Terrence Jones Versatility Fueling Rockets Front Court
The Houston Rockets came into the 2014/15 season with high hopes for power forward Terrence Jones. After a strong sophomore season, Jones is back from injury . The versatile forward is delivering on both ends of the floor, while posting a PER of 19.77 on the season.
It wasn’t all roses as their was a speed bump which caused the former 1st round pick to miss some time after suffering a nerve injury in his left leg. The injury surfaced on November 4th and initially looked to be very serious, leaving Jones and the team concerned about his future.
“It was scary, very scary for me not to have any movement in my leg at first and not being able to move it as a basketball player is going to scare anybody” – Jones
Jones made his return to the Rockets lineup on January 28th, helping rejuvenate the front court and fill a serious hole in the paint. Dwight Howard was also injured, playing his last game on January 23rd and remains without timetable for return.
This helped to motivate the high flyer to be a force on the glass. He has helped replace the 3 offensive rebounds that were lost because of Dwight Howard’s absence. Jones posted 9 offensive rebounds in a single game and has finished in double digit rebounding several times.
MVP candidate James Harden has helped lead this group through a tough transition, with an even tougher schedule. The beard hasn’t had to fight alone. The Rockets depth has really shined, thanks in part to former Kentucky Wildcat Terrence Jones.
It took Jones a period of time to recapture his rhythm after losing all feeling in his left leg, but since finding his step, the 3rd year pro been on a serious tear. January 20th was the first time he played significant time over 21 minutes since returning to the lineup. He has been rolling ever since.
His most recent 8 game stretch has seen him accumulate some really balanced numbers, which of course includes an almost nightly block party.
Since returning to starting lineup:
Points Per Game: 16.6 Field Goal Percent: 63% Rebounds Per Game: 9.6 Blocks Per Game: 2.5 Turn Overs Per Game: 1
The video below shows Jones versatility is used on the defensive end. After blocking the shot he is able to make the right pass, which ultimately turned his defensive effort into an offensive opportunity for teammates:
The Rise of Terrence Jones
Jones real offense strength are in the paint. He is excellent playing off the pick & roll as his agility and speed allow him to finish at the rim with a great deal of efficiency. Transition play is another area where he excels on offense. Jones does a great job at getting out on the break and playing above the rim. In the video below, Jones and Brewer are able to convert by reading each other in the half court set:
He uses a variety of moves to finish in the paint. His post game is very broad as he can be very creative when playing on the block. He isn’t just a high flyer. The shot chart below is only a few games shy of accurate 2014/15 season totals. In the last two games Jones has not attempted a 3pt shot and has continued to do his damage in the paint. This gives us a really good look at where he focuses the offensive part of this game. It’s no secret where the left hander is strongest:
Last season Jones started to develop a mid-range game. He was definitely still strongest in the painted area where he took 556 shots over the course of the season. In 2013/14 he also put up 101 triples, making 30 of them. Not a phenomenal 3pt shooter, but a part of his game that looked to be growing.
It seemed as if he was working towards being a power forward with a respectable mid-range and 3pt game. Since coming back from injury, Jones has taken ten 3-point attempts in the last 13 games. He has also taken very few shots outside the paint and inside the perimeter as indicated on the chart above.
This isn’t a bad thing, but it makes you wonder if he has become gun shy. His shot selection has helped in staying efficient, making better than 50% from the field. The Rockets need him in the paint a lot more than they do from 3 point line, especially because of his offensive rebounding ability.
Jones showcased last year he can shoot the basketball. His free throw shooting is still a work in progress and something he will continue to try and fix. The bottom line is that if Terrence Jones ever becomes a guy that can shoot the basketball with consistency from ten feet and out, he goes from really good to deadly.
The Houston Rockets are relishing his defense, energy and shot blocking. His ability to get out in transition and play at the rim make him a valuable asset to this team. McHale’s offense is almost tailor made to fit Jones game. There is a chance he becomes a legitimate stretch 4 which would make him scary for opposing teams to contain.
Jones has helped McHale’s troops to stay a float in the West while waiting for Superman. Next season Jones becomes a restricted free agent. Fortunately the Rockets have some cap room to work with, which is a good thing because the 23 year old is going to likely be in for a raise. If this kid ever does put the mid-range game in his tool box for nightly use, he will likely end up an All-Star in the NBA.
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