Apr 12, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones (6) dunks the ball during the first half against the New Orleans Pelicans at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Could Terrence Jones Be On The Way Out?

The 2013-2014 regular season was one of the most exciting basketball seasons for Rockets fans in the last 20 years. James Harden was one of the league’s leading scorers, Dwight Howard was relatively healthy and looked dominant at times, and Chandler Parsons blossomed into one of the better players in the league.

One important question coming into the season had to do with the power forward position. The Rockets tried out the twin-tower lineup of Dwight Howard and Omer Asik, but that didn’t work out well early on. It came down to Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones, and it was Jones that took the starting job and ran away with it.

Jones finished the season averaging 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game while shooting 54.2 percent from the field. He burst onto the scene in January, finishing the month averaging 15.8 points and 9.6 rebounds in 12 games, seeing his minutes go up to over 33 per game. He slowed down a bit afterwards, though finished the season strong averaging 14.6 points in nine April games.

Unfortunately for Jones and the Rockets they were paired with the Portland Trail Blazers. Just looking back at the regular season you would realize that Jones was not going to fare well v.s. Lamarcus Aldridge and the Blazers. In three regular season games against the Blazers, Jones had averaged just over 16 minutes and four points in three games.

Jones was in the starting lineup for game one and finished the game with 12 points and 13 rebounds. However, Jones’ opposing starting PF, LaMarcus Aldridge, owned the Rockets for 46 points in a Blazers OT win. It was evident that Jones couldn’t handle the bigger, stronger Aldridge himself. Coach McHale was forced to lower Jones’ minutes as the series went on, eventually taking him out of the starting lineup completely in favor of Omer Asik.

During the 2014 playoffs as a whole, Jones averaged just 7.6 points and 6.2 rebounds in around 23 minutes of action per game. What looked liked an improvement during the season, suddenly became a problem for the Rockets in the playoffs. Jones was excellent in the playoffs, but was too small to go up against Aldridge, forcing the Rockets to play their “twin towers” lineup, something they hadn’t done much of since the beginning of the season.

Even when Jones was switched onto Robin Lopez, Thomas Robinson, or Joel Freeland he struggled on the defensive glass, allowing second chance opportunities for the Blazers. The bigger Lopez specifically, was able to have his way with Jones.

Jones had his club option exercised for next season and has another relatively cheap club option for the 2015-2016 season as well. Unfortunately for the Rockets, the Western Conference is filled with much better power forwards, and ones that Jones would have a difficulty defending in a seven-game series. Had the Rockets beaten the Blazers, they were looking at Tim Duncan or Dirk Nowitzki in the next round, and then one of Blake Griffin or Serge Ibaka. Chris Bosh would have likely been waiting in the NBA Finals.

Though Terrence Jones was a huge bright spot for the Rockets this past season, they could still use a bigger, stronger power forward, or one that can consistently knock down shots from beyond the arc. The NBA playoff contenders are filled with more-skilled power forwards and the Rockets could seek an improvement. Jones is likely at one of his highest values and can be a good trading chip if the Rockets want to look elsewhere at the power forward position.

The 22-year old showed much promise this season but still has work to do, especially on the defensive end of the court.

Do you the time is right to trade Jones or is he the future at power forward?

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Tags: Houston Rockets Terrence Jones

  • Josh Landers

    I don’t like the idea of trading young players with potential. He is far from his ceiling IMO. Unless he’s replaced by someone that is a lot better than him it really makes no sense. So he didn’t play well as a rookie in the playoffs. Does that mean you should give up on him? What needs to happen for this team to succeed is to put together a solid bench and get a pg that will take the ball away from harden and allow him to be a SHOOTING guard. Otherwise get someone who actually will play sg and give the point to harden. Neither Lin nor Beverly are good enough shooters to allow him to dominate the ball. Who does he kick out to? Parsons and …? That’s what I think anyway.

    • Yoni Pollak

      Fair point. I’m not sure how high his ceiling is. Can he become a 15/10 guy? I don’t think so. He’s going to need to bulk up to be a PF in this league, because he struggles on the glass, especially if he’s forced to go up against centers. But he’s still just 22 and has a lot of room to go.

      • Josh Landers

        That’s the point. He’s only 22. He stepped in as a rookie and played pretty well. He does need to bulk up but he could put on a little weight in the offseason.

        What would we get for him? A 2nd round pick or someone of equal or lesser value. He could be part of a package deal but who do we have to trade with him that will net a much better player that will probably be 3 or more years older than him?

        I’m just saying this doesn’t make sense to me.

        • Yoni Pollak

          My point is that he’s worth more than a 2nd rounder. I wouldn’t trade him in a 1-1 deal but he could certainly be added in a deal for a “star” that the Rockets will be pursuing this summer.

          • Josh Landers

            Yeah. You’re probably right. I just hate to see young talent go elsewhere.