With the NBA D-League Draft all but less than two weeks away, NC A&T alum Ed Jones should be considered a sleeper. He has an array of skills that make him a versatile talent, and he's already used this offseason to begin proving that to NBADL squads.
Versatility. It's something every D-League player needs to have.
With so many superstars among the highlighting attractions in the NBA, teams are now often looking to the NBADL to help fill out their rosters. The minor leagues are filled with great gems who are considered niche players, or guys who aren't afraid to do the dirty work. But as each one hopes to make an impression on staffs in The Association, versatility is also key. It's important a player be able to do a number of things well, if not necessarily great, as a means of complementing the already existent stars in the league.
North Carolina A&T alum Ed Jones, who has entered in next month's D-League Draft, already has those skills. As a wingman, he plays aggressive defense. Jones puts the pressure on his opponent by pestering them straight from the inbound pass, aiming to come up with the steal. What's perhaps even more impressive about his game is that from the moment he gets that coveted steal, it's go time on offense. Jones' aggression translates to the offensive side of the game as well, as he moves well in transition to drop in a lay-up or knock down a jumper.
Before playing briefly last season in Spain, Jones saw his game develop mightily at NC A&T. During his senior campaign, the wingman averaged 12.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. He's the type of player who can keep the defense honest without necessarily dominating the game.
Jones is a already a multi-faceted player with various tools needed to be successful in the league. It's now only a point of further putting those skills on display in the D-League. But as he fights for a chance to get noticed, who says he can't polish his game even more?
Though NBADLers aren't often known for their scoring, Jones is one player whose offensive game could benefit from developmental time. Clearly already with many other tools to make his opponent vulnerable, the 6'7" wing has the potential to pour in the points in the D-League.
This offseason, Jones aimed to prove his worth to minor league staffs, working out for teams like the Sioux Falls Skyforce and Iowa Energy.
Many NBA teams, including perhaps the Pistons (in the case of Andre Drummond) will look to the minors this season to help their players create a fluent offensive attack that translates to the NBA game. Why can't a big league hopeful like Jones do the same? He'll have the opportunity to prove he can outplay the competition, and that could very well happen by also using his offensive skills to shine.
Taking into consideration how he can improve his own existent versatility, Jones should look into knocking that long range jumper down on a more consistent basis. Already able to be the aggressor on defense and a slasher on offense, an improved game from deep would make Jones all the more valuable if he's able to spread the floor too.
It's often imperative D-League prospects have versatility and have the potential to complement NBA stars, should they desire to break in to The Association. A player with various tools, Ed Jones already shows signs of being able to do so. With the competition so fierce, the wingman could also use the NBADL to show off and further polish his offensive game as well.
Able to make such an impact on the court in so many different ways, teams will be refreshed when realizing Jones' array of talent. For his versatility, he could very well become one of the steals of the D-League Draft.