On Monday, the NBA G League named Erie BayHawks forward Terrence Jones as their player of the week for games played from January 28th through February 3rd. During that stretch, he averaged 24.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 1 steal on 50% from the field and 43% from beyond the arc in the two games that the BayHawks played. That stretch was headlined by him putting up a 20 point, 11 rebound and 14 assist triple-double performance in a January 30th game against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
That fantastic week shouldn’t come as a surprise for anyone that’s followed his run with Erie as the veteran forward has been a stellar player since the start of the season. In 19 games with the team, he’s averaging 24 points. 5.6 assists, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals on 55% from the field and 44% from beyond the arc on 3.3 attempts per game. From a statistical perspective, this season represents a high point for Jones’ career as he’s averaging a career-high in assists, rebounds, points and 3-point percentage.
Among the skills that he’s improved at, his progression as a facilitator is definitely the most appealing. That allure comes from how he’s been able to utilize his great work as a defensive rebounder to push the ball in transition and shine as a solid point forward for the BayHawks offense. In fact, Jones currently stands as the 3rd best facilitating forward in the G League, as he only trails Nets two-way player Theo Pinson (6.7 assists per game) and former Skyforce player DeAndre Liggins (6.1 assists per game).
“It was a little bit of both,” Jones told Ridiculous Upside when asked about whether his newfound role came naturally or was the idea of BayHawks head coach Noel Gillespie. “Coach started to see how well I was making plays for other people through pushing it in transition. He ultimately wants the team to play at a high pace so he gives each big complete freedom to push the ball down the court.”
Sticking with his progression as a facilitator, Jones expressed great pride in his role as one of the team’s lead facilitators. “ I just get happiness and joy out of setting up plays for other people and seeing them succeed and make shots. Ultimately, I love to win and those are called winning plays by being unselfish and finding a teammate rather than looking out for yourself. It just excites me to help my team win and make my teammates better.”
That love for getting his teammates involved is evident when you watch film as Jones regularly works as the team’s floor general as he helps guide his teammates to set a pick, cut or just move to the wing or the corners. In addition to guiding the offense, Jones shows his experience with the patience that he exhibits by either slowly working to the opposite side or even getting into a post-up position when he’s working on the elbows. An example of that approach is seen in the clip below where he starts posting up on his opponent on the right pinch post before he dishes it off to Craig Sword who works to the right wing after working around a screen set by Alex Poythress.
In addition to that patience, Jones shows natural skills as a facilitator as he’s able to shine whether working on the perimeter or the drive-and-dish. While working on the three-point line, Jones shows a real ability to throw solid entry passes to players that are working inside the paint. On the other hand, the 6’9 forward is a strong facilitator while on the move as he’s capable of throwing precise passes while on the move. The video below is a really good example of his knack as both an on-ball driver and facilitator as he makes a strong drive to the rim before making a strong pass to Jaylen Adams while in the air.
Another way that Jones has progressed with Erie is as a perimeter threat as he’s shooting 44% from beyond the arc on 3.3 attempts per game. That great perimeter efficiency has been a work in progress for the veteran forward as he shot 37% from beyond the arc 2.7 perimeter attempts in his 16 games with the Santa Cruz Warriors in 2017-18. Prior to that, he was an inefficient perimeter threat dating back to his time playing with the University of Kentucky.
In regards to that progression, it had to more to do with hard work than anything else. “Just working extremely hard by making sure that I’ve prepared myself for this season to be able to keep the floor spread,” the NBA veteran told Ridiculous Upside. “For any kind of offense that I’m in, I wanted to make sure that I was consistent with working in the pick-and-pop and knocking down 3’s if I’m left open. Just making sure guys know that they have to guard me from that space.”
Due to his progression as a facilitator and perimeter shooter, Terrence Jones shines as arguably the best forward in the G League. While the 27-year-old forward is more than willing to help push the BayHawks to continued victories, he has his eyes set on using his improved game to make a return to the NBA.. “I’m very excited to get a call-up soon and be able to show how much I’ve improved as a scorer and a playmaker that can make everyone on the court better,” the NBA veteran told Ridiculous Upside. “Also being the best leader I can to these guys and I’m just happy to be successful since I’ve been back in this lineup.”
“Just by giving them another player that can help orchestrate an offense and not only create for themselves but create for others,” the current BayHawks forward continued to describe how he’d be able to help an NBA team. “I’m a guy that can guard multiple positions on defense. I want them to also see that off the rebound I can help push the ball and make plays in transition to keep the offense at a high pace.”
While the jury’s still out about where Jones will end the 2018-19 season, there’s reasons to remain optimistic that he’ll be on an NBA team. A lot of that hopefulness comes with him being an established NBA veteran that has progressed since he last played with the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2016-17 season. In the two years since then, he’s become a very solid point forward with a strong outside jumper. Alongside those progressions, he has grown to being a willing leader that loves to help his young teammates out both on and off-the-court.
Although this run with the BayHawks might’ve been initially looked as a setback for a player that was once regularly in the Houston Rockets’ starting lineup, it should be the outlet that Terrence Jones uses to get back in the NBA.