Terrence Jones, the former Houston Rockets forward, is excited about the opportunity to team up with former Kentucky Wild Cat Anthony Davis teammate after signing with the New Orleans Pelicans in free agency.
Jones was primed to earn a big pay day this summer. However, the 24-year-old wasn’t chasing a lucrative deal but rather a short-term commitment. He shocked the league by signing a one-year veteran’s minimum deal with Pelicans. However, there was a reason why Jones picked New Orleans.
“I wanted an opportunity to play for a team that is young and defining itself, but could still compete right away. I wanted a larger role, where I could really compete and help a team win,” Jones told Basketball Insiders while explaining his decision to forego lucrative multi-year deals to join Pelicans.
Terrence Jones, Anthony Davis back together
Jones and Davis were part of Kentucky’s 2012 NCAA championship team before both players entered the 2012 draft after one-and-done seasons with the Wild Cats. While Davis was drafted No. 1 overall by New Orleans, Jones was picked No. 18 overall by Houston Rockets.
Four years later, both players are trying to find a winning culture and Jones believes that they can create that in New Oreleans. “When you win a championship with a guy, you create this special bond and you can’t question their drive or willingness to sacrifice,” Jones said, while shedding light on his relationship with Davis and their title year in Kentucky.
“We won a lot of games together and I know what he’s capable of. We both work well together and we’ve already got a great chemistry and friendship. When he’s healthy, I think he’s as good as any other big in the league so I am excited to see what we can do this year,” added Jones.
Pelicans back to the playoffs?
After a spectacular 2014-15 season which saw Davis help the Pelicans qualify for the playoffs, the 2015-16 season proved to be a disappointing one with New Orleans winning only 30 games and failing to return to the postseason. Will Jones’ addition help their cause?
“I want to win. Period. Every level I’ve played at, I’ve been a winner and that’s my motivation every time I step onto the court. I always leave it on the floor and believe in winning at all costs. Part of my decision was a finding a team that fit with that philosophy of always having a chip on their shoulder,” said Jones, who believes the Pelicans can return to the playoffs next year.
Jones is also excited to work with Alvin Gentry, coach of the Pelicans, who wants to make significant changes to the team’s playbook and run an up-tempo offense next year. “You’ve seen what he’s (Gentry) done for other teams. He gives you the confidence that the team can succeed. I think he’s as hungry as everyone else on the roster to prove that this group can win. I’m looking forward to getting out there and making it all come together.”
Terrence Jones averaged 8.7 points and 4.2 rebounds last season from only 20.9 minutes per game. The Rockets struggled to find the forward playing time two years after Jones averaged a career-high 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds. With Pelicans expecting to start Davis at center next year, there’s a strong possibility that Jones gets a starting spot.