The true value of Terrence Jones

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a sophomore power forward finally gets some playing time for a team desperate to find a solution at that position. This player then takes off, recording piles of double doubles and scoring in bunches. His defense shows progress, his athleticism is crazy and the sky looks like the limit. No, it’s not Kevin Love that I’m talking about, though I can see why you might think that. This is the story of Terrence Jones, Houston’s newest weapon.

Much has been said about Jones and his role on the Houston Rockets. He’s performing at a higher level than anyone not on the Rockets’ payroll predicted, and it’s been a joy to watch. In an NBA season full of injuries, underachievement and tedium, Jones’ rise in Houston offers a counterpoint to the litany of turnovers and bad ball movement the Rockets offer on a daily basis. But while Jones has been playing exceptionally well, his true value this season comes off the court. He isn’t just helping secure wins this season; he’s helping the Rockets’ future, today.

Obviously, if Jones were to keep developing and stay with the team, he will eventually contribute to Houston’s long-term goals. That, however, isn’t even what’s on the table. Even if Jones were to be gone from the team in March, he would already have done the Rockets a great deal of good. In fact, the only scenario where his actions today don’t help the Rockets next season is one where he stays with the team. So what is it, exactly, that he offers Houston?

This has been mentioned before, but it’s becoming increasingly important. Having Jones takes the pressure off general manager Daryl Morey. When the Rockets were desperate to find a starting four, and another big to enter the rotation with Dwight Howard, Morey’s leverage plummeted. Ömer Aşık absolutely can’t exist in the starting lineup with Dwight Howard, and the need to move the disgruntled center was as plain as day. No team was willing to give up anything like equal value at Houston’s self-imposed trade deadline. But now, with Jones as a viable starting option, that’s all changed.

As the Rockets start getting back into the shape they were in during that brief, 9-game halcyon when Aşık was coming off the bench, Terrence Jones’ magic is starting to spread. He’s something like the player Houston would have wanted in return for Ömer, which means that the Rockets can safely call Aşık’s bluff and keep him on roster. If he plays, that’s even better. Suddenly, trading Ömer Aşık isn’t a foregone conclusion. Suddenly, a team might have to offer something worthwhile to get him.

That change in value has a ripple effect, as well. Without Ömer Aşık as a major trade chip the Rockets looked pressured to upgrade somehow, even if that meant moving a Jeremy Lin of a Patrick Beverley. The team was in flux and seemed to be reeling. So many trade assets, and with a need to move them, they would come at a bargain to other teams. If Morey wanted to avoid selling his prizes for pennies on the dollar, his only other option was to keep them to himself, which would have been painful.

Now, however, standing pat is an option, and a fairly good one at that. Terrence Jones put that back on the table, and that’s a huge point of leverage. If other GMs know they can just wait for the asking price to fall, that price will plummet without mercy. Once Houston can clearly take their ball and go home, however, that ball gets more expensive. With players starting to settle into their roles, their value to Houston starts to be a selling point instead of a drawback. It’s no longer “all we have are these role players, and that’s our best offer” and instead it’s “we’d rather hang on to these role players… unless you have a better offer.”

If Daryl Morey makes a move (and he will), part of the trade value in those players will have come from Terrence Jones and his newfound prowess. His stats are huge for the team and their chances of winning playoff games this season, but his value is even more important for the team’s chances of winning a championship down the line.

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Total comments: 17
  • bboley24 says 7 months ago

    WE CANNOT GET RID OF TJONES. Not just because I love the player that he has become but rather moreso for his sake.

    He works perfect within our system. I think he would have the potential to get lost elsewhere... we need this dude to stay put.

  • miketheodio says 7 months ago

    You are right, it is. The funny thing is he said it in response to someone who agrees with that--not the other way around. RocketRick, Miketheodio was saying he wants us to keep Jones, D-Mo, Parsons, and the rest. The original post, while vague, seemed to imply that Jones' value lies not with us, but what he will bring us in trade.

    Like you and Mike, I also would like to follow the path of keeping our young guys. I mean, how many teams do you guys think have called and asked about T-Jones' availability so far this year? My guess: 29 B)

    It is still wise to entertain offers because you never know. I think Morey will surprise people this year. Unless he can get an Asik deal he likes, I don't think we make a move this season.

