The Trail Blazers have a leaper, a slasher, and a defensive energizer in Derrick Jones Jr.
The 23-year-old, 6’6” small forward may be quiet off the court, but his game is loud.
Jones and the Blazers agreed on a two-year, $19 million contract that includes a player option in the second year.
The 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest champ is ready to come in and make an immediate impact in Portland.
“At the three position they need me to come in here and do exactly what I do,” Jones Jr. said Tuesday during his first media interview in Portland. “Which is get out, run the floor, get shots if they open, play great defense.”
Jones Jr.'s 48-inch vertical and seven-foot wingspan are just the beginning of what he refers to as his God-given talent.
Defensively, Jones’ length and athleticism along with his defensive mindset is a key reason why the Trail Blazers wanted Jones Jr. in the first place.
And it's this mindset that will go a long way in Rip City:
Last season with the Heat, Jones Jr. averaged 1.5 steals and one block per 36 during the regular season.
He may let out a big yell after throwing down a monster jam, but it’s at the other end of the court that has and still does get Jones Jr. going.
The UNLV product says that playing tough defense and working hard at that part of the game was instilled in him in middle school when he was brought up to play on high school teams.
“I was about 12, 13 playing with 17, 18 years old and it was either I played defense and stay on the court and win, or lose and not play defense.”
With Jones Jr. and the addition of Robert Covington, the Blazers have found their defensive pieces to the wing puzzle.
It's time to play defense and stay on the court.