Fourth in a 15-part series ranking the Mavericks' 2011-12 roster in importance of bringing back next season.
Will the lasting impression of Dominique Jones as a Dallas Maverick be the "2011" neck tattoo with the Larry O'Brien Trophy serving as the first "1"? Jones had the striking image inked after the title run, one in which the then-rookie did not play one second.
Placing Jones in the 12-hole could be considered gracious considering the second-year shooting guard from South Florida was not active for any of the playoff games in the sweep against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Who took Jones' roster spot? Kelenna Azubuike, a player the Mavs acquired in late March and who had not played in an NBA game since early 2009 because of a patella tendon injury.
That's gotta hurt, and I'm talking about Jones' pride, not Azubuike's now-rehabilitated knee.
To suggest that Jones could be swept out in a trade, perhaps as early as the June draft, is not a stretch. Jones is a likable kid, but if anyone thought he was making any progress over these two seasons, coach Rick Carlisle's playoff roster seemed to tell the real story.
The Countdown continues at No. 12...
Ht/Wt: 6-5, 215
Experience: 2 years
Age: 23 (Oct. 15, 1988)
2011-12 stats: 2.7 ppg (39.7 FG%), 33 G
Contract status: Signed through 2012-13
2011-12 salary: $1.19 million
2012-13 salary: $1.27 million
His story: Without a first-round draft pick in June 2010, Mavs owner Mark Cuban paid the Memphis Grizzlies $3 million for their 25th overall pick. Intrigued by Jones' parade to the free-throw line via driving to the rack in the rugged Big East Conference, the Mavs took the combo guard, who in Dallas has yet to distinguish himself as either a competent shooting guard or a point guard. Part of the problem is his shooting. He's an awful 3-point shooter (1-of-12 in his career) and doesn't have much touch for a mid-range game either (36.4 percent career shooting). He's adept at plowing into the lane, but without any threat of a shot to go with it he becomes far too one-dimensional to play any kind of extended minutes in this league.
His outlook: To be fair to Jones, for two seasons he's been bumped down the bench by a veteran core of guards that gave him no shot at court time. Without playing, how much can a guy be expected to improve? It's not easy popping in every now and then in garbage time or filling in during an injury as he did some this last season. As for Jones not dressing in the playoffs, it could have just been a numbers game in that the Mavs were so filled up at the guard positions that Rodrigue Beaubois was cut out of the rotation. With Shawn Marion having to play some power forward after Lamar Odom was sent home, Vince Carter was the only other option at small forward, so Carlisle might have felt he needed Azubuike in uniform in case of emergency. If Jones remains on the team next season it's because he's a cheap means to fill out the roster. If he has a role that requires solid minutes off the bench, the Mavs probably will not have had a very good offseason.