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Rising NBA defensive star cites Kam Chancellor as one of his influences

NFL: OCT 01 Colts at Seahawks Photo by Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the NBA’s emerging defensive stars has taken notes from what he’s seen on the gridiron, including a Seattle Seahawks legend.

New Orleans Pelicans forward Herb Jones is in his second season out of Alabama, taken early in the second-round of the NBA Draft — if you’re not up to speed on basketball, the NBA Draft only has two rounds so second-rounders might as well be Day 3 picks in the NFL Draft. NBA fans and analysts have been wowed by his high-level defense, and he even received some votes for All-NBA Defensive Second-Team. Had he made the team he would’ve been the first rookie since Tim Duncan in 1998 to get All-NBA Defense honors.

The long-armed, 6’7” Jones recently did an interview with HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto and was asked about the people he watched growing up and how they shaped his style of play. In a twist, he added in NFL safeties Ed Reed and Kam Chancellor.

I watched a ton of Tony Allen and some of Kawhi Leonard. I think my defense and how I see the game is something where I’ve tried to watch safeties in the NFL. Ed Reed and Kam Chancellor, who was long and covered so much ground. I just tried to figure out how they were able to read and react to plays on that side of the field. I felt like if I could take pieces from their mentality, then I could roam around on the basketball court fairly easily.

Obviously you can’t hit people in basketball the way you can in the NFL (at least not since the Bad Boys Pistons in the late 1980s), so this is more of the cerebral side of Kam. Jumping passing lanes, providing help on an offensive player, staying tight in man-to-man coverage, reading off-ball movement, having active hands, etc. can apply to both sports!

It shows you how much the Legion of Boom has transcended beyond football, and if you look at Jones’ rookie highlights he really is a marvel to watch and might just be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate for New Orleans this season.

I don’t see anything in Jones’ bio that suggests he ever played football in high school or younger, but maybe in another lifetime (and chopping off a few inches in height) he’d have been another tall, long-armed outside corner in the NFL.

And as always when we post basketball on this site: Bring back the Sonics.