    I was saying they should focus more on developing talent. it's a decent job so far, but the organization has only developed talent as assets for a while. instead of making a trade, just go with the guys who have shown improvement and attempt to make them better every year. dmo, jones, and casspi also have good contracts.

  • thejohnnygold says 7 months ago

    Maybe you're right, BenQueens. Maybe I am misunderstanding. For me, Walker's final thoughts are what led me to believe he was predicting, and favoring, a Jones trade/upgrade.

    "With players starting to settle into their roles, their value to Houston starts to be a selling point instead of a drawback. It’s no longer “all we have are these role players, and that’s our best offer” and instead it’s “we’d rather hang on to these role players… unless you have a better offer.”

    If Daryl Morey makes a move (and he will), part of the trade value in those players will have come from Terrence Jones and his newfound prowess. His stats are huge for the team and their chances of winning playoff games this season, but his value is even more important for the team’s chances of winning a championship down the line."

    Maybe Walker was being intentionally vague :ph34r: ....what say you, Forrest? Do you think the Rockets are better off with Jones or better off trading him? I can't tell :unsure:

  • feelingsupersonic says 7 months ago

    If there is someone here that can rubber stamp unpopular stuff I'm your guy.

    I am also for no trades this year unless we are talking about the Asik Situation and he cannot brought back into the fold whether mentally of physically then yes trade him away. I think Morey's strategy of keeping financial flexibility to take advantage of poorly run NBA franchises could yield some considerable bench improvement over the next couple of years plus the Rockets offensive system will maximize certain NBA players under performing elsewhere (like Casspi) and Morey has them listed somewhere on a bulletin board or on a Mac Book. I don't want them to bring in Love or Rondo or any other name.

  • BenQueens says 7 months ago

    TJG: I think you're right, but I think people are only getting that by reading with a fairly serious bias. I thought it was fairly clear FW was saying that, more than being trade bait, TJ's emergence has removed some of the leverage potential trade partners had over the team in potential Asik deals. I think folks are just protective enough about successful draft picks that they read a paragraph like:

    Terrence Jones’ magic is starting to spread. He’s something like the player Houston would have wanted in return for Ömer, which means that the Rockets can safely call Aşık’s bluff and keep him on roster. If he plays, that’s even better. Suddenly, trading Ömer Aşık isn’t a foregone conclusion. Suddenly, a team might have to offer something worthwhile to get him.

    ... assume that last 'him' means 'Jones' instead of 'Asik', and circle the wagons.

  • rocketrick says 7 months ago Yes, JG, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.............

    In regards to keeping our roster as currently in place for the most part.

    I have no desire to see the Rockets trade away TJones, Motiejunas, et al.

    Maybe at the end of our roster where there are players that are pretty much undisputeably inactive and/or unproductive (Asik, .....sorry, Brewer) perhaps the Rockets can make some positive changes. I have no doubt whatsoever that Brewer is heart and soul sold into this team. His skill level may very likely have moved elsewhere.

    Asik?

    Is there really any doubt of where Asik's heart is currently?

    OK.

    Go Rockets!!!!!!
  • thejohnnygold says 7 months ago

    JG,

    You know I love your responses but c'mon Dude, the only thing I see in MTD's last few posts in our history has absolutely NADA, nothing, whatsoever, period, end of discussion, with what you imply.

    OK, so , I like Parsons very much, I like TJones much and DMO is still a work in progress........

    Maybe I am misunderstanding, but I think every comment in this thread is disagreeing with the post and saying we are better off with Parsons, Jones, etc. I don't know what you and Mike have discussed--it's not showing up in his post history. It's no big deal--maybe Mike will come back and clarify one way or the other.

    I think we all agree that we are in the enviable position of having two stars locked up while having them surrounded with current and future talent and our cap situation is decent all things considered. If we swap that young talent for a third star it changes everything.

    WARNING: unpopular opinion!--unpopular opinion!

    Truth be told, I'd rather keep this team, more or less, and go for it--win or lose--rather than trade it all away for a third star and a guaranteed championship. For me, the vicarious experience is better this way. With a team like Miami (especially the way it was constructed) it is the equivalent of Alabama playing Sam Houston State in college football. There is no drama and no glory. You can only fail. There is no joy in this for me--at most I can experience a smug satisfaction.

