Hoping to follow in the steps of P.J. Hairston, the first NBA D-League player drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft, Jamal Jones and Jarvis Threatt are two of the top prospects who have a great chance to leap into the NBA.
Jamal Jones is a 6-foot 8, 196-pound small forward who played for the Delaware 87ers last season, averaging 7.8 points per game off of the bench. He possesses major upside with his athletic ability, his defense and his shooting stroke. The 21-year-old left Texas A&M University early, due to frustrations with the direction of the University’s basketball program, but was relegated to the NBA D-League so that he could develop his raw talent. The Delaware 87ers are affiliated with the Philadelphia 76ers, who are keeping a very close eye on Jones’ development.
Jarvis Threatt, a 6-foot 2, 165-pound point guard for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, also looked to the D-League to achieve a spot on a professional roster. He was dismissed from the University of Delaware and found a home with the Vipers. With their fast-paced, high-flying offense, it was a great match for Threatt. He is a incredible leaper for his size and has developed into a reliable shooter and effective passer. He averaged 12.9 points and 5.5 assists per game last season, hoping to gain the attention of the parent club Houston Rockets.
Jones and Threatt were not invited to the NBA Draft Combine, but their participation in the NBA D-League’s Elite Mini Camp allowed them to see how they measure up against other prospects in the draft. Jamal Jones was ranked second for height and fourth for wingspan at his position, but ranked near or at the bottom for ideal weight and in athleticism drills. Based on his playing tape, however, he seems to be quite adept athletically, especially on defense. If and when he becomes a complete player, Jones can be a serviceable wing at the next level.
Jarvis Threatt was the best vertical leaper at his position, but ranked near the bottom at height, weight, and lane agility. He was ranked near the middle with the other athletic drills such as shuttle run and 3/4 court sprints. Threatt’s height to weight ratio could be an issue, since he is already slightly undersized by NBA standards, but he is an electrifying athlete who is sharpening his long range shooting and could be a valuable asset to any team.
Both Jones and Threatt had arranged to work out with 10-12 teams prior to the draft. So far, Jamal Jones has worked out with the 76ers, Boston Celtics, and Memphis Grizzlies. Jarvis Threatt has visited Philadelphia, Washington, Houston, Phoenix, Chicago, and Indiana over the past two weeks.
The 2015 NBA Draft will take place in Brooklyn, NY on June 25th.
By Joshua Hamer