What does Kai Jones have to offer the San Antonio Spurs?
First of all, Kai brings an infectious work ethic that coaches, executives, and fans will naturally gravitate toward supporting. Jones is still new to the sport of basketball, but you couldn't tell that if you watched him in an empty gym.
Waking up at 4:45 am every day in high school to train after seeing little playing time as a freshman, former University of Texas Coach Shaka Smart claimed that Jones "had the best work ethic of any big man he coached."
As it pertains to a foundation for success, one thing is for certain. Jones will put in the work to maximize his potential as an NBA player. His offensive on-court game is polished in the limited portions of his game that we've seen. Jones is excellent in transition and excels in the halfcourt when positioned in the dunker spot, with athleticism that leaps off your screen from the moment you watch him.
He's at his best when in transition, as he averaged over two points per game in that regard, which places him in the 89th percentile. His work in the paint didn't stop there, as he scored an average of five points in the paint per game (83rd percentile) while shooting over 70 percent in that area (94th percentile).
His role at Texas involved him cleaning up the paint, as he averaged over 1.4 points per game off of second chance opportunities while also grabbing two offensive rebounds per game (92nd percentile).
Jones's work in the halfcourt was centered around catching lobs, rolling and cutting to the basket, and hitting the occasional spot-up three. On over 30 attempts from deep this season, Jones knocked in over 38 percent of his threes.
While he'll be utilized from day one in the NBA as a rim-runner and transition threat, Jones has shown flashes of being a threat from outside as well as having upside as a shot creator.
Kai won't be effective today as a pull-up jump-shooter, but he's shown to be comfortable off of straight-line drives to the basket as well as when shooting a one-dribble pull-up. He isn't efficient when taking more than two or three dribbles, but he's shown a willingness to create offense for himself and others off the bounce.
Offensively, he has some really strong attributes that will give the Spurs a different dynamic in the frontcourt. A transition threat with over-the-top athleticism is something San Antonio hasn't had in years. Even more interesting, Jones is just scratching the surface of his game.