Breaking Down What to Expect from Terrence Jones as Rockets Starting Forward

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Breaking Down What to Expect from Terrence Jones as Rockets Starting Forward
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

Sometimes, it just clicks. 

Terrence Jones is running with an awesome opportunity in Houston, where he's recently been named the team's starting power forward. Since the move, Jones is averaging 15 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks on 58 percent shooting through six games. 

He's been a nice fit between Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons, providing the frontcourt with an inside-outside dimension of offense they didn't previously have.

Now that Jones is thriving, the Rockets might feel more inclined to move Omer Asik in return for a player who can help out elsewhere. 

Either way, Jones appears locked into this rotation based on his recent production and gradual improvement from a game-to-game basis. 

 

Interior Scoring

Jones' most appealing strength has to revolve around his ability to finish at the rim. He gives Houston a high-percentage offensive option and good bet to convert interior scoring opportunities. 

Jones can finish around the basket in a variety of different ways, and doesn't need a clear runway to do so. With the agility to avoid contact, along with a 252-pound frame capable of taking it, Jones remains in control of the quality of his shot, as opposed to allowing his man to change or dictate it.  

The Rockets' guards love to penetrate, which should result in Jones getting a ton of bounce passes around the baseline or low-post area. 

So far on the year, he's shooting above league average on the interior at 62.7 percent. It's pretty much where Jones does most of his damage. But he's been reliable and efficient as a play-finisher by turning tough finishes into easy ones. 

nba.com

With the ability to score with either hand, off one foot or two, Jones has a Swiss Army Knife-life finishing repertoire around the basket. Expect to continue seeing all kinds of flips, layups and dunks from Jones as a cutter, driver or low-post bully. 

 

Interior Activity 

Regardless of whether Jones is scoring or not, he's an active body in the paint in different facets of the game. 

He's a presence on the glass, particularly on offense, where he's pulled in 2.83 boards a game over his last six starts. 

And though you wouldn't classify Jones as a standout defender, he's made his fair share of plays as an on-ball shot-blocker. Jones has a 7'2'' wingspan that he's put to use both protecting the rim and contesting away from it.

As a scorer, he has the strength to fight for position and scrap together under-the-rim buckets. 

He's not the most overwhelming big man on the floor, but Jones can offer interior activity in more ways than one. 

 

Floor-Stretching Ability 

Though not known for his outside shooting, Jones has the confidence, stroke and range to step outside the arc. He's actually made seven of his first 13 three-point attempts.

Jones also gives the Rockets a pick-and-pop option at the 4, which should complement what Howard offers as a pick-and-roll target at the 5. 

He's not going to keep hitting threes at this current rate, but expect him to remain a threat. That threat alone should keep defenders honest. And given Jones' foot speed and ability to put it on the floor, he becomes a real tough cover facing up in space. 

With Jones stretched out at the 4, he gives the Rockets' offense a different look and better overall spacing. And the more space for Howard in the post, the more effective he becomes. 

 

Running the Floor

One of things that factors into the mismatch Jones can present is his mobility for a guy his size. He runs the floor like a small forward, a fitting strength to possess while playing for a team that pushes tempo.

In 30-plus minutes, you can expect Jones to end up with at least one or two fast-break buckets a game.


 

 

Production, Expectations

Now that he's getting regular minutes, Jones should be good for four-to-five buckets a game based on the playmakers around him and his ability to finish those plays. He's inevitably going to be the recipient of quality scoring opportunities. And based on what we've seen, Jones does an excellent job at converting those opportunities into points. 

As a rhythm player who thrives off confidence, he's capable of going off and putting up production in bunches.

And right now, Jones' confidence is at an all-time high.

Given Houston's ball-dominant backcourt and centerpiece in the middle, it's possible that Jones puts up a dud in the box score every now and then. He's not one of the Rockets' top one-on-one options, so there's a chance he goes long stretches without seeing many touches. 

Still, expect him to finish the year averaging around 13 points and seven boards on close to 50 percent shooting. Jones might not be All-Star material, but he looks like a keeper and fixture in Houston's everyday lineup.

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