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Friday, July 16, 2010
Day Seven Las Vegas summer league roundup

By Kevin Arnovitz

"Go get him, 'Nique!" was the call from the Dallas bench as John Wall revved up to make his move against Mavericks' rookie Dominique Jones. A naturally dogged competitor, Jones stayed light on his feet and locked in against Wall. The top overall pick unleashed his crossover, but Jones defended him in both directions. Wall then elevated for a jump shot, but the ball never got past Jones' outstretched arm and was swatted away.

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images
Dominique Jones: "The plan is to get into open space."

"I like playing against people like [Wall], because they compete," Jones said. "All I try to do is make it hard for the defender. I try to predict what they're going to do and I try to reach. I've got a 6-10 wingspan so I'm trying to get lucky too."

Add that wingspan with Jones' quickness and anticipation and the Mavericks have a stifling perimeter defender. Jones spent most of the afternoon blanketing Wall, who finished with 21 points on 4-for-19 shooting from the field and 13-for-15 from the line.

On the other side of the ball, Jones was the most creative guy in the gym (Jeremy Lin's ridiculous 270 aerial spin move notwithstanding). Jones, chosen 25th overall by Memphis then dealt to Dallas on draft night, is yet another dynamic combo guard to the Mavericks' stable. His advanced ball skills give him limitless options, primarily as a scorer but also as a playmaker. The trick for Jones is seeing the court, then exploding from the top of the floor.

"The plan is to get into open space," Jones said. "Pull up in the paint, get to the rim or make things happen for my team."

For a high-volume shooter, Jones works efficiently -- his hallmark at South Florida where he led the Big East in scoring. On Thursday, he scored 28 points, converting nine of 17 from the floor and 10 of 12 from the stripe. Summer league rosters are loaded with wings clinically addicted to straight-line dribble-drives. Not Jones, who has a far more sophisticated approach with the ball than the average scoring guard.

"I just look at angles," Jones said. "It's basically reading your defender and knowing where you are on the court."

Jones' propensity for drawing contact and getting to the line isn't accidental -- it's a staple of his aggressive, but methodical game.

"I look at my defender when I'm in the lane," Jones said. If he's coming to me at full speed, then I'll make that contact. Once I get that contact, I have a chance for an and-1."

Jones played the point at South Florida and can distribute the ball in traffic, or make use of himself off the ball. He recorded four assists on Thursday and turned the ball over twice, which is a minor miracle for an active, high usage guard in summer league action.

"I love the point guard position, as people can probably tell the way I work with the ball," Jones said. "But whatever the Mavericks need me to do, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to try to prepare myself and learn from Jason Terry and Jason Kidd so that when the time comes at either position that I play, I won't be a liability."

For an aging Dallas squad, the time might come sooner than later -- and Jones seems far more of an asset than a liability.