Portland Trail Blazers: 3 potentially UDFA steals from the 2021 NBA Draft

Herbert Jones, Portland Trail Blazers, 2021 NBA Draft (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Herbert Jones, Portland Trail Blazers, 2021 NBA Draft (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Herbert Jones, University of Alabama
Herbert Jones, University of Alabama (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Herbert Jones could be the missing piece for the Portland Trail Blazers

Herbert Jones is the exact type of player that turns out to be an undrafted steal. The former Alabama Crimson Tide forward played all four years in college, showing a slow, but steady progression in each year.

If he continues on his current trajectory, he might not be just a useful role player but could be a potential borderline All-Star.

At 6’8, 210-lbs, Jones is an absolute freak athlete, even by NBA standards. He has the size, length, and quickness to guard four positions in the league. Just on his defense alone, the Blazers should do everything they can to acquire his services.

But he’s not just a lockdown defender. While he’s still raw offensively, Jones showed major strides each year at the University of Alabama and was a big reason for their shockingly successful season this year.

In 2020-2021, he averaged 11.2 points, 6.6 boards, and 3.3 helpers per game, slashing 45/35/71. While his jump shot is far from a finished product, his significant improvements from deep and the stripe show that he’s able and willing to improve as a shooter.

Jones is the type of athlete that could shoot up draft boards during the NBA combine with his sheer physical prowess. Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated had Jones ranked as his 57th prospect entering this year’s draft. His combine could certainly change that standing.

Adding Jones would be adding a plus defender from day one. Any further development he has on offense would just be a bonus. Between his trajectory, crazy physicals, and his work ethic, he could become a lot more than just a lockdown perimeter defender though.

If somehow Jones slips through the cracks and enters free agency, the Blazers should do all they can to ensure he’ll suit up in the black and red next season.

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