Six Degrees of the Harden Trade – On Monday, David Thorpe revealed his picks for the top 20 sophomores in the NBA. The Houston Rockets’ very own Terrence Jones–the no. 18 pick of that draft–came in ranked no. 5. He falls in behind the “big three” of Anthony Davis (Baby Duncan), Andre Drummond (Baby Shaq) and Damian Lillard (babies play better defense) and behind Jared Sullinger.Here’s what Thorpe says about the Katana:
A nonfactor last season and the first two weeks of this season, Jones has emerged as a strong player on a contending team in the West. The Omer Asik drama has helped Jones, who is now starting for Houston and playing as if he plans to be in that spot for a long time.Houston wants a power forward who can help Dwight Howard rebound and who can make 3s so Howard has more space to operate in half-court sets. Jones is the answer. Not only can he rebound and shoot 3s, but he also brings athleticism and basketball savvy as a scorer, using scoops and hooks appropriately or adding subtle fakes and changes of pace.
Love me some Terrence Jones. Now, lets tie this in with the Harden trade. If you have ESPN Insider, you’ll scroll down the article, past where Patrick Beverley is ranked no. 8 (Ben Wallace, patron saint of undrafted players, smiles down from the heavens), you’ll see our old friend Jeremy Lamb ranked no. 16.Lamb Chops was a key piece in the Harden trade–the golden parachute to soften the impact of Kevin Martin leaving in free agency. But remember, Terrence Jones was extremely available for that trade. Like, Charlotte-Bobcats-tickets-in-March available. Lamb is developing well this year, filling his role and helping his team, but he’s not having a breakout season like Jones.It doubtful that Daryl Morey knew that the Katana would turn out quite as well as he’s playing right now. After all, he took Lamb and Royce White ahead of Jones in that draft. Still, every time Terrence Jones makes a basket, another piece of Sam Presti’s heart dies, and Dork Elvis chuckles. The reasons that Houston won the Harden trade keep piling up. All That Power – Apologies for not being able to post a Daily on Tuesday to include the power rankings, but Houston climbed two spots in Marc Stein’s rankings to no. 8, they’re also no. 8 in the Hollinger (computerized) rankings. Points for consistency, I guess.Don’t Worry. Be Happy. – Dwight Howard spoke with the media after practice on Tuesday. This is not breaking news. He talked a little bit about how well Asik played against the Grizzlies and about how he’s sort of mentoring Terrence Jones–also not breaking news. Nothing he said was really breaking news. But he looked happy for the first time in a while. That’s probably more important than anything he might have said. Contributor Needed – I’m still taking applications for someone to replace me as news editor, which mostly involves writing the Daily. I’ll be writing less starting around Christmas. Email me at email@example.com if you’re interested.