The job description for Kevin Durant's backup doesn't include a great deal of opportunity.
And a solidified rotation around the superstar basically nullifies any chance at fringe minutes.
So it's been a relatively anonymous first 17 months for Perry Jones as a professional, serving as little more than a practice body for the Thunder.
But recently, the second-year forward out of Baylor has received a bump in playing time. Scott Brooks has shown a willingness to go deep into his rotation this season, and Jones is one of the key beneficiaries.
“Patience is the key,” Jones said. “I know I put a lot of hard work at the gym, so all I have got to do is be ready when coach calls my name.”
This season, Jones has appeared in 10 of OKC's 12 games, averaging 3.8 points and 1.9 rebounds in 10.4 minutes.
But it has been his activity and improved 3-point range that have impressed the Thunder.
“I've liked his minutes all year long,” Brooks said. “They fluctuate from game to game, but he understands his role right now as a utility man.”
On Sunday against the Jazz, Jones had his best performance as a pro, scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range.
“Just being confident,” Russell Westbrook said of Jones. “I think that's the biggest thing with him is just being confident and (having) confidence in his game that he can play with the best of them.”
Lately, when given the opportunity, he has.
SCORCHING SPURS COMING TO OKC
Fresh off a beatdown of the bottom-feeding Utah Jazz, the Thunder is set for a quick bump in competition over the next week.
It starts on Wednesday night with OKC's biggest test to date as the defending Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs visit The Peake.
The Spurs have won 11 consecutive games — many of which have been blowouts — and own a conference-best 13-1 record.
“They're one of the best teams,” Brooks said. “They're one of the best teams this year, they were one of the best teams last year, they're one of the best teams next year. That's how they run their program.”
STAT OF NOTE
Durant is making an NBA-best 10.9 free throws per game. The entire Spurs team is only averaging 12.9 makes, second lowest in the league.