As you’d expect by it’s name, hidden gems are rare things in the NBA. they are players who may not initially seem to be too desirable, but who actually turn out to posses concealed potential and value. While his NBA career hasn’t exactly started out on the right foot, Perry Jones III may in fact be New Orleans’ very own version of a hidden gem or, if you will, a “diamond-in-the-rough.”
There wasn’t much fanfare when the New Orleans Pelicans signed Perry Jones III. Maybe it’s because it came on the same day as the Tony Allen signing. Maybe it had to do with Jones III’s less than stellar career averages of 3.4 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in his career.
Frankly, I wouldn’t be shocked if Pelicans fans didn’t even know who Jones III was!
For those who don’t know, Perry Jones III was the 28th overall pick by the Oklahoma City Thunder back in 2012. And, again, although many of you may have never heard of him his first round selection was justified. Jones III was quite the standout during his two years at Baylor.
Standing at 6’11”, Jones had a great combination of size, athleticism, and a unique skill-set to go along with it.
He had no problems down low, grabbing rebounds at will and posting up defenders with ease. On top of that, Jones III didn’t stray away from taking shots from outside of the paint.
In fact, Jones III ranked as a much higher prospect than his 28th overall selection would lead you to believe. However, injury concerns saw his stock plummet. But, even with his durability in question, Oklahoma City took a chance on the talented big-man.
Unfortunately for Jones, and for OKC, those skills he flashed in college never seemed to translate to the pros. Jones played three years with the Thunder, showing small glimpses of that potential, but, sadly, never having it break all the way through.
Even in the G-League (D-League at the time), Jones III had taken a step back. His numbers in 2016-17 hit a new low, as he averaged just 6.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
But, even with all the disappointment, there’s still a lot to like about Jones III. The guys an athletic freak, he stands just 1 inch shy of 7 feet and, oh yea, he’s only 25 years old!
Interestingly enough, his slow start in the NBA doesn’t come as any surprise to one person in particular. Scott Drew, Jones’ coach at Baylor, is quoted as saying Jones is a “late bloomer”. Drew pointed out that he wasn’t exactly where he needed to be when he first entered the NBA, but stated he’d get there eventually.
To delve even deeper, Drew said that when Jones III hits 25 years of age he could wind up being an All-Star. Wasn’t it just stated a few paragraphs ago that it was stated he’s “only 25 years old”?
Look, I know there’s no way Jones even comes close to making an All Star game in 2017 unless he actually buys tickets.
The man might not even make the Pelicans roster for God sakes!
Still, there are reasons to be excited about him. The biggest being his skill set potentially fitting in perfectly with the “big two” of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. Throw in a player like Rajon Rondo (who tends to make his teammates better), and the potential could start to come through.
And, if all goes well for Jones, he could end up serving the same type of role Dante Cunningham had last season. An athletic big that can space the floor and cover multiple positions.
I’m not saying the Pelicans are getting a superstar in Jones III. However, he could be of service for the Pelicans coming off the pine for 10-12 minutes a game.
Every team wants to find a “diamond-in-the-rough”. The Pelicans may have struck gold with Perry Jones III.