Derrick Jones Jr. is crucial to Mavericks' success despite popular belief

Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets
Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets / Tim Warner/GettyImages

On Tuesday night, the Dallas Mavericks took on the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco. Both teams found themselves on a lengthy winning streak, with the Warriors winning four in a row and the Mavs seven in a row heading into the game, so this became a battle of the winning streaks on national TV.

After going down by 13 points in the closing minutes of the first half, the Mavericks mounted an impressive 13-0 run to close out the half led by Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. However, the following 24 minutes would not end the same, and the Mavericks would lose in a back-and-forth battle 104-100.

Before the game tipped off, it was announced that rookie center Dereck Lively II would miss Tuesday night's game and possibly additional time with an injury. Since coming off the bench, Lively II's impact has only been greater, and the Mavericks sorely missed Lively II's rebounding and rim protection against the Warriors.

Derrick Jones Jr. is crucial to Mavericks' success despite popular belief

While many fans have shifted their focus on other starters like Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, one starter has often gone under the radar when talked about. Derrick Jones Jr. has quietly become one of the Mavericks' most important players despite not closing many games.

The former slam dunk champion was signed over the summer to give the Mavericks much-needed athleticism and length at the forward position. Not only has Jones Jr. excelled since becoming a Maverick, but he has become one of Jason Kidd's most valuable role players.

Since being reintroduced into the starting lineup, the Mavericks have gone 11-2 in that 13-game stretch. Additionally, over the last 13 games, the Mavericks have achieved the sixth-best offensive rating with 117.9 and the fourth-best defensive rating with 106.8, according to

While Jones Jr. doesn't have the best offensive output every night, he has become a valuable player on the defensive end. Alongside P.J. Washington, they have created a brick wall around the perimeter with their lengthy wingspans to help cover up Irving and Doncic.

The 27-year-old still has a lot to prove, including if he can consistently knock down shots from behind the arc, but it's become clear that Jones Jr. is critical for the Mavericks' success. So far this season, Jones Jr. has converted his three-ball at 34.7 percent. However, this is a career-high for the forward.

Jones Jr. may not put up the best stats or get talked about on a nightly basis like some of his teammates, but he continues to prove that he is an integral piece of the Mavs' success.

For more updates on Derrick Jones Jr., Luka Doncic, Dereck Lively II, and Dallas Mavericks basketball, stay plugged in.