Evaluating DeVante’ Jones
June 17th, 2021
By Alan Lu
With the G-League Elite camp right around the corner as it will take place a couple of days from now, I decided to take the time to watch Coastal Carolina’s 6-1 redshirt junior point guard, DeVante’ Jones play in a March 7th game against Appalachian State, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via App State Nation.
Jones was recently invited to play at the 2021 G-League Elite Camp, and I decided to watch him play in the semifinals of the 2021 Sun Belt Tournament. He had his ups and downs in this contest, but he was able to make some solid plays at times in his team’s overtime loss. Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.
DeVante’ Jones had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Appalachian State. He is a strong, physical combo guard that can attack the basket to score and pass the basketball, and he was able to make some defensive plays when he was on the court. He struggled with his jump shot and with turnovers though in this game. Jones showed a solid ability to score off the dribble. He can finish plays using either hand, and he has a decent first step, combined with the strength and body control that enables him to consistently score at the rim. He was able to use a crafty Euro-step move to score on a finger-roll layup. He also managed to score on a crafty, acrobatic reverse layup. He also managed to use a crossover move to fake out defenders to score on a strong drive in transition. Sometimes though, he may take tough, contested shots in traffic, which can lead to misses, especially when he is unable to draw foul calls.
He also was able to move off the ball to make an open, spot-up three off the catch. Jones showed a smooth looking jumpshot, and he can shoot on the move. He also showed a knack for drawing fouls when hoisting up long-range jumpers. He was able to run off of a ball screen to draw three free throws on a corner three late in the game. On the downside, Jones tended to miss on spot-up three-point attempts to frequently.
Sometimes he would try very hard to draw foul calls when hoisting up threes, but it would lead to some awkward misses when he wouldn’t get those calls. It also didn’t help that the referees would sometimes allow opponents to get away with much more contact than they should allow. There was one play where he got pushed down by an opponent after getting the ball on a backdoor cut, as the no-call led him to lose the basketball, as where he should’ve gotten a foul call to draw a foul on his defender early in overtime.
He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills in this game. Jones is an unselfish player that would tend to throw accurate entry passes and sharp passes to cutters to set up scoring chances for his teammates. He also can make drive and kick passes, as he would get the ball to open shooters. He also can make drop off passes and he also can find teammates on the break. On the downside, Jones was also quite turnover prone in this match. Sometimes though, he will over-dribble into traffic, which would lead him to get balls poked away or to lose it to commit a turnover. He also would sometimes throw hasty passes, as he threw one rushed pass that sailed out of bounds, and he also threw a loopy interior pass that got intercepted another time. Also, DeVante’ Jones did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He would chase down balls to help his team get boards, especially on the defensive end. He would tend to quickly bring the ball up the floor after getting defensive boards.
He also played adequate defense in this game. Jones made a really nice hustle play as he sprinted back to swat a shot off of a drive in transition. He also ran in to tie up an opposing ball handler that drove the baseline to get a steal. He also was able to get his hands on a pass to get another steal, as he possesses good ball skills. He also would actively contest threes to force misses. He also fought through a screen to stay with an opposing ball handler and contested a shot on the drive to force the miss.
Sometimes though, he would be too aggressive on the close out and over-pursue opposing ball handlers, which would lead him to trail his man and put his team in scramble situations. It led him to commit a foul on a baseline drive once, and it also led him to foul a three-point shooter to give up a four-point play. He also would tend to over-help in the paint and sag too far off of shooters, which would cause him to allow three-point scores to them. He would sometimes lose focus, as he was defending in the post, but was caught ball watching, and allowed his man to get an open look at the rim, which led him to commit a reach-in foul. Overall, DeVante’ Jones had a very good season at Coastal Carolina, and he has both declared to enter the 2021 NBA Draft, and he also has verbally agreed to transfer to play for Michigan if he withdraws and bows out of the draft.
Currently, Jones projects to be a borderline second round candidate. There are concerns that he hasn’t often faced elite competition this year, so he may face his toughest test yet in the G-League Elite Camp. He can score and defend, but he will need to show NBA teams that he can consistently knock down jump shots and reliably run the point at higher levels. If things break his way, he could end up being a serviceable backup point guard similar to Phoenix Suns’ guard, Jevon Carter in the NBA.