- Derrick Jones Jr. will be opting in to the $9.7M player option of the two-year contract he signed with the Blazers last offseason.
- Jones averaged 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game last season but stood out with his individual defense.
- The Blazers are in the bottom half of the 2022 NBA championship oddsboards.
Portland Trail Blazers forward Derrick Jones Jr. is picking up his $9.7M player option to return to the team next season.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 27, 2021
The 24-year old was one of the key role players for the Blazers this past season, starting 43 out of the 58 games he played this past campaign. Jones signed a two-year deal worth $19M with Portland during the previous offseason with year-two of that contract being a player option.
Bolstering the Blazers Defense
I made the case for Derrick Jones Jr. in October. Olshey bolstering the Blazers’ defense: https://t.co/e11RX7vr9U
— Jason Quick (@jwquick) November 21, 2020
The 6-5 Jones was undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft but made his way to the Phoenix Suns’ opening day roster during the 2016-17 season. After playing in the G League, he found a home with the Miami Heat where he spent three seasons. He signed with the Blazers during the 2020 offseason as a free agent.
Jones only had modest offensive contributions to the Blazers this past season. He averaged just 6.8 points per game while also grabbing 3.5 rebounds and blocking 0.9 shots per contest in 22.7 minutes of action per game. However, GM Neil Olshey bought him to Portland to bolster the Blazers defense.
But while Jones proved to be a capable individual defender, Portland struggled on the defensive end last season, giving up 115.5 points per game, 27th in the entire NBA. What they lacked on defense, they made up for in offense as the Blazers had the fifth highest scoring average in the league at 116.1 points per game.
After a slow start that saw them struggle to make the Top 8 in the Western Conference team standings, the Blazers finished the season strong with just two losses in their final 12 regular season games to enter the playoffs on a high note. However, after stealing Game 1 of their first round series against the Denver Nuggets, they would lose four of the next five games to suffer another first round exit.
Blazers 2022 Odds
— Evan Schreiber (@SchreiberEvan) July 21, 2021
Despite finishing with the 6th best record in the Western Conference and 10th best record in the league overall at 42-30, the Blazers are in the bottom half of the current 2022 NBA championship odds boards at +6600. At the BetOnline App, they are at a much better 15th place at +3300.
Portland has made the playoffs in each of the last eight seasons but have made it past the first round only three times during that span, including only one appearance in the Western Conference Finals. This inability to get over the hump was what cost head coach Terry Stotts his coaching job and it will be the challenge that lies ahead of Chauncey Billups.
Right now, we don’t know for sure how the Blazers will look like next season. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have been involved in trade rumors and while Lillard has denied making a trade request, he said he was going to talk to the Blazers about making changes to make the team a championship contender.
After Derrick Jones Jr. picked up his player option, Portland only has 8 players will fully guaranteed contracts and with free agency set to begin on August 1st, expect changes and new faces to the Blazers 2021-22 team.