(Great analysis from ForThree. -- TZ)
No, I'm not talking about his potential career in underwear ads ala Roger Craig, I'm talking about looking at his year to date and seeing if we can find player(s) he resembles to give us an idea of his possible career trajectory. I'm trying to answer the question, given what we know, how good do we think he might be?
Rebounding is the first thing I think of for JT, so that's where I started. First I compared him to Charles Oakley. The bad news is, there's no comparison:
JT(22) - ORB 11.2, DRB 19.4
Oakley(22) - ORB 15.7, DRB 27.1
However, Oakley was a complete beast for rebounding, so I think we found our ceiling, its likely JT won't be as good a rebounder as Oakley. The next guy that came to mind for me was Horace Grant, here's his numbers:
Grant(22) - ORB 9.8, DRB 18.2
That's a pretty good match, giving JT the nod. Grant had similar rebounding numbers until he was 28 and then from 28-30 reached his peak.
One other comparison I made was Larry Nance. Nance was a very good offensive player and a decent rebounder, averaging 8-9 rebounds per 36 minutes for his career. JT's current season would have been the best season of Nance's entire career, so rebounding wise, I think we can park JT as better than Nance, slightly better than Horace Grant and not as good as Charles Oakley. That leaves JT as a 10 rp36min guy, a threat every night to get the 10 side of a 20/10 performance.
JT's offensive numbers so far:
JT(22) - 13.5 PER, 54.2% TS%, AST% 6.8, TOV% 15.7, ORtg 104
Boozer(21) - PER 17.9, TS% 57.7%, AST 9.3%, TOV 12.8%, ORtg 114
Wayman Tisdale (21) - PER 14.0, 53.9% TS%, AST 5.4%, TOV 14.5%, ORtg 101
Otis Thorpe(22) - PER 16.6, 62.0% TS%, AST 8.1%, 18.1% TOV%, ORtg 111
Antonio McDyess(21) - PER 15.6, 51.7% TS%, 5.8% AST%, 13.5% TOV%, ORtg 102
Some other players I looked at JT doesn't measure up to offensively: Terry Cummings, Grandmama (Larry Johnson).
On offense, JT hasn't demonstrated he's going to be an elite player. His first year doesn't match guys like Boozer, Otis Thorpe, Terry Cummings, etc. He is similar to some players that were good offensively though. Many here remember Wayman Tisdale, he was pretty decent on offense, Antonio McDyess seems to be the best match I can find.
The best projection I can come up with for JT in two-four years or so is 16-18ppg / 9-10rpg, with a career similar to Antonio MCDyess (hopefully minus the injuries). That's a hell of a good player, but probably not a multiple time All-Star or anything like that. JT should be a better rebounder than most of his peers, but so far hasn't shown the quick hands for steals or a lot of blocked shots, even for a forward. He probably won't be a 20/10 guy, and its unlikely he'll be a lead player. He seems like about the 3rd best player on a very good team with a PER of about 20.