Perry Jones

Perry Jones to return to Baylor

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According to Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick, sources close to Perry Jones are saying that the Baylor freshman will return to school next season instead of declaring for the 2011 NBA Draft.

Jones’ averages of 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game were relatively modest, but he was projected to be a top-five pick in next year’s notoriously weak draft due to his combination of size, length, athleticism, and skill. Jones was suspended from last year’s Big 12 Tournament thanks to some illegal benefits, and will have to sit out the first five games of next season before he will be eligible for reinstatement by the NBA.

This is an extremely risky move for Jones. NBA teams have a lot of faith in their ability to develop raw talents like Jones on their own; any team that drafted him would have been expecting him to make serious leaps during his rookie season. If he doesn’t make those leaps with Baylor next season, his stock will free-fall, especially since the 2012 draft is expected to be much stronger than the 2011 one. If Jones does develop into the kind of player his talents suggest he could become next year, he could very well be a top-3 pick. If he doesn’t, Jones may have just cost himself a lot of money.

Tony Parker wants to play six more seasons with Spurs

Tony Parker
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Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.

Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.

Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”

That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)

Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.

But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.

I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.

Report: Pelicans signing Greg Smith

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The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.

Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.

Enter Greg Smith.

Scott Kushner of The Advocate:

Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.

But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.

Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.