Height/Weight: 6’2, 183 lbs.
Tre Jones is the fourth most talked about Duke freshman this season, and also the younger brother of Minnesota Timberwolves guard and Duke national champion, Tyus Jones, so he’s used to being overlooked. However, he’s an excellent college player and NBA prospect and could end up being a lottery pick in the 2019 draft. Jones is arguably the best perimeter defender in college basketball this year. He’s so quick, has great footwork, and can stay in front of guys for 90 feet. He stays disciplined on the ball, rarely going for head fakes and makes it extremely difficult for opposing guards to shake him. He’s also a very active and intelligent defender off the ball, possessing great anticipation leading to a high steal rate.
Offensively, Jones is the definition of a floor general. He’s so careful and smart with the basketball, turning the ball over about just once per game. He has great vision and is an excellent distributor, resulting in an absurd assist to turnover ratio of almost 6:1.
It helps having all the talent that he does around him, but you don’t just luck your way into those kind of numbers. His quickness allows him to get into the lane almost at will, and he always keeps his head up looking for open cutters/a dump off pass down low to one of the bigs.
Jones also has all of the intangibles that you want in a player. He’s so unselfish, and one of those guys that would be just as happy scoring 25 as he is not even attempting a shot the entire game, as long as he gets the win. His defense, poise, and leadership are all things that are essentially guarantees every game, and are qualities that every team at the next level would love to have in a point guard.
The main area of concern with Jones right now is his shooting. He doesn’t shoot very much, and unfortunately doesn’t shoot it at a high percentage when he does decide to pull the trigger. He definitely needs to work on his outside jumper, but it’s tough to tell if it’s that big of a weakness in his game because he doesn’t shoot very much and spends more time distributing or deferring to Duke’s other superstars.
He also hesitates fairly often when he has an open look from outside, which either stems from his release being on the longer side, or just Jones being passive and thinking that he can get it to a teammate for a better shot instead. Either way, I’d like to see Jones look for his shot more, as NBA front offices are wondering the same thing and might hesitate to take him if he continues to pass up open looks.
Jones is on the smaller side for an NBA point guard. He has room to fill out his frame as well, and could benefit greatly from putting on weight in preparation for the draft. While he’s listed at 6’2, which is essentially the minimum height you’ll see for guards in today’s NBA, he looks to be a little shorter than that. His measurements at the combine are something to look out for and could potentially impact his stock if he’s not quite as tall as he’s currently listed.
There’s so much to like about Jones if you’re an NBA GM. His defensive ability and extremely high basketball IQ are a rare combination that every team in the league would love to have. Even if he doesn’t develop into a big time shooter/scorer, he will still find success at the next level thanks to the rest of his game.
If Jones was an elite shooter, he would easily be the first point guard taken in the 2019 draft. However, with that part of his game still a question mark, going in the top ten seems unlikely, but I think late lottery is still a real possibility for Tre. Ultimately, I see Jones being selected in the teens or twenties, and whatever team selects him will get a true point guard who has the ability to contribute right away.