Re-drafting the 2021 NBA Draft — 29. Kai Jones, Nets
I lack the bravery to put him in the top-10 like I did pre-draft, but I have not sold my real estate on Kai Jones Island. He’s a long-term project and he probably won’t contribute regularly in the NBA for a while, but his excellent G-League season was a good starting point. Jones’ size and athleticism would fill a need for the Nets, even if he’s not getting playoff minutes in 2023.
Jones fits the mold of rim-runner and shot-blocker that Brooklyn currently needs filled. He’s a pressure release valve at the rim — the kind of player with a giant catch radius and the ability to clean up mistakes in the paint. He’s still skinny and he will need to work on polishing the fundamental aspects of his game, but from a raw athletic talent standpoint, Jones is a steal this late in the draft.
Going back to his freshman year at Texas, Jones has shown flashes of jump-shooting and ball-handling that should still excite teams. He’s a long way from scoring with any semblance of efficiency outside the paint, but there’s a lot of untapped potential there.