Tennessee has three players consistently being projected to be taken in the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft this week. Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield are viewed as definite picks in the two-round draft, while point guard Jordan Bone is seen as a fringe prospect who is just as likely to be drafted as undrafted.
According to some NBA scouts and front office executives, however, Bone might have the largest upside of any of UT’s NBA prospects and could surprise people.
Seth Davis of The Athletic interviewed several NBA scouts and front office executives and offered them anonymity in exchange for their candor on dozens of NBA prospects. The result? Davis’ own creation of “Finch,” the amalgam of those scouts and front office executives.
Let davis explain.
“He is not a person, per se, but an amalgam of six NBA scouts and front-office executives whom I asked to weigh in on 50 former U.S. collegians hoping to have their name called Thursday night,” Davis writes. “After conducting the interviews, I selected the most insightful and relevant quotes and merged them into one paragraph that reads as if it came from a single person called Finch.”
According to “Finch,” Bone has a lot of upside but will need some development. But at least one of the scouts and executives that Davis interviewed views Bone as a potential late first-round pick based off his athleticism and potential.
“Freak athlete. He was one or two in every combine testing. He’s going to surprise some people,” says “Finch” about Bone. “Great upside. Rick Barnes is really tough on his point guards, and this kid got through it and survived and got better. It wouldn’t shock me if he goes late first round. His feel and decision-making and knowing the position will take some time. He needs to continue to improve as a shooter. I think toward the end of the season he was playing more for the NBA than for his team. He wasn’t looking for people as much.”
Bone had a breakout junior campaign with the Vols this past season. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Nashville native set a school record and posted career-highs in almost every major category in the process.
In 37 games for the Vols this season (all starts), Bone averaged 13.5 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.2 rebounds while making 46.5 percent of his overall shots and 35.5 percent of his attempts from three. He also connected on 83.5 percent of his free throws.
Bone set the school record for best assist-to-turnover ratio in a single season with a 2.91 mark on the year. His 215 assists during the season finished as the third-most in a single season in program history.
But to “Finch’s” point about Bone looking more towards the NBA rather than helping his own team down the stretch, there is certainly some validity to that from a statistical standpoint.
In Bone’s first 26 games of the season, he was averaging 13.2 points and 6.5 assists while attempting 10.7 field goals per contest. But over the final 11 games of Tennessee’s 2018-19 season — including the Vols’ three SEC Tournament and three NCAA Tournament games — Bone averaged 14.0 points and just 4.2 assists while attempting 11.0 field goals a game. Bone had six or more assists just three times in UT’s final 11 games of the year, and he didn’t reach that mark in the Vols’ final five games. He eclipsed the six assist mark 16 times in the first 26 games of the season.
Still, Bone put together one of the best overall seasons of any point guard in UT history, and his exceptional testing at the 2019 NBA Draft Combine really caught the attention of NBA scouts and executives.
Bone finished with the best time in both the lane agility test and the shuttle run. He also posted the best standing vertical leap measurement and finished second in the max vertical jump test. He was also the only player to make 100 percent of his shots during the break left portion of the shooting drills.
“Finch” was very complimentary of Tennessee’s two other draft prospects as well, praising Admiral Schofield’s leadership and physicality and lauding Grant Williams’ basketball IQ and work ethic. To read what he had to say about those two, check out the full article on The Athletic.
The 2019 NBA Draft will take place on Thursday, June 20th in Brooklyn, New York. It will be televised on ESPN starting at 7:00 PM Eastern.