Oct 7, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler (6) defends Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones (6) at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Jonathan Tjarks of Real GM picked a group of five players in the Western Conference he felt were capable of making a huge “internal improvement.” Among those five, which also included Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Jae Crowder and Jon Leuer—Terrence Jones of the Rockets was selected a player due to make improvements this season.
Regarding Jones, Tjarks wrote:
Jones is a textbook case for the importance of internal improvement to a team’s success. If you lose a guy like Chandler Parsons in free agency, one of the most cost-effective ways to replace his production is to redistribute his shots to a younger player ready for a bigger role. Jones played 27 minutes a game last season and had only a 18.3 usage rating, but he was awfully productive in those minutes and he seems more than ready for a bigger role.
He had a 19.1 PER and per-36 minute averages of 16 points, 9 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 blocks on 54% shooting. Jones is big, fast and very skilled for a guy his size – he can handle the ball like a guard and finish at the rim like a big man. Because he wasn’t taken in the lottery and he started his career as a role player on a good team, most people don’t realize how high his ceiling is. If given the chance to create his own offense, he could make a huge leap this season.
The loss of Chandler Parsons will certainly require an increase of offensive production as Tjarks notes. While the losses of Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik will certainly hurt, Terrence Jones is the de facto starter that is going to have to improve for the Rockets to remain a top team.
Jones thrived against several top forwards in the West, most notably Tim Duncan, which indicates his capable of taking on a much bigger role.
Sep 29, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones (6) poses for a photo during media day at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Tjarks notes Jones’ impressive PER and per-minute production, which has been seen throughout his brief NBA career. Few consider if Jones had remained at Kentucky another year, he likely would have been a high lottery pick.
His talent and skill set level have drawn comparisons to Chris Bosh and Josh Smith; and Tjarks’ choice to peg Jones as one of the five most due to improve in the West is fitting.
While the five includes a budding superstar like Anthony Davis, the point is illustrated that Jones may make a quantum leap as early as this season. The implication is that the Rockets need it.