Oklahoma City Thunder: Making the most of Perry Jones III
The Thunder didn’t get a steal with Perry Jones III at No. 28 in the NBA Draft on Thursday. Too early to say that. But the Thunder absolutely got a free pick. At No. 28, you’re drafting a guy that, odds are, rarely will start and would be a rotation player for awhile, not necessarily long.
Jones might be that. He also could be much better than that. The Baylor forward has incredible skill for a big man (6-foot-10), which is how Jones got mentioned a year ago as a likely lottery pick but who fell, fell, fell, all the way to the bottom of the first round.
The knocks against Jones were health (he’s got a knee problem) and motor (he doesn’t seem to play with a ton of energy).
But here’s the beauty of those potential problems, as far as the Thunder is concerned. Sam Presti and Co. can take their time addressing whatever the problem is.
If it’s health, give Jones all the time he needs to work on the knee. Surgery, rehab, rest, doesn’t matter. Let him get well, even if that means sitting part or all of next season. Certainly the Thunder didn’t draft Jones to make an impact in 2012-13.
If it’s the motor, if Jones needs to learn to play hard and concentrate, needs to learn to harness and expend energy, needs to learn to work harder, well, what better classroom than Thunder U? Let him hang around with earlybirds Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Let a little Kendrick Perkins intensity rub off on him. The Thunder will know soon enough if Jones has an energy crisis.
Presti brought assistant general manager Troy Weaver to the post-draft press conference Thursday night — Presti probably won’t do that again; Weaver said more than Presti usually does. Weaver said other teams “probably had questions about (Jones’) medicals. I would think that maybe that had something to do with it. Maybe people didn’t do their homework as well. I’m not sure. But I would think that the medical had something to do with it because he was projected to be picked higher.”
This is why this was a free pick. The Thunder didn’t really have a roster spot for anybody. At least not in the rotation. I was betting on the Thunder, if it stayed at 28th, to draft an international player and stock him away for awhile. But with Jones available, the Thunder got a player that might force his way into the rotation.
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