Grading Perry Jones III’s 2013-14 season.
Shooting: B. His 3-point shooting was great. His mid-range game needs work. But the tools appear to be there. Jones unexpectedly developed into a really effective long-range shooter, making 36.1 percent of his shots from distance. From the corners, he was tremendous, shooting 16 of 38 (42 percent) from those spots. But he had a rough time figuring out his in-between game. He hit just 14 of 45 shots (31.1 percent) from mid-range and didn’t appear nearly as comfortable a foot or two inside the 3-point line as he did behind it as a spot-up shooter.
Energy: C. It’s been the biggest knock on Jones since college. After two seasons, it lingers as a problem area. Jones had too many moments where he didn’t make his presence felt. With his God-given athletic ability, that should never happen. But his lack of assertiveness resulted in stretches where you barely noticed Jones on the floor. Jones admits he’s still figuring out how to use his athleticism to his advantage at all times. But after two seasons, we’re rapidly reaching the point where his place on the Thunder might depend on him getting it down.
Defense: B. Who can forget Jan. 29? It was Jones’ signature moment. The night he started the second half at Miami, took the assignment of defending LeBron James and sparked a 43-point turnaround, helping the Thunder turn an early 18-point deficit into a late 25-point victory. That’s when it became clear that Jones’ versatility could really benefit the Thunder. Though he wasn’t a dominant defender this year, Jones supplied great minutes on multiple occasions and used his length and athleticism to harass both ball-handlers and bigs at the rim.
Rebounding: D. This goes back to Jones’ energy and effort. He has ideal size and world-class athleticism, yet he didn’t make a dent in the rebounding department. The raw numbers say he averaged 1.8 rebounds, which is just 0.2 more than he did last season despite averaging five fewer minutes. But his rebounding percentage, an estimate of the percentage of available rebounds a player grabbed during his court time, dropped on both the offensive and defensive ends. His total rebounding percentage fell from an encouraging — although perhaps misleading given his hefty garbage-time minutes — 12.7 last year to 8.4 this year. By comparison, Russell Westbrook, coming off of three knee surgeries, posted a rebounding rate of 10.5.
Finishing ability: A. No complaints about Jones here. He shot 63.2 percent at the rim this season, up from 57.1 percent as a rookie. He worked his way to the rim by running the floor in transition and, more impressively, by reading and reacting to the defense and demonstrating impeccable timing as a cutter in halfcourt sets. Once at the rim, Jones was a handful thanks to his size and athleticism.