2021 NBA Draft: Kai Jones might not fit Warriors' timeline

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Are Warriors willing to invest in another project in Jones? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

When Kai Jones left his interview with the Golden State Warriors on Thursday afternoon, one thing was crystal clear to him: the Warriors are in win-now mode. 

"They expect the person that they pick, hopefully, it's me, to come in and make an impact immediately," Jones told reporters following his workout and interview with the team. 

On paper, Jones, a 6-foot-11 big man from Texas, doesn't necessarily seem to fit this bill. He appears to be more of an investment piece with a big upside down the line. But perhaps the Warriors think he's further along than most realize. 

Jones thinks so. 

"I feel very ready to come in and make an impact in the NBA game. Right now I feel like I could help on both ends, especially with some coaching and just learning the system and the scouting report. Obviously, there is a learning curve, but I pick up things pretty quickly. Physically, I think I am in shape and can handle the rigor of the season. I think I am very ready."

Jones has good athleticism for his size and is agile, moving up and down the floor with ease. His quick feet suggest he should be able to fit the mold of the modern NBA big -- a rim-running big man who can switch onto guards and not be a liability in pick-and-roll actions.

He shot 38.2 percent from behind the arc on 1.3 attempts per game last season, and 68.9 percent from the free-throw line on 2.8 attempts per game. Those are not great shooting numbers, but suggest that with a little work, he has potential as a big man who has the skill to play on the perimeter. His touch on the ball is also a sign of his potential as a shooter. 

But that's the key word: potential. He still fumbles some passes, isn't a quick decision-maker and needs to put on some weight so bigger players don't bully him around. If the Warriors are in fact in win-now mode, they ought to be looking for someone further along in their development. Especially when they still have another project in James Wiseman. Especially when both Wiseman and Jones are bigs. Does it make sense for the Warriors to get a similar project to one they already have?

RELATED: Kerr explains why Warriors are making coaching staff changes

Kai Jones profile

Position: Power forward

Class: Sophomore

Birthdate: Jan. 19, 2001 (20 years old)

Hometown: Nassau, Bahamas

2020-21 season averages: 8.8 points (58.0 percent FG, 38.2 percent 3-point, 68.9 percent FT), 4.8 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.8 steals.

Height: 6-foot-11

Weight: 220

Wingspan: 7-1

NBA comps: Jaren Jackson Jr. (NBAdraft.net), JaVale McGee (The Ringer), Christian Wood (The Ringer)

What they’re saying: “To put it in a nutshell, I'm an all-around guy. To break it down into intricacies, I think I'm a guy who can impact the game inside and out on both ends. Defending the rim, blocking shots, and finishing plays around the rim, as well as being able to knock down the shot outside and guard on the perimeter as well as at the switch, on a ball screen and slash into the rim. And in transition, I'm a lob threat. I'm really good at sprinting the floor." -- Jones to reporters following his workout with Golden State

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