San Antonio Spurs Free Agency

Why the San Antonio Spurs should rescue Derrick Jones Jr.

Derrick Jones Jr.
Derrick Jones Jr. / Steph Chambers/Getty Images
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San Antonio Spurs
Derrick Jones Jr., Enes Kanter / Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Why did Derrick Jones Jr. fall out of the rotation?

Derrick Jones Jr. started for Portland from opening night on December 23rd until March 28th, tallying 40 starts in that time frame. Since then, he's had three starts and 10 did-not-plays. So what happened in Rip City?

The biggest reason Jones lost his starting spot was the trade Portland made that sent Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood to the Raptors for Normal Powell. Before the trade, Jones was averaging 26.3 minutes per game. Since the trade, that number has freefallen to just 14.

In April, a decision by Blazers coach Terry Stotts to start Rondae Hollis-Jefferson over Jones Jr. raised plenty of eyebrows, including that of Blazers writer for Athletic, Jason Quick.

Clearly, Powell isn't the only reason Derrick fell out of favor with the coaching staff, but he's likely still the main reason.

Scoring 17.0 points per game on 36.1 percent from downtown, Powell is unquestionably the better player and was key in helping the Blazers finish second in the league in offensive rating. He also offers more than Jones on the defensive end, even if his size hurts the starting unit defensively overall.

Despite finishing 29th in defensive rating, Portland is now in the driver's seat of their first round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets after taking a 1-0 lead on Saturday night. Jones played just six minutes in the contest.

No matter what happens this postseason, he might want to look elsewhere after being underutilized in his career once again.

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