Oklahoma City Thunder: Perry Jones III still searching for his niche after two seasons

Thunder coach Scott Brooks called Perry Jones the team’s utility defender this season. With great size, length and foot speed, Jones has been labeled the best athlete on the team. But he’s had trouble turning his world-class athleticism into a singular skill.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: June 13, 2014


photo - Oklahoma City Thunder's Perry Jones talks to the media during exit interviews at the teams practice facility in Oklahoma City,  Monday June2, 2014. PHOTO BY STEVE GOOCH, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City Thunder's Perry Jones talks to the media during exit interviews at the teams practice facility in Oklahoma City, Monday June2, 2014. PHOTO BY STEVE GOOCH, The Oklahoman

After attempting only two 3-pointers last season, missing both, Jones revealed a rhythmic shooting stroke in his second season. He made 22 of 61 3-point tries (36.1 percent) and showed signs of becoming particularly effective from the corners.

“Hopefully if I keep shooting — (if) my shooting’s good — it’ll open up things like driving and attacking the paint,” Jones said. “Also getting other guys open shots. Hopefully it’ll take some of the pressure off Kevin (Durant) and Russ and make their jobs easier.”

Jones appeared in 62 games, seven starts, and logged 764 minutes. A year ago, he appeared in only 38 games, one start, and tallied just 280 minutes. It was a small step but a sign that the coaching staff had grown more comfortable with Jones and trusted him more to contribute.

The biggest show of support came on Jan. 29 at Miami.

“That night, my heart started beating fast when Coach said I was starting at half,” Jones remembered of being named Kendrick Perkins’ replacement and the primary defender on LeBron James. “But he trusted in me, trusted in me that I could do it. Stuff like that, encouragement like that lets me know I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to. Just going out there and actually doing what he asked me to do against one of the best players in the league, I gained confidence.”

But Jones is still searching for his niche, searching for what will keep him on the floor.

He’s hoping to find it this summer but admittedly walked into the offseason unsure of how he’ll look come November.

“I don’t know how this summer is going to actually go,” Jones said. “All I can do is work hard and do the best I can.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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