Perry Jones III is an impressive rookie for the Thunder, but before Scotty Brooks can use Jones, the Thunder coach must figure out how to use the Baylor flash. A 6-foot-11 forward with good ball skills is always handy, but Jones really hasn’t shown whether he’s more adept at power forward or wing forward.
But here’s what Jones looks like to me. A prototypical backup for Kevin Durant. Which the Thunder has not had.
It’s hard to replicate Durant, of course. The Thunder hasn’t even tried since the Jeff Green trade in February 2011. In the old days, Green often played with the B team. Brooks would take out Durant and Russell Westbrook, and Green would shift from power forward to wing forward.
Since the trade, the Thunder has just retooled its B team, with Daequan Cook replacing Durant but rarely even lining up where Durant treads. Think about it. Eric Maynor (or Reggie Jackson last season, after Maynor’s injury) replaces Westbrook. James Harden replaces Thabo Sefolosha. Nick Collison replaces Serge Ibaka. Nazr Mohammed replaced Kendrick Perkins. All at least played the same position.
But for two years, Daequan Cook has replaced Durant. And their games are nothing alike. Cook is a standstill shooter. A guy who stands in the corner, waiting for an open 3-pointer. Durant does most every thing. Cook does one thing.
Perry Jones III looks like a poor man’s Durant. Same kind of player. Tall, slender, skilled, athletic. If Brooks wants to give opponents a completely different look not just in substance, but in style, then Cook is an interesting curveball to replace Durant’s heat.
But if Brooks wants the Thunder B team to be a little more traditional, a little mainstream, then Jones maintains the integrity. A B team of Maynor, Harden, Jones, Collison and Cole Aldrich is an interesting fivesome. Jones can’t shoot like Cook can, but he does everything else better, I assume. Put Jones on that B team, and it seems more likely to hold its own until the troops return.