Can Terrence Jones Be Houston Rockets X-Factor?


“I want to get better all-around, in the post, shooting, just come back a better all-around player for my team.-Jones”

When the 2015-16 NBA season tips off in October, all eyes will be on Rockets’ two All-stars James Harden and Dwight Howard. After advancing to the Western Conference Finals and making some key additions to their team the Houston Rockets are one of the favorites to win it all next season.

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Although, no player on the team will get as much praise (or blame) for the Rockets success next season than James Harden and Dwight Howard, there is an X-Factor that can make or break the Rockets. Entering his fourth season with the Rockets, Terrence Jones will be the Rockets’ X-Factor for the upcoming season. Jones can play an important role in the Rockets’ lineup like Draymond Green does for the Golden State Warriors.

A defensive minded player that can create scoring opportunities for himself. However, unlike Green who just signed a multi-year contract with the Warriors, Jones finds himself in the mix of a NBA trade rumor. Check out today’s article by Tamberlyn Richardson who highlights the recent activity around the rumors. If you believe the numerous stories and twitter activity there is the potential for a trade with Phoenix Suns with Terrence Jones as part of the exchange, but would that be all the Suns would want in return Markieff Morris?

As the Rockets try to make a run at a championship next season, this would not be a great move.

May 14, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones (6) shoots past Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) in game six of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Since entering the league in 2012 from Kentucky, the 23-year-old has continued to improve as one of the league’s rising stars.

Jones has already shown that he is capable to score from inside and out, and has established himself as a respectable defensive player.

Although, the 2014-15 season was an injury plagued season, in the 33 games Terrence Jones played, he was still a productive player.

Jones averaged 11.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and led the teams in blocks with 1.8 per game.

However, it was his player efficiency rating (PER) that stood out the most. Jones’s career high PER of 18.31, was the third highest only behind Harden and Howard.

Even after Kevin McHale replaced Jones in the starting lineup with an inconsistent Josh Smith during the postseason, he still played a significant role off the bench for the Rockets.

And Jones will only to continue to get better.

If the Rockets do pull off the trade and send Terrence Jones to Phoenix for Markieff Morris, the Rockets may take a step back.

Like Jones, Morris has also improved his game on an personal level since entering the league in 2011, but he lacks experience playing on a championship caliber team. During his four years in the league, Morris has never played in the postseason. In contrast Jones has experience and he produced in the postseason.

Since entering the league in 2011 from Kansas, Morris has established himself as a solid offensive player that can stretch the floor. Last season Morris averaged a career high 15.3 points per game. Which is pretty good.

However, the Rockets do not need another score, they need to add more on the defensive end, and Morris has yet to prove himself as a solid defensive player. Morris lack the defensive presence Terrence Jones can bring every night he steps on to the court for the Rockets.

If Terrence Jones can stay healthy next season, he will be an important player to the Rockets as they make their run to the championship title. With the addition of Ty Lawson’s play making abilities, Jones’ game will get even better. The Rockets would be foolish to get rid of this promising young player.

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