blocks per 40 minutes in 2020-2021.
Able to defend multiple positions without any problem, be they small interiors or perimeter. He allowed only 34% of the field in one-on-one actions, adding clarification and low post.
His physical game leads him to commit too many infractions: he averaged over 4 fouls per 40 minutes in his four years in Alabama (in three of them, +5 for 40).
The story changes completely when we talk about the offensive side, especially if we refer to the scoring issue. And it is that to begin with, Jones is an irregular shooter. It is true that he shot a solid 35% on 3s in 2020-2021, but he did so in few attempts (2.5 for 40 minutes). There are other negative signs as well: He didn’t hit a single long double all season, he hadn’t passed 29% of three in his three previous seasons and is just a 60% free shooter in his career.
An important limitation is his insecurity with the ball. It was common to see him try to attack slower opponents from the dribble, but he is too uncontrolled in his penetrations, forcing shots or ending in losses. In fact, he averaged no less than 4.1 losses per 40 minutes, a very high mark. You are not reliable when creating your points.
Instead, Jones’ best on this side comes in defining situations, be it running the field in transition or cutting off the ball. It was also not at all effective when he wanted to play posted: 9-29 from the court there.
Jones’s greatest virtue on this side, in addition to his rebounding attack, is due to his very good passing ability. His 4.8 assists per 40 minutes are a spectacular mark for a player in his position, showing great creativity with his passing. This facet of his game is key to not being a totally negative value in the midfield offense.
John Petty is a 1.97-tall, 22-year-old guard who like Jones spent his four NCAA years in Alabama. In 2019-2020 he had his best year, averaging 14.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 44% in triples, while he dropped to 12.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists with 37% in triples in 2020-2021. We are talking about a player with a very good height and long arms for the position, although without the best athletic profile (one of the great losers of the Combine tests).
Petty’s biggest draw is its exterior shot. He took no less than 8.3 triples per 40 minutes in 2020-2021 and we already marked his 37% efficiency, after having shot 44% in the previous campaign, in a similar number of attempts. He doesn’t have much of a moving shot from the dribble, but he’s really dangerous as a 3-point catch and shoot. Very good mechanics.
One virtue of Petty is his shooting selection, which is ideal for the current NBA game: he only tries in the paint or three. He took only 7 long doubles in all of 2020-2021.
He created little with the ball in his hands and practically did not play pick and roll actions. However, he did show some good scoring resources on clearing plays, with a solid 41% from the field on them. Barely average as a passer.
A problem with Petty is that he is a light player and without much athletic explosion, which limits him as a finisher. It is difficult for him to define with contact (only 4 double and missing in 2020-2021). He threw an irregular 54% inside the restricted area, but he will surely have more problems against interiors of a greater caliber.
Petty does a good job on defense, taking advantage of his long arms. Good dedication. He averaged 6.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 0.7 blocks per 40 minutes in 2020-2021. However, his lack of physical power and explosion limits him and he is going to be dominated by stronger opponents. He allowed a high 17-39 (44%) in one-on-one plays.
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