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Let’s Watch Herbert Jones Against the Thunder

A look at some of Jones’ pluses and minuses early in the season via Wednesday’s home game against the Thunder.

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Hey guys! My name is Mat, and sporadically throughout the 2021-2022 season, I will be doing film breakdowns of certain Pelicans players (or sometimes the entire team). If you like these and want to recommend a particular player or game you want me to breakdown (I’ll even do games from past seasons), let me know in the comments section below. Now without further ado, let’s breakdown the Pelicans’ 2021 second-round pick, Herbert Jones.

For this analysis, we will focus on two aspects of Jones’ performance last night: his off-ball defense and rim pressure.

Off-Ball Defense

Here he rips Shai on his drive to the rim, whom the Pels’ defense was giving fits to all night (forcing SGA into five turnovers).

On this play, Jones comes in and provides solid help at the nail, forcing Shai to pick up his dribble earlier than he’d like, which leads to a tough shot. (Shai’s so damn good though that he still hits that type of look way too often.)

Even with his quick instincts and gangly tentacles that allow him to be an off-ball menace, Jones still makes some easily preventable mistakes. For these two plays, the only reason the Thunder score is because he’s asleep at the wheel.

I wouldn’t worry too much about these types of brain farts. Lapses like that are easily correctable (a quick check every once in a while to make sure your assignment is still there), and with more repetitions under his belt, Jones’ focus should sharpen to a point that incidents like this become scarce, I hope.

Rim Pressure

On offense, he’s proactive despite his limitations (which I love), consistently looking for openings to cut to the rim. Here he does just that but is unable to finish the job.

Miscues can wear on young NBA players, and that’s what happens to Jones right here. First, he does a great job of gaining separation and getting to the rack, but he’s unable to cash in (again). The next trip up, you’ll notice he has The Road to El Dorado in front of him and doesn’t even call for the ball.

Despite all his misses, I was really impressed with Jones’ inclination to pass on some of his drives. Normally, young guys with his combination of skills are going so damn fast on their blitzes to the rim that they don’t even have time to think about potential other options.

I’m more so showing this final clip for another opportunity to marvel at Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s on-ball defense, but yet again, Jones chooses to pass when barreling into the rim instead of trying to finish in traffic. Impressive.


I’m going to try and save my more concrete takes on these players for later on in the season when I have a larger data set on them. As the season progresses, I plan on giving more in-depth opinions on where I think some of these players fit in the Pelicans season.

For now, I will bid you ado. If you enjoyed this breakdown, be sure to follow me on Twitter to keep up with all the other work I’m doing around the league. Thank you for tuning in, and like I said before, if there is any game/player you want to see me breakdown for The Bird Writes, be sure to let me know in the comments section below.

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @matissa15.