Feb 22, 2012; Oklahoma City OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden (13) shoots a free throw during the second quarter against Boston Celtics at Chesapeake Energy Arena Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

James Harden: Perry Jones III is most athletic player on OKC Thunder


There is nothing but good things being said about Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Perry Jones III just four days into training camp.

The Thunder selected Jones with the 28th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Jones was once considered a lottery talent but a few red flags and the depth of this draft class had him fall all the way down to Oklahoma City.

All impressions so far point to the fact that Jones is supremely talented for his size and position.

“Perry has done a great job; very athletic,” James Harden told The Oklahoman. “He’s been on that second unit with me as well so he’s kind of picking it up quick.”

Harden was then asked if the guys had to push Jones to get him going all out. That was one of the criticisms about Jones in college at Baylor that he didn’t always play to his full potential.

“Nah (laughs),” Harden said. “We’ve seen it a lot the way he can jump. He’s so athletic it’s unbelievable, probably the most athletic on our team.”

Calling Jones the most athletic player on the team is extremely high praise when you’re playing for the Thunder alongside players like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. This isn’t the first time either as head coach Scott Brooks also said this week that Jones was as fast as anyone on the team.

Obviously, Jones isn’t quite the athlete Westbrook is. The good news is that he is really jumping out athletically in practice. At 6-foot-11, 235 pounds Jones could become a real force in the NBA if he lives up to his potential.

For the Thunder he will not be asked to do too much right away and may not even crack the rotation at the start of the season. But with the league becoming more position-less with a higher value on versatility, Jones may become the perfect fit on the floor with Westbrook, Harden, Durant and Serge Ibaka.

Harden also said yesterday that he has only been playing with the second unit. Thabo Sefolosha has been injured and not practicing in full but other players besides Harden are filling in for the first unit.

“Can’t, Can’t do it,” Harden said. “Them my guys. Me and Nick Collison, that’s my guy.”

The Thunder will play their first preseason game next Wednesday, Oct. 10 vs. the Houston Rockets.

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Tags: James Harden Oklahoma City Thunder Perry Jones III

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