Jason Kidd’s Problem with Terrence Jones

The front office of the Milwaukee Bucks found a steal on the waiver wire, yet Terrence Jones hardly saw the floor.

The Milwaukee Bucks possess an embarrassing market to appeal to top NBA free agents. Freezing cold winters, combined with ridiculously humid summers, fall easily in comparison to competing options of Miami or Southern California.

Furthermore, operating in the bottom five of NBA markets doesn’t exactly translate to the generous shoe deals, movie contracts, and overall sponsorship that players nowadays demand.

Luckily, the arrival of head coach Jason Kidd mixed with a growing excitement surrounding the team has provided opportunity to sign interesting prospects such as Greg Monroe, Matthew Dellavedova and Mirza Teletovic.

But in order to make a true pursuit at playoff success, the Bucks are forced into taking chances on buy-low opportunities who ideally blossom into great value acquisitions.

On March 6, the Bucks did just this in signing Terrence Jones off of waivers. Due in large part to Michael Beasley‘s injury, hope was that the 25-year-old fifth-year NBA veteran would provide an immediate impact off the bench.

Admittedly, impressions of Jones have fluctuated as teams have switched from including him in starting lineups to later providing time off the bench.

But even with a demotion in title, Jones has averaged roughly 24 minutes a game, where he put up a respectable 10.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

The acquisition looked incredibly promising but for only one issue–Kidd refused to put Jones into games. Before his eventual release in early April, the Bucks played 15 games. Jones only appeared in three, averaging two minutes of garbage time in each.

On paper, signing Jones was an incredible move for Bucks general manager John Hammond. A solid player who has shown flashes of brilliance on a ridiculously low-priced rental contract for the remainder of the season.

Sign Jones and the Bucks suddenly have the greatest depth of frontcourt C-level players in the league. (Where’s that award, NBA?)

There’s only one problem. A general manager can create a solid roster of 12 players, but if they do not properly fit the strategy and scheme put forth by the coach, everything falls apart.

Imagine Hammond hanging up the phone, eagerly dashing down the hall to tell his coach the astonishing news of an impressive new signing, only to have Kidd’s expression mimic that of Wayne Campbell when his ex-girlfriend Stacy bought him a gun rack.

“What am I gonna do … with Terrence Jones?”

In reality, Jones entered the league a decade too late. Ten years ago, three-point capable power forwards like Dirk Nowitzki and Rashard Lewis were a rarity, suddenly able to spread-out defenses and take advantage of slow, plodding big-men.

Kidd’s offense instead requires a versatile power forward that can shoot anywhere. Jabari Parker is the ideal case, but Milwaukee has even seen success from players such as Teletovic and Beasley.

This becomes a serious issue for Jones, who holds a 0.4 three-point field goals per game average for his career. Kidd desires players who are able to do this:

After analyzing the 2016-17 shot charts (courtesy of NBA.com) for both Parker and Jones, the differences in play become quite clear.

Where Jones is clearly only comfortable shooting from the paint and the right-hand side of the court, players like Parker are able to be effective from anywhere.

If you’re not one of Kidd’s guys, it becomes blatantly clear. Even a starter such as Monroe was reduced to 4.25 minutes for a four-game stretch when he fell out of the coach’s favor in November.

On one hand, it’s reassuring to have a coach that knows what he needs in a player’s skill set to be effective in a particular offense. But if the Jones fallout tells us anything, it’s that there lies a clear disconnect between general manager and head coach within the Bucks’ brain trust.

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