I will be highlighting the draft selections of two players, more similar than not, that were both drafted out of their Sophomore seasons, and share the last name Jones. These two players are Terrence Jones of the national champion Kentucky Wildcats and Perry Jones, III, of the Baylor Bears. Both will be playing the forward positions for their respective teams when they suit up in the future.
Had you told me prior to the draft that Terrence Jones would be drafted before Perry Jones, III, I would have responded, “It could happen. We’ll see.” However, if you had told me Terrence Jones would be drafted 10 picks ahead of Perry Jones, III, I probably would have labeled that claim as asinine. That is not to undermine Terrence Jones’ abilities. I just see Perry Jones, III as more of a game changer than he is. Perry Jones, III had a lingering knee injury that probably had teams unsure and uneasy about him, which probably explains being drafted 28th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Who is in the better position?
Before this question is answered, it must be clarified what is being asked. This is not asking, “Who is going to win more?” It would be a fair bet that Perry Jones, III is in a better winning position. He was drafted by the Western Conference Champions, who’s core stars are remaining on the team next season (while James Harden’s status is not certain yet). However, the question is “Who is in a better position to contribute to the success of his respective team and make a bigger impact (earlier)?”
Terrence Jones was one of three rookies drafted in the first round by the Rockets in the 2012 NBA Draft. With Houston stockpiling draft picks, and trade rumors looming around, the Rockets sent the message loud and clear that they’re rebuilding. Terrence Jones has the potential to be a big part of that franchise’s turnaround. His size and skill set can pose a threat to big men that are not as athletic as he is. A very underrated part of Jones’ game is his ability to step back and hit big jumpers. He is not a three point assassin, but he can help spread the floor and open up the paint for slashers like Kevin Martin and the rookie Jeremy Lamb, and the tank, Royce White. Jones will have to assert himself, much like he did at times during his sophomore season at Kentucky, and make his presence felt. There were times at Kentucky where it seemed like Jones was lost in the shuffle because of all the attention on the freshman sensations, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. There is a strong chance for that to happen again with there being several able bodied veterans on the team already such as Luis Scola and Kevin Martin, and an array new rookies trying to make their mark too. In the future, if Terrence Jones works to increase the skills he already has and build himself around the team’s system, he can be a very solid starter in this league and a huge part of the Rockets franchise.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder are coming off their best season as a franchise with Kevin Durant being the three time scoring champion, and the team reaching the 2012 NBA Finals. This young team is very hungry and looks to cement its place in the upper echelon of elite teams in the NBA for several years to come. Perhaps the Thunder got yet another draft steal by picking proposed lottery pick, Perry Jones, III. Jones enters the Thunder with little pressure. He will be watched with scrutinizing eyes because of his repertoire and potential, but at the 28th pick, not much would be lost. Also, he is entering a team with its core stars already established. Assuming James Harden returns, Jones would most likely be the fourth offensive option. Whether he starts or not remains to be seen, but regardless of his depth chart position, Jones can add to the secondary scoring on the team. The offensive load is very heavy on Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. Having a fourth option also reduces some of the pressure on the previously named stars. This will mean Jones will get his opportunities and touches. His wiry build, similar to teammate Kevin Durant’s stature, will allow him to get past taller defenders when he slashes and will help him on the defensive end around the block and defending the passing lanes. Every facet of Jones’ game, from his slashing ability and his range, to his pass lane defense, will contribute to the future success of the Thunder.
Who’s Better Off?
Both players should have ample opportunities to play and establish themselves. Similarly, both players have joined teams that may get crowded and as a result, may have to sacrifice some playing time to other teammates. I truly believe that Terrence Jones has the better chance of making an earlier impact than Perry Jones, III because the Rockets are in a rebuilding phase, which means the team’s direction will be focused on and centered around its youth. Terrence Jones has the opportunity early to make his name a household name in Houston and potentially, around the league. The Thunder are already in a winning position and are now looking for key role pieces, which it seems likely that Perry Jones, III could fit. I have much hope for him and do not expect him to be a bust, however, it will take time for Perry Jones, III to begin to come into his own as a professional player. His reserved nature will not suffice in this league and he will have to assert himself to avoid being completely exploited by wily veterans. Terrence Jones does not seem to have that same issue and at times, takes over. That is one of the key reasons I believe we will be hearing the name Terrence Jones before Perry Jones, III.
What do you think?
Follow me on Twitter and return feedback and feel free anytime to discuss the status of the NBA with me.
Tags: NBA Draft 2012