They Smell Like the Future: Dominique Jones

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 25, 2010 under Commentary | 7 Comments to Read

Photo by AP Photo.

South Florida Junior
6′5”, 216 lbs (Combine measurements)
21 years old
Shooting guard/point guard

The Mavs weren’t expected to be first round players in last night’s draft, yet they’ll soon introduce a top-20 prospect as their very own. The market for draft picks was established in odd fashion by a number of cap-clearing trades, yet Dallas was able to find a pick for sale and scrounge up $3 million in change from Mark Cuban’s pocket. It doesn’t generate quite as much buzz as a lottery selection, but Dallas has nabbed one of the few prospects in the draft that both fills an immediate positional need and supplies a valuable skill.

Of course, no player falls to 25 without flaws. For one, Jones is a talent, but not necessarily a unique talent. He’ll stand out against the Dallas skyline, as his natural scoring talents and athleticism are matched by only Rodrigue Beaubois in the Maverick ranks. Yet if painted as a face in an expansive scene rather than as the singular focus of a portrait, Jones begins to lose a bit of his luster. Dominique isn’t likely to ever become an elite 2, but if one bothers to appreciate what he is rather than lamenting what he isn’t, it’s clear that Jones could make an impact for Dallas as a rookie and eventually develop into something pretty special.

One of the reasons why the Mavericks faltered in the playoffs was a complete lack of shot creation. Dirk can always spin and fade to get a look against single coverage, but aside from Nowitzki (and Rodrigue Beaubois), Dallas struggled to create open looks against the intuitive and oppressive San Antonio defense. The offense was stopped at the source; when the Spurs pressured Jason Kidd and prevented him from initiating the offense with ease, the Mavs folded. What they really needed — and Beaubois’ Game 6 success was a testament to this — was a ball-handler outside of Kidd who could create shots for himself and his teammates. Rodrigue can clearly assist in that capacity, but why settle for one such player when Dominique Jones can do that and more?

The most consistent criticism of Dominique’s offensive game is his iffy jump shot. It will definitely be a work in progress as Jones voyages into the NBA, and is the kind of technical skill that can be refined over time. And from the sound of things, Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban are definitely interested in having Jones around for a long time.

It should be a hell of a ride. At the combine, Jones matched Monta Ellis’ sprinting speed and showed incredible strength for his position. He’s something of a bulldog, and his ability to both get to the rim and finish there (and draw fouls, for that matter) is very impressive. We’ll look at his defense in greater depth over the next few weeks, but the preliminary looks are pretty sunny. Dominique is a physical and persistent defender, and unlike a number of shooting guards the Mavs have had over the years, height doesn’t look to be a serious issue. Obviously he won’t come into the league with NBA-ready technique, but he has the tools to make it work.

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40 Minute Stats

PTSREBASTTOSTLFG%3FG%
Per Game21.46.13.62.91.7.450.311
Per 4023.06.63.93.21.8------

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
56.250.33.515.924.457.230.5

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
2.81.514.9

Other People:

Jonathan Givony, Draft Express: “What makes Jones intriguing in today’s NBA is that he can spend time at either backcourt position. He’s clearly a good enough ball handler to bring the ball up the court and get a team into its offense, and he shows pretty good court vision on top of that, with his ability to play the pick-and-roll and find teammates off the dribble in drive and dish situations. In the film we studied, it was a bit surprising to see the amount of possessions in which Jones was obviously looking to make the extra pass, but ended up forcing a difficult shot as the clock ran down due to the inability of his teammates to create open looks. He’s clearly not a selfish player. While no one will confuse him with a pure point guard, he’s enough of a lead guard to see minutes as his team’s primary ball handler coming off the bench. The other place that Jones stands out is on the defensive end, where he can come up with some incredibly impressive possessions. Jones appears capable of guarding either backcourt position in the NBA. He is especially effective on the ball, where his terrific size, strength and length shines through.”

Chad Ford, ESPN.com: “He’s neither a great athlete nor a great shooter, but he really knows how to get to the rim. Some NBA scouts were convinced he was a sleeper, while others weren’t that impressed. Interesting pick by the Mavs, who already have Rodrigue Beaubois and Jason Terry ahead of Jones on the depth chart.”

Jeff Eisenberg, The Dagger: “Jones is a tad small to play shooting guard in the NBA at 6-foot-4, but he can get to the rim and finish as well as anyone in this draft besides John Wall. If he hones his outside shot, he could be a late first-round steal.”

Supplementary Materials:

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.

  • Kirk Henderson

    I wigged out at the pick of Roddy last year, never considering that these guys probably know what they are doing (these guys, meaning management). I’m just so used to the trashing of all the bad GMs in the league (about 33%) that its easy to forget we have a good one.

    I’ll withhold judgment on this dude, as we all should. If we move Butler (he needs to be nicknamed Blackhole) or Terry, then maybe this guy gets some minutes. Hey, if he gets 10-12 minutes a game, gets 2-3 free throws, I’d be thrilled.

    Bottom line? They did SOMETHING in the draft. I’ll take it.

  • Cynthia

    From 50th pick to 25….you can’t get much better than that. And then to not have to give up anything (or anyone) but money….I’ll take that too. Good Job!

  • charlie’s bro’s bro

    does this indicate JET is on his way out?

  • Cooper

    @Cynthia, they also got some of that 3 million back when they traded Solomon Alabi. Plus, we got a future second-rounder from Toronto.

    We basically traded the 50th pick and a million bucks for the 25th pick and a future second round pick…. i believe that is a successful draft…. B+

  • Kirk Henderson

    @Charlie – I doubt it only because the knock kn the new $3mil man is that he can’t shoot with consistency. Score, sure. Shoot, not yet.

  • Steve

    I just wasn’t that impressed with Jones as a prospect. He’s not a very good shooter so his game is predicated on getting to the hoop. But he doesn’t have the quickness and explosiveness that will allow him to be proficient in that area in the NBA. It’s hard to be successful when you’re undersized, a subpar shooter and a below average or at best average athlete. He reminds of a less athletic Rodney Stuckey, which I don’t think even registers.

  • Dillon

    @Steve – so having the sprinting speed of Monta Ellis and being the 7th strongest player in the history of the combine (by bench reps) constitutes an average athlete at best for you? I feel he is shaping up to be a very underrated athlete.