Dallas Mavericks: South Florida
Jones spent a good chunk of the first-half getting playing time in the D-League and might be carving himself out a few more minutes in the Association. The Mavs dearly need more scoring, and Jones provides a hard-edged offensive player who isn't afraid to take the ball to the rack.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle certainly took notice after an otherwise gruesome 101-89 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
"The one thing I know is he’s ready," Carlisle said. "He and I and Doc [team psychologist Don] Kalkstein and Darrell [Armstrong] came over this morning at 9 o'clock and got a 45-minute hard workout in before shootaround. So he’s putting the time in, he’s showing improvement and he gave us some juice in the fourth quarter. He’s going to keep working, we’re going to make sure he keeps working and he showed he’s getting better tonight."
It was just the 15th game that the 6-foot-5 guard out of South Florida has appeared in this season.
"I think I did all right. I think I could have done a lot better focusing on some of my shots, even how I get into the paint," Jones said. "My main thing is a down night like this, I know we've got a great team here and I'm just trying to show things to coach that I can help the team."
Jones, the Dallas Mavericks' first-round draft pick, was assigned to the D-League Texas Legends in Frisco on Nov. 30. He made his long-awaited return to the big club Sunday night and led the reserves with 21 minutes and nine points.
The whirlwind trip from Frisco to Cleveland likely didn't help the fomer South Florida star's shooting -- he made just 2-of-10 field goals -- but he did what he does best, and that's get to the free throw line. He was a perfect 5-of-5 from the stripe and only center Tyson Chandler attempted more free throws (2-of-6). The 6-foot-5 guard also grabbed five rebounds and had three assists.
"He gave us a big lift," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Jones' performance in Sunday's 104-95 win over Cleveland. "He defended well, his penetration was a factor, he found people. He has a way of getting to the free throw line. His arrival today was timely and it really helped us."
Jones might have a small window to impress. Once Dirk Nowitzki, who has missed four games with a right knee sprain, returns, the rotation will shift to a more familiar look with the one exception being Shawn Marion starting at small forward in place of Butler.
But, when Nowitzki will return remains uncertain. He's shooting for some time during this week's three-game homestand that starts Tuesday. It's a tough one with the Portland Trail Blazers starting things off, followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday and the Orlando Magic on Saturday.
In Sunday's game at Cleveland with no Nowitzki or Butler, Jason Terry moved into the starting lineup at shooting gurad, DeShawn Stevenson moved to small forward -- and recorded season highs of 33 minutes and 21 points -- and Marion started at power forward.
Once Nowitzki returns, Stevenson will likely return to his usual starting spot at shooting guard, which will shift Terry back to the bench. However, the Mavs will need to fill minutes behind Marion at small forward, time that could go to the stout, 6-foot-5 Stevenson.
That would open limited minutes at shooting guard, and that's what Jones will be shooting for.
After discussing potential draft-night deals with several teams -– including talks earlier this week with Miami to acquire the 18th overall pick that was ultimately dealt to Oklahoma City -– Dallas struck this trade with the Grizzlies to acquire the Big East's second-leading scorer. Stein reports the Mavs paid the maximum $3 million to get the pick.
Mavs owner Mark Cuban took to Twitter to announce that the Mavs tried to move into the top 20 to get James and said "got lucky to get him at 25."
The 6-4, 215-pound guard with a 6-foor-9 wingspan averaged 21.4 points last season for South Florida. He was the only player in the nation to average 21 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Here's Jones' bio from the NBA draft guide:
Career Highlights: All-Big East First Team and AP Honorable Mention All-American as a junior. Also a Wooden Award finalist and midseason Naismith Award finalist. Ranks first all-time in school history attempted free throws (615), second in free throws made (453), fifth in scoring (1,797 points), three pointers attempted (495), field goals attempted (1,339) and field goals made (592), seventh in three point field goals made (160) and steals (144), and 10th in assists (328). One of 17 players invited to the 2009 USA Basketball World University Games Team training camp to compete for a roster spot. Named to the Big East All-Rookie Team as a freshman and earned All-Big East Honorable Mention as a freshman and sophomore.
Junior (2009-10): The only player in the nation to average at least 21 points, six rebounds and three assists per game. Named to the All-Big East First Team. A member of the AP All-America Honorable Mention team. Finished second in the Big East in points per game (21.4) and 15th in the nation. Had highest mark for conference games only (23.2 ppg). Set a school single-season record for free throws attempted (282) and free throws made (209), and finished second in scoring (705). Broke the USF mark for points in a game with 46 in an overtime win against Providence on 15-of-23 shooting from the field and 14-of-18 from the line. Nearly had a triple double with 10 rebounds and eight assists as well. Had 37 points,
eight rebounds and three assists against Pittsburgh. Other top performances included: 30 points against Syracuse; 29 points, eight rebounds and four assists at Georgetown; 28 points vs. Seton Hall; 28 points and seven rebounds against West Virginia; 27 points and five steals vs. Central Florida; and 27 points and nine boards vs. Providence.
Sophomore (2008-09): Led the team in scoring (18.1 ppg), rebounding (5.6 rpg) and steals (1.3 spg), and was second in assists (3.9 apg). Named All-Big East Honorable Mention for the second consecutive season. Became the second-faster player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. Scored in double figures in 27 of his 31 games on the year, including his final 20 of the season. Erupted for a season-high 36 vs. Iona, going 12-of-16 from the field, 7-of-9 from three-point range and 5-6 from the free throw line. Had his best scoring performance in a Big East game at West Virginia with 35 points, eight rebounds, three assists and no turnovers. Totaled 31 points at Central Florida and 30 points, eight rebounds
and five assists vs. Cincinnati.
Freshman (2007-08): Averaged a team-high 17.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. Earned All-Big East Honorable Mention accolades and was a unanimous selection on the Big East All-Rookie Team. Started all 31 games and named team co-MVP. Shattered the USF freshman scoring mark by tallying 531 points. Scored in double figures in 28 of 31 games, had 20 or more points in 10 games and three games over 30 points. His 31 points vs. Seton Hall were a then career-high and the highest scored by a Big East freshman. The first Big East freshman since Allen Iverson in 1994 to score 30 or more points in consecutive games. Tallied a then-career high 30 points vs. Central Florida, going 10-of-13
from the field and 4-of-6 from three-point range. Notched 30 points and 14 rebounds at Richmond. Registered 24 points vs. Rutgers, shooting 9-of-12 from the field and 5-of-5 from three-point range. Notched a game-high 29 points vs. Syracuse, hitting 10 straight free throws in final 1:24 to ice game. Scored a season-high 31 points vs. Seton Hall.
Strengths: Athletic slasher. Difficult to stay in front of. Creates his own shot consistently. Great speed, lift and strength. Good mid-range shooter off the dribble. Gets to the free throw line often. Rebounds and blocks shots well for his size.
Personal: Favorite NBA player is fellow Lake Wales native Amare Stoudemire.
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