San Antonio Spurs: 5 Controversial 2021 NBA Draft picks
Controversial San Antonio Spurs draft prospect #2: Kai Jones
Kai Jones seems to be becoming increasingly popular among Spurs social media circles, understandably so. He's a long and athletic big man that has the potential to be a versatile two-way player, played college basketball at the University of Texas in Austin, and is originally from a Caribbean island nation (like certain other former Spurs big man). The fit seems pretty impeccable.
In his second year at Texas, he recorded 8.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and just under one steal and block in just under 23 minutes per game. He also shot a very respectable 58% from the field and 38% from three, which tells me that he certainly has the potential to be a stretch five in the league. If that isn't enough, he won the Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year award this past season, and according to Shaka Smart, had the best work ethic of any big he's ever coached.
Despite all of this, though, not everybody is sold on Jones. As we've said here before, at this point, most of Jones's potential is just that: potential. He has only played organized basketball since the age of 15, and his very raw feel for the game is likely the result of that. While he had some standout performances with Texas, particularly on defense, he had other games when his impact was felt very minimally. Of all players projected to be selected in the lottery, he probably has some of the highest 'boom-or-bust potential.
The potential to succeed is undeniably present in Jones, though, and the Spurs are desperately in need of floor spacing. I also think that Jones's floor is a good bit higher than people give him credit for based on what he was able to do on defense at Texas. While it may take a few years for the Spurs to feel the effects of Jones, I think he could eventually become a dominant stretch big in the league.