Portland Trail Blazers forward Derrick Jones Jr has provided some great defensive moments in just four games. He could be an All-Defensive selection in 2021.
Derrick Jones Jr. has already had a few spectacular defensive moments in just two Portland Trail Blazers games. Now the Blazers premier perimeter defender, Jones has the skills and will play the minutes to potentially become an All-Defensive selection in 2021. What makes Jones an All-Defense candidate?
Size and Athleticism
Combining an excellent athletic profile with amazing jumping ability and quickness, Jones is one of the most impressive athletes in the NBA. He stands six-foot-six and has a massive seven-foot-wingspan.
Though he is just 210 pounds, he is strong for this size and has big long strides. He can easily switch positions one through four and has great hands that enable him to poke the ball away. His cat-like reflexes mean he can either jump passing lanes to get deflections or steals or recover to block a shot.
In the exciting win over the Los Angeles Lakers, Jones made a huge block on LeBron James. Though he got beaten on the screen in the below clip, he somehow gets back into the play to deflect James’ shot at the rim.
Jones’ ability to read different defensive situations, both on and off the ball, means that he has a chance to become an elite defender in the NBA.
Jones is the Blazers best man defender currently and takes on the assignments of guys like Kawhi Leonard and James.
Though he is still developing these abilities, his defensive instincts to rotate over for blocks or leave his man to get a steal makes him a great team defender. Combining these instincts with his great leaping ability and speed, mean Jones can become an elite help defender, at the forward position.
As a man defender, he knows when to look for the poke away, or to get skinny and go round a screen. He does still foul too often, but he has a good temperament when defending one-on-one and slides his feet well.
Minutes and role
If Jones is to be an All-Defensive selection, he will need to have a significant role on a team that has him guarding one of the opposition’s best players.
Jones is likely to play 25 plus minutes a night, and he is already guarding the opposition’s best player through the first four games of the season.
What may hurt Jones case for all-defense though, could be the Blazers’ porous team defense. If they finish in the bottom ten defenses in the league or so, he may not get the required votes as he wouldn’t have influenced the team defense enough.
The Blazers now have a defensive stopper in Jones that can cover the best players in the league.
If he continues in this vein of form, Jones could get votes for an All-Defense team in 2021.