Many Duke fans enjoy talking about individual players just as much as the team, so I decided that it would be a fun, ongoing project to write player analysis, i.e. scouting reports, of all eight players on the roster. I occasionally use statistics, but only to highlight certain aspects, not to use as anything in-depth unless necessary. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING I write is what I see, and is based on nothing anybody else says or writes unless I credit them in the analysis.
Coach K’s history at Duke will show that, while always fielding a talented team, there is one common theme to achieving success at the highest level, and that is a point guard who acts as a coach on the floor. On my podcast with nbadraftnet.com’s Ian Powers, Ian describes Tyus as having already reached his ceiling, and not seeing too much possible future improvement in his game. Powers went on to say that for this reason, the best decision for Jones might be to leave Duke after the year and enter the NBA draft. For now, I will only concentrate on what Tyus brings to Duke this season and nothing more.
1/7/15 (Before WF Game)
Positives: An intelligent, heady player who rises to the challenge in big games. He never gets flustered and brings a calmness to the team when he’s in. Has incredible vision and passing ability, keeping his head up at all times, a must for a point guard. Jones has above average 3 outside shooting and possesses the best floater/runner on the team. He’s very crafty slicing and dicing through zones, and finishes extremely well at the rim with great body control. Trustworthy with the ball at all times (his assist to turnover ratio is off the charts) and especially in end of game situations. Many of his free throws have come from being fouled at this point in the game. Jones is an above average on-ball defender and good help-side rebounder.
Negatives: Seems like the perfect point guard to run set plays, but while Duke occasionally does this, Coach K relies more on motion offense, which may not play to Jones’ strengths. He at times stands around and watches instead of going to get the ball and aggressively making plays with it in his hands. He struggles to beat his man off the dribble, relying more on angles than quickness/strength. This means he takes more shots from the outside, which if not falling, makes is scoring impact minimal. Going into Duke’s January 7th game against Wake Forest, Jones has zero field goals four out of his last nine games. Defensively (off the ball) Jones doesn’t recognize screens well enough, and even when he does, isn’t physical enough to fight through them. Doesn’t talk enough on either side of the ball. While his even keel personality on the court is celebrated, needs to see him show emotion at times when necessary. Teammates will start to recognize that when Tyus gets up (either positively or negatively) it’s big time and means more.
Overall: Tyus is 18 years old, and consistency is rarely a strength of young men his age. Even so, Tyus too often settles for being average and blending into the crowd, which, while not seeming to be a big deal against mediocre teams, leads to bad habits if continuing. Tyus has gotten lucky that Rasheed Sulaimon has acted as the pseudo point guard at times, driving and creating for teammates. When Jones hands the ball off after immediately crossing the half court line and then stands in the corner watching on offense, somebody else has to take charge. Too often it ends up with Justise Winslow or Quinn Cook creating isolation offense. Winslow often settles for jumpers because of his body control issues when driving in a half court offense, and Cook is great at picking his spots to create, but has proven over his career less than adept when the defense is expecting. Jones’ teammates trust him with the ball, but too often it’s not in his hands, and he needs to be held accountable more often. Duke will succeed in the regular season no matter what, but come tourney time, will only go as far as Tyus Jones takes them. He doesn’t need to be the leader of the team, but must be more aggressive, vocal and energetic. His teammates and coaching staff need to get on him to, from this point on, never settle for being average.
My nickname I’d currently give Tyus right now: Minnesota Nice (It’s an Atmosphere song, though just a crappy throwaway collabo. I still like the name for Tyus, though).
My nickname I hope to give Tyus that represents how I hope he’ll be viewed as the season progresses: (Mr.) 24/7 (I’m good with or without the “Mr.” haha)