2019-2020 Season Review: Jordan Bone Shines With the Grand Rapids Drive but NBA Future Remains Uncertain

Image: Raj Mehta/USA Today Sports

 

As the 57th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons weren’t expecting many contributions from first-year point guard Jordan Bone. Instead, the franchise hoped that the 6-foot-3, 180-pound speed demon would prove to be a standout on the team’s G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, and show steady development throughout the year. During the G League’s shortened season, Bone proved to be the leader and the driving force of the Drive during his 31 games with the team.

An above-average NBA athlete, Bone was able to take advantage of the lesser competition, leading the Drive in both points per game (17.5) and assists per game (7.1). Despite being more known as an inside scorer during his college days at the University of Tennessee, Bone was able to work on – and improve – his three-point shot from what it was during his collegiate time. After shooting a respectable 35.5 percent from deep on a modest 3.8 attempts per game during his junior year with the Vols, Bone took advantage of his opportunity to improve in the G League, knocking down an impressive 38.1 percent of his three-pointers on 6.5 attempts per game. This noticeable uptick in both efficiency and volume are positive signs that Bone can solidify himself as a solid shooter at the next level, even if it’s not his forte.

Arguably Bone’s most complete game came in a November 30 contest against the Texas Legends, where he scored a season-high 34 points. In this game, the speedy guard was able to showcase his ability to both score around the rim and behind the three-point arc, while also showing off his slick passing chops in the Drive’s overtime victory:

Bone’s playmaking was further put on display in a number of contests throughout the season, as his season-high of 13 assists was achieved multiple times. Bone consistently keeps his head on a swivel, always looking to set up one of his teammates, especially while running on the fastbreak. In a November 20 contest against the Westchester Knicks, Bone showed off his passing ability both in the half-court offense and on the break en route to his first 13 assist game:

After an impressive campaign with the Drive, there are still a pair of question marks regarding his future in the NBA: his size and all-around efficiency. In college, Bone didn’t connect on over 40 percent of his field goals until his final season. With the Drive, he was able to eclipse that number, but not enough to be considered “efficient”, as he knocked down a below-average 42.8 percent of his shots. In his very short tenure with the Pistons, the numbers get murkier, although any statistics with Detroit should be taken with a grain of salt. In exclusively garbage minutes for the Pistons, Bone connected on only 25 percent of his shots, although he only took 20 over his 10 games in the big leagues. Sitting at only 180 pounds, there is also bound to be concerns over Bone’s slim frame and whether he will be able to keep up on the defensive end. Without much of a knack for stealing the ball (0.8 SPG), Bone will need to bulk up in order to have a chance of even being an average defender in the NBA.

With a plethora of point guards ahead of him on the depth chart including Derrick Rose, Bruce Brown, and possibly this upcoming draft’s first-rounder, it will be interesting to see if Bone can crack the rotation with the Pistons next season. If not, he will likely spend another season with the Drive, hopefully making big enough strides to become a rotation piece by his third season – only time will tell which will come to fruition.

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