    (I know there is a touch of hypocrisy in this as neither Harden nor Howard are homegrown talent. From my perspective, Harden was available for the taking since Presti hit the panic button and Morey wooed Howard for so long he felt like a part of the team before he got here. I don't know, for whatever reason I've made my peace with them--maybe because neither one cost us any players I had developed an affinity for.)

  • rocketrick says 7 months ago

    RocketRick, Miketheodio was saying he wants us to keep Jones, D-Mo, Parsons, and the rest. The original post, while vague, seemed to imply that Jones' value lies not with us, but what he will bring us in trade.


    JG,

    You know I love your responses but c'mon Dude, the only thing I see in MTD's last few posts in our history has absolutely NADA, nothing, whatsoever, period, end of discussion, with what you imply.

    OK, so , I like Parsons very much, I like TJones much and DMO is still a work in progress........
  • thejohnnygold says 7 months ago

    Regarding Rocketrick statement. Very well said. Excellent analysis.

    You are right, it is. The funny thing is he said it in response to someone who agrees with that--not the other way around. RocketRick, Miketheodio was saying he wants us to keep Jones, D-Mo, Parsons, and the rest. The original post, while vague, seemed to imply that Jones' value lies not with us, but what he will bring us in trade.

    Like you and Mike, I also would like to follow the path of keeping our young guys. I mean, how many teams do you guys think have called and asked about T-Jones' availability so far this year? My guess: 29 B)

    It is still wise to entertain offers because you never know. I think Morey will surprise people this year. Unless he can get an Asik deal he likes, I don't think we make a move this season.

  • tmcf says 7 months ago

    Regarding Rocketrick statement. Very well said. Excellent analysis.

  • rocketrick says 7 months ago

    all of the contenders other than the heat are good at developing talent. i'd like to see the rockets do this instead of depending on a big trade.


    What? Really?

    Chandler Parsons was a 2nd round draft pick. Every team in the 1st round passed on him. I would say he has developed into a very good player to say the least. That didn't happen on its own, by himself.

    TJones was drafted last season and played mostly in the D-League. However, after one full season in the Rockets system and a lot of work during the summer, TJones is now in the starting lineup. THat didn't happen on its own, by himself.

    Motiejunas was drafted last season and played even less than TJones. His biggest issue keeping him off the floor is not on the offensive end of the court, it is on the defensive end of the court. Well, guess what, Motiejunas is beginning to show signs of being much more effective on the defensive end of the floor and recently has found much more playing time than ever before. That didn't happen on its own, by himself.

    However, I understand the McHale haters are completely unreasonable and would prefer to continue disparaging him even though the facts are becoming more and more clear the longer he is the Coach how valuable Coach McHale and his coaching staff have been to the success of this team. The Rockets are in the middle of battling for home court advantage in the playoffs which is amazing. The Rockets have had tremendous injury issues this year and yet Coach McHale and his staff have managed to juggle the lineups and somehow find a working rotation even though seemingly on a nightly basis one guy returns from injury, another sits out due to injury. And the Rockets haven't had a backup Center ever since Asik chose to quit on the team.
  • miketheodio says 7 months ago

    all of the contenders other than the heat are good at developing talent. i'd like to see the rockets do this instead of depending on a big trade.

  • Buckko says 7 months ago

    You can talk about our two superstars but every time we play without parsons, its just ugly.

  • Drew in Abilene says 7 months ago

    That's a great point, redfaithful. Imagine where we'd be without the two of them outperforming all expectations...

  • redfaithful says 7 months ago

    I guess the same could be said about Parsons, although we take him for granted by now...

  • Drew in Abilene says 7 months ago

    I agree that I'd rather not see Jones traded, but I agree with the premise of the article. Even if Houston doesn't trade Jones, his ascendance means Morey can seek out the best possible trade value from Asik or any other potential trade chip instead of needing to fill a gaping hole in the lineup. Without the big hole at the 4 spot, Morey has more flexibility and can negotiate from a place of more strength. This means Jones adds significant value well beyond his sterling numbers on the court. When Morey trades for another good piece, he should send a thank you card to the sophomore power forward who helped make it possible.

  • Buckko says 7 months ago

    How about we not trade Jones. Unless you can some how give me an equal to his talent and contributions for his contract.