Texas’ Kai Jones selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the 2021 NBA draft

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The dreams for a young man out of The Bahamas just came true. Former Texas forward Kai Jones was taken with the 19th pick in the 2021 NBA draft, who the Charlotte Hornets acquired from the New York Knicks for a future first-round pick.

The sophomore had a breakout season that saw his numbers take a tremendous leap in every major statistical category. Jones averaged almost 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 block per game. His shooting percentages also increased going from 50% in 2019 to 58% from the field in 2020, and his three point percentage rose from 29% to 38%. Jones came off the bench most of his career, but after Shaka Smart gave Greg Brown III as many chances as possible, Jones earned a starting role. Jones has a great upside, as he only started playing basketball four years ago.

His improved shooting along with his fantastic athleticism is very much valued in the NBA, as even if he does not start right away, which he likely won’t due to still being very raw, he will be able to come off the bench provide a rim running big that can space the floor.

Jones very much needs to get stronger and fill out his lanky frame, as he only weighed in at 218-pounds. He showed flashes of being able to guard around the perimeter, especially in the three matchups against Oklahoma State where he was tasked with guarding number one overall pick Cade Cunningham.

The former Longhorn has also shown the ability to make plays off the dribble, which is a great sign as he can maybe transform into a point-forward, but he does need work on his decision making as sometimes he would try to do too much with the ball and turn it over. Jones averaged 1.4 turnovers a game, but again he is newer to basketball, and utilized correctly will allow him to flourish.

Jones running the floor with LaMelo Ball is a dream for the Hornets. He can help in spacing the floor, and he will have two guards in UConn’s James Bouknight and Ball that will feed him and give him opportunities to score. The Hornets are a team that has depth at the forward position, so Jones will have time to develop.

This is a great fit for him.

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