In last night’s 109-101 loss, Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts ran a nine-man rotation, a development that became largely notable for who it didn’t include: Derrick Jones Jr. After experiencing a steady decline in minutes in the month of April, the newly-signed, former Heat forward received a DNP-Coach’s Decision against the Hornets. Per Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest, that wasn’t a decision Stotts had preordained before the game.
For the first time all season, Jones was on the receiving end of a healthy DNP. Stotts instead opted for 10-day contract signee Rondae-Hollis Jefferson, citing his energy as the reason for his promotion.
“It wasn’t about not playing [Derrick] at all. It was about getting Rondae in the starting lineup, providing some energy, we’ve got him for 10 more days. It was a good matchup for him.
Hollis-Jefferson did have some memorable moments in his seven-point, five-rebound performance. But that energy Stotts spoke of didn’t permeate across the rest of the team. The Hornets opened up a 43-18 lead just 11 minutes into the game. In regards to Jones Jr., Stotts said the benching was merely a product of the game’s flow.
“It wasn’t a decision to not play Derrick at all.” Stotts continued. “That’s kind of the way it played out, but that wasn’t necessarily the plan going into it.
“I just thought it was the best move for the team at this point.”
Since the start of April, Jones Jr. is averaging just 14.5 minutes per game after averaging 26.0 minutes a night beforehand. You can check out the rest of Hudson’s article from NBC Sports Northwest through this link.