3 skills that have Herb Jones on the brink of stardom

Nov 5, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Herb Jones (5) pressures Atlanta
Nov 5, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Herb Jones (5) pressures Atlanta / Larry Robinson-USA TODAY Sports
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"Herb Jones saved my life" is a common trope amongst Pelicans fans.

While it may be an exaggeration, there is some truth behind the silly phrase. Herb Jones isn't saving anybody's life personally, but he saves the Pelicans night in and night out.

The third-year wing out of Alabama is the rare plus starter drafted in the second round. Jones was selected with the 35th overall pick in 2021 solely for his defensive acumen. His time with the Crimson Tide showed NBA scouts a player who could hold his own defensively from day one, but would also struggle on the offensive end. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor described Jones as an "energizing presence who can defend across positions, but is a limited offensive threat."

O'Connor, among others, limited Jones' ceiling as a one-way player whose bread will be buttered with hard-nosed defense and relentless hustle. Thankfully, those draft gurus were dead wrong. Jones has developed into arguably the best two-way player on the Pelicans roster. Here are the three skills he's honed to turn the promise he showed in college into reality.

1. Efficient Outside Shooting

Jones has turned into a knockdown outside shooter. In the same write-up discussed before, Kevin O'Connor noted Herb Jones' improved shooting mechanics in his senior year at Alabama. Those mechanics have developed into one of the most pure outside shots in the NBA. It all starts with his catch-and-shoot ability.

According to NBA.com, Jones is one of the most efficient catch-and-shoot players in the Association. On 3.5 catch-and-shoot opportunities per game, Jones is shooting 43.1% from deep. Those shots account for 43.9% of his overall shot diet, his most frequent outside-of-the-paint attempt on the court.

Defenses have failed to adjust to Jones' prominence from long-range. On 3.1 attempts per game that are considered "wide open" (no defender within 6+ feet of the shooter), Jones is shooting a blistering 45.9%.

Opposing scouting reports need to be updated. Jones is a knockdown shooter from all over the court. His prominence on corner threes is on another level. Jones 51/112 from both corners, good for 46%, well above the league average.

Three-point shooting is a swing skill that can make or break a defensive-centric prospect like Herb Jones. His marked improvement is the number one reason that Jones has improved this quickly.