Perry Jones III isn't concerned about his knee or work ethic and neither is Thunder GM Sam Presti. Those votes of confidence were the items that stuck out at Jones' introductory press conference on Saturday.
Jones, a 6-foot-11 forward from Baylor, was considered a lottery pick talent but questions concerning the health of the meniscus in his knee resulted in him sliding to the Thunder at No. 28, where Presti and the organization pounced on the ultra-athletic combo forward.
His knee issues were immediately addressed after his selection in Thursday night's draft but were also brought up again in Saturday's press conference.
"My knee's fine, it didn't affect me at Baylor," he said matter-of-factly.
Presti immediately followed up Jones' statement by clarifying that the meniscus injury didn't even occur when he was with BU, where he averaged 13.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in leading the Bears to the Elite Eight as a sophomore.
"It's a previous injury he had prior to coming to Baylor; he's played two years (since) and has been incredibly consistent with it and it's just something we have to watch as we go forward," Presti said. "If there's anything that comes up from it we'll be proactive but going into the situation we're thrilled and we're looking forward to having him compete this summer."
Oklahoma City will get its first good look at Jones, who will wear No. 3 because of his name, very soon because he will be joining the Thunder's team at the Orlando Summer League. Oklahoma City is scheduled to play Boston at 12 p.m. on July 9 in Orlando, Fla.
Jones hasn't let his slide down the draft boards get to him in a negative way, in fact it seems to have taken the opposite effect.
"Everybody knows I wasn't supposed to slide as far as I did but it turns out I'm happy I did because this is a great organization," Jones said. "This is a perfect spot for me and I believe everything happens for a reason and these guys treat me like family."
Other than his knee, another consistent knock on the Duncanville, Texas, native has been his perceived work ethic. Again, Presti doesn't seem to be buying into the negative rumors.
"With our team I think the fact that he is a team guy first and understands team dynamics, we consider that a huge plus," Presti said. "It's one of the reasons we were so excited about having to chance to draft him."
And Jones knows there is a lot of work ahead of him and there is no shortage of new teammates to emulate for how to get better.
"The hardest part is gonna be playing to the level of intensity that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook set because they set the standard for working hard here," he said. "You gotta bring it every day so I'm gonna be in the gym a lot, a lot, to stay up to par with them."
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