Per Marc Stein, the Mavs are bringing in the Austin Toros’ Dwayne Jones for a workout and likely a subsequent 10-day contract. The Mavs will also bring in Von Wafer for another workout, though mostly to gauge his back rather than his abilities. The Mavs have just 13 players on the roster, meaning they could sign both players to contracts (10-day or otherwise) if they so choose. Not a bad idea considering Wafer’s potential as an explosive scorer and Jones’ ability to contribute as a third big man.
If you’ll recall, we actually discussed Dwayne Jones around these parts over a month ago when the Najera-Humphries swap opened up a roster spot. Steve Weinman of D-League Digest was kind enough to point out the most logical call-up candidates given the Mavs’ position, and among them (along with Anthony Tolliver, who was since called up by the Warriors) was Jones. Here’s what Weinman had to say at the time:
Dwayne Jones (Austin): Gets pooh-poohed a bit because he doesn’t have much to speak of in the way of shot-creation skills and certainly won’t be initiating his own offense at the next level. Doesn’t really seem to dominate games at the defensive end, though he can definitely hold his own in that realm. All that said, we’re talking about a guy with legitimate NBA size (6-11, 250 pounds) who is posting 17 points per game on better than 60 percent shooting from the field thanks to the fact that he hammers the offensive boards (more than six per game) and does a ton on put-backs and tips. He leads the league in per-game rebounding at more than 15 per game (and yes, it would be great if someone out there were tracking rebound rate in the D-League, though the Toros don’t play an especially fast pace – so I don’t think the figure is too misleading). Given that you don’t call a guy up from the D-League to dominate the ball or be some kind of star, I think this may be the guy for the spot if the decision to push for a big man because he’ll be able to do much of what he already does at the next level – scrap around for rebounds and get a few garbage buckets while forcing opponents to put a body on him on the offensive glass. Plus, he has the size to guard opposing bigs.
Adding Jones would be a terrific addition for the Mavs, who could use him to fill the role of a Ryan Hollins-type big man…if Ryan Hollins could actually rebound. He’s not going to revolutionize the game or win Player of the Week honors anytime soon, but Jones is more than capable of coming in to provide solid minutes for a Mavs team lacking in big bodies.
But just as important: bringing in Jones for a workout would be the first significant interaction the Mavs have had with the D-League since the days when J.J. Barea ruled the world as a member of the now-defunct Fort Worth Flyers. These types of interactions will obviously become more regular next season when the Mavs’ new D-League affiliate in Frisco is actually open for business, but this is a positive development. It’s unlikely that Jones would be anything but a short-term replacement, but a baby step is still a step, and the closer the Mavs get to the D-League, the better the chance of mining some real, rotation-caliber talent.
EDIT: For more on Dwayne Jones, I’d urge you to check out a few more links from Weinman at D-League Digest:
- Jones, on what he needs to do to take his game to the next level: “Just show what I can do offensively, and just continue to hustle and show what I can do. They’re not going to bring me in to score 20 points; they’re going to bring me in to hustle, rebound and defend, so I just got to keep showing that.”
- Some very cogent analysis on why Jones’ game is perfect for translation to NBA production. Don’t expect the 16.8 points and 15.4 rebounds per game that he’s averaging in Austin (or, as Steve notes, the 17 double-doubles in 20 games), but it’s excellent to note that the things that Jones does best don’t require high usage or a ton of opportunity.