Two years ago ago the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks were piloted by future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd and up-and-coming J. J. Barea. The backcourt was completed by the Mavericks’ second-best player of the last decade, Jason Terry along with surprising defensive beast/3-point bomber DeShawn Stevenson. Life was good. Just two short years later, the only guards remaining from that team are the ones who didn’t get to play much, Roderigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones.
Coming out of the University of South Florida after 3 excellent seasons, Jones made the All Big East team after averaging 21.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists as a junior. Although a provent scorer and solid player at both ends of the court, Jones hasn’t been part of the rotation in Dallas. With the four backcourt stars of the 2011 NBA Champions all departed, will he finally get his chance?
Jones is an interesting talent with good size and the ability to play the 1 or the 2. With only one true point guard on the roster in Darren Collison and another combo guard with significant minutes as a starter at the point in Delonte West, Jones’ minutes directing traffic may come only at garbage time or as a result of injury. The shooting guard slot has been retooled nicely as well. After presumptive starter O. J. Mayo and sixth man Vince Carter (who will also spend time at small forward), the Mavs have at least two other veterans and a rookie competing for time in the backcourt.
When Jones has gotten a chance so far he has been solid. In limited play with the D-League Texas Legends in 2010-2011 he averaged 18.7 points and dished out five assists. This summer he averaged 16.4 points, 5 assists and 4.8 rebounds in five summer league games in Las Vegas despite exiting the last game early.
So where might Jones fit in? According to Draft Express, he came into the NBA a versatile offensive player with good ball handling skills and the ability to create his own shot. A physical player with good size and strength and an ability to get around the basket, Jones is a natural scorer but nevertheless shared the ball unselfishly in college. Fiercely competitive, he plays aggressively and knows how to draw fouls. On the downsied, he is still working on his jump shot and shot selection and lacks explosiveness in the lane but part of his game which helped circumvent that has been developing a nice floater.
He is also a solid defensive player. He is intense as well as hardworking and his size, strength and length allow him to guard either position and contest shots, so he gets his share of blocks and steals.
It may continue to be difficult for DoJo to find his way into the rotation. Backing up Collison seems to be covered by Delonte West and the off guard spot leads off with capable scorers in O. J. Mayo and Vince Carter as well as effective defenders in West and Dahntay Jones. While Carter and Dahntay may spend some time at small forward, Roddy B and rookie Jared Cunningham are in the shooting guard mix as well.
It’s hard to develop as a player when you can’t get the minutes but Rick Carlisle has insisted everyone has a shot this year. Jones has made the effort, putting in optional time in the summer league, something not required for third-year players and appears to be having a strong training camp. Hopefully that will pay off in the near future.