ORLANDO -- Perry Jones seems like a guy who would be easy to get along with both on and off the court.
Here in Summer League in Orlando, Jones has proven to be exactly that with his teammates, playing within the flow of the game and always chatting up the guys during off time. Jones averaged 12.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 0.5 assists in 26 minutes of action during the two games he played before spraining his ankle. The Thunder’s 2012 first-round NBA Draft pick was described as a “blend player” who can fit in and mesh with other highly talented players on the floor to be most effective.
While at the University of Baylor, Jones averaged 13.7 points per game along with 7.4 rebounds per contest in around 32 minutes of action. An unselfish player, who averaged just over 1.2 assists per game in college, has the versatility, athleticism and length to be an interesting addition to a Thunder squad that already features some high-caliber athletes.
After Thursday’s Summer League contest against the Brooklyn Nets, thunder.nba.com had the chance to catch up with the rookie who figures to work hard in his transition from college to the professional ranks, all while learning how to play Thunder Basketball.
On what he likes to be called:
My dad is PJ, so I guess PJ3 sticks. I’m the third, and it’s my jersey number, so PJ3 is better.
On the differences between college and NBA basketball:
How physical it is and the speed of the game, and the fact that the point guard runs the tempo. Reggie Jackson did a good job running the tempo for our team. And being able to follow and watch somebody else lead and him get everybody else involved.
On playing with new teammates and the adjustments it takes:
Just do what you can, do what they need you to do. I just want to be able to contribute the best way I can, the best way I know how. If you think too much, then you have problems. Whatever the coach or the team needs me to do, you have to be willing to do it.
On if he had a chance to talk to the coaching staff about what they wanted to see from him in Summer League:
I talked to (Thunder assistant General Manager) Troy (Weaver) and he told me he wanted me to get some blocks in the second game, he said I needed some more blocks and maybe some more charges. But then I had the ankle injury so I didn’t get to get as many as he wanted me to.
On the key to shot-blocking:
I didn’t really block too many shots in college, but it is about timing. Also, you have to have a little bit of athleticism, because guys put a little more arc on it in the NBA.
On his mindset in his second year of college:
I actually did have to sacrifice a lot. A lot of people wanted me to be a scorer and average 20-some points per game, but I knew that for our team to be successful, I had to give up a lot of that stuff. Scoring was one of them, and was probably the hardest one to do. But I was just happy that I was able to adjust and get more victories.
On coming to a team with a team-first mentality:
It’s a good fit, especially when they called me and told me that they wanted me to just play basketball like I’ve been playing. They know I’m a very unselfish guy, and that’s what they want the most from me is to be very unselfish. The team already has everything, and I just want to be able to contribute. I don’t care if it’s 15 seconds on the floor or 10 seconds on the floor, I just want to be able to help somehow.
On his summer plans:
Right now it looks like I’m going to be working out and doing a lot of recovery on my ankle.