6 Dallas Mavericks players who need monster second halves to save their jobs

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The Dallas Mavericks enter the final third of the season with plenty to prove.

Dallas is sitting as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference but is just a game back from the No. 5 seed. The Western Conference race is as close as ever, and the Mavs have started playing their best basketball of the season at the perfect time.

The Mavs have won six games in a row heading into tonight's matchup with the Phoenix Suns, and trade acquisitions P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford have helped give Dallas a boost defensively that they needed badly.

6 Dallas Mavericks players who need monster second halves to save their jobs

With the final stretch of the season being so crucial, the performance of many role players on the roster is also crucial as they want to cement a role before the playoffs begin.

Here are six Dallas Mavericks players who need monster second halves to their seasons to save their jobs.

6. Derrick Jones Jr.

The Dallas Mavericks signed Derrick Jones Jr. to a massive bargain last summer when they landed him on a one-year, veteran's minimum contract.

Jones Jr.'s role was unknown when Dallas first signed him, but he has turned into a crucial rotation player for this team and was an everyday starter until the Mavs traded for Washington.

This season for Dallas, Jones Jr. is averaging 9.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.7 blocks per game while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from three. Jones Jr. started on a tear from downtown, but his shooting has come back down to earth over the last few months.

He has not been an extremely reliable option from downtown as he once was, and his play has taken a dip since Washington and Gafford started playing as he has only scored 10 points over the last three games.

Washington's presence will allow Jones Jr. to fall back into a role that suits him better off the bench, but he will definitely be playing for his contract this summer for the rest of the season.

This final stretch could determine the type of money that he receives this summer, and it will also give Dallas a good hunch if he is someone they want to re-sign in free agency.