It has been a quiet season thus far for Perry Jones III, but it might not be his fault.
The first-round draft pick out of Baylor is averaging just 3.8 points per game and 1.9 rebounds. But the startling statistic—at least to me—is that he averages only 10.4 minutes per game.
Jones has all of the tools necessary to be a solid player in the NBA: strength, quickness, intelligence, size and shooting ability.
In the limited time he's been on the court this season for the Thunder, he has shot 55 percent from the field. So wouldn't it make sense for Thunder head coach Scott Brooks to try and get him more minutes in games? After all, there's only so much a guy can do if he's only given 10.4 minutes per game.
Let's take a look at the Thunder's game against the Utah Jazz just a week ago.
Jones was given 19 minutes. Not a lot, but it's a step in the right direction. He ended up 5-of-7 from the field and 3-of-3 from three-point land. He ended the game with 13 points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
So after that game, Brooks surely gave Jones more time, right?
In the two games since Jones' impressive performance, he has not played a single minute by coach's decision.
Before we start pointing the finger at Brooks though, let's take a deeper look into the situation.
If Jones is going to get more minutes, that means other players will have to receive fewer minutes. Unfortunately, the only other small forward who gets time for the Thunder is Kevin Durant, and there's no way he is getting fewer minutes.
However, there is the option for Brooks to play around with his lineup by going small and having Durant and Jones both on the court at the same time. But then there's still the question of who Jones will come in for.
Royce Young of DailyThunder.com noted the dilemma Brooks is facing in getting Jones more playing time with so many bench players already contributing in games:
Brooks is in a bit of a pickle with Jones. He’s been really effective when he’s played, but there aren’t too many situations where he fits. But he needs to play, and not just in the first half. If he’s going to drop those corner 3s, and he’s going to finish inside, he’s got to find the floor for some run every night.
Brooks is in a tough spot because while his bench isn’t overly outstanding or anything, it certainly is deep. There are 11 guys on this team that could see minutes any given night and with three guys penciled in to take around 35 each a night, that makes it tough to find time for guys like Jones.
As far as Brooks' decision to keep giving Jones limited minutes in games goes, it is hard to argue against it when the team is winning.
To Brooks' credit, he has been more open-minded with his lineup this season than any past season in his career.
It's beneficial for the Thunder to use 10 or more players on a given night. And even though Jones isn't getting the minutes he probably deserves, there's no telling how many minutes he'll be getting by the end of the season.
Until then, we can all sigh whenever we see him taking up space on the Thunder bench and imagine what it would be like to have him standing in the corner of the perimeter, just waiting to sink threes.
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