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Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Left behind: Dominique Jones off radar?

By Jeff Caplan

When Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson agreed to send $3 million to the Memphis Grizzlies to move into the first round and grab South Florida combo guard Dominique Jones in the 2010 draft, the move was greeted with excitement.

"We are excited to add Dominique to our organization," Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said on that June night in 2010. "He is 6-4 with a 6-9 wingspan and can do a little of everything. He can score, he can rebound and his assist-to-turnover ratio is exceptional."

The only thing exceptional about Jones' first two seasons is his pine time. Clearly stuck behind a deep and veteran unit of guards the last two seasons, Jones has done little to set himself apart. That fact came ringing home in the four-game playoff sweep to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Not only did Jones not play, he didn't dress. The former first-round pick was passed up on the active roster by newcomer Kelenna Azubuike, who played a total of 18 minutes in three games at the end of the season. The former Golden State Warrior had not played in a game in two years before that because a knee injury that jeopardized his career. The Mavs signed him on March 23 with a team option for next summer.

Jones, 23, will be heading into the final year of his contract next season. In 2013-14, the Mavs hold a team option. Of course, it is possible that Jones gets swept up in an offseason trade to create additional cap space.

He saw some time in 33 games this season, up from 18 a year ago. Jones is a good penetrator, he hustles and can play both guard positions. But his biggest impediment is a tough one for a basketball player: He's got no outside shot. He again shot below 40 percent on the season, and to that fact, Jones was the last man on the practice floor with coach Rick Carlisle shooting jumpers during the Mavs' final practice prior to Game 4.

Still, it's hard to get past the fact that Carlisle didn't even dress him in the playoffs in favor of Azubuike.

It wouldn't seem to speak highly for Jones' future in Dallas.