Through his first two preseason games in the NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Perry Jones III has already started impressing.
Jones had a team-high 14 points in 30 minutes last night vs. the Utah Jazz as the Thunder fell to 0-2 in the preseason. The final scores don’t matter as much as the development of chemistry for a player like Jones.
Jones did not hesitate with his jump shot in the game attempting four threes and making two of them. Jones said before the preseason that is what his teammates – namely Kevin Durant and James Harden – want from him.
Jones was described while in college as someone who had all of the tools but could get lost in a game where you forget sometimes he is on the floor. Even if that is the case, then what better place for him than Oklahoma City that is filled to the brim already with scorers who need the ball.
Jones can better fit in doing the little things, something head coach Scott Brooks said Jones loves to do. Jones can be used in many ways too defending multiple positions and providing the Thunder with more versatility.
“That’s his strength,” Brooks told The Oklahoman. “He is a versatile guy. He can score inside. He can score outside. He has a good feel for the game.”
The Thunder are known for not just drafting based on ability and also considering the mentality of the player and how they will mesh with the rest of the roster. This may again be the case of brilliant drafting by the Thunder in snagging Jones No. 28 overall in the 2012 Draft.
Jones primarily played the backup small forward minutes last night and we have still yet to see what he will look like playing alongside OKC’s Big 4. There is a good chance Westbrook and Harden will be suiting up in the Thunder’s next preseason game at home on Tuesday night so maybe then we will get a look at Jones with the starters.
Jones still has some work to do to crack the rotation but it is seeming more and more likely that he will. Jones may resemble more of the stretch four mold but with everyone feeling a little down on Daequan Cook, Jones may see more action at the three.
Within the Thunder rotation, Jones playing more three will bode well for him cracking the 10-man rotation and even becoming an option to close games playing next to Westbrook-Harden-Durant-Ibaka.
You never want to overanalyze too much from preseason games but it’s more than that with Jones. He looks comfortable, everything is so smooth and easy for him, and the coaches like him.
The Thunder may have just gotten the steal of the draft this year.