Though Perry Jones did fulfill his dream of making it to the NBA, it came as a blessing in disguise. Not long ago, Jones was projected as the number one overall pick. Instead, he became one of the steals of the draft, going at pick 28 to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although Jones had some recurring knee issues that severely lowered his draft stock, Jones is an exceptional talent. He’s another young, energetic player on a team full of them.
Jones has also been making a bit of a splash this off-season in his summer league games, displaying versatility in his 6’11″ frame. Not only is the guy essentially a 7-footer, he’s very quick and possesses a keen jump shot. Sounds familiar…
In that light, it seems that Jones is also getting close with some of his new teammates. In particular, the rookie has found a friend in Kevin Durant. With Durant spending his summer with Team USA in London, Jones and Durantula have mostly communicated via text messages. Even so, OKC’s versatile rookie seems to be developing good rapport.
“He’s a guy who really cares about his teammates,” Jones said. “A lot of people at his level, they mostly just care about themselves. It’s very rare you come around a guy like that who cares about his team. Besides just checking on me – seeing how I’m doing and things like that – he’s talking about working out together when he gets back. He said he looks forward to being pushed.”
–As reported on Thunder Rumblings.
It’s not very hard to imagine Durant being so welcoming. He’s been known around the league as one of the more humble superstars in basketball. I find it particularly interesting that Durantula looks forward to being “pushed” when he works out with the rookie. Surely, the reigning scoring champ doesn’t think the rookie will challenge him for a starting role at the 3. Instead, Durant looks like he’s letting the new guy know about OKC’s work ethic. From sub to superstar, everyone is working with the same intensity, towards the same goal.
Jones was an interesting pick for the Thunder in this year’s draft. He’s a bigger version of Durant, if only very slightly. At 6’11, he’s relatively lanky, making him very mobile for his size. He’s also a bit more athletic than Durant. Though his shooting stroke isn’t as pure as KD’s (hell, whose is?), it’s still very solid and can only get better under the tutelage of the OKC staff. Jones has the frame to take on a few more pounds, so there might be a shift to a more traditional PF role in his future. Here’s a quick highlight reel of Jones at Baylor University, courtesy of Swish Scouts:
Welcome to the NBA, Perry. There aren’t many better players to be working alongside than Kevin Durant.
Mohamed Abdihakim is a journalism student at Florida Atlantic University. He is a Phoenix Suns fan, who is not prepared for the possibility of Nash winning a title in a Lakers jersey. Interests include International basketball, Mad Men , and blues music. Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim