Key stat shows why Dallas Mavericks must re-sign star defender

Dallas Mavericks, Derrick Jones Jr.
Dallas Mavericks, Derrick Jones Jr. / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Mavericks General Manager Nico Harrison has said it's a "priority" to re-sign Derrick Jones Jr. this offseason.

While Jones Jr. has proven to make the most of his minutes by making shots and playing consistent defense, there's one specific aspect of his game that's too valuable to lose.

One stat proves why Harrison's words must come true this offseason.

Key stat shows why Dallas Mavericks must re-sign Derrick Jones Jr.

Jones Jr. has shown to take the toughest assignments as an on-ball defender this season.

This is easy to believe with Jones Jr. usually guarding the opposing team's best player.

Jones Jr. is in front of Oklahoma City Thunder lockdown defender, Lu Dort. Mavs fans know very well the pest he can be on the defensive end, and Jones Jr. edged him out in this particular category.

In the playoffs, he had the task of guarding players like Paul George, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Anthony Edwards and Jaylen Brown.

That's not an easy task at all for someone to go through a stretch like that in the playoffs. In addition, it's also challenging for anyone to go through 76 regular season games and be handed with the task of guarding the opponent's best player.

While Jones Jr. isn't a flashy, prolific scorer every night, he played an important role all season long. The Mavs definitely wouldn't have gotten as far as they did without his tenacious on-ball defense.

Jones Jr. had a case to get recognized for his hard work. However, he was ineligible for a spot on an NBA All-Defensive Team this season due to not meeting the requirements of playing at least 20 minutes in 62 or more games in a season.

Jones Jr. has previously stated he wants to stay in Dallas. Now, it's up to management to reward him for his proven numbers and his hard work on the defensive end.

The Mavericks definitely won last offseason in getting Jones Jr. for a veteran minimum contract, he has exceeded those expectations to help the team in defense, which was drastically needed following the conclusion of the 2022-23 season.

For more on Derrick Jones Jr. and the Dallas Mavericks, stay tuned.