Perry Jones III: Are You A Believer?

By Eli Friedman

“Wait, this guy went 28th?”

That’s the first thing that came to my mind after watching Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Perry Jones III play so far. In two preseason games, Jones has gone for five points and eight rebounds against the Rockets and 17 points two nights ago against the Bobcats.

But it’s beyond stats for this guy. It’s the batty amount of potential this stud has. He is 6’9 and as versatile as it gets. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more well-rounded rookie like Jones III. He can pop, roll, or slip off a pick and roll better than most 6’9 guys out there.

The problem now becomes where can he fit in, and to be honest, throw experience out of the window and make room for this promising rookie.

Royce Young of said it well: “Scott Brooks has to find minutes for Perry Jones. Whether it’s by stretching his rotation to 11 guys or it’s by cutting someone else out, he’s just got too much talent not to play. His 17 points in 30 minutes were impressive alone, but the guy makes plays. He had five assists, a block, a steal and three boards. Plus, he’s got crazy bounce. I don’t think it would be outlandish to say he’s the most athletic player on the team. And on this team, that’s saying something.”

Russell Westbrook agrees:

 “He’s a great, great player, in my opinion. He was supposed to be a top two pick.”

Scott Brooks on the stud:

“I think the biggest thing I like is I threw up a lot of different things and multiple positions and he was able to pick things up fairly quick. I say this all the time, it’s not an easy thing to do to pick this league up quickly as a rookie because there are a lot of things thrown at you … but we played him at the 3, we played him at the 4, we had him guard perimeter guys, he had to guard big guys, he brought the ball up the floor, they were pressing and he he made good decisions. And he finished around the basket. His ball handling was good. I thought he was really good all game long.”

But, here’s the problem, who do you bench to fit him in the rotation? Maybe Cook? Except Cook has the ability to stretch the floor with his ability to shoot the ball. Aldrich? He has proven he can play, and it’s ‘his time’ to play in OKC. It’s a tough decision for Brooks and the coaching staff in Oklahoma City.

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