Terrence Jones Turns a Rockets Weakness Into a Strength
Back in July 2012, I wrote a story about how the Rockets were loaded with power forwards, many of them undersized for the position. In addition to players already on the rosters like Luis Scola and Patrick Patterson, there were new guys like Donatas Montejunas and Royce White (God help us) and even people you may never have heard of like Jon Leuer and Jon Brockman -- yes, we had two guys with the spelling Jon on our team at one time.
See if you can name them all!
Scola was renounced. Patterson was traded as was Marcus Morris. White was traded/banished (#BeWell) to Philadelphia. Both Jons were released. What remained was Montejunas, a European player with some upside, and Terrence Jones, then a rookie heading into his first season. GM Daryl Morey and the coaching staff had hoped that at least one of those guys would pan out, but only two remained. And by the middle of last season with Montejunas an afterthought on the bench and Jones demoted to the D-League, most everyone believed that power forward would need to be a high priority for the Rockets prior to the trade deadline this season.
It had gotten so bad in fact that the Rockets opted for a Twin Towers approach to the front court, playing both Dwight Howard and Omer Asik at the same time. Within a month, that idea was scrapped and the search began for a "stretch four" that could hit three pointers and still be big enough to rebound and hold his own on the low block. By all accounts, the Rockets tried to land one of them even setting a self-imposed deadline on a trade of Asik that never materialized.
Then, something happened. Out of the rubble of that eight-man power forward blob emerged Jones.
Hopes had been high when he was taken in the first round of the 2012 draft out of Kentucky where he won a national title alongside burgeoning star Anthony Davis. But, he struggled his rookie year with discipline and on the defensive end of the floor. He was even involved in an altercation over the summer involving a homeless man. All that seemed to turn around for Jones in his second season once he entered the starting lineup.