Ridiculous rule ruins Mavs forward's chances of earning prestigious award

Philadelphia 76ers v Dallas Mavericks
Philadelphia 76ers v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Derrick Jones Jr. had arguably the finest season of his career, averaging 8.6 points (a career-high) and 3.3 rebounds per game in the 2023-24 campaign. Also, the high-flyer has finally found his niche in the league, taking advantage of his athleticism and length to become one of the Dallas Mavericks' best defenders.

Despite averaging just 0.7 steals and 0.7 blocks per contest, his ability to guard the opponent's strongest perimeter players and versatility on defense has Jones Jr. quietly making a legit case for an All-Defensive Team selection.

Many pundits have taken notice, especially since he proved to be crucial to the Mavs' success and helped the team register the best defensive rating in the NBA after being reinserted into the starting lineup in early March.

Ridiculous rule ruins Derrick Jones Jr.'s chances of making All-Defensive Team

Because of his performance and contribution to Dallas' run to the Western Conference's No. 5 seed, Jones Jr. is one of the Mavs players in the running for an end-of-season award. While the veteran forward might not earn enough votes to secure an All-Defensive First-Team slot, he should be in consideration to make the second team.

Unfortunately, one of the stipulations in the league's recently implemented rules for the awards seemed to have made Jones Jr. ineligible for All-Defense honors.

Many already know that players must appear in at least 65 games to qualify for the voting process. However, the rules also require players to log at least 20 minutes in those contests for their appearance to count toward their total. Players can have two games added to their total, provided their playing time falls between 15 and 20 minutes.

Sadly, DJJ had just 48 games where he played more than 20 minutes, even if he suited up in 76 matches and started 66.

He isn't the only candidate for an NBA award to be impacted by the new requirements. New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo is supposedly among the frontrunners to bag the Most Improved Player honor, but he missed out on being eligible by just one contest.

Perhaps the NBA will change this particular clause of the rule next season, considering how unfair it can be for some guys who deserve an award but whose names aren't even on the ballots.

As for Jones Jr., hopefully, he can continue his impressive performance on defense despite not getting recognized with an All-Defensive Team selection this season. He can turn even more heads if he lives up to the expectation of being an X-factor for the Mavs in the 2024 playoffs.

Dallas' first-round matchup against the LA Clippers will likely be a crucial test for the squad, as the opponent employs some of the best perimeter players in the league in Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and James Harden.

Jones Jr. will presumably assume the responsibility of guarding one of them every possession he is on the court. It will be exciting to watch how he holds up taking on such a weighty assignment.

Stay tuned to read more about Derrick Jones Jr. and the Dallas Mavericks.