After drafting Josh Jackson and extending T.J. Warren, Phoenix Suns fans have forgotten about Derrick Jones Jr. which would be a big mistake.
In his first season with the Phoenix Suns, Derrick Jones Jr. was not thought of as a high-value piece of the franchise’s future. Even this summer when the Suns signed fellow small forward T.J. Warren to a contract extension and drafted two-way wing Josh Jackson, Jones appeared to be an afterthought. However, Jones shouldn’t be an afterthought of the rebuild the team is going through, rather he will be one of the results.
According to Cody Cunningham of the Phoenix Suns team page, Jones has been named the team’s Most Improved Player during this offseason. Cunningham quoted several players like veterans Eric Bledsoe and Jared Dudley in how Jones has shown major development during the summer months. Even head coach Earl Watson was quoted in giving Jones praise for his improvements. Cunningham pointed out that Jones had the biggest stride with his 3-point shot. He also wrote that Dudley iterated that during one practice, Jones connected on 11 out of 14 3-point shots. Cunningham made sure to quote Jones statements about how he believes that eventually, he will be Defensive Player of the Year.
It’s great that Jones has praise from two veterans and his head coach. Obviously, practice is different than an actual game and Jones will need to show these improvements once the regular season begins. If Jones has had a drastic improvement on his 27.3 percent shooting from behind the arc, then the Suns will find him playing time.
Cunningham’s reports make it appear that Jones is on a developmental path to become a great complimentary player off the bench for the Phoenix Suns. Even with Jackson and Warren at the small forward if coach Watson really wants to get Jones playing time, he will play him at the other wing position.