Duke basketball: Tre Jones trending toward lottery pick


Could Duke basketball’s Tre Jones go much sooner than expected in the draft?

Former Duke basketball wing Cassius Stanley and big man Vernon Carey Jr. are still floating between the late first round and the second round in just about all the major mock drafts out there.

Meanwhile, though, the other Blue Devil who is all but certain to hear his name on Nov. 18 at the 2020 NBA Draft seems to suddenly be experiencing a significant bump to his draft stock.

In fact, one of the updated mock drafts from the past week has point guard Tre Jones as a lottery pick…No. 13, to be exact.

It’s possible that some recent workout film from Jones, showcasing what appears to be some extra inches to his lift plus a slightly stronger frame, could be partly responsible for the relatively high projection from 247Sports.

It’s also possible folks are finally recognizing the benefit of having a well-spoken point guard who, like older brother Tyus Jones, is best known for 1) being clutch, 2) minimizing mistakes, and 3) holding nothing back on defense. After all, another of the latest updated mock drafts, via the New York Post, seems fairly high on Tre Jones as well, pegging him to go No. 20 to the Miami Heat.

Perhaps, though, the best explanation for the loftiest Jones prediction is that the New Orleans Pelicans own the No. 13 pick and have shown to be absolutely addicted to Blue Devils (the same mock draft has Carey Jr. going No. 29 overall to the Toronto Raptors and Stanley going No. 30 to the Boston Celtics).

ALSO READ: Celtics showing an interest in Cassius Stanley

Five Duke basketball names are already Pelicans in JJ Redick, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Frank Jackson, and Jahlil Okafor. That’s not counting Trajan Langdon, who became the franchise’s general manager in May 2019, a few months before the entire quintet of Blue Devils was signed on with New Orleans.

The Duke basketball product apparently likes the thought of being a Pelican

Maybe 247Sports tagged Jones as bound for New Orleans, and as a lottery pick, because the 2019-20 ACC Player and Defensive Player of the Year expressed genuine interest in the Pelicans after meeting with them in late September as part of the NBA Draft’s virtual combine.

Tre Jones, who now appears wise for sticking around in Durham for two seasons so that he could improve his outside shot and fine-tune his entire skill set, was in the same 2018 Duke class as the one-and-done Williamson. Also, it’s worth noting Tyus Jones, now with the Memphis Grizzlies, cut down nets in 2015 as a one-and-done Duke basketball national champ alongside Okafor.

Here’s how Tre Jones described his connection to the Bayou Blue Devils:

“I actually know all of them. Most of them I know really well. JJ’s the oldest one, but after that, they’re all around my age. One of them, obviously, I played with. It would be extremely fun to be able to connect with those guys, to be able to play on the same team as them, and hopefully win games with those guys.”

Jones continued:

“Having Trajan Langdon in the front office would be amazing. It would be a ‘Brotherhood Connect’ down there. Being able to play with those types of guys would be amazing. It would be a good connection, for sure.”

No disagreement there.

Barring any future trades, the Pelicans will also pick No. 39, No. 42, and No. 60 overall. However, seeing the direction that Tre Jones is trending these days, those picks might come way too late to snag the beloved Blue Devil.

Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more Duke basketball news and views.

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