Oklahoma City Thunder: Perry Jones playing with confidence, aggressiveness in Orlando

Perry Jones got the night off in the Thunder’s 98-84 win over Brooklyn on Monday, but he showed enough in those first two days to make you think his motor might no longer be a concern.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: July 7, 2014

— Perry Jones looks like a totally different player.

The wide array of skills and the bursts of world-class athleticism are still there.

They were seen throughout the Thunder’s debut on the opening day of the Orlando Pro Summer League. Jones stepped into a rhythmic mid-range jumper on one possession and knocked down a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer on another. He finished a play in transition with an explosive layup on one sequence and later blew by his defender in a halfcourt set with a two-dribble drive that ended in a powerful dunk.

But there were two major differences.

Confidence and assertiveness.

In his first two games in Orlando, Jones competed with a spirit that’s been seen only in spurts over his first two seasons in Oklahoma City. His aggressiveness was relentless. His hustle was contagious.

Jones got the night off in the Thunder’s 98-84 win over Brooklyn on Monday, but he showed enough in those first two days to make you think his motor might no longer be a concern. That, of course, has been the biggest knock on Jones since his college days, and little has changed in the two years since Jones left Baylor.

But it appears Jones is striving to shatter that pesky perception once and for all this week.

“It’s a lot easier with a lot more freedom,” Jones said.

This summer league setting is indeed a far cry from what Jones will return to with the Thunder. The challenge for the third-year forward is to bottle up the self-belief he’s displayed down here in Orlando and transfer it back to Oklahoma City.

Jones has averaged 12 points and five rebounds thus far, modest numbers but stats that don’t show how impressive he’s looked. Jones has been decisive offensively, making quick decisions to shoot or drive once the ball lands in his hands, and engaged defensively, taking advantage of his lanky 6-foot-11 inch frame to be a pest at all times.

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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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