Terrence Jones is an athletic mutant. That’s the most complimentary description that springs to mind whenever he’s racing around a basketball court on my television. Jones makes the difficult look effortless, but turns simple situations into a sticky Rubix cube. Two weeks ago he wasn’t in Houston’s rotation. Two nights ago he scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds in the first quarter of a go-away thrashing against the Boston Celtics.
What we don’t know about Jones is precisely why he’s so exciting. Only 21 years old, his play in sparse minutes this season has been instinctive, energetic, and—dare I recall Bradley Cooper’s sleeper hit from 2011—limitless.
As a shot-blocker he looks like a mini-Dwight Howard, and his full on desire to take the ball coast to coast after ripping a board off the glass rekindles thoughts of a young Josh Smith. When Houston played Denver earlier this week, Jones was matched up with Kenneth Faried, a bouncy ball of exuberance. “Can Jones be Houston’s Kenneth Faried, or would that limit his potential?” was something I jotted in my notebook after watching him snag a rebound over three Denver forwards.
All these comparisons are obviously speculation (or hearsay, to some), but now that Kevin McHale has unofficially given up on an Omer Asik-Howard pairing—and until we discover the returns on whatever golden goose Morey lands for Asik—Jones is Houston’s starting power forward in the here and now. Here are three questions that should help us get to know him a little better.
In a near playoff atmosphere, the Rockets crumbled under pressure in the 4th quarter. Leading by 14 to start the 4th, the Rockets defense disappeared. Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki scored at will in the final frame as the Mavs outscored Houston 36 to 19. The defensive weaknesses were very apparent and will have to be solved to beat good teams. Dallas is a very good offensive team with Nowitzki, Ellis, Carter and Calderon able to hit big shots in the clutch.
As the clock wound down, Nowitzki hit shot after shot on Jones. Jones wasn’t effective on Nowitzki, Dirk shot 13 of 20 for 35 points. Monta Ellis shot 13 of 18 for 37 points. The Maverick veterans showed why coaches love the experienced players in clutch time. It was Ellis, Nowitzki and Carter dominating our young guys at the end of the game.
What Does It All Mean? – Grantland’s Jay Caspian Kang examines what to make of Jeremy Lin’s transition from sports icon to pretty good player:
More importantly, the enthusiasm seems to be back — despite his modesty in interviews and his Christian, clean-cut image, the best Jeremy Lin is actually an irrational-confidence guy. You want him to believe that he deserves to have the ball in his hands and that he can score on anyone. If he can merge the gunner Jeremy Lin with this new version that seems content to play off of Harden, there’s no reason to think he couldn’t earn out the remainder of his average salary, regardless of how heavy the hit might be in the last year of his poison-pill contract.
Of course, that was written before Lin’s no-show against Dallas.
Post Posts – Hardwood Paroxysm bounces off of this NBA.com article about Olajuwon’s comments about Dwight Howard’s post play.
One of the main reasons Dwight chose Houston was because of the rare opportunity he had to learn from two of the best post-players in NBA history in Kevin McHale and Hakeem Olajuwon. However, there are a couple of issues with that: 1) McHale can’t spend all his time with Dwight because, well, he’s the head coach and 2) Olajuwon isn’t even in Houston right now. He’s at his home in Jordan, watching the Houston Rockets on TV, sighing every time Dwight throws up one of his patented hook shots. Even though the two spent hours together in the off-season, trying to refine his post-game, it’s easy for Dwight to go back to what he’s comfortable with because he’s been doing it for nine straight years.
Of course, that was also written before Howard’s excellent post performance…that was squandered against Dallas.