On Thursday night, Peter Jok did not hear his name called in the two-round NBA draft.
It wasn’t exactly unexpected, as the sweet shooting guard from Des Moines wasn’t projected to be a top-60 pick. As good as Jok was for the Hawkeyes, there certainly are some fair knocks on his game.
That said, immediately after the draft, Jok let us all know exactly what his plans for the rest of the summer are going to be.
Thank you to @PelicansNBA for giving me a chance at the summer league. You won't regret it!— Peter Jok (@Jok_City14) June 23, 2017
In case you’re not aware, the NBA Summer League is a set of three different tournaments — Orlando, Utah, and Las Vegas — that help teams figure out which players can, well, actually play.
Jok can shoot. We know that. He apparently told the DM Register’s Chad Leistikow that he sees himself as a three-and-D player at the next level which, well, is accurate. Jok doesn’t have the handles or the post game to be an inside-outside threat, but does have a pretty shot.
The thing, however, will be that defense. If you want, you can point to his steals this year as a sign he’s improving on that end but that really has more to do with veteran savvy than anything else. I’ve always thought steals are kind of a trash way to measure how good a player is on defense and it, in fact, says very little about how he impacts the team defense. Jok’s foot speed on the defensive end is still slow and he struggles to switch in the pick ans roll sometimes. He can also lags behind in transition, which will kill you in the NBA.
It’s teachable stuff, but as a 23-year old, the clock is ticking. That said, there very well could be a spot for him on the Pels. This is a team that knows him too — New Orleans was one of the few teams that Jok had a chance to work out for.
Peter Jok on joining the Pelicans as a free agent: "They need shooters next year, and I have a really high chance of making the roster.”— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) June 23, 2017
I don’t know about a ‘high’ chance, but there is a chance. He certainly isn’t wrong about New Orleans needing shooting. Point guard Jrue Holiday is going to be in line for a huge contact and with DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis both on payroll, that’s not going to be the easiest thing in the world to give.
Jordan Crawford is exactly the type of player Jok wants to be and is still under contract for another year. Small forward Solomon Hill and shooting guard E’Twaun Moore are also under contract through the 2019-20 season and are going to be owed 37 million and 26 million during that period, respectively.
This is a Pelicans team that is in a weird spot, as well. After trading for Boogie halfway through last season, it was expected to make a run for a playoff spot. They fell flat and now are caught in the awkward place of being good enough to make the playoffs on paper while potentially shooting for a lottery pick in reality.
With Davis under contract for the next four years, however, this is a team that’s going to be in win-now mode and it will be interesting to see if that affects how they feel about Jok.
Of course, this isn’t to say he couldn’t potentially carve himself out a role on this team, though this is all assuming he looks good in the Summer League and even makes his way onto a roster. Jok has expressed interest to stay in the United States, which sort of rules out any type of Euroleague basketball. A trip through the D (now G)-League isn’t out of the picture, something that worked out pretty well for Jarrod Uthoff.
An aside on Uthoff — the Mavericks only had one pick in the draft, picking up NC State guard Dennis Smith Jr., so it would seem his spot on the team is looking pretty good right now.
The Las Vegas summer league — the one Jok will be in — runs July 7-17 and will be televised on a combination of NBATV and ESPN.
Here’s the schedule:
He’ll get to showcase his stuff along with rookie guard — and New Orleans only draft pick — Frank Jackson, who was the first pick of the second round. It’ll be a long, tough road for Jok to make an NBA squad (and hey, it might not even be the Pels that end up giving him a shot) but he’s more than up for the challenge.