Swing man Jonas Jerebko will be back with the Pistons next year whether the organization likes it or not.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Jerebko told a Swedish newspaper that he plan to exercise his player option on the final year of his contract and return to Detroit.
“I feel like I can do much better than what I got the opportunity to show this past season,” Jerebko told Borås Tidning. “I know I can do it better than I showed last season. I expect the next will be much better.”
Pro Basketball Talk translated the Swedish article, and shared some of the highlights of Jerebko’s thought process into signing back with the Pistons.
Since an impressive rookie season, Jerebko has battled with injuries and coaches for playing times. After tearing his Achilles tendon and missing the 2010-11 season, the Swedish product has had a hard time producing as a role player.
First it was Lawrence Frank that limited his minutes. After Frank was fired, Maurice Cheeks followed suit. Jerebko averaged 18 minutes per game two seasons ago in 49 games of play. In 64 games this year, he was held to under 12 minutes per contest.
Interim head coach John Loyer used Jerebko though in all but one game after he took over on February 10th. In his 31 games as head coach, he played Jerebko 25 minutes or more 10 times and 15 minutes or more 17 times.
Jerebko has claimed that his decision would have nothing to do with money, but it’s hard to deny that he wouldn’t get anything close to the 4.5 million he is due in free agency.
Jerebko’s best game of the season came in mid-march against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Sweden sensation played 27 minutes, scored 22 points on 8/12 shooting and 5/7 from downtown.
To get a full view of how he can be used effectively, you have to go back to February of 2013. In a game against the Hawks, Jerebko scored 21 points in 24 minutes while grabbing 6 rebounds . You can see from the highlights below, that when used right — he can be an effective role player from nearly everywhere on the court.
Hustle has always played a big part in JJ’s game but it seems that if Stan Van Gundy buys into what he can do on the court, he could play a bigger role next season. His three point shooting is much improved and that is an area of much concerned for the Pistons head coach.
Depending on free agent acquisitions, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get 15 minutes a game or more next year.