Portland Trail Blazers: Derrick Jones Jr. picks up player option for 2022

Derrick Jones Jr., Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Derrick Jones Jr., Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

Portland Trail Blazers wing Derrick Jones Jr. has picked up his $9.7 million player option for the 2022 NBA season.

The Athletic’s NBA Insider Shams Charania reported the news on the Monday before the NBA Draft, with Jones Jr making the move that most NBA media expecting. When Jones signed a two-year $19 million deal with the Blazers in the 2020 Free Agency period, he got the second year as a player option.

Jones had a disappointing year with the Blazers, where he fell out of the rotation in the new year and didn’t play a role at all in the playoffs. So it made sense for him to opt-in this year and give himself a chance to redeem himself with a new coach in Chauncey Billups and some new defensive systems, and probably personnel alongside.

Jones is still only 24-years-old, and with his improving shooting, he can be a strong part of the Blazers rotation moving forward. His likely position is as a small forward where he can cut off the ball on offense, spot up in the corners, and guard the opposition’s best player depending on the matchup.

With Robert Covington on the team, one of them would be called to guard the best wing player, with Covington likely to take the bigger forward assignments.

If Jones can become a passable three-point shooter from the corners, there’s no reason he can’t be the Blazers main sixth man in 2022.

In the 2021 season, Jones played in 58 games, and 22.7 minutes per night. He averaged 6.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 0.9 blocks.

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