Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinal: DeQuan Jones won’t forget what happened June 28. He waited for NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver to announce that a team had drafted him in the second round. He waited. And he waited. But Silver never uttered the words “DeQuan Jones.” In retrospect, that painful night might have been the best thing that ever happened to Jones, a 6-foot-8 swingman who played four seasons for the Miami Hurricanes. That excruciating disappointment fueled him and propelled him on an unlikely journey to a spot on the Orlando Magic’s regular-season roster. “I’m ecstatic,” Jones said. Jones could not stop smiling when general manager Rob Hennigan and assistant general manager Scott Perry sat him down inside Amway Center on Saturday and told him he had made the team.
DeQuan first started training at P3 during the pre-draft process in late April, and unlike many of the other NBA prospects training at P3, he did not get the opportunity to show his talents at the Chicago Pre-Draft Combine. Furthermore he only worked out for two NBA teams leading up to the draft. DeQuan used this as fuel to train harder and put in extra work at P3. He often times came in for mobility and regeneration work on his days off or after on-court skills work and continued training at P3 up until the draft. The work ethic displayed at P3 paired with DeQuan’s self-belief, motivation and ability to utilize his athletic assets against NBA competition were ultimately the reasons he earned an roster spot with the Orlando Magic. Given that DeQuan relies so much on his movement capabilities we thought it would be interesting to show some of the science behind his athleticism and how he stacks up to the other NBA wings in our movement database.
The hallmark of our best NBA athletes is their ability to efficiently utilize the stretch shortening cycle (SSC) to create a great deal of power in the vertical plane (think Jeremy Evans aka the human pogo stick). DeQuan is no different and in-fact helps set the bar in when it comes to utilizing elasticity to rapidly generating large amounts of vertical force.
One of the tests we use to quantify and evaluate an athletes ability to utilize elasticity and absorb and redirect force is the drop to depth jump force plate test. This assessment places a heavy eccentric demand on the athlete and gives them the opportunity to utilize the stretch reflex and elastic properties of their muscle-tendon complex to produce far greater athletic results than if they were to rely on muscle contraction alone.
The graph above is from DeQuan’s initial drop to depth jump force plate test. The initial circle and hitch in the graph represents his transition from loading to concentric contraction. The circle on top represents his peak vertical take-off force. This significant transition from loading to peak take-off shows his ability to utilize the stretch reflex and create a great deal of force relative to when he finished loading.
The same qualities that allow DeQuan to efficiently absorb and redirect force in the drop to depth jump force plate test help him perform very well in the pro agility test. The ability to absorb and redirect force is just one of the many components needed to carry out changes in direction, accelerations and decelerations without losing time due to poor mechanics. Hip mobility, active dorsiflexion and hip and trunk stability are often limiting factors for NBA players in this assessment.
DeQuan’s top time in this test ranks in the 93rd percentile, per our NBA wing database.
In the following clip DeQuan utilizes the elasticity generated from a big closing step to easily jump 39.5 inches.
Most importantly DeQuan is able to utilize his athletic gifts to get the better of NBA players.
While DeQuan’s ability to decelerate and efficiently transfer a great deal of momentum in the vertical and linear planes is very impressive what really separates him form other NBA players is his ability to generate lateral force. The horizontal force per kg of body-weight (N/kg) he produces in the left force plate skater test ranks in the 93rd percentile of our NBA wing movement database. The horizontal force per kg of body-weight he produces in the right force plate skater test ranks in the 97th percentile. While there are other factors involved in being a good agility athlete, the ability to rapidly and efficiently generate a large amount of lateral force is essential and is often times an underdeveloped component of NBA athletes.
Precise biomehanical and basketball-specific physical performance testing and data-mining discoveries made it easy to predict that DeQuan would stack up very well to NBA players from an athleticism perspective. If he can continue to develop his skills and apply the same intense and focused effort that allowed him to make a team as an undrafted rookie, the sky will be the limit – literally.