Damian Jones can be a great NBA player. He has all the tools to be a successful big man in the league.
But a lot of guys that enter the NBA draft have the tools. More often than not, it’s about finding the right fit.
Jones seemingly found his fit on Thursday night when he was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the final pick of the first round.
Of course, that pick guaranteed him a contract. But more importantly, it guaranteed that he’ll at least have a chance to succeed.
The thing about going near the top of the draft is that you know you’re playing for a struggling franchise. There are high expectations that come with being a Top 10 pick, and typically, those expectations are placed on your right away. And sometimes, those expectations aren’t realistic.
Jones doesn’t have to deal with those types of expectations. He gets the opportunity to find his spot among a team that set an NBA record for wins this past season.
Ironically, his presence on the roster may actually send fellow Vanderbilt alum Festus Ezeli into free agency.
Here’s the thing about Jones: when he plays aggressive, few people can stop him. Towards the end of last season, he took his game to another level. That certainly helped his draft stock considering that he struggled to find that next gear for the first half of the year.
Some of that had to do with being in foul trouble all the time. Some of that had to do with a lack of meanness.
Jones is undoubtedly one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Fellow teammate Luke Kornet sums up the type of person Jones is best:
Once when there weren’t managers here in the summer @dameology went ahead & did everyone’s laundry cuz he’s the nicest guy on the planet.
— Luke Kornet (@bigshin32) June 24, 2016
Will being the nicest person on the planet actually hurt his chances at being a huge asset for the Warriors? Highly doubtful.
Sure, Jones will have to play with the fury and aggressiveness that he showed late in the year in order to be successful. However, this kid went to Vandy. He’s a smart dude. He understands what it takes to thrive at the NBA level.
Steve Kerr is a championship coach. Steph Curry the reigning NBA MVP. Being around those types of guys from the very beginning will do wonders for Jones. He’ll be around a support system that knows how it win. And they know the type of individual development needed to help him get where he wants to be.
You never really know how players will adjust to the NBA style. We don’t know how Jones will adjust to the physicality and pace of play.
However, he has all the aspected needed to succeed. That much we know for sure.