And then there’s the intriguing idea of reinserting Perry Jones into the rotation. He has only been given 15 playoff minutes, all mop-up duty. But for brief stretches in the regular season, Jones received extended run and showed flashes. And he even started in Ibaka’s place during the only game he missed.
As a 6-foot-11 guard/forward hybrid, Jones would allow the Thunder to “go small,” while staying big. Described by Brooks as a “utility defender,” Jones can guard multiple positions and free up Durant to slide to the power forward on offense, creating tough cross-matches for the Spurs.
Because of its youth, athleticism and length, the Thunder has had San Antonio’s number the past few seasons. The loss of Ibaka diminishes that. But a reinsertion of Jones or even Jeremy Lamb into the mix, creating some surprising and unique lineups, could help counteract that.
“The coaching staff has done an excellent job this season developing the roster and creating a lot of different options,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said. “… But not everybody can play. What I expect is that the coaches take a thorough look at everything and put together a gameplan that they feel like optimizes the group in this particular series.”
Ibaka’s injury creates some massive and unavoidable challenges for the Thunder. But if Brooks is willing to make some unique adjustments, he could create present some intriguing challenges for the Spurs.