3 Things that would take Tre Jones to the next level

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2.) Improved athleticism would serve Jones well

While a basketball skill like shooting can be improved upon even after a player enters the league, finding a cure for a lack of size can be quite a bit more complicated. This is why players who lack both size and shooting often struggle to earn NBA minutes early in their careers, while players who even possess one of those two things can thrive. A player like Trae Young is the obvious example of sheer shooting talent compensating for a lack of size, while a player like Josh Giddey can serve as a more recent example of positional size being enough to compensate for a lack of shooting.

Returning to the list of the best rim-finishing guards in the NBA, though, two names above Jones stick out as players that have found early success despite a lack of size and distance shooting: De’Aaron Fox and Ja Morant, both of whom stand at roughly 6-foot-3. And to spare you the finer details of what makes those two players the stars that they are, if we boil down their unlikely success down to any one attribute, it’s their elite athleticism.

It should go without saying that Tre Jones will never have the blazing-fast first step that Fox has and won’t be able to jump into the rafters a la Ja Morant. But the main takeaway here should be that athleticism—nearly in any form—helps smaller guards succeed. For Jones, adding functional strength will likely be the quickest and easiest route to him becoming a better athlete. In other words, if Jones can continue to pack on a few pounds of muscle, he’ll have an easier time playing through physical defenders on the perimeter, finishing through contact at the rim, and fighting through screens on defense.