The Dallas Mavericks came away from summer league thrilled with first-round pick Dominique Jones and his as-advertised ability to get to the hole seemingly at will, draw contact, score and get to the free throw line.
But, to succeed at the NBA level, Mavs coaches know Jones must improve his shooting range and accuracy.
"The area he's got to get more comfortable with is stretching out his shooting game to the NBA 3-point line because the way he drives the ball," coach Rick Carlisle said, "teams are going to space him and force him to make outside shots and he's going to be able to do it."
That's the hope. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Jones missed all eight of his 3-point attempts during summer league. In three seasons at South Florida, Jones was a career 32.3-percent 3-point shooter and in his last two seasons he didn't eclipse 31.1 percent.
Concerned? Mavs assistant coach Terry Stotts says to calm down. He points to Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard Michael Redd as evidence.
"Michael Redd was basically a 31 percent 3-point shooter in college. Michael Redd was a slasher, he was good with the ball," Stotts said. "You compare [Jones'] stats to Michael Redd's college stats, they're very similar. It takes a lot of time and it takes a priority of getting a lot of shots up, but when you have the natural ability that he does, then you will be able to extend your range. And you see that a lot of players in the NBA, the longer they're in the league they improve their range."
Stotts isn't comparing Redd and Jones as players. He's simply using Redd as an example of a shooting guard to refined his jump shot and turned it into a weapon at the NBA level. A three-year star at Ohio State, Redd was a 31.8-percent career 3-point shooter. In two of those seasons, he never shot better than 31.5 percent. Very similar to Jones.
In the NBA, Redd immediately found his range from downtown. In his first two seasons of major playing time (he played six games a rookie), he shot better than 43-percent from beyond the arc. Not counting last season when Redd played just 18 games before a season-ending injury, Redd shot no worse than 35.0 percent from 3-point range in the past eight seasons and was better than 36 percent in six of those seasons.
For a slasher like Jones, owning a lethal jump shot only creates more opportunity to do what he does best.
"There's no question when you improve your perimeter shot it opens up driving angles," Stotts said. "He has a very explosive first, second step. His jump shot is effective mid-ange, 15-18 feet, he can come off pick and rolls, he can come off pin downs and is an effective shooter from that range. He will increase his range."