Herb Jones a surprising inclusion in Top-10 rookie rankings

The 2021 NBA Draft class was heralded as one of the deepest in years and the New Orleans Pelicans found one of the gems in Herb Jones.

Jones has been one of the only things for Pelicans fans to get excited about in a season that is going south fast. The Pels sit at just 3-16, we still have no idea when Zion Williamson is going to return and just about everyone not named Jonas Valanciunas has been playing poorly.

But Jones is already getting a reputation as a lockdown defender amidst all of the losing and was recently included on ESPN’s Rookie Power Rankings at #10, which is pretty surprising considering he is a second-round pick who doesn’t score much.

Defense was featured heavily on the list, as Evan Mobley and Scottie Barnes took the top two spots, mostly because of what they bring to the defensive end.

In a league that has long been trending towards more offense, having elite defenders is a necessity. Here is some of what scout Mike Schmitz had to say about Herb Jones:

“The 6-7 toolsy wing has looked like a future All-NBA defender all season, guarding four, sometimes even five positions over the course of a game while doing a number on several All-Star-caliber wings.”

Herb Jones was a great find for the Pelicans

While Jones may not be there offensively, his defense is something the Pelicans sorely lacked last season.

Guys like Jones are the perfect types of players to put around Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, as he doesn’t require the ball to be effective and can cover some of their weaknesses.

Jones can cover quite a lot of defensive weaknesses, as he can guard all five positions and slide into just about any lineup.

It’s been a brutal year for the Pelicans that has been drown in negativity about the future of the team, but the Pels found a good one in Herb Jones, who could end up being one of the best defenders in the NBA and might even get some notice for the All-Defense team this season.