ESPN analysts see Jones as NBA first-rounder
With the NBA draft now just three days away, ESPN made analysts Jay Bilas and Fran Fraschilla available to the media on Monday afternoon, and I was able to get their thoughts on former USF guard Dominique Jones, who is in position to become the Bulls' first-ever NBA first-round draft pick.
Both analysts have done their homework and were thorough enough in their answers I'll just give you their insights in their own words, verbatim. Here you go ...
Jay Bilas: "I think Dominique's going to go anywhere from 20 to 30. I think he's a first-round pick. Twenty may seem a little high, but that's the range I would give you. My perspective on him hasn't changed since the end of the season. I think he's a very good scorer. He's strong. Another guy who has long arms. He's not a superior run-and-jump athlete, but he can take a bump and still finish a play. Gets fouled. Not what you'd consider a drop-dead-great shooter. I've heard comparisons to the kid from LSU a few years ago, Marcus Thornton, and I think that's a fair comparison.
"Kind of a counter-puncher as a scorer, a better player than he is an athlete, let's put it that way. But I like him. A good guard rebounder. I think if he can improve the consistency of his jump shot and continue to concentrate on being a good defender, with his ability to get to the free-throw line and to score, I think he can play in the NBA."
Fran Fraschilla: "Well, he's got NBA size and NBA strength for sure. I was really impressed this year, seeing him three or four times, how unselfish he is for a guy who had to score for that team. I don't think that was a great South Florida team by any stretch, and the fact that they had the year they did was an indication to me of not only how he put the team on his back, but I was surprised by how good a passer he is.
"When you talk about the NBA, you'd better be physically ready. Jay's absolutely right about the jump shot -- can use some work. But his abililty to get to the rim, he's really like a linebacker in a basketball player's body. Most impressively was his competitiveness and his willingness to involve his teammates. I thought he was really a big reason why they had the postseason type of season that they had.
"(On his draft position) I would concur with Jay. I hate to say this ... I think it's a weak draft, with regard to playing in the league. Jay and I follow these guys all year. We love Gordon Hayward, we love Patrick Patterson. At the end of the day, how do their skills translate to playing in the NBA? In Dominique's case, there's probably a team in the mid-20s to the early part of the second round that's absolutely in love with him, and it only takes that one team. I just think a lot of what he does will translate well to the NBA. He has terrific strength, reasonably good quickness and size. I think the most impressive thing about him is he' a great competitor and a very underrated passer. I think if someone really, really is liking him and enamored of him, I could see him going as early as 22 or 23. I think it's safe to say when you eliminate all the guys that get drafted before him, he'll be the best of the lot when you start staring down at the 25th pick on down."