Whispers about his intensity and toughness have caused Baylor sophomore Perry Jones, a top of the lottery talent, to slip all the way to the middle of the first round in most mock drafts.
Over at RealGM, I take a deeper look into these criticisms and why a closer look at the situation Jones played in at Baylor reveals why such character attacks are unfounded:
But, unlike Anthony Davis, Jones didn’t walk into a situation where he would be playing with five unselfish future NBA players. In his two seasons for the Bears, the starting guards were AJ Walton (a defensive specialist), LaceDarius Dunn (a guard who lacked Kobe Bryant’s talent but not his willingness to shoot), Pierre Jackson (a score-first junior college transfer) and Brady Heislip (a shooting specialist). So while Davis got the majority of his points on alley-oops, dive cuts and fastbreaks, Jones didn’t have anyone creating easy baskets for him.
The real question is how they would be perceived if they had switched teams. How would Jones have looked playing for Bill Self, an excellent strategist and tactician who adjusts his schemes to fit the talents of his best players? Meanwhile, how would Robinson have looked in the middle of a 1-3-1 zone while playing with guards either unable or unwilling to give him the ball?
I’ve never met Perry Jones, but I’ve watched him play a lot of basketball. And when there are tactical and strategic reasons for why a player isn’t maximizing his potential, I’m going to look at those before I start questioning his ability to succeed at a children’s game because of who he is as a human being.
Armchair psychologists criticizing the character of teenagers they have never met has become endemic in basketball, but that doesn't mean it has any real value.